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#1
So I've been playing for just over a year now. At first I made steady progress, I noticed myself getting better. I learned songs that I couldn't play when I first started guitar after about 3 months, which was good. And I practiced about 2-3 hours a day, oftentimes multitasking by talking to my girlfriend at the same time. This was good.

Then, around the 8 month mark, I just stopped improving. I never got any better. I practiced the same, I practiced well, and I always tried to push myself, but I couldn't advance my technique. I tried learning theory, and I mean, I learned some scales and useful things, but I had trouble applying it because my physical ability wasn't good enough.

After a slight break for theory didn't work, I started trying to learn popular solos that are recommended for "intermediate" players, like Back in Black, Sweet Home Alabama, Pride and Joy, Walk This Way, etc. I tried to learn them the way I've always seen recommended, by breaking them into pieces and starting out slow, and slowly moving up in tempo.

I got nowhere.

From then until now, my ability to learn new things and gain new muscle memory seemed to sharply decline. I've tried taking short breaks, chromatic exercises, learning solos (as I mentioned), trying out new techniques (the only ones I actually improved on were tapping and tremolo picking), and trying to play songs I knew with a metronome to improve my timing. But I just never get any better. I sound sloppy to myself, because I think my ear has kept developing while my playing hasn't.

So, sorry for the long OP, but does anyone have any recommendations for someone in my situation? I want to learn how to play solos around the difficulty of the previously mentioned songs, shredding is not important to me as long as I can pick up on songs like that fairly fast. Keep in mind that I can play the main riffs to those fairly well, but the solos kill me, and they really shouldn't based on how long I've practiced.

Thanks very much.
#2
idk, i think it happens to most people, they just get kinda bored and dont try as hard or om,ething so stop trying so hard

or i could be wrong
#3
so how long exactly have you been playing guitar? a year? it will probably take a few years before you can confidently play those solos and make them sound like the song.

the best thing you can try doing is writing your own stuff, and figuring out how to make the sounds YOU want to hear.
#4
solos break them up in parts and you will master them

have you try getting a teacher? New equitment also can motivate you

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#5
8 months does not make you intermediate.
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#6
pick one of those solos and slow it down all the way to 20 percent tempo, then play it at that speed until it's perfect. then increase it by 5 percent. take it really slow. you are too impatient.
#8
learn stuff that you know that you can not play
i suck
so im learning paradise city
ive been practicing the intro for a day and a half now, and its perfect
i know i cant do the solo
im going to spend weeks learning it
but i dont care
because i want to play it
and no matter what youre trying to learn, if you play it 05998023175423 times, you'll eventually get it down

all we need is just a little patience
#9
A year is not that long for most people. People that can play really well after only a year are like freaks of nature or something. Keep working at it and just try to have fun with it. If it's not fun you're definitely not going to improve. Everyone hits plateaus now and then. You'll get past it eventually. I also recommend finding some other people to jam with. That's a good way to get better.
#10
Thanks for the quick replies everyone.

In reverse order...

pick one of those solos and slow it down all the way to 20 percent tempo, then play it at that speed until it's perfect. then increase it by 5 percent. take it really slow. you are too impatient.


I haven't taken it down to 20 percent ever, usually higher than that, but I apply the same principle. It's just that even if I get it perfect at that speed, when I get up to a certain tempo (usually about 75% of the real tempo) I start to fall apart and I don't know why.

8 months does not make you intermediate.


Maybe not compared to Steve Vai or Buckethead. "Beginner," "intermediate," and "advanced" are all relative.

so how long exactly have you been playing guitar? a year? it will probably take a few years before you can confidently play those solos and make them sound like the song.


Almost exactly a year. Is that normal though? It doesn't seem to me, most people can at least get close at 1 year, from what I've observed...
#11
just keep practicing. there's no miracle overnight get great technique or anything, and you won't notice huge advancements in your playing over a short time, so just keep it up. everyone hits this rut.
#12
A year is not that long for most people. People that can play really well after only a year are like freaks of nature or something. Keep working at it and just try to have fun with it. If it's not fun you're definitely not going to improve. Everyone hits plateaus now and then. You'll get past it eventually. I also recommend finding some other people to jam with. That's a good way to get better.


