stuck in a rut

Discussion in 'Playing and Technique' started by chuck_zc, May 19, 2006.


  1. chuck_zc

    chuck_zc Member

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    Hey players, hope someone here can help me. I've been playing since I was 15(I'm 35 now), but for some reason I don't see much improvement in my playing since the first year. Sure I know a lot more "songs", I can even tap out the intro for "hot for teacher", but when it comes time to rip out on a blistering solo, it comes out as something inspired my Neil Young(just not as fast or complicated:)). I'm sick and tired of trying to make a pentatonic minor sound good. This is kinda hard to put into words, but,has anyone found a scale or know of a way where I can stop spinning my wheels and finally get out of the mud.
    Thanx in advance.:RoCkIn
     
  2. Steve L

    Steve L Supporting Member

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    I've been playing longer than you and get in a rut occasionally. I sometimes go out and buy an instruction video on a topic. And even if it's "over my head," it usually inspired me and I pick up something that takes me to a new level. I also have gone back for lessons from time to time. Not for long...a month or two or three--just enough to learn a new technique or two or a couple of new ideas. I make it clear to the instructor what I don't want to learn. Interestingly, I have taken jazz lessons on occasion and I rarely play jazz....but the concepts and techniques are better than learning some other way.

    Finally, I usually make it a point while practicing to LEARN at least one thing. Even if it's a strumming technique or something like that. I figure at the end of a year, I should pick up enough that I can hear some improvement.

    Seems to work for me. BUT, I'd be interested in other's methods since I am always afraid of getting stale....or stuck.
     
  3. Kappy

    Kappy Member

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    Just a hunch, but...

    Force yourself to learn the rest of Hot for Teacher, including the solo. Do it by ear. I'm not kidding. Try it. If you already know that, then try something harder.
     
  4. mavrick10_2000

    mavrick10_2000 Member

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    All great suggestions. And if you can't force yourself to do that, do as Steve suggests, take some lessons. I've been in ruts before and Lessons in theory, technique in fusion and Jazz have helped me tremendously, you canl pick up a many good things. Talk to other guitar players in your area and when you hear the same name being recommended more than once that's a pretty good indication of who you want for a teacher. Speak with the instructor, as Steve suggested, and tell him/her what you want and don't want. If he/she agrees great, if not keep looking.

    Good Luck!
     
  5. BBQLS1

    BBQLS1 Member

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    I got tired too. I found that I needed to:

    Expand what I listened to
    Learn what the new players/music I was listening to were doing
    Learn new styles (Jimmy Bruno No nonsense Jazz was good)
    Constantly experiment
    Build Chops (Tomo Fujita - Accelerate Your Guitar Playing)
    Realize that there are only so many notes, the rhythm is just as important.


    There are other vids that are just as good as the ones above, but those are what I have and they helped.

    Checkout Jimmy Herring, he plays some cool notes that twists your ear.
     
  6. rotren

    rotren Member

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    Lessons might a good thing for you, lessons are invaluable. However, try to transcribe some music or solos. Check out Albert King or someone like that who doesn't play super fast, and then try to copy a solo, or at least part of it. Try and use those ideas in a different song and see how you do.

    I think there is no better way to learn stuff than to transcribe a lot of music. The more you transcribe, the lesser the risk of you sounding like a copy, because all of those transcribed influences will create a unique style when it's blended with your own ideas and style. Just my .2 cents.
     
  7. Steve L

    Steve L Supporting Member

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    One more thing I just thought of....
    I frequently will hear something I like which I think is "over my head." Then I work on it in small pieces--a little each day. Eventually, the magic and difficulty disappear. And in the course of doing it that way, you see how things are constructed musically and physically.
    I remember once I was playing in a group and they decided to do Reelin' in the Years. Ugh! Too tough, I figured. But, I broke it down into phrases and then tied it together. I actually amazed myself!! But, more importantly, I learned some stuff from working it out that way and it also got me out of a "rut" of playing the same stuff over and over. Once I had "success" that way, I started working on other intimidating things I had never tried before and it worked most (NOT ALL!!) of the time.
    Again, small chunks and pieces--one and two bar phrases. Gets you goin' and definitely gets you out of a rut!

    I think there are great suggestions in this thread--we've all experienced this kind of thing. The fact that we're all "here" means we've all also probaby dealt with it in some way!

    Good luck.
     
  8. chuck_zc

    chuck_zc Member

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    Thanx for all the replies and ideas guys. I've found a few things an youtube.com pertaining to lessons. I've got a weird situation when it comes to learning stuff. I can't sit down with an instructor and have him show me anything, I won't get anything out of it. But if I show up at a jam session and just watch someone, I can come home and play a lot of it, WEIRD?? I learn a lot more by doing it myself. I'll record something later on tonight and post it so you know where I stand. Maybe someone can hear it and say "Eureka, there's your problem, maybe you should stick to the triangle or sandpaper blocks:()
    Thanx again..
     
