#1
I've been playing guitar for a few years now, but haven't been able to find the time to practice as much as I should have. Well, now I have a lot of time on my hands and I've started to really learn how to play this instrument. I know some basic theory, major scales, modes, I've started the Leavitt books, I'll finish the first volume really soon. I've been playing all day for the past few weeks.

I guess my playing is stuck in pentatonic licks and power chords, and although I know how chords, scales/modes are formed, I need to practice them in a musical context to really incorporate them into my playing, because practicing patterns isn't my idea of music. I've tried band in a box to get some quick backing tracks but it had an annoying midi sound to it and I really didn't like it.

I'm trying to get out of the 'pentatonic boxes' thing as much as I can, I think all my improvisations sound the same because I'm using the same licks all over the place. I'm not a jazz guy, I listen to classic rock, blues, and some of the more modern stuff - Petrucci, Satriani and just discovered Scott Henderson, also a huge fan of Blackmore, Gilmour, etc. so I keep my ears open to a lot of different styles.

The Leavitt (berklee modern method for guitar) books are absolutely great, but my sight reading skills are still at an early level and my fingers can do much more than that right now. I'm looking for other ways to really improve my playing (while still studying those books).

I already can play the guitar, I've been on stage with a couple of bands, but I really want to get better.

Thank You!
#2
Well honestly I think you sound like the kind of guy that might really enjoy some of jazz guitar players out there, I think you might dig the sound.

Recently I've been listening to John McLaughlin and his Mahavishnu Orchestra, it's really heavy fusion, tons of distortion, more rock than jazz, but still really different sounds than you'd normally hear. Also I think you should check out guys like Kurt Rosenwinkel. And another thing I've been checking out lately is some of Jimi Hendrix's blues work (got the Hendrix album "Blues"). I think you might want to try doing some transcriptions, listen to their solos and stuff, figure them out, if you want to (I do it just cause I'm a neat freak), write it out on staff paper in standard notation, it honestly can't hurt.

It's great that you're working with the leavitt books (albeit I hated them, but I recognize they're awesome). I think what would really help you is getting into the very challenging, but always rewarding world of transcription. Learning other people's stuff, and stealing it while adding your own personal twist.
#3
Will do, not sure about the writing music on paper part yet.. If I really think about it I haven't learned any new tunes in some time, I'm sort of waiting to get my reading skills to a better level so I can learn new stuff off the sheet music instead of listening and figuring out the notes by myself, but that that shows me being lazy. Someone told me that you're only practicing right if you don't like what you're practicing, because those are your weaknesses and there's no way around them except studying those areas until you can play the stuff easily. It proved to be useful when trying to figure out what I need to practice.

Thanks.