#1
What does it take?

I've been playing guitar for around 8-years. I'm by no means a great guitarist. What steps can a guitarist like myself take to excel in the skill?

There are a number of lessons on the internet, but I'm sure I'm not alone in saying where do I start?
What lessons should I look through first, as I'm certain that the skills are necessary in some lessons further down the line.

I'm of the idea that I want to be a kick-ass lead guitarist.
What areas should one concentrate?
Or is it more important to become an accomplished rhythm guitarist firstly?

Thank you
#2
i think being a great guitarist is all relative to a few factors. First, speed is important, but not a huge factor. Lets look at Santana - very accomplished and respected gutiarists, id say one of the greats. His tecnhicallity is pretty bad, he doesnt have much speed, and he tends to stick to the pentatonic 100% of the time. What makes him so good? His style. He developed his own style and stuck with it, and with this style came great song writing. He writes some fantastic melodies, which I say can stick more than a good solo.

Lets look at someone very trecnhical, Steve Vai. His technique is amazing, his speed is ridiculous, and he goes all over the place with keys and modes and such. But its not his technicality that makes him famous, its his style and song writing. He has written some amazing songs, and just recently collaborated with an orchestra, which made his songs that much better.

Basically what im trying to say is to become great i think you need to develop a strong sense of style. With your own style, you can write your own songs, and only by writing memorable originals can you be considered great (in my mind). you will never (sometiems) see anyone playing covers considered great if they cannot write a melody to save their life. thats just my viewpoint
dude, what about an actual solo in death metal instead of that poof from linkin park. Think of Pulse of the Maggots - Bed Of Razors


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#3
What does "great" mean?

Most of the guitarists I hear referred to as "great" (yingwee!) produce tuneless tripe at 300 bps.

Do you want to be Steve Vai? I mean, outside of guitar freaks, he's kind of a nobody. Do you know anyone that could hum a Steve Vai song off the top of their head? How about David Gilmour? I bet you could think of 5 Pink Floyd songs immediately.

In my mind, that makes David Gilmour a better musician than Steve Vai.

The2abraxis is right. Write great music, develop a unique style, that's what makes a great musician, not high-speed scale wankery.
#4
why not start transcribing solo's, and seeing what players do. then apply that to your own playing.
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#5
well said The2abraxis. i'm trying to think of something to add but that sums it up.

i'm not a technician on the guitar neck, more blues/rock style so i'm not aspiring for the technicality, but i can make it scream all the same. why should you care? you shouldn't. just using myself as an example of the differences. learn basic stuff as far as theory so that you know what key you are or should be playing in. other than that have fun.
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#6
Compleately agree wit The2abraxis and MauMichael ....you guys stole the words from my mouth .....every great player has his own UNIQUE style ....but DOES NOT mean you shouldn't have influences ...look at somone like slash , anyone who listen to him play would be able to make out that the melodies are a really hard rocking blues ....and it makes sense ...he was influensed by guys like Page and Perry ....but he didn't just rip them off....he took everything he liked and developed a unique style with .

I think that what your focus should be ....think about all the stuff that you like and gather it all to develop something you love ...
#7
Thanks guys, I've took all of that on board.

It's seems to me from what you've said, is that a great guitarist is defined by his style, rather than ability.
#8
I think its about creativity more than style, creativity combined with ability
i mean, how many jazz/classical players out there really have a style ?
propably very few
style is more of a flashy rock and roll thing, but some people dig that...
#9
I think it is a combination of style and ability. There's almost no way you can sound unique. There are so many bands out there, and SO many guitarists, everyone has done everything you could think of, unless you were a genius.

Hendrix wasn't the best at guitar. Steve Vai or Yngwei McFag can play much faster than him and are a lot better at GUITAR. Hendrix was much more innovative and creative than them, pushing guitars to new limits. This is why he was so famous (oh yeah he also played with his teeth :p )

You need to find the middle ground or specialize in one or the other IMO. BB King can't play fast at all, can't even play while he sings. He's still famous for his style of playing and delivery.
#10
Quote by Shackman10

Hendrix wasn't the best at guitar. Steve Vai or Yngwei McFag can play much faster than him and are a lot better at GUITAR. Hendrix was much more innovative and creative than them, pushing guitars to new limits. This is why he was so famous (oh yeah he also played with his teeth :p )


Hendrix bein more inovative than Vai? I think not.

As far as malmsteen goes, hes not a fag, but he is not nearly as creative as many others.
#11
Quote by RockFreak000
I think its about creativity more than style, creativity combined with ability
i mean, how many jazz/classical players out there really have a style ?
propably very few
style is more of a flashy rock and roll thing, but some people dig that...

Obviously you doon't listen to a lot of classical OR jazz music; many of my friends can recognize if a piece is Bach or Mozart or Beethoven based only on melody and construction. And jazz is even more so.

Anyway, on topic: how good is your technical ablility? I mean, it DOES count for a lot. The lessons on UG should cover most guitar technique. PRACTICE. All the time.

Rhythm and lead are both great; you'll want to know both if you'd really like to excell. Which one do you like better? Pick one, stick to it.

If technique isn't a problem, I'll go with the answers given above. Really develop your own style and perfect it. With enough dedication, anyone can learn to play a solos at 50000 bpm, but writing your own stuff in your own way really makes you stand out.

Best of luck down the road, if you love guitar, I'm sure you'll make it.
#12
pick between lead and rythm? i'd say try and stay focused on being equal at both..

Whoever said the comment about steve vai being unknown.. um, k?

I can hum a steve vai tune off the top of my head, and i don't listen to him.

Don't compare guitarists, it's just dumb and starts arguments on here. Especially based on their fame.. steve vai made more of a name for his solo career than david gilmour did than his ;o


Obviously a bit of music theory knowledge goes a long ways, but I think when it comes to the ability to write music it can either come naturally or it can't.

After 8 years you don't think theres another hobby that you probably are meant to succeed more at? I know i've been playing the guitar for around 4 years and am confident it's what I want to do for the rest of my life.

buttom line to excell you from being average to being "great" i honestly think the biggest factor is style.. but we also may have different opinions of the word "great"