Sucking after 20 years please help

Discussion in 'Beginners/FAQ' started by Beagledad70, Apr 21, 2019.

  1. Beagledad70

    Beagledad70 Member

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    I have been playing guitar for 20years and i still don't feel like i can pick/strum properly. .. .I play met in Drop C so i have always played rythym but now im trying to learn how to play lead. I have never felt comfortable enough to play anything because i suck so that is why I've always played in drop d I wish I could play other stuff I wish I could play something other than a power cord but the truth is that's all I know how to play and then when I pick I make the huge circles I'm just not very precise even after all these years of course in 1973 I was struck by a vehicle going 40 miles an hour that cause me brain damage and I had to go in a coma for 10 days but I'm normal I'm perfectly normal I've just got a little bit of hand dexterity issues not bad just a little I don't know how to play anybody else's song because I've never felt confident enough I guess it's just a grown-up I had so many people telling me I can't do this and I can't do that I'm afraid to try because I know how it felt to be a failure when I couldn't do. .. .. but what's my picking hand I make huge circles I'm just not precise can you give me any suggestions or any suggestions on a easy chord other than power cord that I can jam along with this easy? and yes I've signed up with guitar tracks and all those sites but I am I'm eit to advance for not advanced enough on these patients you know I felt like I was watching for 2 hours over stuff I already knew a lot of times so that's why I thought I'd ask for you if you guys have any suggestions where she could help me in any way so I can learn to play something other than that po other than your typical smoke on the water and junk like that you know how it is so any help let me know please guys it was just hard growing up in people telling you you can't do anything even in my early twenties I would get a job in the employer would say you didn't catch on fast enough so we have to let you go and after you do that number of times did a cell you just didn't feel very good so that's that's why I kind of am with my guitar player where I am so please help me if you guys can
     
  2. Mathemagician

    Mathemagician SS.org Regular

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    You want short term help? Learn some solos by bands you like. You’ll start noticing it’s mostly technique practice. Plenty of solos “sound cool” but aren’t even very musical and are often just repeating patterns. Then things like sweep picking is just playing an arpeggio along with a metronome.

    As someone who very recently started learning to play the rhythm parts to songs I can 100% say that properly playing rhythm in time is way harder than playing a solo for 20 seconds.
     
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  3. DudeManBrother

    DudeManBrother Hey...how did everybody get in my room?

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    Start with a super basic triad. Hopefully you’ll start to “see” what’s happening with the fret board. Just skip the low string for now, as I don’t know if you plan on tuning it up to D, or keeping it dropped at C.

    (Ref standard tuning) from the A string play the 7th fret, D string the 6th fret, and G string the 4th fret (x764xx) this is an E major triad. It has the root (E) major 3rd (G#) and perfect 5th (B). You can easily turn this into an E Minor triad by shifting the 3rd down a fret (x754xx) EGB which is the root, a minor 3rd, and perfect 5th.

    You can extend this into the next octave, picking each note individually (arpeggio) as such: (x7645[4-7 both on high e string]) for E Major; and (x7545[3-7]) for E Minor. This shape can be applied all along the A string for simple triads and arpeggios of all the chords.
     
  4. KnightBrolaire

    KnightBrolaire Drink Sunny D, pet kitties.

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    some words of wisdom from guys I've met in the military regarding doing difficult tasks :
    "how do you eat an elephant?" "a bite at a time"
    "how do you get rid of a dead hooker?" "chop her up into manageable chunks"

    find solos you want to learn, find the tabs (or learn them by ear if you can do so) and slowly take each measure bit by bit, learn the parts and try to get everything up to the song's normal speed with a metronome.
     
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  5. LiveOVErdrive

    LiveOVErdrive CNC hack

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    If you can afford it, take lessons. But take them with someone who will teach you fundamentals. A lot of "guitar teachers" I've had over the years have basically just given me tabs of songs to play without much technical instruction.
     
  6. Crundles

    Crundles SS.org Regular

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    As LiveOVErdrive said, taking personal lessons with a teacher will be the fastest way, if you can afford them and can find a decent teacher.

    If you have problems with your actual physical picking, you can take a look at Troy Grady's Cracking the Code stuff (or Ben Eller's youtube videos on picking/pickslanting) - there's some free stuff, but you can also try a month or two of the paid subscription, to get the absolute basics under hand.

