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My guitar skills SUCK! (vent)


02R96

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I've seemed to hit a wall in my playing abilities. I find myself playing the same old tired licks over and over, and not really improving on anything. Tonight after a particularly frustrating session full of bad fretting, wrong notes and totally crappy playing I felt like throwing my guitar across the room.

 

I've been working on this hobby for about 4 or 5 years now and it just seems like I should be a better player by now.

 

:taz:

Dan

 

"I hate what I've become, trying to escape who I am..."

 

 

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That frustration is part of the learning process. Keep at it for another 30 or 40 years. And you'll STILL be frustrated, but hopefully also thrilled & surprised often enough to make it all worthwhile. Best wishes for many more fruitful years of dancing, wrestling, loving, arguing, partnering & surrendering to the guitar.
Scott Fraser
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After 42 years of playing, with no lengthy hiatus ever, I still have off days. Usually, it's cuz I haven't played in a few days, or I'm just draggin' ass, as I never catch up on enough sleep. The learning curve is higher with newer players like yourself, and if you find your licks tired, it may be time to expand your influences.
Never a DUH! moment! Well, almost never. OK, OK! Sometimes never!
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After 50 years I still can't play worth a sh*t :facepalm:

 

But I never give up and keep bouncing off those walls that pop up...after going to see a couple of Tommy Emmanual concerts which I have enjoyed to the max, I want to go home and throw all my guitars in a pile and burn them...then I just start over again...each time you hit that wall where everything sounds the same just remember it will give you the inspiration to try learning some new skills (ie, theory, scales, chords, leads, songs, etc.)

 

keep on keep'en on and just try to enjoy the ride...there's no way to go but up! :thu:

 

Hey I just checked out the Will McFarlane thread on the Forum List and went on Youtube to check his other posts...great stuff!! might give you some new ideas too! :thu:

Take care, Larryz
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Thanks guys. I just needed to blow off some steam. While I was backing up my iTunes library tonight, I picked up the Tele again and blasted a few generic home grown riffs and felt a lot better.

 

I guess we all can't be naturals like Derick Trucks or any of the other gods we aspire to. :rawk:

Dan

 

"I hate what I've become, trying to escape who I am..."

 

 

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I was playing for years- all self-taught- and was in a rut. 2 things got me out of it:

  • I took formal lessons with a teacher for about 18 months.
  • I tried a new tuning- Fripp's NST- that had certain similarities to my prior instrument, the cello.

 

Those got me out of my first rut. But I still find myself in new ruts. Sometimes I brute-force myself through them by just plugging away threough chords & riffs. Sometimes I put the instrument down for a monthl. Sometimes I try a different tuning. (Only standard and NST have stuck for me, though.)

 

I guess we all can't be naturals like Derick Trucks or any of the other gods we aspire to

 

There was a famous guitarist- I won't name him- who appeared at the Dallas Guitar Show, and he gave a little talk. He asked the crowd how many in the group had picked up the guitar to play like him. About a third of their hands raised. He then said something that shocked them to utter silence, something to effect of "Forget about it: I play guitar first thing in the morning, after breakfast, before lunch, after lunch, and the last thing before going to bed- unless you put In that kind of time, you won't ever play like me."

 

But then he continued- "That's no excuse not to play. Play because you love it, not to be like me."

Sturgeon's 2nd Law, a.k.a. Sturgeon's Revelation: âNinety percent of everything is crapâ

 

My FLMS- Murphy's Music in Irving, Tx

 

http://murphysmusictx.com/

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Ahhh. Venting can be good. So is Dannyalcatraz' advice. If I may take that advice a little further.

The core of the advice is CHANGE.

Here's some of the things that I do even if I feel a rut is lurking around the neighbourhood.

1)Change guitars. Each neck and body asks to be approached a little differently.

2) Change tone, drastically. Then play your favourite distorted piece in a clean country tone. it's wonderful how you need to compensate for lack of sustain.

3)If you have a drum machine play your favourite chord progression or song to a completely different beat or tempo.

