• New Sponsor: ShipNerd, Ship Your Gear with Us... for less! Click Here.

"Non-Schooled" guitar players, ever gone back to the beginning & started from scratch

coolhand78

Member
Messages
3,575
just wondering after years of playing if you've ever decided to go back to the beginning and learn guitar, either with a teacher or on your own, from scratch... eg. melbay book 1 type thing...?

if so how'd you go and was it beneficial?

I've reached a point in my playing where im frustrated as hell to the point that i'm not that keen to pick up my guitar when normally i cant put the thing down, i'm finding that my playing isn't particuarly musical or inventive and frankly I'm looking for something that will help me improve to the point where i'd feel comfortable soloing in front of a crowd with a decent band... My rhythm playing is okay and i'm not particularly down on that but lately soloing is atrocious and I really need work here...
 

Gear_Hog

Member
Messages
12
Don't get down on yourself. We all reach flat spots on our learning curve.
And have times of frustration. Books, dvd's or lessons, all can be motivating. Learn a new song and steal some of the licks or riff's. play around with a technique like legato or tapping, anything different from what you normally do will make it fun and interesting again. Playing guitar is a never ending journey of learning and anybody who is any good is still trying to play better.

Play on and good luck.....
 

coolhand78

Member
Messages
3,575
Don't get down on yourself. We all reach flat spots on our learning curve.
And have times of frustration. Books, dvd's or lessons, all can be motivating. Learn a new song and steal some of the licks or riff's. play around with a technique like legato or tapping, anything different from what you normally do will make it fun and interesting again. Playing guitar is a never ending journey of learning and anybody who is any good is still trying to play better.

Play on and good luck.....
cheers mate

as an exercise, i downloaded the steinway metronome ap on my iphone and sat down going through the modes at 60bpm, was actually more difficult than i'd anticipated given that i haven't practiced to a metronome for a while... I found it quite difficult to make it groove and breathe the way i'd like...

listening to guys like larry carlton play scales and it just sounds musical... i'm trying to acheive that as well as peice together cohesive solo's... i just fumble...
 

Gear_Hog

Member
Messages
12
cheers mate

as an exercise, i downloaded the steinway metronome ap on my iphone and sat down going through the modes at 60bpm, was actually more difficult than i'd anticipated given that i haven't practiced to a metronome for a while... I found it quite difficult to make it groove and breathe the way i'd like...

listening to guys like larry carlton play scales and it just sounds musical... i'm trying to acheive that as well as peice together cohesive solo's... i just fumble...

Cheers right back at ya...

An iPhone metranome app is a great place to start.There are a lot of apps for guitar players i have a bunch of them on my iphone. youtube is also a great place for info and inspiration.
Every time I sit down to practice I run the major scale in all positions using a metranome app. I play all sixteenth notes then triplets then I mix and match the triplets and sixteenth's. you can do this with the pentatonic scale also. Start slow and gradually increase the speed.
I will also play sixteenth's and triplets or even sextuplets on one string to warm up my picking hand always using the metranome. If you start to get bored you can use small sections of any scale and play something melodic while still playing with the metranome.
You must be patient with yourself. You may not notice improvement for a while but I guarantee that you will improve. There are a lot of other post's on this board with great practice routines, look them up. Add a new routine every other week or so.
Patience and practice are key.

Best of luck..... Play on.
 
Messages
2,916
Don't look at it as going back to the beginning or going backwards. Instead think of it as filling in the gaps in your knowledge. Everyone has them.

Finding a teacher is a good idea, they should be able to help you figure out what you don't know and relate it to what you do know.

With work/practice there's no reason you can't play in a similar style to Larry Carlton or any other guitarist.

Good luck.
 

gtrbarbarian

Gold Supporting Member
Messages
2,021
You don't need to go back to the beginning...you can go back to _basics_ if you want to work out a rough patch technique wise.

Is it physical technique (i.e. you don't have fluidity in your playing) or is it creativity that you're having frustration with? Physical technique can be worked out through exercises. Like others have said, everyone goes through places where you hit a rut... maybe your ear needs to be inspired to take you in a new direction musically?

Maybe you need to expand your music collection and find some songs that are different from your current rotation...whether melodically, harmonically or rhythmically. This should re-inspire your ear enough to take you in a new direction....

I'm not sure what genres of music you're into, but listening to/learning things like bluegrass, classical or jazz...or even music from another culture (Indian, Japanese or African for instance....) is a good way to recharge your "musical batteries".

As for soloing approaches, you should read the thread on "lead guitar approaches"...some good advice from people in there on a similar topic...
 

