#1
I've plateued.

I've been playing guitar for about 4 years, and I've not noticed any particular improvement recently. I just don't know what I can do to improve my skills. I know a decent(ish) amount of theory, but I'm still hopeless at writing songs.
The most technically difficult thing I can play is the Rocket Queen (Guns N Roses) solo, if that gives you any idea of my level.
It's girls and spaghetti... We love girls and spaghetti!
#2
Sweep picking!
Learn some scales, develop your own solos and riffs.
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#3
Listen to different genres of music. If your in metal, try funk, in to rock, try jazz. Id check out some jam bands also because they have every style mixed in. Grateful dead, Phish, moe. Umphrey's mcgee. Check those guys out and try to learn by ear from them.
#4
Only one solution: Go out there and find musicians who are better then you and try to either jam with them or at least observe them playing around. They'll instill you with the inspiration and jealousy that I think is the only way to truly break out of ruts. This is coming from someone who always hits those plateaus.
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#5
Quote by Topstring
I've plateued.

I've been playing guitar for about 4 years, and I've not noticed any particular improvement recently.


Ah, guitar "mid-life" ...

Just an observation: The single biggest factor that I think holds people back from
this point onwards is the gap between what they think they know and what they
actually know. Usually the search for advancement looks to "advance techniques".
That might help a little, but if you look more to the "gap" you'll find better answers.
That's one of the reasons, I believe, many people get to this point and then not a lot
further.
#6
Hmmm, perhaps you could elaborate on this 'gap'? <_>
It's girls and spaghetti... We love girls and spaghetti!
#8
Well, I listen to just about every genre of music around, so I don't think it's that.
It's girls and spaghetti... We love girls and spaghetti!
#9
Quote by Topstring
Hmmm, perhaps you could elaborate on this 'gap'? <_>


Well, it's hard to give specifics as everybody is different and I have no idea what
you know and play.

Think of all the "little stuff" you've glossed over, the boring things you avoided,
the things you thought you were "too noob" to practice because you already
knew it... I think everyone has lots and lots of stuff like that if they're honest about
it.

A personal example: an instructor I took a lesson with had me walk up and down
a scale in 8th, triples, and 16ths at very moderate metronome tempos. All I had to
do was hit the click EXACTLY -- not a little before, not a little after. Well, that's
a LOT harder than you think! At least harder than I thought. In fact, to do this
right, you'd really need a tape recorder you could slow down and really listen to
your accuracy.

That's an example of where I thought my timing was good, but clearly not as good
as it could be. That's a gap I missed. I found a lot on my own, but I'm sure
there's plenty more I haven't really become aware of yet.
Last edited by edg at May 10, 2008,
#10
Technique is not important. Some people need more than others. Same thing happened to me. I have "enough" technique, I don't feel any reason to practice my technique. I just write songs on acoustic and electric.

I reccomend you write songs and sing.

^ your instructor sounds like a scam.
#12
Quote by Topstring
I've plateued.

I've been playing guitar for about 4 years, and I've not noticed any particular improvement recently. I just don't know what I can do to improve my skills. I know a decent(ish) amount of theory, but I'm still hopeless at writing songs.
The most technically difficult thing I can play is the Rocket Queen (Guns N Roses) solo, if that gives you any idea of my level.


find something new to learn. Learn it.... play it.... enjoy it. Then find something else.

this could be a song, a new technique, or just anything that is new to you.
#14
Quote by mikeman
Technique is not important.



Yeah if you want to play non-artistic pop music all your life.

If you ever want to even consider getting into art music (stuff that requires at least a little bit of thought to comprehend), technique is of dire importance.

Also without technique you're more likely to get carpal tunnel and tendinitis.
#15
Quote by mikeman

^ your instructor sounds like a scam.


Actually this particular instructor I would say is very high caliber. Not many around
this good.

I take it you don't find timing all that important? I guess we have a difference of
opinion there. In fact, everything you said I think was pretty questionable as
far as advice goes. But that's my own opinion based on how I judged its worth
to me.
#16
There are some good suggestions here, some bad ones.
I think it breaks down to a few things:

Technique: I watch people that are better than me (youtube is good for this) and notice what they do - playing fuller chords, using their pinky more (which I now devote time to practice). There are a number of speed exercises that are good for this too. Use a metronome and slowly click up on it. Similarly do the same for tapping and sweep picking.

Practicing technique is boring to me. So I only do it for a little bit every day. Then:

Theory (practical): I learn a scale. I then improvise and play around with notes on the scale. until I make a melody. Then I go on to another scale. Etc. The below site is great for this.
http://www.all-guitar-chords.com/

Theory (abstract): I try to learn theories of progressions, etc. This is the kind of stuff that I would use to "compose" rather than "come up with" a song. This is boring too, unless you're doing it with your guitar and immediately able to get some gratification.

