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#1
I've been really depressed regarding my guitar playing lately.
I keep playing but it doesn't seem like I'm making any progress at all.


As I've said I've been playing for a while but only recently have I realized that I've been playing everything with horrible technique.

I've made some corrections but it's taken me a huge step backwards. I'm basically a beginner again

What sucks is that every time I listen to some of my favorite music I get so frustrated because I know I can't even begin to touch it.

My two favorite guitar players are Omar Lopez from Mars Volta and Alexi Laiho from COB

But they're so far out of my league right now. I keep looking at all these complex arpeggios and licks and I have no idea how to even go about playing them. I'm even struggling to play simple open chords now....something I never used to do.


Has anyone gone through this before? How did you deal with it. I'd really like to be able to listen to music without feeling like crap.


I'm never going to stop playing guitar. It's just there's so much and I'm so overwhelmed and I don't know where to begin.


I really need some help on this
#2
Maybe a break is in order. Take a week off without touching your guitar.
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#3
Man, just relax, drink, smoke, **** play and listen to the music you like and everything is going to be just fine Enjoy in your skills.
#5
The absolute best thing you can do is be proud of the level your at, now that doesn't be be satisfied but think about how you are now, and if you'd of been impressed by someone with your skill level when you first started playing guitar. Honestly, right now I'd of thought someone like me is amazing at guitar 3 years ago when I first got into guitar, but my thoughts on my current skill level is that I suck. It isn't something where I actually am bad at guitar, on the contrary I'm pretty good, but your always your biggest critic. So relax, think about the progress you made, and then the best way to improve is decide what kind of guitarist you want to become. You want to be like Alexi Laiho, then start practicing your tapping, do some basic sweeps and such. But do them all very slow, with a metronome and do them correctly. Thats the key to progress.
#6
Well your improved technique should make you feel lots better and remind you you'll reach your former skill level and beyond with cleaner technique.
Keep at it dude, don't get discouraged.
#7
Right, so practicing has made you worse?

If so, you're not practicing efficiently, I hate that word cause it always reminds me of a factory, and mass-producing generic guitar players, which is NOT what music's about, but the point is you need to get a different practice routine.

if you start from the start again, since you think you're a beginner again, get those basic open chords down again, then get some power/bar chords down, and you're on your way then, with rhythm playing anyway.

Then you can start with techniques such as hammer-ons, pull-offs, tremolo picking. This will get you to an intermediate level, where you'll be very comfortable playing rhythm parts for a large catalogue of songs, CoB's rhythm playing isn't awfully hard.

Then you get to the more advanced techniques, such as sweep picking, tapping, and harmonics, and this is where your 'Alexi arpeggios' come in, and by the time you have these techniques down, you won't have too much trouble with playing CoB solos, or whatever else you like.

Just don't get ahead of yourself, but at the same time, keep challenging yourself, without forgetting the essentials. Sure, learn the rhythm for 'bed of razors' by CoB, but then go back and learn an acoustic Oasis song to brush up on your open chords, and keep reminding yourself of old songs you knew, and then challenge yourself with newer, harder ones.

Most importantly, don't put yourself down, the second you doubt your guitar playing abilities, half of your abilities fly away from you, you'll lack confidence, and therefore inspiration, variety and versatility, and all this makes you about 10% of the player you could be if you had the frame of mind of "So I'm not the world's best guitarist, but I can write a hell of a good song with what I do know"

Hope this helps
Last edited by \m/Gaz at Jun 13, 2008,
#8
I really appreciate all of you taking the time to respond.

I think I'm going to take a few days off to re-collect myself and think about what I need to do.


If I spend some time concocting a practice routine in the next few days could some of you be so kind as to offer a critique?
#10
the goddamn alexi laiho sure can play fast, my current goal is to be able to play his solos flawlessly, and God knows its no easy task, sometimes i feel like im not worth of holding a guitar after listening to some stuff, but i play my guitar no matter what!

get drunk, then come back to your guitar and play some stuff you like and can play, im sure there something over there that u can play and enjoy, keep practicing, ive had that kind of depression not long ago, but its gone in a few days, if you like guitar you'll go on

btw im drunk right now, i havent played guitar today but i feel good!

PS. Nile rocks

EDIT: PS2. "Paco de Lucia", great spanish guitar player once said: "if you think you are going to make a mistake, then you are lost".

