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  • After 10 years, I still suck on guitar - Any advice?

    I've been playing off and on for nearly 10 years. I was surrounded by guitar players in highschool and college - all my friends played, many were in bands and such so I caught the bug and picked one up myself because I liked all the jamming going on and wanted in on it.

    I think my problem has been I've always just "played" guitar and never really took it seriously. Plus, I learned a lot of bad habits early on that still affect my playing.

    I've played both acoustic and electric. I would say my abilities peaked a couple years ago when I could play some songs on acoustic - mainly just open chord or bar chord songs. I can still play open chords and some basic bar chord shapes but I've forgotten just about all the songs I knew.

    I've never been able to use my pinky very well and have had trouble making a lot of the shapes and transitions necessary to play a lot of songs.

    I've even spent a lot of time reading up music theory to try to "get it" because I always felt lost musically and not sure what to do or where to go with notes (esp. playing melodies over chords, leads, etc.). I even took a one-on-one class last year that did help me see how bad much of my technique is but unfortunately haven't spent the time addressing these issues to get better.

    On the bright side, I think I have a natural feel for rhythm. I have some passion for it but I think I've had a hard time translating that into real effort and am frustrated easily.

    Any advice?!?!?!? (besides "get some drums") : /

  • #2
    Originally posted by Durwood75
    I've been playing off and on for nearly 10 years. I was surrounded by guitar players in highschool and college - all my friends played, many were in bands and such so I caught the bug and picked one up myself because I liked all the jamming going on and wanted in on it.

    I think my problem has been I've always just "played" guitar and never really took it seriously. Plus, I learned a lot of bad habits early on that still affect my playing.


    I've played both acoustic and electric. I would say my abilities peaked a couple years ago when I could play some songs on acoustic - mainly just open chord or bar chord songs. I can still play open chords and some basic bar chord shapes but I've forgotten just about all the songs I knew.

    I've never been able to use my pinky very well and have had trouble making a lot of the shapes and transitions necessary to play a lot of songs.



    I've even spent a lot of time reading up music theory to try to "get it" because I always felt lost musically and not sure what to do or where to go with notes (esp. playing melodies over chords, leads, etc.). I even took a one-on-one class last year that did help me see how bad much of my technique is but unfortunately haven't spent the time addressing these issues to get better.

    On the bright side, I think I have a natural feel for rhythm. I have some passion for it but I think I've had a hard time translating that into real effort and am frustrated easily.

    Any advice?!?!?!? (besides "get some drums") : /


    You already made the suggestions yourself...our reiteration may reinforce it, but it comes down to practice and persistence...and one lesson will not help you, you would need several months of instruction to overcome your bad habits and open your technique.
    _"We are currently experiencing some technical difficulties due to reality fluctuations. The elves are working tirelessly to patch the correct version of reality. Activities here have been temporarily disabled since the fundamentals of mathematics, physics and reason may be incomprehensible during this indeterminant period of instability. Normal service will be restored once we are certain as to what 'normal' is."

    Comment


    • #3
      It wouldn't hurt to get some drums.

      Comment


      • #4
        Bass. Go with bass. It's easier because it only has 4 strings. And, if ya go over to the bass forum and point this out to them they will be more than glad to help ya out. :thu:
        <div class="signaturecontainer">Ibanez Benson archtop<br />
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        Allright, let's go see what's around the next bend. I'm getting too old for this ****************.</div>

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        • #5
          I'd say if you truly want to get better you need lessons and not just a couple. A good teacher will push you to learn things you might not otherwise even try. I was (and still am) in a similar situation. I didn't really get serious until about a year and a half ago. I had messed around on an acoustic for about 20-25 years prior to that never really getting anywhere. I finally decided to take lessons and there is quite a difference. I still have a long way to go but I can at least get out of just playing open chords now and am finding some ability to work out some songs on my own (really easy ones so far but still).