Improvisation: Turn on the radio. Learn by ear or by error (with your guitar) what scale it is in. Then try to solo over everything.

Play together: The best part of playing with a band is learning how to work with people, with other musicians. Musicians are a pain in the ass. Learning how to deal with that is part of becoming a better guitarist. Plus it knocks down your inhibitions, encourages you to be more consistent and not **** up as much, and gives you a better sense of rhythm.

It doesn't matter how long you've been playing. There is no glass ceiling. If you don't do one of these things, then there is that much potential to be tapped. Get to it.
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#17
Quote by DoctorM
There are some good suggestions here, some bad ones.
I think it breaks down to a few things:

Technique: I watch people that are better than me (youtube is good for this) and notice what they do - playing fuller chords, using their pinky more (which I now devote time to practice). There are a number of speed exercises that are good for this too. Use a metronome and slowly click up on it. Similarly do the same for tapping and sweep picking.

Practicing technique is boring to me. So I only do it for a little bit every day. Then:

Theory (practical): I learn a scale. I then improvise and play around with notes on the scale. until I make a melody. Then I go on to another scale. Etc. The below site is great for this.
http://www.all-guitar-chords.com/

Theory (abstract): I try to learn theories of progressions, etc. This is the kind of stuff that I would use to "compose" rather than "come up with" a song. This is boring too, unless you're doing it with your guitar and immediately able to get some gratification.

Improvisation: Turn on the radio. Learn by ear or by error (with your guitar) what scale it is in. Then try to solo over everything.

Play together: The best part of playing with a band is learning how to work with people, with other musicians. Musicians are a pain in the ass. Learning how to deal with that is part of becoming a better guitarist. Plus it knocks down your inhibitions, encourages you to be more consistent and not **** up as much, and gives you a better sense of rhythm.

It doesn't matter how long you've been playing. There is no glass ceiling. If you don't do one of these things, then there is that much potential to be tapped. Get to it.



He's got a real point. Theres no limit to potiential - theres only failure to know what's next. I recently hit the gap like last week. So I decided I'd continue in my theory, learn another song, make up a riff in Fm and continue practising fur elise. We all know everyone is different so you have to find the next step that works for you. You'll find it because theres plenty of things to do.
#18
Quote by mikeman
Technique is not important. Some people need more than others. Same thing happened to me. I have "enough" technique, I don't feel any reason to practice my technique. I just write songs on acoustic and electric.

I reccomend you write songs and sing.

^ your instructor sounds like a scam.

Technique is VERY important, it's just a question of how far your technique should progress. I'd prefer to learn every technique I can and learn to use it well, THEN go back and only use what I need. If you don't want to advance your technique that far that's you, but I'll be pushing as far as I can. Of course, I have to master things one at a time, but the point stands.
I'd say his instructor knows what they are doing. I for one always practice with a metronome, and I doubt there's a truly talented musician out there who would say "Nah, you don't need a metronome". If you can't even play scales in time, how can you expect to play complicated passages with the required precision? I don't care how many notes per second you can play, if you can't lock in to the pocket your technique needs serious work. Poor timing makes you sound sloppy.
#19
As simple as a foward or backward slide is...I had to go back and
relearn it again. By doing so, i became more familar with single
string movements, which improve my ablity of connecting veriouse
box pattern scales.
The satch use it often and make those notes sing.

Then I was wonder how eric johnson gets his tones or makes his
guitar sings almost if thou it's a violen. Just plain old vibrato.

I went back to the basics of doing veriouse inflections or tech.
My playing had improved greatly.

I also got a cry baby for the first then in my life.
It took me a while to get use to playing with a pedal.
I'm still not a master at it..but there's more control now.
At first you kind da flex it all over and fast.

Reminds me of when I was a kid playing scales as fast
as I could..but with little or no control.
Last edited by Ordinary at May 11, 2008,
#20
Open up to other genres as suggested.


Easier still, go for a couple of guitar workshops. Get inspired. Then go back and re-learn your basics. Chances are, there are a lot of basic techniques that you take for granted but can be further improved.

Work on your picking (alternate, sweep, economy and what not), work on speed and clarity, and most importantly, work on your rhythm. I often find that when I spend more time on my rhythm playing, my lead playing improves too. Playing in time is one of the most important abilities you can have, so make sure you dedicate a lot of your practice sessions for that.

And start writing songs. They aren't that hard. Check out the lessons and sub-forums here for tips, then just start with a simple chord progression and a simple strumming pattern. Sing over it. You have a song. Just build up from that.

I've found that the single thing that has helped me most from getting out of a guitarist's block is writing songs. Just a tip.