4)Play a different genre/style for a while.

5)Take a favourite song or chord progression and work out how to play it in a completely different key. A blues in E which sits under your fingers becomes a challenge when you have to reproduce the main themes and riffs in Eb without retuning your guitar.

The rut always lurks. It's other name is "habit".

Hope this helps.

Cheers

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Or learn to play an old favorite in a new tuning! That will de-rut you very quickly.

 

I originally learned Hotel California in standard tuning...relearning it in NST has been a nifty challenge. It even sounds a bit different since I needed to use different chord voicings.

Sturgeon's 2nd Law, a.k.a. Sturgeon's Revelation: âNinety percent of everything is crapâ

 

My FLMS- Murphy's Music in Irving, Tx

 

http://murphysmusictx.com/

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Nice one Danny,

But our OP would need to restring a complete guitar for this. On the other hand it's something I've been considering. There are so many possibilities with the guitar...

Having re read 02R96's original post I feel that he is trying too hard. (Why am I talking about the OP in the third person?)

"Bad fretting and wrong notes" suggests that you are trying to learn/master a piece. I was doing this yesterday and getting frustrated...then I vented to my partner, stopped practicing the piece and returned to the frustrating phrases today.

 

They were a lot easier to play...I isolate the difficult passages and treat them as if they are a different song. I don't mind slowing them down but I find walking away or doing something else on the guitar to be more effective. I have a week to get this song together...it'll happen.

 

Cheers

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Dan,

 

Dont sweat it man! I am like you started this about 4yrs ago, a bit of a scatter brain approach at the start, I wanted to ROCK, do blues, slide guitar haha at around 46 then at least I knew I wasnt going to try to do some EVH LOL!!

 

Any way I have settled down, take lessons worked on technique & now we mostly work on songs that I am interested in. Some days seem great & at the other end sometimes I just lay'er down before I do a Pete Townsend haha.

 

Tomorrow will be another day & likely when you pick up yr axe it will be a better day!

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Great advice here, I will merely 2nd the motion to take lessons. I got the same advice from these guys when I started playing (again) a few years back and it's the reason I'm still playing and loving it. Hang in there brother!
I was born at night but I wasn't born last night...
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Hey Dan, We've all been there. But hitting a wall means your about to step up to another level. Soemtimes a break will help especially if you've been hittin it hard. But get ready my friend cause it's been my experience(43 years of playing) that when you hit a wall - you're on the threshold of a breakthrough.

Relax. Don't sweat it, It'll come to you. It's all good and just part of the process.

PS: If you never hit walls - you ain't movin forward.

SEHpicker

 

The further a society drifts from truth the more it will hate those who speak it." George Orwell

 

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I've seemed to hit a wall in my playing abilities. I find myself playing the same old tired licks over and over, and not really improving on anything. Tonight after a particularly frustrating session full of bad fretting, wrong notes and totally crappy playing I felt like throwing my guitar across the room.

 

I've been working on this hobby for about 4 or 5 years now and it just seems like I should be a better player by now.

 

:taz:

Don't dismay! I'm probably where you're at now, and I'VE been at it for 45 YEARS!

Whitefang

I started out with NOTHING...and I still have most of it left!
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But our OP would need to restring a complete guitar for this.

 

Well...depending on the specific alternative tuning, yes?

 

I mean, NST requires new strings on an electric (though oddly, not on my Ovation acoustic), but I doubt you'd need rest ringing in Drop D or DADGAD or the more common alt tunings.

Sturgeon's 2nd Law, a.k.a. Sturgeon's Revelation: âNinety percent of everything is crapâ

 

My FLMS- Murphy's Music in Irving, Tx

 

http://murphysmusictx.com/

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I got my first electric guitar at 15, in 1974. I still have it:

 

http://learjeff.net/studio/NationalLPC-sm.jpg

 

Cost me all of $65. Anyway, I remember at age 20, my roommate was in a band with a guitarist who was 25. I thought to myself "he's pretty good, but at the rate I'm improving, I'll blow him away at his age!"

