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still suck after a year


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hey everyone


I play quite a bit (not sure if it's actually practice), anyways I was just at my local guitar center and while I was listening and watching other people I realized how crappy I am at playing. It's even been a year since I bought my guitar. The only thing I could seem to do is just noodle around but not play amazing stuff like some of the kids now. What do you guys do to progress and get out of a beginner's rut? Anything specific? not just broad advice like "stick with it" and "use a metronome" speed isn't the issue, I could play the 7 basic modes, arpeggios, pents, etc. just don't know how to implement them. I just feel like I'm constantly digging myself into a ditch of "lame guitar playing". I never had a teacher since I can't afford one. Please share some helpful tips! That'd be awesome. thanks

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Hi, welcome to the Forum.


If you can't afford a teacher, then you have to get together with others & learn from each other.


One of the wonderful things about guitar is that you always can do something the other guy can't, so he can pick up something from you and you from him.


Playing music is like some other pastimes which get better when you stop doing it by yourself :)



"When the power of love overcomes the love of power the World will know Peace": Jimi Hendrix


The Geoff - blame Caevan!!!

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To improve on the guitar, you have to set goals for yourself; short term, medium term, and long term.


An example of a goal might be to learn a new complete cover tune every month.


Also, try to practice the guitar EVERYDAY. There will be days where you can't, understandably, but generally, it's better to practice everyday for 30 minutes than it is to skip 4 days and make it all up on the 5th day.


Know the difference between practicing and playing. Playing is just doing stuff on the guitar you already know. It can be fun sometimes but you won't expand your skills by "playing it safe". Practice is working on something that's at the edge of your abilities to play. So, practice more and play less.


Jam with others as soon as possible! Preferably, find people who are slightly better than you.


Last, a year is nothing. Give yourself some more time.



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What Hardtail said.


Also be prepared for that same experience for many years to come! There is always going to be somebody "better" than you. On the other hand (quoth the old hippie), there's no such ting as good or bad. Do you enjoy playing, does it give you joy and pleasure? As you seek to expand your range of knowledge on the instrument and add to the "bits" you can execute, find the stuff that gives you that joy to play. Then you won't mind about the 14-year-old, or 30-year-old, who can play the "Eruption" solo double-time behind his head. Who cares? Play music.




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Excellent point, Chad!


Don't concern yourself with those who are better. If you set your own goals and accomplish them, nothing else matters.


To give you (the original poster) a personal example. I got back into playing about 1.5 yrs ago after not playing for about 12 years. My long term goal is to gig again. Over time, I've accomplished many short and mid term goals in achieving the long term goal.


Now.... I haven't done any gigs yet but I'm now in a band and it's only a matter of time now.


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I could play the 7 basic modes, arpeggios, pents, etc. just don't know how to implement them.


You're way ahead of where I was after 1 year. Relax.


Sometimes imitation can help you get your head around implementation. Start learning from the best! Who are your favorite guitar heroes? Break down some of their riffing and soloing technique! Get some tab books by VH, Dream Theater, whoever inspires you, and learn to do what they do!

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Technically...yeah, it took me like ten years of playing before I felt I could play decent...though I started when I was like 8-9 years old, before lead guitar became such a focal point of a rock band.

But even after I focused on lead playing...it still took a few years and a couple of bands before I felt quite comfortable with it.


You should practice a lot and all that...but I will give you another piece of advice to add to that.

Focus on the music, the song.

Listen to what you are playing...instead of JUST thinking "I should have done that run faster or slicker"...etc.


I've heard a lot of technically proficient guitar players that are boring as shit when they play. They just don't feel the music, and it's all about fretboard gymnastics.

And that goes for much of the Saturday morning crowd at Guitar Center. :D


miroslav - miroslavmusic.com


"Just because it happened to you, it doesn't mean it's important."

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Find someone of those "hot shots" you see playing at the Guitar Center, and strike up a conversation. If the person seems cool, ask if they want to jam.


Keep on striving to get better. But, remember why you are playing. Enjoy the pleasure of playing your guitar.



"There once was a note, Pure and Easy. Playing so free, like a breath rippling by."






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You can train your ear by focusing on a song you love and working it out. It'll take time, but you'll get it! :thu: Jimi, Carlos, SRV, BB, Buddy,....all self taught.
Never a DUH! moment! Well, almost never. OK, OK! Sometimes never!
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I started playing in 1966, and I still suck. At least, that my opinion. Other folks tell me I am pretty good. It's a question of perspective more than anything else. We are our own worst critics, usually, and the guys who spend a lot of time saying how good they are usually have major inferiority complexes they are trying to compensate for.


I heard a guy play after I had been playing for about 3 years, and I took up the bass because I figured I'd never be as good as him. Six weeks later, I picked up the guitar again because I realized I loved to play it, nd that would be enough even if I neve was as good as that guy. Since then, I have had to lay it down twice, both times because of being without one due to joining the military. I always ended up getting a guitar to play somehow, because I still loved to play.


Play the guitar because you love it, not because you want to be better than someone else, even the player you think you should be, and ability will come.


