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  • Improving myself as a guitar player

    Hi everyone

    It has been 1.5 years since I have started playing guitar. I am having trouble at how to improve myself. I want to work out a song by ear but generally I am having trouble doing that. I also want to improvise when I get the guitar but generally when I am not playing a certain songs i am limited with a number of chords.I also want to make a little riff or a chord progression and even work out a song out of it. I play well but the thing is I want to carry it to a better level that I am not really happy with my current playing at all. How will I imrpove myself and achieve my goals as I said?

    note: my theoretical knowledge is weak. Is it also a part of improving as a guitarist?


  • #2

    You gotta lump it and just take whatever time it takes. Basics, diligence and patience enough to do the 5 yr beginner phase properly. Also get used to practicing slowly and accurately. It's the only way to conquer your instrument

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    • #3

      TheGkbrk wrote:

      Hi everyone

      It has been 1.5 years since I have started playing guitar. I am having trouble at how to improve myself. I want to work out a song by ear but generally I am having trouble doing that. I also want to improvise when I get the guitar but generally when I am not playing a certain songs i am limited with a number of chords.I also want to make a little riff or a chord progression and even work out a song out of it. I play well but the thing is I want to carry it to a better level that I am not really happy with my current playing at all. How will I imrpove myself and achieve my goals as I said?

      note: my theoretical knowledge is weak. Is it also a part of improving as a guitarist?


      First, I think it's important to have those goals - then you can figure out ways (note: plural) get there.   If you want to learn a lot of songs, "by ear" is definitely best, but like you said, it can be tough.  Especially if you don't have a lot of tools in your belt.  There's nothing wrong with learning songs via video tutorials or printed transcriptions (tab books or whatever).  Learn the songs, get other skills in place (maybe new chords, voicings or techniques), and enjoy.  You have to keep it fun, and learning songs is a part of that. Just be careful not to neglect your ear entirely.  I'd say, try it by ear first.  If you get stuck, go to the tutorial or book for the part you're stuck on.  Keep working on your ear, it will get better over time.  What the right balance is, depends on you and your goals.

      Also, everyone learns by building on what they already know.  Pick songs to learn that are justabove what you can currently do and slowly work up to more difficult stuff.  You might also want to consider a teacher, or an online course like Paul Gilbert's - this will give you some direction and lay things out in a more orderly fasion so you're not lost in the sea of "things to learn."

      Knowing a bit of theory goes a long ways - not only for understanding what you're doing, but also being able to communicate with others (that's a two way street - you can explain what you're doing, and you can understand what a tutorial is talking about).  It's not necessary for creating great music, but it sure doesn't hurt.  It just gives you more options and opens more doors.

      Good luck!

      Multiple award winning blues/rock/country at http://www.zeyerband.com or http://www.reverbnation.com/zeyer.Check my solo (instrumental rock) projects at: http://www.reverbnation.com/vincedickinson"Music is like the English language - it's just full of rules that need to be broken or you aren't hip.""It doesn't take talent to upgrade your playing. It takes patience" - Kenny Werner

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      • TheGkbrk
        TheGkbrk commented
        Editing a comment
        Thanks for the answers

    • #4

      If you are having trouble figuring out songs by ear perhaps you are trying songs that are too complex. I did a blog post on this very thing. Give it a read as it may help.

      http://sixstringobsession.blogspot.ca/2010/11/how-to-learn-to-play-by-ear-great.html

      The key to understanding this insturment lies firstly in learning repertoire - learn LOTS of songs! Lots of solos note for note. Then once you can play a bit some of the theory stuff will seem less daunting. THEN you can go back and do some analysis on these songs you already know and learn to make sense of it all.

      But it ALL starts with your ears and your music collection. Joining a band helps immensely, even a crappy one. Play with others - ask questions, learn riffs and scale bits but it ALL scomes together in a song.

      Blog: sixstringobsession
      Subscribe to my YouTube channel

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