Neer

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
12,716
One of the things you might want to try to do is to listen to others whose playing you really like and pinpoint the qualities that make their playing so good--the phrasing, the touch, the note choices, etc.
Absorb as much of it as you can and realize that when you are playing you are making a connection from your mind (ideas) to your fingers. The musical ideas come first--the fingers react to that. Ear training is essential.
It's not automatic--we have to develop vocabulary and musical thinking as well as our ears, and then transfer it into physical technique.

As you are doing this, you can also spend some time trying to digest some basic music theory, particularly scales and simple harmony.

Don't put too much pressure on yourself.
 

coolhand78

Member
Messages
3,575
One of the things you might want to try to do is to listen to others whose playing you really like and pinpoint the qualities that make their playing so good--the phrasing, the touch, the note choices, etc.

As you are doing this, you can also spend some time trying to digest some basic music theory, particularly scales and simple harmony.
not that Larry Carlton is my favorite guitar player, that title belongs to Clapton, but I do love his touch and musicality, the other one that I hold in very high regard is Robben Ford, his command of the instrument is truly remarkable... i've listened intently to these guys even learned solo from tab but i'm just not connecting the dots when it comes time to play over chords be it I IV V or other basic chord progressions.

I know the scales and chord theory and so forth but harmony is not something that i know much about so i'll have to delve in that a little more... any advice on where to start with this? Melody as well...?

You don't need to go back to the beginning...you can go back to _basics_ if you want to work out a rough patch technique wise.

Is it physical technique (i.e. you don't have fluidity in your playing) or is it creativity that you're having frustration with? Physical technique can be worked out through exercises. Like others have said, everyone goes through places where you hit a rut... maybe your ear needs to be inspired to take you in a new direction musically?

Maybe you need to expand your music collection and find some songs that are different from your current rotation...whether melodically, harmonically or rhythmically. This should re-inspire your ear enough to take you in a new direction....
there's absolutely no doubt that my inspiration levels have been low lately, i've not heard any new music that's inspired me for a while, so i've gone "back to basics" with my practicing... and focusing on technique hence pulling out the metronome and trying to improve timing, touch and picking technique...

thanks for the replies guys i appreciate it.
 

dewey decibel

Member
Messages
10,852
i've listened intently to these guys even learned solo from tab but i'm just not connecting the dots when it comes time to play over chords be it I IV V or other basic chord progressions.

I know the scales and chord theory and so forth but harmony is not something that i know much about so i'll have to delve in that a little more... any advice on where to start with this? Melody as well...?

Yeah, first off understand that it's not about scales, it's not about theory, it's about vocabulary. There's lots of tunes that have a I IV V progression, are you going to treat them all the same way? Are you going to play the same thing over Twist and Shout as would over The Tide is High as you would over Blitzkrieg Bop? And all of that is going to be much different then how you treat an old school sounding gutbucket blues, yet it's all the same changes. They're different genres and require a different vocabulary.

So the next question is; how do I get that vocabulary? The answer is by listening, transcribing, and playing. The theory is there to help you organize these things as you learn them.

So there's no need to start from scratch, there's no right way to learn. At the same time, yes a good teacher can help you assess where you're at and what you need to fill in. But the vocabulary, learning musical ideas and putting them into your bag (what I call the heavy lifting), that's up to you. A teacher can point you in the right direction, maybe give some insight, but what you do with it is up to you.
 

Clifford-D

Senior Member
Messages
17,045
Do I go back to the beginning? All the time, so that would mean the past is with me in the present, which means there is no past, only now.

At least that's what I thought yesterday
 

EvilHomer

Member
Messages
63
I'm sort of in the process of re-shooling myself right now, so yeah! I started out years ago as self taught, then went to music school, followed by lots of playing but little practice, followed by a couple of barren years with little playing and zero practice. So recently I started playing more actively again and realized how much I'd forgotten and how badly in shape I was, quite humbling/embarrassing. So for the last 5-6 weeks I've been woodshedding away: metronome, caged-system revisited, modese, technique excercices in front of the telly, ear training, the works. 3-5 hours per day and my goodness practice is fun again once you get over that first threshold where everything feels like crap! So I'd definately recommend it, it's very well worth the effort getting the fundamentals down (again, for some folks) so you can play with more confidence. We're all different, but for me just focusing on just one thing gets really boring real fast, so my suggestion would be to find 2-3 areas to focus on. Technique/timing/theory as an example, and mix it up a bit once your mind gets bored and starts drifting away.
 

Jeremy_Green

Member
Messages
1,159
How much time do you work on ear training? Or transcribing? Should be LOTS and for most people it is definitely not. I would say a better way of "starting over" wouldn't be with books... it would be with my album collection.

