Jump to content


Please note: You can easily log in to MPN using your Facebook account!

Newbie Guitar Player Question


MPG

Recommended Posts

Ok,

I'm 46 and I've been seriously taken to learning to play the acoustic guitar for about 2 years now on my own. I played for years on my own in my teens.

 

In the last two years I've learned Dust in the Wind, Wipeout, Bad, Bad Leroy Brown, Pretty Woman, Crimson & Clover, Summertime Blues, Sister Golden Hair, a few others, and one solo, Paranoid.

 

Something that I'm struggling with is this. When I play the strumming tunes, I can play the entire song with no mistakes, but when I play the picking tunes (dust, pretty, or wipeout, or the solo), I can never play it without making some mistake. Missed pluck, missed note, dead note, a twang, etc. I'm getting really frustrated with this. I practice until even I'm sick of listening to myself and I just can't seem to get it. I've left the song for periods of time (a week or two) to give it a rest but still to no avail.

 

When I play my electric (just bought an epiphone Les Paul Special II), I suffer fromt the same problem, but not quite as bad.

 

How do the pros handle this...are you able to play a complete song perfectly? Maybe I'm just being to hard on myself. Maybe the pros have just learned how to hide those mistakes better than me? I don't know...just trying to figure this out.

 

TIA,

MPG

Link to comment
Share on other sites



  • Replies 11
  • Created
  • Last Reply

Probably a technique issue, that would require a teacher-type to diagnose. And as was recently mentioned on another thread, you really don't need to be perfect. And like anything else, practice makes perfect. Sounds to me as if you are ready to find three or four other like minded guys and start having regular acoustic nights.

 

 

"I believe that entertainment can aspire to be art, and can become art, but if you set out to make art you're an idiot."

 

Steve Martin

 

Show business: we're all here because we're not all there.

 

 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I've been playing for more years than I care to count and I still have the occasional note flub like you are talking about. For me it tends to happen when my attention wanders during songs or when audience clothing starts getting tossed around. I probably make more of these type of mistakes than any other kind and if I were a dedicated guitar player I'd work harder to fix them but there is only so much time in the day.

 

You might try slowing down the songs (or parts of songs) that seem to give you the most trouble. When I first started to learn Dust in the Wind I used to play it at about half speed. That allowed me to really concentrate on which fingers were striking which strings when. Slowly work the speed up over time.

 

You probably won't ever completely eliminate flubs from your playing but that doesn't mean you can't try. I don't know if you are familiar with Eric Johnson but I saw him live last year and during one of the runs in Cliffs of Dover he flubbed a note. I'm sure most people (even guitar players) wouldn't have noticed except that the big screen happened to be on him and you could clearly see him say to himself "I ed that up". If there is anybody on the planet who has most likely put more time into eliminating that kind of thing than Eric Johnson I don't know who it is. I read in an interiew he called someone up at midnight to help with a problem in his car. He couldn't get some part on his dash perfectly level (using a bubble level) and needed help.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

If you wanna be more perfect, then isolate certain parts and practice them slowly. When I say parts, you figure out where you're going wrong, these could even be 3 note phrases or something, and you slowly get them to a place where they'll never be flawed again. It's not that hard actually, just could be patience-testing. I totally disagree with people that think it's okay to not be perfect, because then your mentality is out of place and you are half-assing a song (because songs are mutual conveyances by the composer and the performer and you are doing the song an injustice by not performing it to your best ability). See, making mistakes during performance...there's nothing wrong with that; a good performer isnt one who's flawless, but someone who can recover beautifully from a mistake, because mistakes happen.

 

Don't settle. Settling with your mistakes leaves you to pool in yourself. Chopin once said something along the lines of "Mistakes are like ghosts that, when slurred over, will haunt you for many times to come." If you're gonna take music seriously, take EVERYTHING seriously.

My Gear:

 

82 Gibson Explorer

Ibanez 03 JEM7VWH

PRS McCarty Soapbar

Diezel Herbert 2007

 

Peters '11 Brahms Guitar

Byers '01 Classical

Hippner 8-Str Classical

Taylor 614ce

Framus Texan

 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Without hearing you play, it's hard to judge how serious these mistakes really are. Over at Delcamp (a classical guitar forum) we are having a similar discussion. The gist of it is leaning towards strive for perfection, even though you will never reach it. I've seen some of the best guitar players in the world make huge mistakes, from wrong notes to stopping the song for 5 seconds till they find a place to start again. One thing that you may find helps, especially in a live performance situation, is to practice how to seemlessly play through mistakes. If you just keep playing in time and don't make a face, most people will never even notice. Even more so if you are in a band situation, you can kind of just play a muted chukka chukka sound if you aren't 100% sure of what you are doing at the moment.