          My teacher gets me doing exercises to learn the fretboard, strengthen my hand (especially that pinky) and techniques that I would never try on my own (like tapping). Even though it something that I might never use it's another potential tool.

          I think they are well worth the money
          <div class="signaturecontainer"><div class="bbcode_container">
          <div class="bbcode_quote">
          <div class="quote_container">
          <div class="bbcode_quote_container"></div>

          Originally Posted by Frets99 <br />
          I held one note through the whole thing and grimaced like I was being taken from behind by a camel.....

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          • #6
            You have my sympathies; I took up guitar as a lefty at age 44 nearly two years ago. I sucked then, and I have made very little progress. I'm very tempted to try right-handed bass.

            Follow the advice from the real musicians, and best of luck to you. Something tells me you're going to need it.
            <div class="signaturecontainer">Proud HCGB member 277.<br />
            How about a song, a real song?<br />
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            • #7
              Actually it's funny because I bought a drum kit for my studio right about the time I hit a really nasty guitar plateau. I've been enjoying the drums alot more than my guitars lately





              Banging **************** with sticks is fun :wave:





              In January a friend of mine asked me to give her guitar lessons. I gave her some very practical lessons and basically told her that it would be her job to learn to play, but that I would get her started on the basics. Most of our lessons were spent studying music, song structure, and things like that so when she went home to practice the lessons she'd have some musical reference points. The only reason I honestly agreed to give her lessons was because I knew it would help me get past a nasty guitar slump--and it did! Unfortunately she didn't apply herself to practicing and has been flaking out, but what the hell, at least I got going on guitar again.

              My latest kick has been to go to the studio to practice--I'll lay down a drum line and then overdub a couple electric tracks, maybe some acoustic, maybe I'll throw a Rhodes piano line in. I literally am jamming with myself (and my 24-track). It's a fun way to practice. Only ****************ty thing is I was really hopint to get going on theory with Sarah because I really need to brush up. I told her we'd be learning theory together. It's the 100% main reason I don't jam in band settings. I'm sort of bummed she flaked before we could really dive into theory together--now I'm on my own again.


              I do agree that taking a few lessons, maybe in a totally new style, can really help get past a slump. The first time I hit a wall with guitar, I took some folk/blues lessons from a friend for a few months. Served its purpose!
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              This has been a public service message. </div>

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              • #8
                Originally posted by Khan Fused


                Follow the advice from the real musicians,

                yep, hopefully they'll show up here eventually..:thu:
                _"We are currently experiencing some technical difficulties due to reality fluctuations. The elves are working tirelessly to patch the correct version of reality. Activities here have been temporarily disabled since the fundamentals of mathematics, physics and reason may be incomprehensible during this indeterminant period of instability. Normal service will be restored once we are certain as to what 'normal' is."

                Comment


                • #9
                  Originally posted by dirtyragamuffin
                  Banging **************** with sticks is fun :wave:
                  Found a pic of you practicing...






















                  In January a friend of mine asked me to give her guitar lessons. I gave her some very practical lessons and basically told her that it would be her job to learn to play, but that I would get her started on the basics. Most of our lessons were spent ..... The only reason I honestly agreed to give her lessons was because I knew it would help me get --and it did!


                  _"We are currently experiencing some technical difficulties due to reality fluctuations. The elves are working tirelessly to patch the correct version of reality. Activities here have been temporarily disabled since the fundamentals of mathematics, physics and reason may be incomprehensible during this indeterminant period of instability. Normal service will be restored once we are certain as to what 'normal' is."

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by Nelson
                    Bass. Go with bass. It's easier because it only has 4 strings. And, if ya go over to the bass forum and point this out to them they will be more than glad to help ya out. :thu:



                    Man that is hilarious!!!!!!!!
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                    • #11
                      Originally posted by daddymack
                      In January a friend of mine asked me to give her guitar lessons. I gave her some very practical lessons and basically told her that it would be her job to learn to play, but that I would get her started on the basics. Most of our lessons were spent ..... The only reason I honestly agreed to give her lessons was because I knew it would help me get --and it did!