You like Clapton? Go back to the start of his career and lift entire albums. Then pick a new player and do the same. If you did this religiously for a period of months I suspect you'd have a WHOLE BOATLOAD of new toys to play with.

BTW - when I am at my MOST frustrated with my playing... it is usually just before a nice spike... so tough it out brother! It's worth the effort.
 

Hotspur

Member
Messages
375
just wondering after years of playing if you've ever decided to go back to the beginning and learn guitar, either with a teacher or on your own, from scratch... eg. melbay book 1 type thing...?
I considered it, looked at the first couple of chapters and realized it would be thoroughly uninteresting, and probably bore me away from playing the guitar.

I've reached a point in my playing where im frustrated as hell to the point that i'm not that keen to pick up my guitar when normally i cant put the thing down, i'm finding that my playing isn't particuarly musical or inventive and frankly I'm looking for something that will help me improve to the point where i'd feel comfortable soloing in front of a crowd with a decent band... My rhythm playing is okay and i'm not particularly down on that but lately soloing is atrocious and I really need work here...
Well, the first thing I'd ask you is: How's your ear? I feel strongly that a lack of musical inventiveness is strongly connected to a mediocre ear. I'd encourage you to download the functional ear trainer from miles.be and use it - it made a huge difference in the musicality of my solos, and it's free! Once you get a handle on that it might make sense to add a book like Wyatt et al's "Ear Training for the Contemporary Musician" (although my experience was that, until my ear reached a certain level of competence, I got much bigger rewards from the functional ear trainer).

The next thing to do would be to work on your fretboard knowledge, for which I recommend "The Guitar Fretboard Workbook."

Combine those two things and you've got a great grounding to spend time transcribing leads that appeal to you.

But I really suspect that your ear is the biggest problem. You don't need fast fingers or a lot of book knowledge to be able to play a great lead. Rather you need to be able to think in interesting melodic lines. Unless you've trained your ear well, you don't actually have the ability to think specifically in pitches - when you hear melodic ideas in your head, they're more like "the idea of pitches" than the pitches themselves.
 

Jeremy_Green

Member
Messages
1,159
this is precisely how i started playing guitar.

i bought




@ jc penney's in 4th grade and wore out several copies.
Most ... perhaps all ... of the best players I know started like that! Different albums, same idea. Mine was Black Sabbath - Paranoid
 

matte

Senior Member
Messages
10,418
i wish i would have started with paranoid!

hoec covered so much ground.

ec is still one of my absolute favourite players and the reason that i first picked up guitar.


Most ... perhaps all ... of the best players I know started like that! Different albums, same idea. Mine was Black Sabbath - Paranoid
 

coolhand78

Member
Messages
3,575
Well, the first thing I'd ask you is: How's your ear? I feel strongly that a lack of musical inventiveness is strongly connected to a mediocre ear. I'd encourage you to download the functional ear trainer from miles.be and use it - it made a huge difference in the musicality of my solos, and it's free! Once you get a handle on that it might make sense to add a book like Wyatt et al's "Ear Training for the Contemporary Musician" (although my experience was that, until my ear reached a certain level of competence, I got much bigger rewards from the functional ear trainer).

The next thing to do would be to work on your fretboard knowledge, for which I recommend "The Guitar Fretboard Workbook."

Combine those two things and you've got a great grounding to spend time transcribing leads that appeal to you.

But I really suspect that your ear is the biggest problem. You don't need fast fingers or a lot of book knowledge to be able to play a great lead. Rather you need to be able to think in interesting melodic lines. Unless you've trained your ear well, you don't actually have the ability to think specifically in pitches - when you hear melodic ideas in your head, they're more like "the idea of pitches" than the pitches themselves.
How much time do you work on ear training? Or transcribing? Should be LOTS and for most people it is definitely not. I would say a better way of "starting over" wouldn't be with books... it would be with my album collection.
I think you're both right, my ear is not good... i'm not good at working stuff out just by listening... I've done it a couple of times, and it's something i really need to spend more time on for sure, i think i might start here as well as keep up my practice with the metronome...

I am also keen to find some information on harmony and melody...
but I think you might have hit the nail on the head....
 

Jeremy_Green

Member
Messages
1,159
If your ear is not good, your playing is not good. Fix this first and foremost IMO.. You will never get what you seek without a clear pathway from mind to hands... That connector is the strength of your ears.
 

coolhand78

Member
Messages
3,575
If your ear is not good, your playing is not good. Fix this first and foremost IMO.. You will never get what you seek without a clear pathway from mind to hands... That connector is the strength of your ears.
yeah, i think this is where my problem is...

i downloaded the ear training ap from miles.be and i suck... so i need to get onto this asap..

any other things you can recommend to improve this area?
 






Trending Topics

Top Bottom