#1
So basically, I've been playing guitar for about 3 years, and although I'd like to be good by now, I'm not. When I first got a guitar I didn't really play it much, it wasn't until I'd had it for 18 months that I actually started trying to put the effort in.

In the first few months I got way better- that is, not good, but way better than I was before. After that though, I didn't really improve much at all. I think since I got my metronome a year ago I have improved about 15 bpm, up to 144.

It seems the problem is, no matter how often I practice something, whether it be a lick, exercise or whatever, I'll get to a point far below where I want to be, then get no further.

Also, lately my playing has been wildly inconsistent, and I often try playing for 30 minutes or so, then just put the guitar down because I can't play anything. It almost seems like I'm getting worse, with many things I used to be able to play now feeling awkward.

I know this happens to everyone, but I just can't seem to break out of this rut, and I'm getting pretty annoyed seeing as guitar is the main thing I enjoy. Would perhaps getting a new teacher help? currently mine is more into classical type stuff and knows heaps of useful theory, but can't help me technique-wise.

Any help would be appreciated, although "Just keep working" isn't really going to help much.
#2
I've found the best way to get better is to play a whole range of styles. Because every sty;e requires a slightly different approach technique-wise, you pick up handy little tricks that can help you in your main style of playing.

For example, if you're trying to become a wicked shredder, play some Jazz, it'll force you to really focus on getting each note to sound clearly since most jazz is played clean without distortion to help blend over mistakes. It'll make you look at what you can do to help play more accurately then you can carry that over to shredding. Or for another example, if you're trying to play fast metal riffs, try playing some flamenco, the quick complex chord changes will get your left hand flying so you can focus more on a strong right hand teqnipue later.

It's all about seeing what each genre can offer you.
#3
i find that if i find something i keep struggling at i will stop doing it for a while get out and do something else then pick it up and try again in a week or so's time

it works with guitar and with video games would you believe
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Although i guess the OP will have to get used to reading them if he's going to buy a bugera..
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along with fire escape routes...

#4
You have to be consistent with your playing and go through a structured set of fingering warm ups and patterns. Scale positions are great for building technical skill.
Quote by marmoseti
Mastering your instrument is being able to play whatever you hear in your head, unhindered by inadequate technique. After that, it's all about what you've got to say, so there would be no "best," just a bunch of people saying exactly what they mean.
#6
Probably, the 2 things going on here is you don't know how to practice to get the
results you want, and you're wildly optimistic about how long things take.

The first thing to realize is that time, by itself, is no guarantee of improvement. You
can't adjust time. But, you can adjust how you practice. That, in turn, can guarantee
you will definitely improve and also greatly shorten the time many things take. Even
so, everything takes time and some things require a lot more time than others.

Your teacher can and should be showing you this type of stuff. If not, it may be
time to part ways.
#8
Yeah I don't really learn too many songs, I guess it'd be better if I did. Anyway thanks for the advice so far fellows.
#9
Faster doesn't equate to better.

You need to forget about trying to measure yourself, certainly stop worrying about speed and actually start playing the guitar. You started playing because of music you liked, right? Then play some of it, if all you're doing is exercises then is there really any point to playing the thing at all?
Actually called Mark!

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#10
Practice as much as you can. 30 minutes isn't a lot even if you learn material, sorry to burst your bubble. I get serious into technical playing about a year ago exactly, 3-5+ hours a day is what it took. Now I'm decent. I can sweep to save my life, legato, tapping, economy picking ect. Try lots of stuff at once. If you really feel bored with an excersise, go onto something else like tapping or something. Just keep playing.


EDIT:

Quote by steven seagull
Faster doesn't equate to better.
if all you're doing is exercises then is there really any point to playing the thing at all?

Yes, but faster and ACCURATE = more technical ability. Which some people consider better. I'm not gonna spark the emotion arguement again.

As for exercises, I guess for some people that's the case. I'm never bored with scales or excercises. I know that they make me better in the long run, and I suggest to anyone to do as many technique improving excercises as they can if they want to get better. But obviously, if you're bored to tears and it makes you wanna quit guitar, then do your own thing. It all depends on your musical goal in the long run.
Last edited by one vision at Mar 5, 2008,
#11
I know how you feel, usually once a month I get a week where I feel like this. You can try switching teachers, but I don't know how much that's really gonna help.