 

One thing that has helped me a lot is concentrating while practicing, not letting my mind wander from the musical interpretation. You kind of have to be thinking a phrase ahead on difficult passages, while at the same time remaining relaxed enough to have a fluid technique.

 

You have to realize that especially on recordings that almost all modern artists record many takes and edit them together. While it would be great to be perfect, virtually no one is. When I say strive for perfection, that doesn't mean get all tense about it, because if you aren't relaxed and confident, then your chances of avoiding errors and making good music are greatly diminished. Keep working hard and do the best you can.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

^totally agree. It's not BEING perfect, but having the intent to get there. Intent is everything with everything of anything.

My Gear:

 

82 Gibson Explorer

Ibanez 03 JEM7VWH

PRS McCarty Soapbar

Diezel Herbert 2007

 

Peters '11 Brahms Guitar

Byers '01 Classical

Hippner 8-Str Classical

Taylor 614ce

Framus Texan

 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I saw Joe Satriani at a clinic he taught here in KC a few years ago. As a clinic, I think it was a little lacking in what would technically amount to teaching per se. It was basically a karaoke concert with a Q&A session. Joe did his biggies, Flying In A Blue Dream, Summer Song, Mystical Potato Head Groove Thing, etc, which he executed the flawlessly to all practical intents and purposes.

 

Then I saw some You Tube videos of him doing the same stuff with exactly the same result, flawless execution of pretty much the same notes. There were some slight variations, but it was pretty much the same performance done over again.

 

If you want "perfection", you need to do pretty much the same thing he does; pick out your tunes, or write them, and go over them until you can execute them more or less automatically. It's called rehearsing your act, or show, or whatever you want to call it.

 

Now while this may sound like the antithesis of what most people really want, I.E., being able to play anything and everything effortlessly and at will after hearing it a limited number of times, it does actually put you in touch with your instrument and technique to a point where you will be able to do many things with less effort.

 

As much as anyone might want to deny it, improvisation is not a miraculous pouring forth of music the player has never considered before, or isn't unless you are a genius, which most of us aren't. It is a spontaneous and sometimes inspired outpouring of very rehearsed musical lines, called licks or riffs or whatever. The people who are best at it are the ones who

A. work at it a lot,

and

B. are very in touch with their instruments.

 

A player can learn to play by going over scales, modes, exercises, etudes, etc, and/or build their repertoire of songs. The results are understandably somewhat different, but there are a lot of practical similarities.

 

If you want to play more perfectly, work on the pieces you want to play perfectly. Just like Joe, if you do it enough, you will eventually be able to execute them flawlessly.

Always remember that you�re unique. Just like everyone else.

 

 

 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Welcome aboard MPG!!! 2 years of self taught acoustic tells me you haven't got anything to worry about...it may be that the electric is easier to play than the acoustic you are working with and thus you make fewer mistakes...keep on doing what you're doing and try to understand that it takes time and practice to get it right (along with comfortable gear)...getting a teacher, someone to check out your equipment and some help from a more experienced friend is not a bad idea either...when you play solo's your mistakes will be more noticable...good backup strumming is also an art...the main thing is to pick on songs you have fun playing and that you want to play (ie. your material list), it makes practice time a little more interesting, seek out some new material and add to your list...learn more about scales, chords and progressions...the pros have one thing in common that I know of, they are always improving and learn from their mistakes...just sharing some thoughts, keep at it and good picken to you... :rawk:
Take care, Larryz
Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 2 weeks later...

Thanks for all of your support and suggestions. I'll keep chugging away and may look into a teacher in the near future. I have done lessons in the past, so it may be an option. At this stage in life, I don't expect to be a pro, but would like to be able to play at least one fingerpicking song without any mistakes. I will admit that my gear is not best, but it allows me to play, which is far more important to me.

 

AS a side note, I'm working on Wipeout right now, and when I play it slow to medium I can do it with no mistakes. But, I'm not even close to actual speed. I tried one day to play with the song and I'm way behind. I'm playing 16ths while they're playing 32nds. I pluck faster with my thumb than with a pick, liekly due to all of the fingerpicking I've done in the past (my original guitar years ago was a classical). But I'm still not fast enough. I guess it comes down to so much to learn, so little time.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I have been playing a number of years and still mess up all the time. I think isolating sections that give you mistakes is good, as others have said. That way you dont spend your practice time playing the 90% of the piece you can play well.

 

I think we are most sensitive to our own mistakes. I just finished recording a solo guitar cd, and i heard a ton of mistakes where the engineer and producer, who know my music, said it was fine. After a while i deferred to them, as i am my own worst critic.

 

 

Anton

Easy Guitar Songs at Rhythmstrummer.com A fun and supportive place to learn guitar.
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Archived

This topic is now archived and is closed to further replies.

×
×
  • Create New...