#1
I plan to be a self-taught guitarist, not taking any formal lessons. It's nothing really against anyone or whatever, just a personal preference. But I've come across several problems lately and need help.

1. The topic of playing by ear. I've only had my guitar for about two and a half months. I think it was late June this year. Anyways should I be worrying too much about playing by ear, or should I wait for a long while when I've gotten even more used to the fretboard and learned more scales? I feel like I've learned a bit too much solely off of tabs.

2. In addition to that, I've learned an entire seven-minute metal song, solo and all - Metallica's One. Reading in another thread, I read that doing such wasn't a good choice for a beginner. It took me maybe a little under a month to learn it, so I haven't even had two months of owning a guitar for this. Does this mean I'm going a bit too fast, or should I go back into more educational concepts? I realized this mistake and am now going straight to scales and chords, but should I have realized this earlier?

If a further question arises to this question, such as: How you get calluses that fast, or finger speed. The answer to that, is that I played Guitar Hero before I bought my first guitar- which is what inspired me to move to real guitar, but that's a different topic. I think that helped with both of those somehow.

3. As far as scales and chords go, for someone who has had a guitar, would the following knowledge be unacceptable: Chords - Major, Minor, and Fifth chords memorized. Scales - basic Major, basic Minor, basic Blues, and starting minor Pentatonic.

When I mean basic, I don't mean the full-length scales, just the basic yet incomplete shape of it. As in this is the shape of the Blues C scale I know:

e|------------------
B|------------------
G|-------------8-10-
D|------8-9-10------
A|-8-11-------------
E|------------------


I just feel like I've made a mistake or wrong turn or something in my path here. ._. Help appreciated...
#2
Sounds like you are doing quite well. But everyone learns at a different pace, so theres nothing wrong with learning fast or slow. It really depends on what you want to get out of learning this instrument. Maybe you should start learning some theory. The best practice routine I believe in is spend some time on theory,improv, scales, then work on some songs you'd like to play. It seems like you are already doing that though.
#3
I have only been "trying to play" for about for about 5 days, but i have played piano for 9 years. And playing by ear will come to you if you have it... i think, as far as it was for me with regards to piano. I could hear a song and figure it out in no time. Some people got it naturally and some learn it as they learn their instrument. JMO. I can tell already that it is coming back. I know a guy that got through 8 years of classical guitar by ear, this guy is amazing on any guitar and i don't think he can really read music, just palys by ear. I started taking lessons, not because i can't read music but i don't know the guitar...how it works, where the notes are, chords, scales...etc. but i know from piano that the basics were a big thing at least for me. So if i learn them here....i believe it will help. But remember...thats just my opinion. Good luck...keep strummin'
#5
i've been teaching myself too. been playing since late february. i can play a dec amount of covers but now i really need to learn how to play lead. although i know it'll take some time because most of my friends who have been playing for years said it took a while to learn (and they took lessons). so right now i'm looking at scales and trying to memorize some of the basic box shapes. i usually try to learn new songs between teaching myself new concepts.

also, why the hell would you waste a month on learning one song?
Last edited by oglockwood at Sep 18, 2008,
#6
Quote by oglockwood

also, why the hell would you waste a month on learning one song?

And who says perseverence and determination is dead?

As for the TS...as said earlier, everyone learns at a different rate. If you're comfortable with how you're doing it now, keep it up. As for ear playing, work at it at a reasonable pace. Practice for a half or something a day...but it's something you need to do on an almost daily schedule, from what i've read/heard.
#7
If you can really play One with solos then you need to start looking theory and start writing your own stuff. your at a level where you can, start now.
#8
Sounds like you're in the same boat I was like 2 months ago.

It was Guitar Hero (as well) that inspired me to get into real guitar. Beating the dragonforce song specifically, after doing that I realized I should be doing more valuable things with my time.

For my first 2 month or so, I spent some fair amount of my time learning a few basic songs (mostly just intros, not full songs). Wish you were here (full song), Top Gun Anthem (intro), Money (main riff), Iron Man (intro) and probably another catchy song or two intros'.

I've stopped doing that and I concentrate mostly on chord switching, trying to learn a bit about understanding chords and the underlying notes, and scale improvising. I only know like 2 full scales, the minor pentatonic and the natural minor. I only know the first shape of the major chord, not the full octave shape or whatever it's called, and I practice improvising those.

I am not sure if I am doing it right myself, maybe I am, maybe not.

After learning a bit more about theory, when I "jammed" with one of my main guitar buddies, when we played "Wish you were here", it seemed a lot easier as it followed a certain scale and I could improvise on it. And we also played "Us and them" by pink floyd. This also seemed a lot easier than before. I had previously asked him to teach me this song, but he said it's in different tuning and we can't do it (3 months ago). We did it a few weeks ago (without having to tune anything obviously), he told me what scale to follow and in what key, and a few of the chords to fingerpick, and it made a lot more sense to me to play and seemed more natural and 'easy' than just reading some tabs and following an exact pattern of notes. I still don't understand it "perfectly", there is still a lot to learn.