    For theory/fretboard knowledge, I bought Troy Stetina's Fretboard Mastery. I haven't actually practiced the things, I just went through it, and it seems pretty comprehensive and useful - you could try it, going slowly through each section. I'm pretty sure you can also find a PDF online, depending on how you feel about piracy/how much money you can afford to spend.

    And as a lot of people have said, you can take songs you like, get tabs, and play the sections you like really, really slowly. This is what I did myself, ages ago, when I was feeling really bad about my own playing - I took a break from all exercises, I took a tab for Keith Merrow's Spice Dealer, and just went through it at a glacial tempo. Picked up some really cool sounding licks and bits.
     
  7. erdiablo666

    erdiablo666 Do not go Djently

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    Lot of really good advice here. I'm going to say get a good teacher. If you're in a medium or big urban center you can find a jazz or metal guy that will analyse what you're doing physically and help you correct it. You don't have to go for months and months of lessons, just make it clear that you're wanting to focus on some specific stuff.

    You've been playing for 20 years so obviously you enjoy it, don't get down on yourself. It's not a contest.
     
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  8. InCasinoOut

    InCasinoOut syncopAZN

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    I get what you're trying to say here, but that just isn't true. You can't help someone by telling them things that aren't true.
     
  9. c7spheres

    c7spheres SS.org Regular

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    To start with stop making big circles with your pick hand. An easy thing to do is practice up and down picking over a scale. Learn the "A pentatonic" or an "A blues hexatonic scale" you can google it. Just star on the low string and pick down on the first note with almost no pressure at all, just enough to make the note sound. Also, press the left hand finger with just enough pressure to make the note sound as well. It's all about feeling loose. Then pick the next note in the scale with an up stroke, then the next note and all the way up the neck, then when finished, go backwards from high to low string what you just did. This is acending and descending the scale using up and down picking. Also, make sure to play really slow. A good tempo to start at is 60bpm, the same as a ticking clock. play 1 note per second and make sure each note fully rings out for that entire second and stops the moment you play the next note, you can use left hand pressure to slightly relieve pressure on the note so it stops ringing. This is called a left hand finger mute. If the note buzzes then that it to little pressure. This pressure will vary based on the guitars setup tension you are playing on and also what note you are playing, but just slightly. Also, while moving from one string to the next do not pause or rush between notes. Keep playing in one continuous and steady fluid motion. If you have trouble doing that then go back to the point before that note and master it. For ex. start with the first 2 notes and make sure everything is perfect and fluid and smooth. It is not about playing the notes, it's about playing them smooth and fluidly without issue. once you start to develop this ability along with the ability to do it smoothly between strings and ascending and decending with alternate picking as well, then you will very easily start to progress to other patterns/scales etc. Once you are comfortable with this then you can try starting with an up stroke instead of a down stroke which is harder than it seems at first. Then you can move on to playing faster or with doing different rhythm patterns such as quarter notes, eigth notes, triplets etc. all to the same 60bpm. after this you can work on playing faster or with using techniques such as bends slides etc. The main thing is to develop flow and smoothness and consistency then to move on to other things. You can obviously try other things before mastering these things, but they really souldn't be your focus. You can work on things in spare time or as alternate lessons as well such as playing a lead from a song you like. You can use the A minor pentatonic and hexatonic scales i was talking about to learn to play with changes over the classic cowboy chords (C,A,G,E, D) and blues progressions such as basic I-IV-V (like C,F,G) etc. slowly and properly with only a little pushing yourself really hard physically like maybe 10%of the time is a good measure, but as you progress you may end up pushing yourself faster. Be careful that if you feel like you have tired hands or muscles or hand pains to take a rest for a day or 2 to let them properly heal and recover, because you will be slower after you hit that point and make more mistakes etc. Also, be sure to not over stretch by stretching to often or to hard. This can lead to problems too.
     
  10. mastapimp

    mastapimp SS.org Regular

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    Face to face lessons is the way to go. The instructor can assess what you're good at and what you're lacking and go from there, helping you build up the tools you need to play what you want. Watching a video online is only a one-way kind of lesson. You won't get feedback about what you're doing right or wrong. Good luck!
     
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  11. Mathemagician

    Mathemagician SS.org Regular

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    I think we’re both slightly misunderstanding each other. I’ll clarify what I think I’m saying, then you tell me how you read it.

