#1
Hey guys,

Over the past year, I've decided to get serious about guitar. My speed has somewhat improved (although I'm still really sloppy when soloing), I've learned a lot of theory, and I've tried to analyze playing styles of other guitarists to help with songwriting (which is probably my weakest point). My biggest influences are John Frusciante, Jack White, Joe Satriani, and Jimi Hendrix, although I haven't heard much Hendrix TBH. My real dream is to have a Frusciante/Hendrix playing style (for example, the guitar riffs to songs like Higher Ground, Subway to Venus, Give It Away, Funky Monks, etc. by RHCP, and the mixed rhythm/lead style in songs like Castles Made of Sand by Hendrix), that is kind of combined with the raw, bluesy songwriting of Jack White (You Don't Know What Love Is, The Denial Twist, Ball and Biscuit, etc. by the White Stripes, Level, Blue Veins, etc. by the Raconteurs).

Anyways, as far as practice goes, I just find myself playing chromatics and major/minor pentatonic scales with a metronome. I've actually just come to the conclusion that I really don't know any licks to use when soloing; I typically just play sections of scales going up and down. I still can't write a decent song to save my life, and I'm overall just frustrated with my playing in general.

Could someone give me some advice as to what to practice? Every time I run through pentatonic scales I feel like I should be trying to learn songs/apply them to my songwriting instead. I just feel like I've been in a rut for ages, and found that I'm not as great musically as I thought I was. I guess after reading about guitarists that practice for 8 hours a day when they were teens, it feels like I'm running out of time to get good (I'm a sophomore in high school, and hopefully going to minor in guitar in college... that would be my dream, at least).

I guess I typed quite a lot, but any advice with where to go with my guitar is greatly appreciated. Because I just kinda feel like crap right now.

Thanks a lot.
#2
Don't just play scales. Learn songs and just noodle around. Create your own licks, and if you have to steal a few. What you're doing as far as practicing technique is fine but you might be limiting yourself creatively.
#3
To you saying you dont know any solo licks or runs,
LISTEN to blues/jazz/shred players and the players you named. They have many good licks you can borrow till you find other ones or make up your own. Listening and replicating your favorite artists help you understand them, their writing style, and help develop you.
I Survived The "Silent Deftone Cocksucking Forum"!-August 15th, 2006
#4
Quote by dez_cole
To you saying you dont know any solo licks or runs,
LISTEN to blues/jazz/shred players and the players you named. They have many good licks you can borrow till you find other ones or make up your own. Listening and replicating your favorite artists help you understand them, their writing style, and help develop you.


I guess you're right, but lots are just too fast for me. I can get speed in bursts, but I can 't keep it up for more than 3 or 4 notes. So licks maybe, but as far as the term "runs" goes, I think those are out of the question at the moment. For example, I looked up the Back In Black solo a few days ago in Power Tab, and I could fumble through it when I slowed down the tempo, but it was pretty discouraging when I tried to learn it. I never seem to have much luck when I try to learn a solo, so I don't really do it often. I think the last complete solo I learned was She's Only 18 by RHCP, but it was pretty easy.

I suppose I can focus on analyzing/practicing prewritten solos as part of the routine, but it almost seems like a cycle of I need to practice scales with a metronome -> I can't play fast enough -> I can't play solos -> I can't improvise solos well -> I need to practice scales with a metronome. And I don't feel myself getting any faster when I do that, and I'm not learning anything that could help with songwriting while doing it.

Thanks for the replies guys.
#5
The answer you're looking for is probably too involved to give here. But anyway...

Notably missing from your list is the major scale. You really can't understand music
all that well unless you begin to understand major scale harmony (at least for the
type of music you're interested in).

Beyond that, all I could suggest is practicing scale finger positions, triads, arpeggios,
and patterns. Up & down the neck. Learn some licks. Try applying some of it
yourself over chord progressions. Go back over all that stuff and do it again.
Don't worry too much about understanding any of it right off that bat. Just look
to memorize stuff and the patterns of it all while you work on your technique at
the same time. Use the scales to work on your rhythm. At some point, you may
be learning something new -- like a new lick or something -- and since you've
practiced enough scales and patterns you'll see how it fits in and then - kerchunk! -
a bunch of things just fall into place.

Most people give up too quickly on the scale study, patterns, technique and rhythm
because they don't see results right away and try forcing the understanding too
quickly. The just ends up in frustration. But if you just keep plugging away at it,
have some faith in the process, attack it from many angles, and have some patience
it will just happen.
#6
Quote by edg
The answer you're looking for is probably too involved to give here. But anyway...

Notably missing from your list is the major scale. You really can't understand music
all that well unless you begin to understand major scale harmony (at least for the
type of music you're interested in).

Beyond that, all I could suggest is practicing scale finger positions, triads, arpeggios,
and patterns. Up & down the neck. Learn some licks. Try applying some of it
yourself over chord progressions. Go back over all that stuff and do it again.
Don't worry too much about understanding any of it right off that bat. Just look
to memorize stuff and the patterns of it all while you work on your technique at
the same time. Use the scales to work on your rhythm. At some point, you may
be learning something new -- like a new lick or something -- and since you've
practiced enough scales and patterns you'll see how it fits in and then - kerchunk! -
a bunch of things just fall into place.

Most people give up too quickly on the scale study, patterns, technique and rhythm
because they don't see results right away and try forcing the understanding too
quickly. The just ends up in frustration. But if you just keep plugging away at it,
have some faith in the process, attack it from many angles, and have some patience
it will just happen.


Thanks a lot for that post, I do practice the major scale as well, although I'm not as fluent in it and typically babies start crying when I try to add those characteristic notes to the pentatonic when soloing. I also understand the modes, but triads and arpeggios I'm a little fuzzy on beyond the E, A, and D strings. That will definitely be something I should develop.

So basically what you're saying is I should continue with what I'm doing now, learn some more songs, and just see where it takes me? I guess my main fear is that I won't progress fast enough to reach my goals for later in life. It feels like every hour I don't practice is another wasted hour. It may sound obsessive, but I've found that music is pretty much what I live for, and when I don't contribute something to that, I'm kind of wasting time. I'm willing to do whatever it takes for me to express myself the way I want, but right now I guess I just need a path to get me there.

That was helpful, thanks.
#7
I know a lot of people won't agree with me but i think learning some new songs would help. Try to learn some songs by those influences of yours and find some common licks that you could possibly incorporate into your own playing. If you pick songs that are a little challenging then you can better your playing at the same time. I personally think it's a win win situation.
“Science cannot solve the ultimate mystery of nature. And that is because, in the last analysis, we ourselves are part of nature and therefore part of the mystery that we are trying to solve.”


-Max Planck

☮∞☯♥
#8
Unless you actually understand how the songs you learn work musically, they
won't be as effective for growing as working on scales and exercises. Exercises
can focus much better on specific techniques, and scales do that as well as help
to organize the fretboard for you. Plus when you're working on scales and a lot
of different scale patterns you're training your ear too, whether you realize it or
not.

If you don't have the patience to do a lot of scale work, learn some songs. Go back
to scales later. You don't have to get the big picture all at once as long as you're
always putting small sections together.

Personaly I do nearly all scale work because that's where I get most of the stuff
I improvise on, but lately I've been learning jazz licks and parts of songs because
I'm new to that stuff. I want to see how stuff is used and it sure helps that, when
I learn a new lick, I can nearly always see the shape of the section of the scale it
came out of. Then I can link different things up and play around with them.