EDIT2: PS3. http://nz.youtube.com/watch?v=nPizjNJBWBQ <--- watching this mother****er play CoB so good makes me feel like crap! ^^
Last edited by Gacel at Jun 12, 2008,
#11
\m/Gaz I'll spend some time creating a decent routine. I'll pm you or something when I post in this thread....


I'll even post my rational for practicing certain things maybe then I can sort out what it is I'm not doing.
#12
i had to redo my entire technique after playing for about 10 or 11 years because i wasn't playing up to the standards i had set for myself.

here's where my train of thought differs from yours. everytime i heard a bada$$ solo or riff something i'd play "sloppy" a hundred times before, it got me pumped. i'd go spend hours working on my technique telling myself things like "11 years in is too late to quit, you've got some a$$ to kick" my technique isn't perfect yet, it probably never will be (it's not really my "style" if i could sound like satch or yngwie i wouldn't want to. i love those guys don't get me wrong, but thats not me, thats them) so i kept practicing and now i'm alot cleaner and more accurate than i was a year ago. and i'm still practicing.

just don't stop, it might take a while to get on the right track. just remember nothing good comes easy.
#13
Quote by z4twenny
i had to redo my entire technique after playing for about 10 or 11 years because i wasn't playing up to the standards i had set for myself.

here's where my train of thought differs from yours. everytime i heard a bada$$ solo or riff something i'd play "sloppy" a hundred times before, it got me pumped. i'd go spend hours working on my technique telling myself things like "11 years in is too late to quit, you've got some a$$ to kick" my technique isn't perfect yet, it probably never will be (it's not really my "style" if i could sound like satch or yngwie i wouldn't want to. i love those guys don't get me wrong, but thats not me, thats them) so i kept practicing and now i'm alot cleaner and more accurate than i was a year ago. and i'm still practicing.

just don't stop, it might take a while to get on the right track. just remember nothing good comes easy.



It makes me feel a little better knowing that someone else has gone through what I'm going through.

I'm never going to stop playing...I just need to re-evaluate what I should work on...that way I can start making progress.
#16
Quote by Suav Nitebeest
yearzero, the fact that you're motivated enough to create a thread to get help shows that this should only be a temporary setback for you. Definitely follow \m/Gaz's advice.



That feels really good to hear. I can always tell myself that it will be ok but sometimes I need to hear it from someone else.

if it makes you feel better im sure your better than i am. (=



Lol even though we've never heard each other play that does seem oddly refreshing. I appreciate that.


Thanks again everyone for helping me out. I'm going to get to work tomorrow an assessing my skills and making a practice routine.


Sometimes I get frustrated and lose sight of my goals. It's nice to have a people to help you out.


Rock on
#17
^ i personally wouldn't make a practice routine. try and if it works and you enjoy it then follow it. but if you start it and just can't get into it then don't worry. simply set aside time and say "i'm going to practice for an hour or as long as i want to today" then practice whatever you want to practice. i couldn't ever follow a routine so i just play what i want to play that i know i could improve.

make sure what you practice is actually musical in nature, you'll enjoy it alot more. want to work on sweeps? create a chord progression with sweeps to work on. just going up and down chromatically is good for finger dexterity but it's not terribly musical and because of that exercise and exercises like that (which aren't musical in nature) you may find yourself getting bored or not enjoying it. remember, you're playing because you enjoy it. that i think is the most important part.
#18
I had one of those feelings back in December. I was listening to a lot of classic rock and instrumental rock, and I just plain felt bored. But, then I began to listen to Stevie Ray Vaughan. And I don't mean just listen as in casually, but I intentively listened to every single note he made on the Texas Flood album. I was at the point where I could almost hum every single solo he on the record, and I just fell in love with his tone. I learned as much as I could from that album, and eventually, I was out of my 'rut'. My style had changed too. I use a lot more pentatonic stuff now. I just took that little change in musical taste to make me a better guitarist.
"It is always advisable to be a loser if you cannot become a winner." - Frank Zappa

The name's Garrett.

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#19
Dude, you've gotta remember something. These guys have been playing for so long now, and I'm sure put in atleast 6 hours a day on the guitar for a while. They're going to be much better than you are.