The truth of the matter is that, how much you don't want to hear it, you need to just keep working. The best thing for someone in your situation is to work different exercises, and bring in a few songs to learn. Sometimes, being able to apply what you practice makes the guitar make more sense, and gives your hard work some value.
Livin' Easy, Livin' Free
#13
Quote by Galvanise69
God... Yeah, thats a fair enough oppinion, I guess.

How else am I meant to get better if I dont "try"

Ill have fun when I see some progress.

As for learning songs, thats where the difficulty comes in..


No one said it was going to be easy, or fast. Learning songs is hard at first, especially when they introduce new techniques. But it gets easier after a while, how can you play and not learn songs? How is that fun? Why do you want technique? What the hell are you going to do with it when you have it? If you get it? What if you couldn't get it? Would you still play? Ask yourself these things.. play because you love it not just to be great. I know all of the great players still learn songs and practice technique.
#15
Quote by Weybl Himself
I've found the best way to get better is to play a whole range of styles. Because every sty;e requires a slightly different approach technique-wise, you pick up handy little tricks that can help you in your main style of playing.

For example, if you're trying to become a wicked shredder, play some Jazz, it'll force you to really focus on getting each note to sound clearly since most jazz is played clean without distortion to help blend over mistakes. It'll make you look at what you can do to help play more accurately then you can carry that over to shredding. Or for another example, if you're trying to play fast metal riffs, try playing some flamenco, the quick complex chord changes will get your left hand flying so you can focus more on a strong right hand teqnipue later.

It's all about seeing what each genre can offer you.


yes, very true. i play flamenco and death metal. flamenco has helped me in so many ways.........i started off sweeping like ****, then as i picked up flamenco, it got better until about a year ago when i was shredding like a mother f*ck*r, and sweeping was no longer a problem.
Last edited by corp769 at Mar 7, 2008,
#17
its taken me 3/4 years to get wind cries mary down. i got the tab off here when i first started out and was gutted i couldnt play it at all, but just kep coming back to it when i had nothing else i wanted to play. to no success, then about six months ago sat down with the tab and it just kinda fell in to place was still hard and took alot of time but got there in the end.
i guess you gotta keep going at it and eventually things would click into place. im sure if i got a teacher i would have picked it up in half the time, but i taught my self.
im in a bit of a rutt again now and cant see any improvement. this time im seriously considering getting a teacher and hope to improve my playing that way.
#18
It's pretty simple: Learn HOW to practice. All this stuff about learning other genres
is just moving the same problem somewhere else.

It seems to me a lot of people just don't consider practicing a skill that can be
learned, but it is and it's really the most important one you could ever learn. Part
of it is learning to pay attention. When you do that your awareness moves into
areas of which you are currently unaware and those areas are critical for playing
well.

A person who's eyesight is not good, often don't even realize it. When they're given
a pair of glasses and can really *see*, the contrast shows how poor thier vision
really was. Awareness is the same. A lot of people think they're aware of and
know everything, but given expanded awareness, they'd be amazed how "blind"
they actually were.

When you're confident in your practice skill, you become confident you can learn
anything you want. Time becomes the only factor and the only way you can shorten
time is practice skill. Also, you won't have to make posts like these any more.

The only books that cover this in any detail are www.guitarprinciples.com. Almost
everything else is just an exercise list. Those are only as good as what you
bring to practicing.
#19
A couple of months ago, I stopped practicing with the distortion on. It's helped me in getting the notes to ring out more clearly. And I have to play the notes a little louder too since there's less sustain and everything.

Oh, and I make sure that anything I can play with my first and third fingers, I can do with my second and fourth. I realized I was getting too dependent on the 1st and 3rd. And my 2nd and 4th fingers were basically deadweight except for complex parts. I've since rectified the problem and now play solos with all four fingers stretched out. Hmm.
#20
Quote by markisouvlaki
Yeah I don't really learn too many songs, I guess it'd be better if I did..


it definitely would be better if you did.


The 1st and most important thing you need to ask yourself is..... "why am I playing the guitar in the 1st place"? If your answer is "because I love listening to music, and I want to be able to play it myself", then you will probably progress more, and want to practice more if you are working on something that is inspiring to you. You have to WANT to play.

