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Becoming a better guitarist?

#1 User is offline   Critofer 

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Posted 01 August 2013 - 12:51 PM

Hey guys,

So I first learned to play guitar my freshman year in highschool. I took a guitar class, and boy was it a joke. I learned a few chords and some techniques but nothing really impressive. For about a year and a half after the class, i don't think i picked up my guitar once. Then I went to my first concert (Coheed and Cambria) and was blown away by both Claudio and Travis's skill on the guitar. So since then I have been teaching my self how to play. I know lots of chords, can play a lot of intros of songs, and can even play a few songs. I know techniques like bends, hammer ons and pulloffs, slides, palm muting, etc... But even with all that I feel like i really still cant play guitar. I can play the riffs that i have learned and thats it. but I can't pick up my guitar and make things up that flow or anything.

So thats where i am now, what should I be practicing so I really improve? Right now I just look up tabs for certain riffs in songs that i like and learn them but I don't feel that's making me a better guitarist.

Thanks guys


#2 User is offline   J.R.M.30! 

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Posted 01 August 2013 - 02:54 PM

Sounds as though you're already a pretty good guitar player. What level would you rate yourself; novice, intermediate, advanced intermediate, pro or somewhere in between? I can tell you it's very hard to just pick up the guitar and then write a song on the spot! That being said all I can say is keep practicing with a purpose in mind, find another teacher that's not self-taught and try to be the best guitarist you can be! [smile]

#3 User is offline   Critofer 

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Posted 01 August 2013 - 07:11 PM

I would say I am intermediate. I hear my friends play guitar and they can play these bluey kind of solos/riffs that they say they just make up that sound amazing. When i try to do think of something it sounds horrible. I guess that what im looking forward to being able to do. I have read that guitar scales are very important to learn and will improve your playing ability. That's what im going to be practicing. what do you guys think about scales? worth learning?

#4 User is offline   jdgm 

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Posted 02 August 2013 - 01:35 PM

Yes. You have to know scales in the long run. Keep playing and practicing with your ears open and it will come but it's not quick - it's all down to the amount of time and attention you can spend on it.

#5 User is offline   Versatile 

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Posted 07 August 2013 - 09:05 AM

One route would be to locate 'open mic' venues nearby to motivate practice and performance...

Great social life, contacts to join bands, free tuition from friendly musicians

Alone or with friends...musicians or otherwise...

Life will never be the same again... [thumbup]


Fiddling at the Pearly Gates
or somewhere
Lower and Warmer....

I like really floats my boat

I dig most stuff.......Anon(gardener)

#6 User is offline   adam411booking 

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Posted 04 September 2013 - 08:29 PM

I was in the same boat several years ago.
I started playing guitar roughly 10 years ago, inspired by seeing Pop/Punk trio Green Day live in concert.
I remember I bought a Blue Fender Stratocaster just like Billie Joe Armstrong would play (or I thought at the time).

Well after a few years of learning songs from guitar tabs online, I decided to enroll in the "advanced guitar class" at my high school. I found out quickly that the teacher had no knowledge of how to play the guitar and pretty much took the class as a time filler inbetween her Choir classes. She literally went into her office and did nothing the entire period. I stuck it out, only cause I could not change my schedule.

After that experience, I decided to go back and learn my scales. I had prior knowledge of a little bit of music theory from being in the middle school band as a xylophone player/bass drummer. It was a little easier for me since I knew how to read music.

But anyways, I started learning my scales (Major, Minor, Pentatonic, Blues, Harmonic, etc) and that greatly improved my playing. I also picked up a few exercise books at the local music store and played them religiously.

I'd recommend learning (at least) your basic scales (Major, Minor, Blues, and Pentatonic) and practicing exercises daily. It couldn't hurt at least.

#7 User is offline   bilbosmeggins 

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Posted 20 September 2013 - 10:07 AM

You absolutely need to start learning your scales. These are like a roadmap of your fretboard where you can and can't go during a song. What I found to be by far the best method was by having a simple song loop in a given key just going round and round. And then I would find the root note of the key, check out the scale charts and just play the scale over the loop. Again and again. In no time at all you can start to shuffle the scale up a bit. Your ears will soon tell you the safe "home spots". You will be improvising before you know it. It's paid dividends for me for sure. I would certainly class myself as a beginner, but I can measure my progress on an almost daily basis. And I probably spend more time improvising over songs than any other area of practise (much to my tutor's annoyance :) ).

#8 User is offline   southrun 

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Posted 23 October 2013 - 05:43 AM

If I might disagree slightly _

There is another school of thought and that is to learn by playing first and then the scales, theory, modes, et al.......will follow.
It has it's proponents and is valid.

I am adding a reply that I posted in a Jazz forum that you might find interesting.
I know it works.....former student of Conti's here! [thumbup]
If you want to learn to play Jazz, then I would check out Robert Conti.
I took a few lessons from him years ago when he was just getting started professionally.
I never kept up due to lifestyle changes, the war, etc.....(Vietnam era)
Recently found out that Conti has been playing and teaching for over 40 years now !!!!
He has developed the teaching into quite a large offering.....and dedicated following.
He teaches PLAYING, not all the theory and stuff.....that follows once you can play.
He has a few free lessons online to help you find out where you are.......
See or some stuff and reviews in Just Jazz Guitar magazine online.

Great stuff and highly recommended way to get you PLAYING.

(also many REAL testimonials there......not some phony comments)
There are a few free lessons posted there so you can see how it works and if it's for you.
Good luck

#9 User is offline   Surreal For Real 

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Posted 03 January 2014 - 09:07 AM

My advice is to make sure you get ample time playing with other musicians. I played in a band in my teens, then from 1990 until recently I only played solo guitar stuff (Joe Pass meets Al Dimeola meets Holdsworth, if you can imagine that). I basically forgot what it was like to feed off of others and while I really developed chops I had lost the sense of the balanced song. I started casually playing with others recently and it's slowly coming back.

So spend some time alone and with other players, or else you will turn into a mad man...solitary confinement with a guitar can be a bad thing. :)

#10 User is offline   brianjamespeck 

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Posted 13 January 2014 - 10:16 PM

Believe in yourself. Be present with every step you take on your journey. Be patient. Be playful. No one can play like you.

#11 User is offline   The Danimal 

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Posted 28 January 2014 - 03:25 PM

I've heard great things about Howard Morgan's "Fingerboard breakthrough"...I've been looking for something to improve my playing and expand my knowledge and his seems like a tangible, well thought out and well taught "program"

#12 User is offline   rocketman 

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Posted 14 February 2014 - 09:19 PM

I know this is going to sound weird. I think your next step is to start humming along with a trumpet player like Louis Armstrong. This will teach you to "breath" at the right place, which will teach you about phrasing. This is Louis at his best:

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#13 User is offline   HamrockGuitar 

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Posted 23 March 2014 - 06:22 PM

I've been a guitar instructor for over 15 years... I would say it's good to have a balance between learning songs, technique exercises, learning scales and theory, and ear training. It sounds like you already know how to play quite a few songs so I would get right to learning scales! Start with the basic minor pentatonic scale. It's easy to learn, memorize, and make sound good. Try improvising over backing tracks on youtube... at first you will feel like you don't have much direction but improvising is like anything, the more you do of it the better you get.

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