That guy I heard, by the way quit playing a few years after the night I heard him, some 37 years ago. I am still at it. Go figure...

Always remember that you are unique. Just like everyone else.





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There were links to some backing tracks of popular tunes posted on another thread. You can download them. Also the GC Blues Playoff backing tracks and then some by our own members.


My son's teacher taught them modes, scales, and some lead lines. Now part of their warm up when they go for a lesson is he starts playing a chord progression, they have to figure out where he is and make up a solo on the spot. They have found they do better with slow jazz tunes as they have more time to think/relax/be soulful instead of getting all hyped up and feeling like they have to bullet out a Steve Vai lead line.

Raise your children and spoil your grandchildren. Spoil your children and raise your grandchildren.
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OK dude, I know what you need to do.


Sounds like you want to be able play some licks no?


The thing is, you learn the scales and practice them, but they remain an unused tool in your toolbox, cuz nobody told you how to use them. But thats partly up to you.


I hope you also learned some patterns too. See most licks are just broken up scale patterns in the tonal center of the song. You can play straight patterns but it sounds less and less musical. Actually alot of metal players use patterns, and then play them super fast in 1 key.


Listen to your favorite band, or just turn on the radio. Find the tonal center of the song and try and hear what scales chime over it that you learned. Then try to mix up the patterns over it in time with the drums (in key with the song). It is a good way to learn to apply scales and it can be fun. I think I used to do to Satch's first album Not of This Earth.


That is just one way to learn to play leads, but learning all the chords in the songs underneath is even more important. Everything effects everything in your playing so if you improve one part it will effect another.


That is just one fun way to learn how to apply scales and also developing your ear.


The goal of course of a lead player is to not really think but just hear what your playing and guide your playing by what you want keep hearing. I mean you really don't want to be thinking about scales and theory when your creating/expressing yourself. At least I don't. Hey I ain't no dummy--sorry that sucked.

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First, a year is not THAT long...give yourself some time...


No one who appreciates good playing and is serious about their own efforts will ever be "good enough" to suit themselves. The best advice I can offer is to keep at it, search the Internet for lesson resources, get a tool like "The Amzing Slowdowner" to help you pick out parts of songs, follow Hardtail's advice on setting goals so you can see your progress, and think about where you find pleasure in your playing and just let yourself enjoy those moments for all they are worth.



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Don't feel bad, after 14 years of guitar, I still feel like a beginner. Most of that is because you can never really stop learning the instrument. Just when I think I've seen everything, some new virtuoso shows up (usually on youtube LOL).

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I have to say that there are so mamy good suggestions. I read through these threads and I have gleened so much information. I hope I don't suck after a year I hope I improve. I have been practicing since Dec and and I see some improvement. I enjoy playing and I have a better understanding of music now more then I ever have. My fingers are becoming more limber they streatch further now I can almost scratch my buttocks.You guys are great.


Thank you

all chucks children are out there playing his licks


*Bob Seger

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Hey Tomtele,


There is a lot of great adive here. Especially Guitar55 is dead on that a year is not very long at all. The first thing I thought when I saw you're thread is don't think of a year think of how much time you spend a day at it.


But more than that, you might be one of "those" people that always sell yourself short and not appreciate you're skills and get tricked by what others do. I can't paraphrase what Picker posted but he is also dead on about separating our own self-criticism from our playing. You have to realize, you know what you can't do, you know what you could do better, and you hear in others what they can do and not what they can't do. I suck at taking compliments because I'd rather knock myself than accept being comlimented. It is something I've had to work on in life actually. When people would compliment my playing, I used say something along the lines of "well, you're hearing what I can play, but not all the things I can't". But the retort to that is said best by I think it was Stanley Yates how said the best way to improve is to play something simple beautifully. You have to put what you play out of your control. All you have is the note or chord or phrase you're playing, and play those notes beautifully, expressively and acurately and without any self judgement. Develop the skills to play a beautiful note, a beautiful chord and a beautiful phrase, and keep going from there.


We can get all into the technical aspects of playing, the ear training, the theory etc, but it starts and stops with what ever note you're playing. All the training and theory in the world won't make one note sound beautiful.


Hardtail, Zuben, Chad and McGeoff and like everyone else is dead on as well.


Hang around here, and ask questions and you'll get answers. Get a GOOD teacher. Take care of your hands, playing guitar is a long term thing and if you play incorrectly you'll injure yourself before you reach your destination. Don't rush, slow and smooth leads to fast and smooth, kinda fast and choppy leads to not so fast and sloppy which leads to "what is that pain shooting up my forearm?" This is a marathon, not a sprint. There is no such thing as the front of the pack in this "race" one year in, there is only slow and steady progress. With that as you're mind set you will make excellent progress.


I think there are "basic skills", that we all need (though what those all are might be open to debate), and then there are skills you need for the music you want to play. This forum and a GOOD teacher can help you gain those.


Welcome to the forum and welcome to the life long journey that is the guitar.

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My Unitarian Jihad Name: Brother Broadsword of Enlightened Compassion.

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