I'm definitely not having fun...I often throw my guitar down in disgust from how frustrating it is. This is one long-ass plateau though, 1/3 of the total time I've been playing...

Also...

I HAVE BEEN PLAYING FOR A YEAR, that was the very first thing I said in my OP...
#13
Stop trying to play those solos.
You're getting bored of practicing them, so give up.

BEAR WITH ME!

...give up, and learn a whole new technique. Take up bluegrass, for example, then learn some wierd chords.

Pick up a bass, and learn to play some kick arse bass lines, even if you play with a pick, it'll still be good.


Do everything with music that you haven't done before.

Then go back to solos, it'll be a lot easier that next time round.
#15
Quote by ealtdharkon
Stop trying to play those solos.
You're getting bored of practicing them, so give up.

BEAR WITH ME!

...give up, and learn a whole new technique. Take up bluegrass, for example, then learn some wierd chords.

Pick up a bass, and learn to play some kick arse bass lines, even if you play with a pick, it'll still be good.


Do everything with music that you haven't done before.

Then go back to solos, it'll be a lot easier that next time round.


Maybe I could do something like that...I've already tried breaks though...and learning new techniques...but perhaps I should try it again...I don't know.
#16
Quote by dysonsphere
I'm definitely not having fun...I often throw my guitar down in disgust from how frustrating it is. This is one long-ass plateau though, 1/3 of the total time I've been playing...

Also...

I HAVE BEEN PLAYING FOR A YEAR, that was the very first thing I said in my OP...

why are you yelling?

if it's not fun then take up another hobby - playing an instrument isn't for everyone. Like I said, a year isn't that long for the average person.

btw - multitasking with guitar isn't a good idea. Getting good at guitar takes focus, not talking to someone at the same time.
#17
Quote by dysonsphere


I haven't taken it down to 20 percent ever, usually higher than that, but I apply the same principle. It's just that even if I get it perfect at that speed, when I get up to a certain tempo (usually about 75% of the real tempo) I start to fall apart and I don't know why.





take it down to 20, this will take a lot of time. it may take several months or even a year.
#18
Quote by GoDrex
why are you yelling?

if it's not fun then take up another hobby - playing an instrument isn't for everyone. Like I said, a year isn't that long for the average person.

btw - multitasking with guitar isn't a good idea. Getting good at guitar takes focus, not talking to someone at the same time.


Sorry, I wasn't yelling at you (or really yelling at all, just emphasizing :p, I was talking to the other person who asked how long I had been playing, but it's kind of annoying when people don't read my OP and ask questions that are very clearly answered in it.

Anyway.

I enjoy playing guitar, I really do, but this lack of progress is extremely tiring. And perhaps multitasking would be incorrect. I wasn't doing those things at the same time, per se, I'd run through a riff or something and then type a message on MSN, then run through the riff again, etc....but anyway, that's not what was hindering me, because I made equal progress when I was and when I wasn't multitasking.

Thanks for the replies, again. I really appreciate it. But has anyone else experienced this exact same situation before?
#19
It sounds like you've hit "the wall". I got that a year or so ago, all I can say is just stick it out and eventually it'll pass, everyone goes through it at some point.
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#20
Quote by dysonsphere
Maybe I could do something like that...I've already tried breaks though...and learning new techniques...but perhaps I should try it again...I don't know.


Learning bass is a bit more extreme than just new technique.

I was taught bass, and decided to teach myself guitar... I've been playing between a half a year, and a whole year, dunno exactly... and I'm not bad - but I can nail a fair few solos, and struggle through most of 'em.

It sometimes just takes a whole new look at the instrument to get any further.

HERE COMES AN ANALOGY!

You're trying to get to the Guitar Shop, but the road is blocked, so you're thinking, 'damn no matter how har I try I can't get over this road block.'