  9. Mooncusser

    Mooncusser Member

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    I have picked up my axe again for a few years now, after putting it down once I hit 20.
    At first, I could notice huge improvement everyday, just by being inspired by playing again.
    But now that I am at least a compotent player...I find ruts constantly.
    I think everyone does.
    Here's something I do.....
    I decide on 4-5 songs I really want to learn.
    I start them, accelerate, and then move on to another when I feel like it is becoming a dead fish, then come back to it later, and circle around the 4-5 songs.
    I have read alot about how thee brain digests, stores and applies what it's taught and this system could be true for artists, or bricklayers, ect.
    Something else I try to do is what someone else mentioned...play along with one of your favorite artists, and once you are feeling great about the accomplishment, add your own twists and bends. This will tease the player inside you.
    Just my two cents.
    Best of luck,
    Mass
     
  10. Poppa Stoppa

    Poppa Stoppa Member

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    Here's a thought - learn this note for note, end to end, so you can play it with the same feel and no mistakes:
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tFNgfdvm72w
    There are a lot of great technical things he's doing there that you can only find by trying to play 'em. Even the basic rhythm pattern under the vocals is fiendishly difficult to get clean and swinging.
     
  11. chuck_zc

    chuck_zc Member

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    That's not funny!!!:eek::)
    I see what you mean, pretty cool little licks there. Really dresses up a 1-4-5.
    I'll give it a shot, I know I can lay down the rythm no problems. I'm also in a Stevie Ray Vaughnabee mood, it's kinda technical but not out of reach ,I hope.
     
  12. Tomo

    Tomo Member

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    Thanks mention me.

    1) Good fundamental technique. Both picking & fingerings.

    2) Good forms, grooves over song.

    3) Chords/harmony... triads 135/351/513 over 123/234/345/345 set strings
    apply these into tune.

    Play and feel more chords, not shaped box positions.

    Follow sound and tone over changes.

    Good luck.

    PS, This is just blues. Focus on bass line & chord changes.
    I just add SRV feel and my blues (whatever I hear in my head)

    SRV ish blues

    Tomo
     
  13. nland

    nland Member

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    Sounds familiar. I've been playing since I was 9 (I'm now 45) and went through the usual lessons, not playing for a few years, and then picking up the guitar again in my mid-20's. I haven't put it down since but periodically feel like I'm in a rut or just stagnating. I don't have the chops of alot of guys and would say I'm "average" at playing. I don't suck, but I'm no SRV either.

    Talking with other guitarists they recommend alot of different things like lessons, getting together with other people and just jamming, or as someone else mentioned, starting out with something easy to learn and then progressing.

    I work a full time job and am married, so I don't get the chance to get out and jam with other folks. I found what really helped me was getting some recording software and writing. My songs aren't great but writing stuff and recording forces me to try different modes, chord progressions, rhythms, genres, you name it. A former teacher of mine even recommended taping myself with a rhythm and just jamming along with that.
     
  14. jdiesel77

    jdiesel77 Member

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    i have to say, ive been in a rut for a while thikning ive hit a plateau, but i went out and played at a bar with some buddies and it wass awesome. i could tell ive gotten better from the last time. I guess u get better and sometimes dont realize it til u put it to the test...needless to say ill be giggin again regularly!
     
  15. Tomo

    Tomo Member

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    Great points there.

    1) Record your groove/rhythms to your tape recorder.

    This will give you :Time, song form, harmony, preparation for
    soloing. Plus you only need to play 4-5 times. You won't
    play solo forever without theme, specific ideas.

    2) Jamming is good.
    but directions are really important. otherwise you improvise
    about improvisation? No specific goal? No good result
    this way.

    3) Tape your soloing.
    Play a few chorus. not 5-10 chorus of solos.
    Just 2-3 is enough. Set your metronome on 2&4
    so that later you can comp to your solo?

    This way you won't waste anything you played before.
    a) Rhythm groove
    b) Solo over that grove.
    c) Both recorded
    d) It's time to recycle what you did?
    Play other parts.

    Quality and direction. By the way, I have really bad sense of
    direction.(my driving).

    Good luck!


    Tomo
     
  16. gennation

    gennation Member

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    My lesson site has some great stuff to help you get out of a rut.

    http://lessons.mikedodge.com

    Check out the "On Topic" section.

    These are put together to help the guitarist try some new things and to help them look at things a little differently than they have been. But, they should also give you the ammo to give you years of ideas of your own.

    Personally I don't get in ruts, haven't for decades. Maybe I just play through I guess. But I play alot of different things too. Hopefully, actually I'm pretty confident, my lessons will give some new perspectives and also help you reach some musical goals too.

    Good luck and have fun!!!
     

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