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Posted: 6/12/2009 1:20:28 PM EST
Hey guys. I have been playing guitar off and on for I guess close to 20 years and really never taken it very seriously. I can handle most basic chords. If I listen to something I can noodle around and pick out a few notes or copy a lick or two, but nothing serious.

I want to devote a little more time to it and get better and maybe eventually be able to write songs. But I don't have time between work and family for lessons from a pro.

What can I do on my own to take the next step? Books? Software? Videos?

Recommendations welcome. Thanks.
Link Posted: 6/12/2009 1:49:55 PM EST
You will not progress without practice. Structured, goal oriented practice done regularly and often is best.

That's that. If you can't make time for lessons or dedicated practice sessions, you won't become a better player.

I'm like that myself. I've never had good practice habits. Now, I have to ask myself, how good do you think I COULD
have been if I'd practiced just half an hour a day, EVERY day, with one structure half hour lesson per week, since I first picked
up the guitar in 1984?

If I'd dont that, odds are that I'd be a pretty damned good player right now. and if I'd chosen to gig, well known in several
counties, maybe even half the state.

But I'm a hack. A hack that doesn't practice much, but I do wank around...with incredible tone but little in the way of a repertoire.

Link Posted: 6/12/2009 2:14:58 PM EST
I can devote time to practice, but I don't know what to practice. I can keep playing House of the Rising Sun until I can do it with my eyes closed, but I'm not sure where that really gets me.

Maybe I've overstated my abilities in the OP: I know HOW to make chords but I don't know how to play many songs at all.

Link Posted: 6/12/2009 2:24:27 PM EST
[Last Edit: 6/12/2009 2:26:36 PM EST by AmericanPatriot]
Justin Guitar.com is a good lesson site.

Check out the Spider finger exercise : http://justinguitar.com/images/TE_images/TE-002-TheSpider-tab.pdf

I hack too but found learning major and minor scales and the spider exercise opened a door for improvised solo stuff.
Link Posted: 6/12/2009 3:58:31 PM EST
Can you spare one hour per week to learn something new? Sure you can, if you make it a priority.

So go take lessons once a week. First focus on learning to read sheet music. THEN, you can browse
virtually libraries full of sheet music and learn an amazing variety of songs.

Yes, you can manage the time commitment IF it becomes important for you. It's your choice.


Link Posted: 6/12/2009 7:27:26 PM EST
I am just learning to play, and I made sure that I found a teacher that could work around my schedule. It takes time management, but if you can't get a teacher then ebay has some great info on there.
Link Posted: 6/12/2009 7:32:38 PM EST
Find a friend or a teacher who knows technique. Get them to show you some basic scales and correct your bad habits, then practice them 30 minutes a night, over and over. Up, then back down. Then move up a fret and repeat. Once you get one down cold, get them to show you another, or different patterns of the same scale like a 3 note coil. Made a lot of difference for me. If you don't have a skilled friend check out a book called the Guitar Grimoire. All of the info is there, just none of the technique that makes it easier.
Link Posted: 6/13/2009 6:50:27 AM EST
[Last Edit: 6/13/2009 6:52:42 AM EST by Green_Canoe]
Originally Posted By JCKnife:
I can devote time to practice, but I don't know what to practice. I can keep playing House of the Rising Sun until I can do it with my eyes closed, but I'm not sure where that really gets me.

Maybe I've overstated my abilities in the OP: I know HOW to make chords but I don't know how to play many songs at all.

Get a band together: The old college gang and I decided to revive the old days with one new member who had just started playing guitar. It was the new guys dream to be a rock star on his 40th B-day. We started when he was 37 when he had been playing for only a few months. By the time he was forty he was a rock star. We just picked a set list and started learning and practicing. Near the end we got together every few months (we're separated by hundreds of miles) to practice as a band. Now he has ten songs he can get on stage and play and a hunger to do it again. We are now working on our next set list of ten songs.

I find I like to practice best to youtube videos. I pick a song I like, and download the tabs to speed up the learning process. The I practice the entire song just a couple times a day and in a few weeks I'll have it down, except for the solo. The solo will usually take a few hours of dedicated practice (a little less fun than doing the verse, chorus, bridge that forms the meat of the song).