I'm telling you to drive on the sidewalk man!

(Another piece of advice, I never used to think I was improving, until I had a good long think, about stuff I can play now, and couldn't then etc... try filming some of your practices. Film yourself trying to get that solo just right - so you can watch it yourself and see if you really aren't improving, or you just think you're not. Also, stick it on youtube and stick the link on a UG forum, many people will give you accurate advice.)

Oh, and to dudes who say you can't play good in a year : http://uk.youtube.com/watch?v=XvoR-UHn8MQ - that there is me, and that there is good playing. It's not amazing playing, but it's not bad. I mess up, seriously, at the end, but I managed to play that same part a few times through earlier on. I've been playing under a year, and compared to your average Joe (who's never played guitar at all) well, I'm not so bad.

A years a long time, if you use it well.
(Not saying you guys don't or anything, but some comments p***ed me off.)
#21
Quote by ealtdharkon
Stop trying to play those solos.
You're getting bored of practicing them, so give up.

BEAR WITH ME!

...give up, and learn a whole new technique. Take up bluegrass, for example, then learn some wierd chords.

Pick up a bass, and learn to play some kick arse bass lines, even if you play with a pick, it'll still be good.


Do everything with music that you haven't done before.

Then go back to solos, it'll be a lot easier that next time round.


this is a great suggestion. when i hit this rut i gave up trying to learn difficult metallica solos and just played other songs that i enjoyed for a while, then after a few months i came back to the solos and they were easier.

another suggestion i forgot to mention was - start recording yourself, it helps a lot - mainly by enforcing the discipline of practice necessary to record a musical passage perfectly, and by giving you an oppportunity to hear how you actually sound from an impartial perspective.
#22
I'm not sure if it's been said and I haven't even read the first post but I'm guessing it's " I haven't gotten better in so long and I don't know why! ".

I'd say your trying to hard. Relax and have fun with it and progress at your own pace and don't push it. You didn't start playing guitar to get frustrated.
#23
Quote by pos69sum

another suggestion i forgot to mention was - start recording yourself, it helps a lot - mainly by enforcing the discipline of practice necessary to record a musical passage perfectly, and by giving you an oppportunity to hear how you actually sound from an impartial perspective.


Man, I just said that.

You're so into me.
#24
ealtdharkon - what song is that in your video? I'd like to take a look at that and see how well I can play it. I have tried my friend's bass before and did pretty well on it, although I had to play with a pick. But I didn't find it very interesting.
#25
Sometimes when you look at a piece of music, you start trying it and say to yourself, "I can't do it, it's too difficult."

You're at the little stage in every guitarists adventure where you probably think you're better than you really are. I mean if you sound sloppy to yourself, you're probably right. It might suck at first but you can't just give up.

Go to your local guitar shop and look around at all the possibilities that lie ahead and try something you think might appeal to you. One time I went to my guitar shop and I saw some glass and metal slides and remembered that I had always wanted to play with one even if I had never played a lot of bluesy stuff.

I liked it so I went back to look at some other stuff and now I play jazz, rock, blues, metal, all sorts of stuff. Not too long after starting this, I realized that I was improving more than ever. I could move my fingers faster, I learned how to appreciate all the different sounds I could make, and I even wrote some songs.

So the whole point is, if you ever get bored of one genre, go to the next one. You'll always have something to do instead of just practicing that one song ALL the time. You've got to be flexible. You can't just stick with one style. That's just way too boring, IMO. There's always something good that comes out of different types of music.

So yeah. Hope that helped
#26
Quote by DanzigAirlines
Sometimes when you look at a piece of music, you start trying it and say to yourself, "I can't do it, it's too difficult."

You're at the little stage in every guitarists adventure where you probably think you're better than you really are. I mean if you sound sloppy to yourself, you're probably right. It might suck at first but you can't just give up.

Go to your local guitar shop and look around at all the possibilities that lie ahead and try something you think might appeal to you. One time I went to my guitar shop and I saw some glass and metal slides and remembered that I had always wanted to play with one even if I had never played a lot of bluesy stuff.