My understanding is that the more you learn about some of the fundamentals and underlying music theory behing a bunch of chords and scales and practice these, when you choose to practice and jam to some song, it will feel easier because your fingers will feel easier to that scale or chord or whatever, and maybe you'll understand why that certain pattern of notes sounds good, cause it's part of some scale in some key and that's why the chords go with it, I don't know, something like that. I don't know everything, but that's how I think it goes.
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Last edited by MustangSVT at Sep 18, 2008,
#9
Ha. Ive been at it for almost a year and I dont know one single song in full.

I know lots of intros and riffs, but I dont feel compelled to learn someone elses song from start to finish.

I'd rather create my own, which Im sorta doing by focusing on my theory.
#10
MustangSVT makes sense. It is definitely fun to learn cool songs, but you will eventually need the fundamentals to progress past a certain level.
Gear:
Fender Strat
Epi Joe Pass Signature
Epi LP Plus Top
Jackson Dinky
Fender Hot Rod Deville 212
#11
Quote by Axe Murderer
Ha. Ive been at it for almost a year and I dont know one single song in full.

I know lots of intros and riffs, but I dont feel compelled to learn someone elses song from start to finish.

I'd rather create my own, which Im sorta doing by focusing on my theory.

I'm like that too, I just play whatever, I been at it for maybe 4 years now and I can play a total of... 5 songs fully.

Bron Yr Aur, Crossroads, Little Wing, Rude Mood, Tangerine.

That's it, I can play all sorts of riffs or solos or whatever but I never bother learning the whole thing.
#12
I'd be amazed if the tone on those solos that you do in "One" is good. I don't know about you but when I started I didn't focus on how clean my playing was just that I could "play all the notes in the song." You might be too early on to really realize how good your tone is. I'm just guessing that it is lacking, because let's face it who really has good tone when they first start? I've been playing for 5 years and I'm still not thrilled with my tone. Start focusing more on technique--finger strength, vibrato, dynamics, and muting. Muting especially will help your tone, but I don't know if you are ready get that heavily into it after only 2.5 months.

Also start learning theory. You should understand intervals before you worry too much on memorizing scales and chords, because intervals are the basis for both of them. That way you don't just memorize scales and chords but you actually understand them.

Good luck from one self-learning guitarist to another. (BTW, looking back having a teacher would have made things easier, but that can get expensive over time.)
Stop whining and learn your theory!

Quote by oddhawk676
Yeah, some black guy with a yankees cap walks into the ice cream parlor, and I said "We dont serve your kind here," as in, yankee fans, i guess he thought something else and left.
#13
Thanks for the replies. More encouraging than I thought.

As for One, I've memorized the entire song, yes, including solos. As far as the solo's go, while I can't play them flawlessly, I still play them quite good. The first solo, pretty good. Still practicing, though. The second solo I just need to work on speed. Essentially, I think can do the whole song.

PekarGuitar: As for tone, I've recorded + listened to myself play it... does that count? I'm very good until I get to the second half of the song. I can do it, yes, but I can't nail the seven-note thrash alt. picking on every single repetition, I'm usually on five or six (sometimes seven). Then the solo's... well, the solos I'm decent at, for a 2.5 month player. Occasional mistake here and there, and the lack of a distortion pedal makes it hard for me to compare it to the real song. But decent, I suppose. Still practicing.

oglockwood: Nah, over the month that I practiced One, I also practiced a few other simple metal songs, such as Iron Man, and Raining Blood. Several various riffs, too, and I'm looking towards Stairway to Heaven being my next song. If I can do One, I'm sure I could do the solo with enough practice, just a lot. I also was really busy over the past month... simply playing my guitar means I'm going to lose sleep. That's my amount of free time.

Theory. Yes, I've heard of it, and I'll certainly try it now with the suggestions in mind now. Actually I'll use the article in PekarGuitar's signature and see if I can get it from there.

And lastly, scales and chords and such. I haven't been setting a daily practice schedule for it- I feel that doing it that way it'll feel like a chore and I won't have the motivation. I often just randomly pick up my guitar and practice chords and scales for an hour or so at least when I have time. I don't usually learn well when I set up a schedule set in stone. Is this something I should fix anyways?
#14
Quote by Mr_Oujamaflip
I'm like that too, I just play whatever, I been at it for maybe 4 years now and I can play a total of... 5 songs fully.

Bron Yr Aur, Crossroads, Little Wing, Rude Mood, Tangerine.

That's it, I can play all sorts of riffs or solos or whatever but I never bother learning the whole thing.

Same here. I've been playing a little over a year and know only like 3 or 4 songs all the way through. All I really do is learn how to play the coolest parts of songs I like, and I don't feel like learning the rest.

