How can I progress?

Discussion in 'Playing and Technique' started by hhawkins, Mar 10, 2015.

  1. hhawkins

    hhawkins Member

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    I've been playing guitar for about 13 years now. I play mainly blues and gain influence from guys like Robben Ford, Robert Cray, Jimi Hendrix and Guthrie Govan.

    I started of playing lots of Zeppelin stuff and my playing evolved from there on. I have also been playing piano since I was 7 so I feel I have a good solid knowledge of music theory. All in all, I would consider myself an advanced guitarist. I've learned all the modes and played them differently (in thirds, sixths, sequences etc). I feel I play blues pretty good and can effectively alternate between the major and minor pentatonic and the blues scale and also the diminished scale when suitable.

    I suppose it's maybe more a technique thing that I think about when I think about progressing. Guys like Robben Ford and Robert Cray might not have a blistering legato technique, but what they do, they do very well and always seem to hit the right notes at the right time. For the most part, I can also seem to play the right notes which is great. I love the blues and it where I can really let go and express myself.

    But then I see guys like Guthrie Govan and I am in awe of their technique. I love the way he alternate picks effortlessly, executes smooth legato lines like they're easy and at the same time, no matter what speed, he always seems to play the right notes and it all sounds amazing.

    So maybe it's a technique thing I need to focus on. I'm not sure. But if you like minded guitarists who are perhaps more experienced than I am can offer any tips/advice, I would be most grateful.

    Thanks.
     
  2. stevel

    stevel Member

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    Get an instructor.

    It is the absolute quickest way to improve - especially in areas where you may not realize you can improve but it will turn out they'll be of great benefit in the future.

    Obviously, you need to find someone who can help you reach your goals. That can be tough but it's well worth the investment.
     
  3. Play by Tone

    Play by Tone Member

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    This.

    My challenge has always been trying to find someone who could relate theory to me in a way that makes sense to how I perceive things. I've taken some lessons before, from great people, learned some things...but I don't know what really stuck.

    There is a guy on this board, Mark Cuthbertson (aka suckamc), who offers lessons via Skype. Mark is a very cool guy, who is great at explaining theory in whatever way makes sense to you. The guy is a beast, if you've ever seen anything he's posted around here...great improvisor, and very knowledgable. Best of all, he's out there actually doing this stuff for a living. I just saw him on TV last week. Give him a shot. He already doesn't charge enough for the level of knowledge and ability he possesses.
     
  4. ShawnH

    ShawnH Member

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    Personally I would say branch out a little. Try some different styles. Try playing with your fingers (right hand) if you always use a pick. Pick up an acoustic guitar once in a while. etc.


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  5. bayAreaDude

    bayAreaDude Member

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    How often do you practice with a metronome? Does music theory interest you?
     
  6. PatMcD

    PatMcD Member

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    I have to disagree with the advise to get an instructor, it seems like you already have a solid foundation and what you lack is your own style (just based on what you've written, I don't mean to offend.) You mentioned three great players all with very different approaches to the guitar, so it's not a specific technique you're after. Yet each of those players shares the fact they've crafted their own style. That style is easily recognizable to their fans, and it drives their composing, phrasing and communication of ideas. Surely that's something that no instructor can provide. As to how someone goes about developing their own style, I wish I knew, but I wouldn't pour any money into lessons if anything I've said relates to you.
     
  7. LagunaMan

    LagunaMan Member

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    Can you pick up a guitar and just make up a tune on the spot? That would be my goal and then I would be looking for technique to help me play what I hear in my head. So, musical idea first and then followed by technique and not technique of some musician first followed by musical idea, imo.
     
  8. hhawkins

    hhawkins Member

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    I play blues, jazz, classic rock etc.mi also play piano so I can transfer both musical ideas and theory across both instruments. I play with my fingers a lot...sort of in the style of Jeff Beck and Mark Knopfler. Love the different tone I can get with my fingers.
     
  9. hhawkins

    hhawkins Member

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    Yes, I have been able to do that for quite a few years now. I also play piano so my ear training has been significantly improved to the point I can comfortably play ideas that come into my head on both guitar and piano. I have also developed perfect pitch through extensively playing by ear.
     
  10. hhawkins

    hhawkins Member

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    I agree with you. My style is mainly blues but I don't find I need a teacher because I find that Im on the same (if not a more advanced) level than most of the teachers round my area. I Think it's just that when I play faster lines sometime (I mean Guthrie Govan fast....not that I can ever be that fast lol) my hands sometimes seize up.

    Thanks for the advice :)
     
  11. hhawkins

    hhawkins Member

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    Music theory interests me greatly. I practice with a metronome occasionally.
     
  12. GovernorSilver

    GovernorSilver Member

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    A good teacher will give you a lot more than just technique. The teacher is supposed to guide to to where you want to go, in all aspects of musicianship, not just technique. So those aspects would include music theory, ideas for improving your phrasing, how to tell a story in your solos, etc. as well as identifying things that you may not be aware of that you need to work on (this may include things that you think you're solid on - time is an infamous example).
     
  13. bayAreaDude

    bayAreaDude Member

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    One thing you could do is concentrate on rhythm for a period of time. Explore lots of different time signature at different tempos. Use the metronome to develop a really strong internal sense of time.

    Theory is an almost infinite topic of study given our life spans. It could take one years to fully explore all the topics in Piston's Harmony and Levine's Jazz Theory, and those are just a couple great tomes.
     
  14. Jon

    Jon Member

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    I think technique should evolve from creativity i.e. you develop the technique required to play the music that you want to create - if you want to play some really fast lead stuff, then write a bunch of tunes that would require you to play in that way - if you're recording them in something like Logic/Cubase then you can record your solos and see how that's working.

    In terms of technique there are loads of resources available - Try Grady's youtube series, Guitar Speed Trainer Software, and Paul Gilbert's online lessons are a few that spring to mind - I would really try to develop a fairly regimented practice schedule based on the common recurring ideas in a lot of these courses, and keep a log of what you've done.
     
  15. PatMcD

    PatMcD Member

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    Cool, what you described (a feeling of frustration, and sensing your own potential without knowing how to reach that potential) seems like something I went through a few years ago. At the time I was taking lessons from a brilliant and knowledgable guitar player. While I was learning knew things every week, I had this unshakeable feeling that I was only learning how to sound like him, rather than me. Sometimes it's important to look inward to progress instead of looking outward.

    As for your hand, I hope it's not serious. I find wearing the guitar higher on your body for a more relaxed postured for your hand and wrist is important, if you're not already doing that. Although, a low-strung guitar definitely looks cooler haha. I hope this helps
     

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