Sometimes taking a step backward will bring you about 3 steps forward in the long run. You ALWAYS want to fix a hole in your technique if you're aware of one.
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#20
Paul Gilbert said it took him five years before he could play a moderately fast lick.
#21
Most guitarists will have come to a point where they had to reassess their playing and relearn a lot of stuff. Arguably it's worse nowadays because there's almost "too much" information, you used to pick up the guitar, feel your way around and pretty much work out your own path...the next step tended to point itself out. You shouldn't be discouraged, you should be made up that you've come to this realisation - there's guys who'll play there whole life and never realise how bad they are, or more to the point how good they should and could be. You'll never address a problem until you realise there's one.

Now you've got kids who've read up on pretty much everything there is to know before they've even touched a guitar and they think that knowledge will just allow them to do whatever they want when they get their guitar. The worst think you can do is approach the guitar for the first time thinking you know more than you do, the new guitarist has to accept that they know nothing and need to learn everything.
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#22
hey man, don't be discouraged! i recently had to start over as well because my picking technique and muting was pretty damn god awful, i had just never noticed it. i'm going to simply give you a couple of quotes (well approximate quotes) that other people had said to me on this board:

"if you are conscious of you're problem you already know that you can fix it."

"don't look at slowing down and going back to basics as a 'regression.' when you play guitar you have control over the notes you play and the strings you hit, if not the guitar plays you."

and finally just stay motivated in the sense you know you are fixing any problems you might have had. sure it may take a little while, but i guarantee that before long these current problems will recede into nothing and without even realizing it you will be focusing on new techniques and challenges.
#23
Im going through the same thing man, don't worry.

Take a break. Don't touch the guitar for about a week. When you're really itching to pick it up again start playing whatever you WANT to play. Don't play any scales or work on improving your technique or anything like that. Just play songs that you already know. Even go back to the very basic songs (Smoke on the water, sunshine of your love etc.)

I also found its good to learn a few songs. Heres some good ones
Seek and destroy - Metallica
Come as you are - Nirvana
Any Green Day or Blink 182.

And if you're into metal tune your guitar to like... Drop D or C and just hammer away at some riffs.

Take another week off and then go back to your normal routine.

A teacher also helps. I mean a GOOD teacher. My first teacher was a good guitarist but a **** teacher. my current teacher is awesome.

Hope i helped.
#24
Yeah, I've been on that road. You must remember that you can actually have some bad days. One thing that helped me was to not focus all my attention on the guitar. You don't exactly need to stop playing it, but try to focus on other things so that you are not always thinking about guitar ( school, girls, soccer, you name it).
#25
You recognized the flaws in your technique and started over with a new approach, that alone puts you ahead of many many players that don't realize their flaws or are too afraid to admit them. It may feel like you are a beginner again but you really are not, as long as you keep your attention to developing the proper techniques and practices you will progress much faster than before and you will be playing great much sooner than you thought. Many people here know the feeling of completely re-assessing a certain area of playing and having to "start over" and its pretty unpleasant at first, but ask the ones that stuck with it and they will tell you that their progress skyrocketed from it.
#26
I'm in the same place as you man. I've been playing for about 2 and a half years, and for the last half a year or so I haven't improved technically. I don't have bad technique per se, but it's definitely not the greatest technique in the world, so I'm now trying to work on improving my technique dramatically, as I think that will enable me to play a lot faster/cleaner/better ect. Unfortunately I don't think it'll help my music writing skills, they'll still be crap.
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#27
Alot of guitarist's (and other people ofcourse) get discouraged because they feel they arent advancing. Unless you never play your guitar your improving, its just that you dont realise it.

There also comes a time where you ask yourself why you play guitar. Like what steven said. Is it because its fun? Is it because you want to be good at something? Is it because everyone else is doing it? Is it to pick up the chicks (I can just imagine a million female eyes rolling at that one)? Is there absolutly no reason to you playing guitar?
#28
After all these years I still can't play like the Satch.
As you said,there's too much. If you stack everything..it's going to overwhelm
you. Just pick one thing to work on.

My pima is not grestest in the world. So i'm working on it. I know
it's not going to happen overnight.

I reason I pick up the guitar as a kid was becuase I love music.
It brought me peace and I wanted to master it.

As the years passed..I played my guitar for many reasons as
someone mentioned.

The only thing that's keeping me sane at the moment is to just
be able to strum a simple C chord.
#30
Hey, yearzero. I think that everything you are doing to improve your guitar playing is great. just the fact that you realize that you are stuck in a "guitar depression" is something to be proud of. It seems like so many guitarists get stuck in a rut and don't even realize it. After all, you can't improve if you don't know that you need to.