I like messing around on the fretboard and trying to come up with my own riffs.
YEAH
#15
Same here. I've been actually playing guitar for about 2 years now, and I know like 2-3 songs all the way through. I can't actually sit down and learn a whole song, I'll get bored with it. I do learn riffs, or cool parts in solo's though. I ussually learn riffs just so I can find out how they're doing it, and then I'll improvise with it, maybe change some things, all just to see what can be done when in that possition. It helps me when I'm writing my own riffs, this way I can get ideas as to what I can do next, or what type of lead playing could go over it. Although I only know a few full songs, I have a good number of songs I've written, and I haven't wrote anything that nobody else didn't like. Sometimes I get people coming over and asking me to play stuff, tell them how I came up with it, and sometimes people even try asking if they could use certain riffs for there bands and whatnot. Of course, I never let anybody else use my material, because hopefully when I get in another band I can use alot of the stuff I've written.
#16
Well if you have listened to your own recordings of it, then chances are you notice anything that would be a major tonal problem (i.e. open strings ringing). Distortion can have a tendancy to bring out your soloing mistakes more, so with distortion you might notice more things. I basically think that the best way to improve your tone is to listen to your own recordings and be brutally honest about how it sounds. It's a lot easier to do this after the fact when your not playing.

It sounds like you are very dedicated and well on your way to becoming a really good player. I know I wasn't even thinking of trying solos at 2.5 months. And that series of articles linked in my sig are great for learning theory. But at the end it left me wanting MORE!
Stop whining and learn your theory!

Quote by oddhawk676
Yeah, some black guy with a yankees cap walks into the ice cream parlor, and I said "We dont serve your kind here," as in, yankee fans, i guess he thought something else and left.
#17
Maybe you could post some of your recordings. Progression at something is a very personal thing. How can others judge how someone else is progressing?

The main thing is for you to feel that you are progressing. In order to do that, you need to learn something new or get better at something you already know how to do.
Gear:
Fender Strat
Epi Joe Pass Signature
Epi LP Plus Top
Jackson Dinky
Fender Hot Rod Deville 212
#18
How the hell did yu learn one in 1 month. Ive been playing for 2 and a half years and im struggling with the main solo. The other two came easy though. Your progressing pretty fast and i reckon you should keep learning songs and dont worry to much about theory as lon as you know how music works.
#20
You're doing fine dude, for now i'd just keep learning songs you like until you have a good feel of the guitar.

Once its starting to feel comfortable and you're learning tabs easier, learn music theory
#21
regarding self teaching, have any of you guys taken the courses that are available on the internet. are they worth spending money on? or books for that matter? or is an instructor the best way to go?
#22
Ok this is mind boggling to me. How the hell can you play "ONE" after 2 1/2 months ? If this is true then you are either a guitar genius or i am very very slow at learning guitar. Ive been playing for about 2 months now and i still can't change chords fast enough and i am having major problems with the F chord. I have not even began to think about soloing yet and i would not know where to start. So if you can solo "ONE" then all i can say is fair play and well done !!!!!
#23
Looks like you're doing fine, however, reading your post I kinda got a vibe that you want to be self taught just for the sake of being self taught.

There's really no reason for that. Taking a lesson once a week or every two weeks isn't going to kill you, getting different input from different sources will only improve your playing. You wanna do your own thing? Cool, everyone, especially your teacher, will respect that, but don't shut yourself out from influences and development.

Taking lessons can help you to understand what you're playing, realize the practical application of theory (because, as you've realized, most tabs don't come with a explanatory guide of theory used in the song), learn about the history of your music, sort out how to channel your creativity and eventually write your own songs, learn different fingerings, have a critic to tell you what you're doing wrong, and most importantly... You will find connections. Music teachers are also music players, they play with bands, they gig regularly and they probably know a whole lot more about the local music scene than you do. If you stick with a teacher as your playing grows, they can help you find a band, get you gigs as a session player for other bands and find gigs for your own band.

It's generally a bad idea to just stay locked up in your basement, staring at tabs all day. Good job on learning some songs you like, but as far as overall music education, I really think you'd do good to invest in a lesson or two, just to see if you like them.
#24
I doubt you can play One fully sorry but im not a believer. I've been playing for about 2 years and im still having major trouble with it... maybe I'm more of a classic rock player than thrash.

Anyway, I'd just keep learning songs that you like. Sometimes you find different chords in there that make you go "WTF is that?!?" and bingo! You learned a new chord style. Randy Rhoads was notorious for that in his Ozzy years, I think I figured out like 5 different chord shapes in Diary of a Madman (the song) alone.

As for scales and stuff, I wouldn't dwelve into learning ALL of the scales + modes, just the ones that suit your style of playing the best. Of course you want the Major scale, Harmonic Minor and Pentatonics but maybe pickup the Blues Scale and Aeolian if you're more into metal. Idk, search stuff up and im sure there's people that know exactly what scales alot of players use most of the time.

Hope I helped you