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Stuck in a rut! need ideas :)

#1 User is offline   Adam M 

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Posted 03 August 2016 - 08:00 AM

I started to learn guitar when I was 17 mainly easy stuff that I was interested in like Nirvana, Then moved on to Oasis that sort of thing. All learned from tabs and really didn't learn any theory,

I then stopped playing for a few years but recently in the past 2-3 years started playing again. I am 34 now This time more interested in van Halen and Guns n Roses, Led Zep, I found I improved radically this time around learning some new techinques. I can pick up solos relatively quickly. But have a bad habit of learning bits and pieces of things and never going from start to finish. Youtube was a massive help!

But I would love to be able to jam and improvise in a blues style, I see people online who just pick up a guitar and can do all of this stuff. But I am not able to. I know the scales but I just sound like I am soloing scales, I know the few odd riffs and licks but I don't know where to go from here. I feel like starting from the beginning again.

Any ideas on how to improve on this? there is so much stuff out there I never seem to find a way to improve on this?

any suggestions would be highly appreciated!
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#2 User is offline   adamlovesgin 

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Posted 03 August 2016 - 08:35 AM

View PostAdam M, on 03 August 2016 - 08:00 AM, said:

I started to learn guitar when I was 17 mainly easy stuff that I was interested in like Nirvana, Then moved on to Oasis that sort of thing. All learned from tabs and really didn't learn any theory,

I then stopped playing for a few years but recently in the past 2-3 years started playing again. I am 34 now This time more interested in van Halen and Guns n Roses, Led Zep, I found I improved radically this time around learning some new techinques. I can pick up solos relatively quickly. But have a bad habit of learning bits and pieces of things and never going from start to finish. Youtube was a massive help!

But I would love to be able to jam and improvise in a blues style, I see people online who just pick up a guitar and can do all of this stuff. But I am not able to. I know the scales but I just sound like I am soloing scales, I know the few odd riffs and licks but I don't know where to go from here. I feel like starting from the beginning again.

Any ideas on how to improve on this? there is so much stuff out there I never seem to find a way to improve on this?

any suggestions would be highly appreciated!


The scales is only the foundation. Once you are happy with scales add your own embellishments phrasing, experiment with timing, leaving gaps, sustaining a note, add in two-note and partial chords to it.....

I know what you mean though, sometimes it does seem that we have nothing new to add.

My advise would be to just not overthink it, have a bit of confidence and enjoy your playing. If you are bored with it try a completely different style to get the juices flowing (e.g. soloing over a latin-american beat Santana style, or something...
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#3 User is offline   10K-DB 

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Posted 03 August 2016 - 12:40 PM

Tough spot to be in,,BUT not impossible to fix. have you tried learning the solos from the songs you enjoy listening to? Maybe listen to some old school blues songs IE Stormy Monday ect and the like? learn the entire rythm cords all the way thru first. I learned almost all my stuff from playing along to my fav bands.
Once opon a time,,they lived happily ever after,but not necessarily in that order http://fandalism.com/tenkdeebee
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#4 User is offline   jdgm 

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Posted 03 August 2016 - 04:57 PM

Learn the bends on the 4th and b7th scale notes properly, up and down a whole tone.
You will then find 3-note or 5-note licks where you can incorporate and vary these bends.
Practice phrases almost like you are making nursery rhymes; end the phrase on the root, the 3rd or the 5th of the chord you are on, then answer it by ending on one of the other notes. Make sure each line 'scans' and fits like a rhyme or poem.

Try and play something like what you hear or imagine yourself playing.
Think of it then grab the guitar and if you can't get the notes, get the rhythm. You can build on that. You need a language, however simple.

Remember if you have minor pentatonic then play it down a minor 3rd it becomes major? Do it.
Play a phrase you know well then drop it down a minor 3rd. Does it work? Even if not you might get an idea to build on.

Practice scalar hammer-ons and pull-offs using 3 notes up/down a single string or 2-3 notes across 2 or 3 strings.

Do any minor pentatonic in all 5 positions playing a down and up on every note; that's a good one.

Major scales; root on 6th string, start with 1st, 2nd or 4th finger then root on 5th string and the same start fingers which involve position shifts. There are 1000s of diagrams/guides to this on the net.

3 shapes for every chord if possible - low, mid, high. Rehearse 'em in simple sequences.

I still do much of this stuff every day to start with. Don't let anything get in the way. If you really want to play you must put in the time.
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#5 User is offline   capmaster 

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Posted 03 August 2016 - 08:56 PM

To my own undesirable experiences, adopting bad habits happens much faster than getting rid of them. This trouble has been my companion again and again all through the years. <_<

Over time I found out that most of my limitations are due to sloppy positioning of the entire guitar, and in particular of either fretting and picking hand. My basic posture working best is guitar body right in front of my belly with it's centre between breast bone and navel. To obtain best playing comfort, the neck's up angle is somewhere between 20 and 30 degrees, depending on guitar build and the reach required for the 1st fret. Also depending on the guitar model, I need some 5 or 10 degrees horizontal angle with the neck pointing forward.

To go further into details, I found that keeping the fretting hand's thumb tip on the neck's back rather slanted than skewed right behind the middle finger is best for precision and endurance as well. The fretting hand should be free of any forces besides fretting with the thumb holding up precisely just the other fingers.