 

Well ... I never got there. Talk about plateau!

 

I'm not saying that to discourage you, but to let you know that most of us have felt what you're feeling. While I never got as good as that other dude, I certainly have gotten a lot better, and I've enjoyed the ride. I've also learned a good bit of humility. ;-)

 

Regardless, the advice above is all good. And if nobody's mentioned it, a real important thing is to find someone new to play with who can mentor you!

 

BTW, I posted a thread here about some videos by Will McFarlane, who few of us will ever be a fraction as good as (and who plays before breakfast, after breakfast, before lunch .... etc!) Might lead you in interesting directions; can't hurt to try.

 

Check out youtube videos in general, for songs you're interested in. It can take you a bit outside your box of familiarity.

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If I hit any more walls as a player, PETW will be knocking at my door!

 

+1 to perkunas above re: changing your guitar. Whenever I pick something different off the wall, something different comes out.

 

Also, different tunings can definitely help. (And I play bass...)

 

Peace,

 

wraub

 

I'm a lot more like I am now than I was when I got here.

 

 

 

 

 

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Another old guy jumping in here, if I may.

 

I started learning to play guitar when the Beatles were still young. What's been most surprising, over all the years, is not the stuff I never quite learned, or got, but the things I have learned, or even come up with on my own, that I would never have thought of, or attempted, when I'd been playing for 4 years, or 8, and so on. That's also what's been the most fulfilling.

"Monsters are real, and Ghosts are real too. They live inside us, and sometimes, they win." Stephen King

 

http://www.novparolo.com

 

https://thewinstonpsmithproject.bandcamp.com

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you're tired of playing the same old licks? Learn some new licks, man. Deliberately set out to figure out how to play a song you don't know, and isn't like anything you already know. If you need too consult a teacher, or work from tablature, do so. The idea is to extend your knowledge and technique., so pick something at least moderately difficult. Improving your playing is like building muscle or losing weight. You have to work at it. Good luck to you.

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

 

 

 

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I've been working on this hobby for about 4 or 5 years now and it just seems like I should be a better player by now.

 

I been working on it since 1964, and I should be a better player by now too. But I like making music, I don't really care how great I get, I am happy to remember the key I am playing throughout the whole song....... :thu:

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To everyone who responded: THANKS!

 

I picked up the Tele again tonight. I purchased a new reverb pedal (TC Electronic Hall of Fame) and spent a couple of hours experimenting with it.

 

Instead of playing songs, scales or anything remotely structured, I worked on creating simple, melodic, ambient riffs. And it was fun. I really put the new pedal thru it's paces and the simple riffs were easy to play and even got me thinking about recording some of them.

 

I guess I just needed a break from my own self imposed regimen of playing for skill instead of playing for fun. And tonight was fun!

 

I guess I'll just have to wait a while longer before I challenge Steve Howe to a head cutting competition! :freak::facepalm::rolleyes:

Dan

 

"I hate what I've become, trying to escape who I am..."

 

 

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Hooray for fun!

 

Heck, yeah! :D

 

LOTS of EXCELLENT advice above.

 

Get out to as many local Open-Mic/Jam events as you can, both to play and to listen and watch and learn. Learn from players of ALL instruments, too.

 

 

I've been in a similar enough rut, myself. It's hardly the first time! Sometimes just taking a break from it for a while and then coming back a little later clears the head and frees the fingers.

 

Joining a band doing covers and originals forced me suddenly into all kinds of new-to-me territory and definitely improved my playing all-around, particularly my 'vocabulary' on the guitar.

 

I also had to start roughly filling-in for the sounds and lines of various keyboard, horn, and harmonica parts to round-out some covers. Now, THERE'S a rut-buster and a perspective-expander! :freak::D Often the simplest solutions are best there, too, though even those make you play with fdifferent approaches to fingering, picking, phrasing, feel and tone and effects use...

 

 

I've also been thinking about getting one Line 6 gizmo or another, that would allow me to subscribe to their GuitarPort Online lessons and jam-tracks stuff on the 'net.