Theory, technique, exercises...... all of that stuff is only useful if you can apply it to your true goal of making music. Spending time on technical issues and not playing songs, is a common mistake that alot of people make. What they do is focus on the things that they think they "should" be practicing.... things that will "make them better"..... instead of focusing on the bottom line....... making music and enjoying it.

my suggestion:

learn songs! learn riffs, learn solos..... learn music!!!

balance that with the other stuff when your ready. The 1st thing though is to be inspired, so that you WANT to play, and WANT to practice. Once you get to that point the other stuff comes fairly easily. And remember when you learn songs, you are also learning techniques, and your giving yourself a reference point that will make theory, and ear training easier to understand.
shred is gaudy music
Last edited by GuitarMunky at Mar 7, 2008,
#21
Quote by Galvanise69
Thanks for that GuitarMunky. I asked myself the question "why am I playing the guitar in the 1st place" and yes, my answer was, "because I love listening to music, and I want to be able to play any music I want to well".

But all that said and done, I still do want the fastest way to progress. If that is by learning songs, than right on. Im still trying to get through "Always with me with you"


I find it the same a bit with theory I guess. I try to learn a lot of theory from jazz books and whatnot, but I was messing around in writing some lead lines in powertab last night, and it just made me reaslise, "hell I know all this theory, but I cant apply it in a musical situation, so is there anything really gained with me having learn all this theory and not being able to apply it to a musical situation? I dont think so"

Yeah I guess your right, The thing about technical ability is for me I guess, I want it so I can make any music I want. So I want the fastest way to get there, and if that is by exersizes, that Id do them, and I have been.



Technical ability won't help you compose.. sorry.
#22
Quote by Galvanise69
Thanks for that GuitarMunky. I asked myself the question "why am I playing the guitar in the 1st place" and yes, my answer was, "because I love listening to music, and I want to be able to play any music I want to well".

But all that said and done, I still do want the fastest way to progress. If that is by learning songs, than right on. Im still trying to get through "Always with me with you"


I find it the same a bit with theory I guess. I try to learn a lot of theory from jazz books and whatnot, but I was messing around in writing some lead lines in powertab last night, and it just made me reaslise, "hell I know all this theory, but I cant apply it in a musical situation, so is there anything really gained with me having learn all this theory and not being able to apply it to a musical situation? I dont think so"

Yeah I guess your right, The thing about technical ability is for me I guess, I want it so I can make any music I want. So I want the fastest way to get there, and if that is by exersizes, that Id do them, and I have been.


cool. Well the TS was saying that he doesnt work on songs. That was the reason for my post.... to encourage working on music, and to let all of the other things you work on be focused towards that goal.

I dont think your wrong to work on technique. I will suggest though that maybe your goals arent completely realistic. We all want as much control as possible, and learning fast would be great as well, but the truth is.... it really takes time and patience. Anything really good does. and as far as total control. There will always be something new to learn... and new skills you can aquire. Even the players that alot of people think can "play anything".... like Govan, or Paul Gilbert..... really do have limitations. We cant see them, but I bet they are aware of them.

thats why Im suggesting that if you make your goal...." get good enough to express myself musically at ANY level, even a beginner level for starters and then move forward from there."...... you may be more satisfied with your results.... and hopefully enjoy it more. Then you can move forward one step at a time.

if your not worried about impressing everyone in a hurry, youll find your more than good enough to do what you really want..... play music. Im sure you could do some cool sounding stuff right now. be happy with that, and then let your self progress at a realistic rate. Getting good will happen because of your love of making music, and your dedication to pursuing that interest.
playing the guitar for the goal of making music, rather than just for the sake of "being good" is really what im talking about.


Quote by ouchies
play because you love it not just to be great..


thats a great quote ouchies. that is the essence of what I was trying to say. I believe if you start there..... everything else will fall into place.
shred is gaudy music
Last edited by GuitarMunky at Mar 8, 2008,
#23
Quote by markisouvlaki
So basically, I've been playing guitar for about 3 years, and although I'd like to be good by now, I'm not. When I first got a guitar I didn't really play it much, it wasn't until I'd had it for 18 months that I actually started trying to put the effort in....


i just made a series of "self-rediscovery" lessons. that i did purely for myself. to put purpose back into my playing, and well, my self-rediscovery on guitar.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=a9cGFSO4EAc

and you can follow from there

hope this might be enlightening
#24
Quote by Galvanise69
Yeah, youve certianly straightened a few things out for me GuitarMunky.

May I ask you one or two questions though, what of my goals do you think unrealistic and why?


Being realistic right now, of my level, dont laugh, its been six years, and I havent done well, Im maily just working on getting everything not sloppy, Chord progressions, some simple leads ect. Mabey sometimes some tapping or sweeping. but thats me, not great, but still expressive



I guess what im saying is unrealistic is the goal of mastering technique for the sake or obtaining "complete freedom". I dont think youll ever get there ( noone has ).