Just a couple suggestions: Instead of looking at "pro" guitarists and the level that they are at, look at yourself and the level your at and what you can do to improve (although it looks like you've already done that). I think that having a practiice routine is great ( you should consider posting your's) , but you should also consider taking lessons, I can't even begin to describe how much they helped me.

One last word of encouragement: Steve Vai himself said that it took him years to even start to make any sense of the guitar.
#31
Oh My God I can't think you people enough for all the encouraging responses. As we speak I'm working on a practice routine that I will post in this thread. I'm going to go pretty in depth with it so that you can see why I'm practicing what I'm practicing.


My only real major accomplishment that I can think of is that I've got every note on the fretboard memorized. I'm getting better at figuring out keys, and I've got a beginners knowledge of basic music theory.


I still struggle with basic things. I'm still getting the "one finger per fret rule," sorted out. When I play solos (or try to play solos) my fingers get all mixed up and I don't know which ones to use.


I'm sure everything will get sorted out eventually. I look forward to the critiques I get out of my routine.

Thanks again everyone it means so much to me.
#32
Quote by Captain Garry
Many people here know the feeling of completely re-assessing a certain area of playing and having to "start over" and its pretty unpleasant at first, but ask the ones that stuck with it and they will tell you that their progress skyrocketed from it.


right now my playing is so much cleaner than it was a year and a half ago its almost unreal. and that's with me just practicing a little bit daily while i play. if the TS actually puts time and effort into it theres no telling what'll happen.
#33
^^Looking forward to see your routine man Another thing you can do to keep you motivated is to create a blog. Or you can also measure you progress in BPM ( Yeah, I know the metronome is not a measurement tool). Actually, it could be fun to insert the data on a spreadsheet and then have your BPM chart done :P

Or you could record yourself. Like you learn a song, record yourself. Then record again one week later and so on. Maybe you'll get surprised
#34
Here's a tip that, once I became more aware, helped me to never be frustrated
or discouraged about playing the guitar ever again: Stop Caring About Results!

This is a kind of Zen-ish notion, but it's really the best way to look at things.

When you're playing/practicing an instrument all you really have is right NOW. If
you try to live in the past or future by either trying to live up to yesterday or place
artificial time-constraints on the learning process, you try to put your playing reality
into an imagined fantasy. When the reality doesn't fit the fantasy, which it usually
doesn't, you get frustrated and discouraged.

If you place your focus on what you need to do right now and not judge where
you should or shouldn't be based on some past or future fantasy, you pretty much
know you're doing the best job you can do right now. What more can you do?
Nothing. Just have some faith the process of doing your best job, will get you
places. It will. If you stop being so concerned that doing X MUST result in Y, you'll
be freer to actually ENJOY what you're doing, and what you'll discover is, THAT'S
what it's all about anyway, not getting results.
#35
Quote by edg
Here's a tip that, once I became more aware, helped me to never be frustrated
or discouraged about playing the guitar ever again: Stop Caring About Results!

This is a kind of Zen-ish notion, but it's really the best way to look at things.

When you're playing/practicing an instrument all you really have is right NOW. If
you try to live in the past or future by either trying to live up to yesterday or place
artificial time-constraints on the learning process, you try to put your playing reality
into an imagined fantasy. When the reality doesn't fit the fantasy, which it usually
doesn't, you get frustrated and discouraged.



This sounds like my problem exactly.


When I was a kid....I was a Nirvana fanatic. I basically taught myself to play buy listening to Nevermind over and over again until I could play it. I was never concerned with proper technique. The whole grunge attitude was an emphasis on expression not technicality.

As I grew up I went through a Nu-metal phase. Nu-Metal was pretty easy to play as long as you knew powerchords and could drop tune.

When I did solo I wasn't thinking about what fingers I was using or anything.

As I've grown....I've also outgrown my music tastes and my goals as a musician.

I'm absolutely obsessed right now with Melodic death and Prog rock

Like I said my favorite bands right now are Mars Volta, Children of Bodom, Porcupine Tree, and Insomnium.

I've never had a music love that I couldn't play along with until now. So I told myself that I'd never be able to play up to par with those guys until I started learning theory and technique.
#36
get a new teacher if you dont have one or get a new teacher for a months then go back the the old one if still want to

thats what i do my old teacher would point out each time i got better by showing me what i use to do it before ... he was a awsome teacher

Guitar : Fender CIJ Mustang and a Telecaster
Amp : 76 fender champ
Pedals : BBE green screamer, Big muff, Ibanez LU20 Pedal Tuner, boss loop pedal
#37
OK....Here's The Routine I've Been Working On


30 minutes- Warmup
I'm fully recovered from a case of tendinitis. I used to warm up for 15 minutes but I've increased it to 30 minutes so I don't develop that condition again.