I liked it so I went back to look at some other stuff and now I play jazz, rock, blues, metal, all sorts of stuff. Not too long after starting this, I realized that I was improving more than ever. I could move my fingers faster, I learned how to appreciate all the different sounds I could make, and I even wrote some songs.

So the whole point is, if you ever get bored of one genre, go to the next one. You'll always have something to do instead of just practicing that one song ALL the time. You've got to be flexible. You can't just stick with one style. That's just way too boring, IMO. There's always something good that comes out of different types of music.

So yeah. Hope that helped


Not quite sure I'm following you - I never claimed to be good, the entire point of this topic is that I'm BAD. it's that I suck.

And I assure you that I'm playing a wide variety of genres and songs, from Rush to Cream to Metallica to Iron Maiden. I'm pretty flexible in my tastes, I'd say. But thanks for the post.
#27
Quote by dysonsphere
Not quite sure I'm following you - I never claimed to be good, the entire point of this topic is that I'm BAD. it's that I suck.

And I assure you that I'm playing a wide variety of genres and songs, from Rush to Cream to Metallica to Iron Maiden. I'm pretty flexible in my tastes, I'd say. But thanks for the post.


errr... I'm pretty sure Rush, Metallica, and Iron Maiden pretty much fall under the same category. Or was I wrong to think that they were all in the rock/metal genre?

Oh well.

Let me rephrase that:

You THOUGHT you were better than you were BACK THEN and you were disappointed.

Did that work?
#28
Quote by dysonsphere
ealtdharkon - what song is that in your video? I'd like to take a look at that and see how well I can play it. I have tried my friend's bass before and did pretty well on it, although I had to play with a pick. But I didn't find it very interesting.


There're three songs in the video =)

The first one is the chorus riff from "Angels" by Spree.
The second one is a bunch of riffs from "No Judgement", by uh... Spree...
And that tapping solo that I messed up horribly at the very end was a solo from "Cut Short", you'll never guess who that's by...

(Oh, and the random blues solo I just made up, 'cause I f*cked a riff up and wanted to express myself.)

I got guitar pro tabs for all those songs though - if you want.

ealtdharkon@hotmail.co.uk - lemme know if you want me to send you a couple, if you got guitar pro that is. I could probably draw you up a tab for the riffs if you don't.

If you're on MSN or anything, add me on that actually, it's easier talk than forums.


No offence UG, I LOVE YOU UG, have my children. In tab form. TAB MY BABIES.
#29
dont just practice your guitar practice patience. That is just as important. It takes years man stick with it and you wont regret it.
#30
Quote by DanzigAirlines
errr... I'm pretty sure Rush, Metallica, and Iron Maiden pretty much fall under the same category. Or was I wrong to think that they were all in the rock/metal genre?

Oh well.

Let me rephrase that:

You THOUGHT you were better than you were BACK THEN and you were disappointed.

Did that work?


Eh. I don't know. I've never really perceived myself as being that great.

I'd call Rush prog, Metallica thrash, and Iron Maiden classic metal...but I mean, I've also tried other stuff, not just that.
#31
Quote by dysonsphere
I really appreciate it. But has anyone else experienced this exact same situation before?


OHHH yes, all the freakin time, useually i get the EXTREAM urge to get new gear about that time cause i blame the guitars, i start playign less i start being in a bad mood, but i keep playing at least an hour a day, unill it eventually goes away... but somtimes i give into to G.A.S. and get a new guitar, somtimes i can handle it, but the worst (and whats happening to me right now) is when i would give in... but i don't have the money, then i jsut get sad just work your way through it they can last awhile

[edit] yeah i no its not the guitars,
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#32
Quote by ealtdharkon
Learning bass is a bit more extreme than just new technique.

I was taught bass, and decided to teach myself guitar... I've been playing between a half a year, and a whole year, dunno exactly... and I'm not bad - but I can nail a fair few solos, and struggle through most of 'em.