By setting a goal that is unattainable, you end up having a negative point of view, and see yourself as "not good". If your core goal is simply to play music, and enjoy it, you have a realistic goal..... and it does include technique practice, learning theory & everything else that goes into learning music. but it allows you to enjoy it at all levels, even a beginner level. Then your not constantly bashing yourself for not being as "good" as someone else.
Play to please yourself 1st. If you can get to the point where you are happy with what your doing, chances are other people will appreciate it as well.
shred is gaudy music
Last edited by GuitarMunky at Mar 8, 2008,
#25
I found one thing that helps me a lot is the fact that I have a guitar player (Buckethead) that I really respect and idolize. I know I'll need a hell of a lot of practice before I can ever reach his level so that kind of keeps me going.
#26
Quote by Hobopotamus
I found one thing that helps me a lot is the fact that I have a guitar player (Buckethead) that I really respect and idolize. I know I'll need a hell of a lot of practice before I can ever reach his level so that kind of keeps me going.


do you practice so you can be as good, respected, and as idolized as buckethead?..... or do you learn his music because you love the music itself?

there is a big difference there. What im suggesting is that practicing to achieve some "ideal" of "what good is" is a totally different approach than if you practiced for the goal of playing music.... for the love of doing it.
What im trying to promote is the later. I believe if your core goal is to make music, everything else will fall in place. (with time practice and dedication)
shred is gaudy music
#27
I would like to steer back in the direction of actual practice for a minute:

You really do have to think about what you're doing an awful lot to make real progress in terms of speed; when you play to get faster your movements should become not only faster but smaller as well. Brute force will only work to a point and at that point you have to look at your hands and think "Ok, where can I make these movements smaller?" then slow yourself right back down and make those changes and really think about how you're playing until it become engraved in your muscle memory then work back up again.
R.I.P. My Signature. Lost to us in the great Signature Massacre of 2014.

Quote by Master Foo
“A man who mistakes secrets for knowledge is like a man who, seeking light, hugs a candle so closely that he smothers it and burns his hand.”


Album.
Legion.
#28
Guitar isn't about getting really good really fast. It's one of those things that takes months to learn and a life time to master.
#29
Ok, everyone pay attention to me again, I have a dumb question.

Currently, my guitar doesn't really feel that comfortable to play, and when I play other guitars with thinner necks they feels much easier to play. Would getting a different guitar help somewhat? obviously it won't make me a better player, but at present I just don't feel like my guitar 'fits'.
#30
Quote by markisouvlaki
Ok, everyone pay attention to me again, I have a dumb question.

Currently, my guitar doesn't really feel that comfortable to play, and when I play other guitars with thinner necks they feels much easier to play. Would getting a different guitar help somewhat? obviously it won't make me a better player, but at present I just don't feel like my guitar 'fits'.


Not liking the way your guitar plays is one of the best reasons to get a new one but it could just be that your current guitar needs to be set up well, try having it set up by a pro first then see how you feel.
R.I.P. My Signature. Lost to us in the great Signature Massacre of 2014.

Quote by Master Foo
“A man who mistakes secrets for knowledge is like a man who, seeking light, hugs a candle so closely that he smothers it and burns his hand.”


Album.
Legion.
#31
Quote by edg
It's pretty simple: Learn HOW to practice. All this stuff about learning other genres
is just moving the same problem somewhere else.

It seems to me a lot of people just don't consider practicing a skill that can be
learned, but it is and it's really the most important one you could ever learn. Part
of it is learning to pay attention. When you do that your awareness moves into
areas of which you are currently unaware and those areas are critical for playing
well.

A person who's eyesight is not good, often don't even realize it. When they're given
a pair of glasses and can really *see*, the contrast shows how poor thier vision
really was. Awareness is the same. A lot of people think they're aware of and
know everything, but given expanded awareness, they'd be amazed how "blind"
they actually were.

When you're confident in your practice skill, you become confident you can learn
anything you want. Time becomes the only factor and the only way you can shorten
time is practice skill. Also, you won't have to make posts like these any more.

The only books that cover this in any detail are www.guitarprinciples.com. Almost
everything else is just an exercise list. Those are only as good as what you
bring to practicing.

+1111111111111111111111111111111 karma to you, great post!
#32
I STRONGLY disagree with anyone who says that you have to play 3+ hours in order to become technically efficient. If someone has a strict practice routine, and practices with complete FOCUS for 1-2 hours a day, he/she IS going to improve and become a much better player. Quality over quantity people. Efficient practice is key.