For warm-ups I do simple chromatic exercises (That 1234 exercise we've all come to know and love) I do some basic finger stretches. Then I play some simple three chord rock stuff.


30 Minutes- Finger Strength and Dexterity


If I'm going to be able to solo fast and effectively I have to make sure that all my fingers are strong flexible and independent.

I'm using this: http://www.ultimate-guitar.com/lessons/correct_practice/strengthen_your_hands.html

I also do modified chromatic exercises and I practice trilling with every finger set.

I use a metronome with these.

30 Minutes- Chords
I've only recently discovered the "proper way" to fret certain chords. So I'm learning them again. I'll go slow and make sure every note is ringing out clearly. I'll practice the essential open chords and transitioning between them. Every couple of days I'll learn a couple new chords and practice those too. I also need to build up my finger strength for full barre chords.

20 Minutes- Scales

Every solo is based off a scale so I'll need to get scales under my skin. I plan on mastering one scale at a time. I'll start with C major.

I use the hopscotch method. I find it breaks me out of box positions and helps me use the entire neck.


Also I've noticed Children of Bodom have a lot of lead lines up past the 12th fret. It's hard to me to play consistently up that high on the neck so I'll devote extra time to practicing scales past the 12th fret.

I use a metronome for these too.


20 Minutes- Technique

This will rotate as I get better at each given technique. I want to devote special time to practicing one specific technique.

I'm thinking string bending is a good technique to start with...or maybe hammer ons and pull offs.


After all that I just play....I've got some simple songs lined up that I'm going to learn how to play.

There There by Radiohead
Buying New Soul by The Porcupine Tree
Lounge Act by Nirvana.

And any other simple songs I can think of or feel like playing.


I am not concerned with speed right now. Accuracy is much more important.
I will be using a metronome when it is appropriate. I'll wait until I'm confident with my technique and accuracy to worry about speed.


This is all I've got. Any tips would be great.

If I stick with this routine do you think I'll be able to progress enough to play some metal songs?
#38
If you stick to that routine, you'll be able to play any simple metal rhythm with ease. However, if I may, I would suggest doubling your time focusing on technique. One half of it you could use to practice left hand techniques (bending, legato, etc.). The other half you would use for right hand techniques (alternate picking, string skipping, etc.). I also think that IMO giving 30 minutes to warming up is a bit much. I would try only 15 minutes, and doing simple arm stretches in between each exercise. But, if you are more comfortable with 30 minutes, then go right ahead and do it.
"It is always advisable to be a loser if you cannot become a winner." - Frank Zappa

The name's Garrett.

Gear and stuff:
Taylor 310
American Strat w/ Texas Specials
Ibanez JS1000
Vox Wah (true bypass & LED mod)
Dr. Z Maz 18 JR NR
#39
Quote by rossjohnson87
The absolute best thing you can do is be proud of the level your at, now that doesn't be be satisfied but think about how you are now, and if you'd of been impressed by someone with your skill level when you first started playing guitar. Honestly, right now I'd of thought someone like me is amazing at guitar 3 years ago when I first got into guitar, but my thoughts on my current skill level is that I suck. It isn't something where I actually am bad at guitar, on the contrary I'm pretty good, but your always your biggest critic. So relax, think about the progress you made, and then the best way to improve is decide what kind of guitarist you want to become. You want to be like Alexi Laiho, then start practicing your tapping, do some basic sweeps and such. But do them all very slow, with a metronome and do them correctly. Thats the key to progress.

That is a great approach, I'll think of this whenever I am discouraged.
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#40
Yeah, that's a great routine.

In answer to Iron Dude, if he spends half an hour on finger strength and dexterity (and independence) then he'll be able to play damn good whether or not he really focuses on "technique" as such. "Technique" is collection of fundamentals.

Speaking of finger dexterity and independence, theres some killer exercises for that in the "Ultimate Guitar Pro Exercises" thread, called "spider exercises" - they drill the "One-finger-fret" rule and will challenge your picking too.

Go through them realllllly slowly and try and make sure only a sinlgle finger is moving (and moving as little as possible) and that the others are relaxed. This will develop weaker fingers something serious, as they aren't used to independent motion.
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