Resting the picking hand's forearm may include holding up neck heaviness - making it a task for the fretting hand is not a good idea although rather common. This would hinder the fretting hand's activities and may badly wear down finish. (Some of our bassist's basses prove that impressively along their necks' treble edges.) Otherwise it is only about making picking comfortable, depending on applied technique and desired attack position. The latter can be well defined as with use of palm muting, or take the hand freely floating over the top.

The period I played with a dance & show band in the 1980's was pretty instructive for me. I learned that different musical and playing styles may help in developing various ruts to choose from. There was lots of lane changes required then... [biggrin]
DVCVNT VOLENTEM FATA NOLENTEM TRAHVNT
(The Fates lead the willing and drag those who are unwilling.)
Lucius Annaeus Seneca
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#6 User is offline   kidblast 

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Posted 04 August 2016 - 09:14 AM

you didn't mention if you were playing with others or 100% just working on your own.

If you're not working with other musicians, try to find some like minded folks to jam with on a regular basis.
/Ray
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#7 User is offline   Versatile 

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Posted 16 August 2016 - 10:53 AM

Go to jam sessions and open mic events

Ease in to the friendly supportive ethos

Watch, listen and learn

Enjoy

V

:-({|=
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or somewhere
Lower and Warmer....

I like kayaking....it really floats my boat....

I dig most stuff....
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#8 User is offline   Adam M 

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Posted 18 August 2016 - 05:50 AM

Thanks guys some great ideas.
Mainly playing at home on my own so trying to play with other guitarists is something I want to do. I try to jam along with some backing tracks in the meantime. I also am trying to make time to get some extra practice in. I am getting up an hour earlier to get an hour of practice in and then in the evening I play for fun.
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#9 User is offline   goldtop2 

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Posted 22 August 2016 - 11:34 AM

View PostAdam M, on 18 August 2016 - 05:50 AM, said:

Thanks guys some great ideas.
Mainly playing at home on my own so trying to play with other guitarists is something I want to do. I try to jam along with some backing tracks in the meantime. I also am trying to make time to get some extra practice in. I am getting up an hour earlier to get an hour of practice in and then in the evening I play for fun.

Your playing a Kramer now or looking into one?
2000's Les Paul Studio
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#10 User is offline   Adam M 

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Posted 23 August 2016 - 05:39 AM

View Postgoldtop2, on 22 August 2016 - 11:34 AM, said:

Your playing a Kramer now or looking into one?


my Les Paul Studio is the guitar I've been playing all the time since I got it about a month ago or so. can't put it down.

the Kramer was my main one for the past year or so. I try to mix it up a bit.
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#11 User is offline   goldtop2 

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Posted 24 August 2016 - 05:26 PM

View PostAdam M, on 23 August 2016 - 05:39 AM, said:

my Les Paul Studio is the guitar I've been playing all the time since I got it about a month ago or so. can't put it down.

the Kramer was my main one for the past year or so. I try to mix it up a bit.

SO I guess your running through a Peavey too?
2000's Les Paul Studio
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#12 User is offline   Adam M 

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Posted 25 August 2016 - 08:29 AM

View Postgoldtop2, on 24 August 2016 - 05:26 PM, said:

SO I guess your running through a Peavey too?


Actually I've been mainly playing through my computer recently. Not out of choice but where I live it's difficult to use an Amp. I had a Vox VT-40 but I sold it. I have an old Orange crush 15r laying around and a Blackstar fly 3 for now. Not ideal as I really want to play these guitars through a proper tube amp.

I am going to move next year with this in mind!
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#13 User is offline   baconandcoffee 

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Posted 31 August 2016 - 09:37 AM

I learned to play by playing along with albums and music that I liked. Still do. Don't worry about getting it exactly right, note for note: if you're just collecting ideas, just go with it and play along. If there are different versions of a song on youtube, listen to them and see how the song changes but stays the same. Play the melody, or the bass part, horn part, or piano part. Check out the Stones' "Sympathy for the Devil" where the lead guitar and the piano echo each other and dance around a bit. If there's really a part that I want to nail, I'll work on it till it's good, but otherwise I pick up licks and ideas from playing along like I'm another guitar in the band. I listen to a lot of old country blues, and you can sometimes hear a violin imitating the trills of a mandolin, or vice versa. I wouldn't worry too much about doing it "right" as long as you're doing it. Imagine telling Hendrix or Les Paul they were doing it wrong because their playing didn't conform to existing expectations. Same goes for Ornette Coleman or Rostrapovitch. Getting the feel of the music is more important, in my opinion, than technique, because technique without feel isn't music, it's just a bunch of notes. The music is a combination of the notes and the space between the notes. Listen to anything that catches your ear and try to play along. Practice makes better.
Also, getting into the routine of regular practice helps a ton and keeps the ideas flowing, even if they are not at first. If I play a gig and I haven't touched a guitar in a week, I feel like I'm faking it till midway through or so. The more regularly you can play, the easier it is to have things to play, and it really does build returns on your investment of time. Also, I think of it as play rather than practice. There may be less efficient ways to practice, but there is no wrong way to play. That's what works for me- maybe that'll help.

RC
'33 A-00, '34 L50 w/monkey on a stick pickup, '37 Martin R-17, '38 Oahu Hawaiian, '72 Alvarez 5053, '76 Electra Elvin Bishop model, '99 b-bender Tele, banjos, fiddles, etc.
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#14 User is offline   OldCowboy 

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Posted 09 October 2016 - 07:51 AM

Blues is about how you feel. Once the guitar essentials are in there, let 'em reflect your feelings and the formalities and technical proficiency will take care of themselves. As the Man once remarked: "Lightnin' change when Lightnin' WANT to change."
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