Ask yourself- What Would Ren and Stimpy Do?

 

~ Caevan James-Michael Miller-O'Shite ~

_ ___ _ Leprechaun, Esquire _ ___ _

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I guess we all can't be naturals like Derick Trucks or any of the other gods we aspire to. :rawk:

 

In no way do I mean this to be a personal criticism, but I hate the phrase "guitar god." It's silly. Most of the players that we enjoy aren't playing at unreachable levels of musicality. They simply created great records that have been really successful. That phrase had a negative effect on my playing for many years. I knew I wasn't a god and I thought I was gonna have to shed for years to get to that level! I was practicing eight hours a day, trying to get to "god" status by learning all the scales, arpeggios, chord voicings, and exercises. I practiced so long and pushed myself so hard that I developed an overuse injury that took me a year to overcome.

 

Thing is, if I had stopped to examine what the GUYS I thought were "gods" were played, I was playing way faster and learning scales and theory that they never used.

 

The point I'm trying to make is that if you've been playing enough for four years, you are likely better as a guitarist than a lot of the people who are fresh on the radio. The mentality that you aren't good enough yet is what gets in the way. Know that they had a lot of conditions that were just right in order to have their success. (Examples: A band with equally dedicated musicians, a singer that wrote great songs, a great production team for the album and great promoters.) It wasn't always their playing.

 

Now that being said, some guys are just damn good, but they probably weren't that good four years in and even those guys probably still feel that way about their playing. (Case in point, many of the gents participatin' in this here forum!) No one is ever a master and there is always more to learn. If you start to feel like you've mastered the instrument, you are likely in danger becoming stale and boring, but if you feel like you will never master it, you are probably in danger of getting in your own way. I did that myself at one time and I see it often with my students.

 

Anyhow, sorry for the lengthy post. That just hit home for me. My biggest suggestion to help your playin'? RELAX! Whenever I get frustrated with my playing, I always realize tension has crept into my body due to self doubts. A tense muscle is a slow muscle and your brain is like a three lane highway. If you take up two lanes with a WIDE LOAD semi called doubt, you only have one lane left to process the information that you need in order to function. And that traffic is gonna get backed up real quick.

 

That's one of my favorite things about being a guitar player. Builds character. But then everything we do builds character, if we pay attention...

We cannot accelerate the growth of a tree by pulling on its branches. - Ricardo Iznaola
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i have had lots of "burn the guitar" moments.

lately i have been doing writing and recording as well as writing and procrastinating.

recently i have had multiple outlets for playing.

there is the acoustic jams at our social club, rock jams at my bud's house and rock jams at a friends place. in each situation i need to adapt to what is going on. being in a band context really helps you focus on what you need to do as opposed to what you think you need to do.

there will always be someone who makes you wish you were better. nobody should ever stop learning, it can never be mastered.

 

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Excellent post, simpleman! :cool:

 

Yep.

 

I constantly look for things I can't play to work on, breaking them down slowly and working out the mechanics... I picked up one of those Akai things that loops a phrase and slows it down without changing the pitch for cheap in perfect shape recently... that's been fun... there's a lot of Django going through it at the moment.

 

But the main thing to me is the songs: I started playing to sing to myself most of all as a kid, and that never gets old, because there's more great songs than a person could ever learn in a lifetime. Friends have always called me "the human jukebox." That's the main thing to me... the rest of the skills are things to dress up the songs of the world. If you get frustrated or bored with a technical side of things go to the acoustic and play the simple folk songs of the world (the ones that still pack the same wallop they did about a century ago) to put it in perspective.

 

When my keys or drumming abilities frustrate me I just move that week's goal post a little nearer.

 

I dunno... I grew up in a music teacher household, maybe the incremental way of looking at progress was instilled in me subconsciously... or consciously at a young age. It's like you're rolling a snowball. When you reach a plateau just enjoy the view and look back on how far you've come, and start pushing again when you're rejuvenated.

 

 

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