    Learning a solo is FUN. You only really play something a few times max, so it’s mostly memorization and working the speed up. That’s it. You can play a shredded sweep picking solo at 20% speed and you’ve still learned it. Now you have to put in the time to speed it up. That’s it. Once you get the “solo” up to speed in proper time you’re done.

    Rhythm guitar is frankly more patience than anything else. “For me” patiently playing a rhythm part and remembering that the 5th pass is truncated because we go into the bridge is actually VERY difficult. With rhythm guitar it’s the “waiting” that is difficult as it requires me to consciously focus on “where we are in the song/play it again”. It’s a different skill but it is harder to keep rhythm parts in many songs straight versus just memorizing a sentence.
     
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  12. Konfyouzd

    Konfyouzd certainly uncertain Contributor

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    Record yourself. It makes you use a metronome and you'd be amazed how good you get at playing something after playing it solo'd to a metronome 150 times because you almost nailed that last take. :lol:

    You also sometimes notice that when you play stuff back you're not nearly as bad as you thought.

    Just have fun and don't judge yourself so much when you play. Make the sounds you wanna hear and let others do the same. :yesway:
     
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  13. spudmunkey

    spudmunkey SS.org Regular

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    How do you get better after sucking for 20? Don't listen to me. I've been sucking for 30. :lol:
     
  14. stevexc

    stevexc SS.org Regular

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    Doesn't your jaw get tir- oh, at guitar.

    ~15 years here. I should really look into getting a teacher. If not for guitar, at least for comedy.
     
  15. spudmunkey

    spudmunkey SS.org Regular

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    I partially blame my teachers for never correcting my bad habits, and didn't actually teach me any theory. I basically would bring in tapes of songs I wanted to learn, they would teach me a sort of "easy guitar book" version, and skip the hard parts. By the time I tried getting a REAL teacher about 20 years ago, I already had a decade of bad technique under my belt that I haven't been able to shake...so I gave up trying to progress, and just have fun where I am.
     
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  16. spudmunkey

    spudmunkey SS.org Regular

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    [​IMG]
     
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  17. Emperoff

    Emperoff Hasta la vista, Baby Contributor

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    Get yourself a good teacher. Watching disappointment face on your teacher when he realizes you didn't practice shit from your last lesson is the BEST motivation you can find. Because you even paid for it.

    Get a teacher.

    I was taught by the guy behind one of the most successful bands of my country. I quit because even though he could play his ass off, he sucked at teaching. The only good teachers I ever had moved to other places because life happens.
     
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  18. spudmunkey

    spudmunkey SS.org Regular

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    How does the saying go? "A good sheep does not a shepherd make" or something like that?

    I could see that the guy I went to after 10 years probably could have done a good job, but I was too impatient, and worked 2.5 jobs at the time, so I just couldn't make the time to progress fast enough to justify his cost. Seemed like a good teacher, though. He had such great feel to his playing, too.

    He was the lead guitar player in this band. No, not the Symphony X...a Symphone X. Ha! I think they were founded within like a year or two of the Symphony X. :lol:

     
  19. 777timesgod

    777timesgod Stop reading this...I said stop!

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    Why do I get the feeling that they were dishonourably discharged? "She was dead when I got here Sergeant I swear, I just picked up the axe that was on the floor to clean it" :rofl:

    To the OP, a good way of improving is to categorize your favorite songs into difficulty groups and slowly work your way up. It is important to be aware of what you can and cannot do at the early stages. I had many songs that I wanted to play when I started but I knew they were out of my range at the time, so I put them aside.

    Check YouTube videos with instruction details , if you cannot afford a teacher locally, there are many great tips and they do not cost a thing.
     
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  20. chopeth

    chopeth SS.org Regular

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    Same here, my teacher always was late with the previous student before I reach the music school, let's say I had to wait for 15 min. before my lesson started. Then, when the student went out, he apologized and beg me to wait a little more. He had to have his smoke, and also brought some copies of chord charts for me to practice. 10 minutes later he brought that and eyed me for half and hour, coming in and out of the room a couple of times more. Finally he asked me to have the last ten minutes of the lesson for a cigarrette.

    Everybody at the music school was baffled when I said I quit a couple of months later.
     

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