                      That part backfired


                      She went with....GET THIS A drunkard veteran with a kid instead


                      It's ok, that's so far from my world she might as well have told me she was lesbian.....


                      What does this have to do with getting better at guitar?


























                      Jack **************** :idea:
                      <div class="signaturecontainer">GuitarCenter sucks. <br />
                      MusiciansFriend sucks. <br />
                      This has been a public service message. </div>

                      Comment


                      • Smilin' Bob
                        Smilin' Bob commented
                        Editing a comment

                        dirtyragamuffin wrote:
                         




                        That part backfired


                        She went with....GET THIS A drunkard veteran with a kid instead


                        It's ok, that's so far from my world she might as well have told me she was lesbian.....


                        What does this have to do with getting better at guitar?








                        Jack **** :idea:

                         

                         

                        Well, isn't something like that the theme of nearly every blues and country song written?


                    • #12
                      Everyone learns differently. I took a lesson once, and my eyes glazed over. I may as well have taken 25 bucks and lit it on fire. I am a "do and understand later" type learner. What worked for me was

                      1) listening to the music I want to play . I mean listen A LOT, like immersion therapy, until you find yourself mentally humming guitar lines.

                      2) get an old record player and some vinyl records and sit down with a guitar and try to copy what you hear, over and over and over and over. When I'm concentrating on what I'm trying to play, my hands sort of go where they need to without thinking about it. If I'm thinking about where I'm putting my pinky or forming chords, I'm missing the object.

                      3) put in lots of time. There is no substitute for it.

                      Hope this helps, it's what has been working for me. YMMV.
                      <div class="signaturecontainer"><a href="http://www.patcoast.com" target="_blank">http://www.patcoast.com</a><br><br><br><br><font size="1">&quot;The guy would be strumming along, singing the verse to “Margarittavile” and then he would hit his harmonizer pedal for the chorus. It went from sounding like a guy singing and playing guitar to sounding like the Stephen Hawkings trio.&quot;-<i>Christhee68</i></font><br><br><br><br><font size="1">&quot; the singer of my cover band used to find it funny to let out gaseous forms of vile hate and sadness that would make a plaster baby Jesus weep.&quot;-<i> FitchFY</i></font></div>

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                      • #13
                        Originally posted by BlueStrat

                        2) get an old record player and some vinyl records and sit down with a guitar and try to copy what you hear, over and over and over and over. When I'm concentrating on what I'm trying to play, my hands sort of go where they need to without thinking about it. If I'm thinking about where I'm putting my pinky or forming chords, I'm missing the object.


                        Thats exactly how I did it back in high school (late 60's). :thu:

                        Comment


                        • #14
                          I have to say that I'm in the process of going back to take some lessons. I've been lazy in my playing and it's time to re-educate myself. I've been coasting for a long time on work I did a long time ago.
                          I can put the time in, I just need some new information to process...
                          And now I'm working 40 hard hours a day and my hands are falling asleep when I play, which doesn't make for the best practice conditions....

                          And I'm getting worried because I'll be playing with some stellar guitar players in September........
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                          • #15
                            I'm working 40 hard hours a day

                            Are you living in a time warp, or are you just Superman?

                            <div class="signaturecontainer"><a href="http://www.patcoast.com" target="_blank">http://www.patcoast.com</a><br><br><br><br><font size="1">&quot;The guy would be strumming along, singing the verse to “Margarittavile” and then he would hit his harmonizer pedal for the chorus. It went from sounding like a guy singing and playing guitar to sounding like the Stephen Hawkings trio.&quot;-<i>Christhee68</i></font><br><br><br><br><font size="1">&quot; the singer of my cover band used to find it funny to let out gaseous forms of vile hate and sadness that would make a plaster baby Jesus weep.&quot;-<i> FitchFY</i></font></div>

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