P.S. I'm not a great guitar player, like CJ I just don't pratice enough. I might play 5-6 mights a week for 15-30 minutes and once on the weekend for an hour. If only I'd gotten a lesson 2 or four times a month when I started in 1989 and practiced 1/2 hour each night. We had a "warm up" band of 15 year old kids that take lessons and practice as a band twice a week at the 40-th B-day gig. They blew us away with their skill. Those kids weren't even born when I started playing.
Link Posted: 6/13/2009 7:56:45 AM EST
I know how you feel. I've only been playing guitar for a little over 2 years and all I've been doing is learning tabs. I don't have a good grasp of chords or scales and I lack a good routine of practice.

I picked up a bass guitar a few weeks ago and as we speak I'm downloading lessons so I can do this right.
Link Posted: 6/13/2009 12:33:15 PM EST
[Last Edit: 6/13/2009 12:34:42 PM EST by llamanator]
I took lessons, they were not extremely benefical to me, even though I had a real shredder of a teacher.

When I first started I was into punk, you know, POWER CHORDS FOR EVERYTHNG, and after about a year and half
I got into metalcore like as I lay dying, BTBAM, KSE, still remains, sikth, PTH and that stuff really progressed me
real fast. I really do believe, the music you play, can sometimes determine how fast you progress (but then
again, i practiced ALOT in the start)

RATM really got me into alternate picking well, considering the badass riffs morello wrote.
I'd sit for hours at a time, taking one sweep picking pattern and go slow for ever.

Now, 4.3 years later, I can sweep very well, and can play quite well (though I know I'm lacking
in areas I should not be). I can sweep very fast, and very effective but I'm poor at playing
licks, and shred licks, which I should be at par with sweeping, just need to sit there again,
for hours on one lick.

Just take it one step at a time, go SLOW, no matter how frustrating it can be, go SLOW and work your way up.
Just remember to altnerate pick everything (inless sweepiing) and when you start getting frustrated, give it
a break for a half hour or so.

Now adays, I don't play as much as I should or would like too. With school, my full time job
and other things I don't generally have hours upon hours to sit there on one pattern like I did when
i was 14.

What type of music is it that you play?

edit: Use guitat pro 5.1 or the newest version, just download it. I will not use anything else whne I learn a song. Best Program ever.
Link Posted: 6/13/2009 3:56:42 PM EST
One of my favorite ways to practice is simply to LEARN A SONG. One that sounds good on a single guitar played alone. Big bonus points if it sounds good
on an ACOUSTIC guitar. I've been tripped up on this method a few times when I decided, after I'd started learning the song, that it was more complex
than originally anticipated, and used techniques that I'm weak on. Like the fingerpicking section...and I didn't have any fingerpicking ability. But now
you've got a reason to learn a little of that.

I once worked out a song I'd heard many times, in an easy, common sense fingering from end to end, in standard tuning. Then later I found the sheet
music to that song and it was played in non-standard tuning originally. Actually my fingerings are easier in standard tuning than the original tuning
version, and it sounds just as good. Sometimes you win a prize when you try to figure it out yourself!

Here's an example of the sort of song I like to sit down and figure out for myself. With or without a little help.

Link Posted: 6/16/2009 4:12:52 PM EST
WHat style are you interested in playing, JC?
Link Posted: 6/16/2009 4:42:07 PM EST
[Last Edit: 6/16/2009 4:43:11 PM EST by JCKnife]

Originally Posted By Fingerpicker:
WHat style are you interested in playing, JC?

Primarily classic rock-type stuff, but also some country.

Good advice in this thread. Thank you.

ETA: I've played more in the last week than in the last 6 months. Fun to get back into it. If I keep it up I can justify an equipment upgrade.

Link Posted: 6/16/2009 5:37:09 PM EST
So what have you been using to learn. Is it working well for you.
Link Posted: 6/16/2009 6:40:30 PM EST

Originally Posted By deadpool31:
So what have you been using to learn. Is it working well for you.

So far I've just been getting used to playing again. Just noodling around. It's funny how stuff you haven't played in years, and you couldn't tell somebody how to play, but your hands remember.

Link Posted: 6/17/2009 12:39:48 PM EST

On demand, detailed video lessons for $20/mo. There's hundreds of hours of stuff.
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