It sometimes just takes a whole new look at the instrument to get any further.

HERE COMES AN ANALOGY!

You're trying to get to the Guitar Shop, but the road is blocked, so you're thinking, 'damn no matter how har I try I can't get over this road block.'

I'm telling you to drive on the sidewalk man!

(Another piece of advice, I never used to think I was improving, until I had a good long think, about stuff I can play now, and couldn't then etc... try filming some of your practices. Film yourself trying to get that solo just right - so you can watch it yourself and see if you really aren't improving, or you just think you're not. Also, stick it on youtube and stick the link on a UG forum, many people will give you accurate advice.)

Oh, and to dudes who say you can't play good in a year : http://uk.youtube.com/watch?v=XvoR-UHn8MQ - that there is me, and that there is good playing. It's not amazing playing, but it's not bad. I mess up, seriously, at the end, but I managed to play that same part a few times through earlier on. I've been playing under a year, and compared to your average Joe (who's never played guitar at all) well, I'm not so bad.

A years a long time, if you use it well.
(Not saying you guys don't or anything, but some comments p***ed me off.)


i didn't find that impressive. good effort though and help for the ts, except for the whole being cocky part.

honestly man, just keep practicing! if you don't feel like it then don't, you have to love it or you're not going to improve. i suggest going on a break with your guitar and then when you feel like playing DO IT. and LOVE IT. ahaha point is just do it man. just keep practicing and you'll get better.
Last edited by tona_107 at Jul 2, 2008,
#33
Practice makes perfect. Even if it seems like you arent going anywhere, every day of playing a little helps. I felt that way to at first when I started but the more I practiced the better I got. Dont give up so easy and keep playing!
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#34
this happened to me some time ago, after the first or second year of playing i kinda got angry with the guitar, and my ability to play it, and i slowly stopped playing, and then eventually stopped completely. I dont know why, and then my dad yelled at me because he said i bought you this guitar because you wanted to play, and you we're getting good, and now you're quitting just like that. I had stopped playing for almost a year, and he yelled at me a lot of times because of this, until the point where he said, if i dont see you playing that guitar, i'm going to sell it, and im never going to buy you/ allow you to buy another guitar as long as you're in this house. So i said FINE, and picked it up and started to play, and slowly i got into it again and love playing, and i love it till this day, i've been playing for a few years, and i pretty much owe it all to my hard-headed dad. So what i say is take a break, and occupy yourself with other things, and then after pick it up again and you'll see how you progress again.
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#35
Quote by SaxMachine124
8 months does not make you intermediate.



Agree, I was in this same boat for quite sometime, just keep playing man, the motivation to do more will come back in practice..
#36
I've been stuck before, but what helped me most was a metronome. Nothing will improve you more in my opinion, in terms of pure technical skill and such. Theory definitely helps as well.
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#37
Are you sure your technique is right? Bcoz that maybe an issue. I kinda felt the same way once about my alternate picking. Felt like i couldn't go beyond a particular speed. Then I looked around and found my technique was wrong. So I started afresh and now I feel pretty good
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#38
Why not walk into a Guitar Center, find that one quiet guy playing in the corner, sit down with him and just listen. Look at his technique and listen. Maybe see if he can teach you anything.
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#39
Try the dont fear the reaper solo, I learned it in three days, its not hard but its not simple, plus if you have been playing for a year it should be easy. the entire song is easy, and it will amaze people.
#40
What genre do you USUALLY play? If you play Metal, play Jazz or Blues visa versa. If you stick mainstream, try branching out.

IMO, someone who can decently play 4+ genres, is better than someone who is completely ace at one. Try branching out, Jazz and Blues can teach you improv stuff and may help you with keeping a beat if that's what you're requiring. You'll probably find with the skills which are common in certain genres, you can carry across to others. Also, something which others have suggested and what I did myself, is pick something that is hard, or sounds hard or uses techniques which you have not mastered, play it once and realize that you can't play it. Just stick to learning it day in day out, you'll get it eventually.
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