What is wrong with me?

Discussion in 'Playing and Technique' started by Rocktrans formed, Jun 29, 2006.

  1. Rocktrans formed

    Rocktrans formed Member

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    I've been playing guitar for almost two years now, and I feel like I've hit a dead end. I don't know what I should be doing. Almost all of my playing consists of playing random, made up leads along with CDs. I suck at learning new songs. The biggest problem is that I can't find new stuff to learn. Even with songs I *know* that I could play, I can't learn because it's so hard for me to actually understand what I'm seeing on a tab- I know how to read tabs, but can't really figure where to put it in the song. I'm incredibly frustrated because I don't know what I should be doing. I don't have the money to get lessons or even buy more music, and I don't have any idea what direction I want to go in. I kind of like jazz, but haven't found many artists I like. I don't like metal, and though I enjoy classic rock in general, most of it bores me, even stuff that I pretend to like. The sort of music I want to play is rock- I hesitate to say "alternative", since that evokes images of stuff like Nirvana (whom I also don't like), but I would describe the sort of music I want to play as some sort of indie/alternative thing but with actual guitar parts beyond just rythym One of the few bands that I enjoy and has a music style I actually want to play, the pillows, is a really obscure Japanese band that none of you have ever heard of.

    I know it sounds like I'm rambling, but I just don't have any clue what I want to do. I love guitar, and playing it, but I feel so lost right now that it's extremely discouraging to my playing. What should I do?
     
  2. seafoamer

    seafoamer Member

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    find a private teacher u lyke & let him skool u!
     
  3. m4tt

    m4tt Member

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    broaden your musical horizons...to me, it sounds like you need to find something new that you really dig. there is absolutely tons of music out there.

    I just started listening to country and I can totally see it opening new possibilites for guitar playing.
     
  4. retro

    retro Member

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    I think it's a normal and positive process of learning...you know growing pains.

    If you can let go of worrying about what you should be doing, I think you will find a source of inspiration. The important thing I think is that you mentioned you love guitar and playing. Sometimes we forget that feeling is what it's all about by thinking we need something else or more then that.
     
  5. Kingpin

    Kingpin Member

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    Play with other people!

    It won't cost you anything and you'll learn a lot if you keep your eyes and ears open (if possible, find some players more advanced than yourself). Most guitarists would be happy to show you a few licks and tips if you ask them. Get out of the house and jam.
     
  6. Mr.Hanky

    Mr.Hanky Supporting Member

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    Joining a band or simply playing with other people will teach you things that you will never ever discover playing on your own.
    Got any friends you can jam with?
     
  7. Rocktrans formed

    Rocktrans formed Member

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    I know many other players, but most of them don't give a rip and wouldn't consider playing with me. The few who do are closer to me in terms of skill, so I don't learn a whole lot. Though it is fun. Like I said, I don't really have enough money to afford a teacher, and I don't have the slightest clue how to find one, let alone a good teacher, anyway.
     
  8. Luke

    Luke Senior Member

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    Your profile says you work at a grocery store, that usually means low pay. I would recommend lessons, if your current job cannot give you enough hours to afford lessons consider the followign options: cut other expenses, look for a better paying job, mow lawns on the side for cash.

    If you go to local open mic nights and talk to the people there, they can clue you in on who is a good teacher in your area.
     
  9. EL35

    EL35 Member

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    It won't cost you anything? Hah :D Playing in the band is one of my most expensive hobbies :p :JAM Good advice, tho!
     
  10. rgsss14

    rgsss14 Gold Supporting Member

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    Have you been practicing every day? If so, take a little break. Don't pick up the guitar for a week. You will then come back to it fresh. But during that week, find some new, different source of music to sink your teeth into..... go find a copy of King Crimson's Discipline album - that will put things into a little different perspective....:AOK

    Best of luck.
     
  11. lhallam

    lhallam Member

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    One thing that typically inspires me when I hit the doldrums is to go see a killer band.

    Also a DVD can be inspirational.

    If you can't find any direction at the moment, I suggest working on the fundamentals.

    Do you know all the notes on your fretboard? If not, send me a PM and I'll give you some tips.

    Do you know triads up and down the neck? If not, you should learn all the inversions. Do you know all major7, major6, minor7, minor6, 6/9, augmented, diminished. etc.... chords. If not, learn them. This may open up some doors for you.

    Do you know music theory? It's not that tough and there are a million resources to learn it.

    Do you know all the modes in every key? Great stuff and once again it may open doors.

    How's your ear? Can you identify intervals, chords and scales by ear? If not, get into some ear training. It can be very rewarding.

    Are there certain licks you've always dug, like a Hendrix lick. Get the CD and figure out those cool leads that catch your ear.

    Can you read charts like The Real Book? It's a lot of fun to play through some of that stuff.

    Sometimes I enjoy playing certain tunes more than actually listening to others play them. Give it a try.

    You will get past this, in the meantime sharpen basic skills.
     
  12. Tomo

    Tomo Member

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    Make huge efforts. Do everything you can.

    Do transcribe music, note for note, chords, rhythm, write them
    down all.

    Work on your fundamentals. Don't jam right away. Focus on
    your plan of how to use your time.

    We all have 24 hours. All depend how to use them. You could
    spend valuable 3 mins or you could waste 8 hours.

    You can go right direction or wrong direction.

    Do something first and report your efforts?

    Tomo
     
  13. sinner

    sinner Supporting Member

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    Wow, there's some really good advise here. What can I add? Maybe just say that persistence is a huge deal. It takes time, and then all of a sudden it seems you've taken a huge step all at once. Learning is like that.

    Music is an inverstment--time and money. You will need to buy more music and want lessons, if you can't afford now, you will later at some point. Think of it as an investment in you, or your education. College, books, tuitition, all cost lots--why fudge on the music?

    Another point of view--nothing wrong with just playing and finding your own way--even a good teacher will want to encourage you to do things your own way, to develop your individualism.
     
  14. Rocktrans formed

    Rocktrans formed Member

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    I've learned a little music theory, but I can't for the life of me figure out what I need it for, unless I'm fully committing to learning jazz or something. Which I don't plan on doing. I get lost once we get past 7th chords. I don't get what all of the other stuff past that is. I also don't understand rythym/time signatures at all... I can play along with almost anything, but don't really get 7/4 and 8/16, etc. None of that makes any sense, and I haven't found any sites that assume I don't know squat about time signatures.

    Transcribe music? Are you kidding me? I'm horrible at that. I can usually play something that sounds like what I'm hearing, but I can't discern any of the nuances of a player. And I'm never playing it the same way they do. I'm also awful at figuring out what chords I'm hearing in relatively easy songs.

    My biggest strength is undoubtedly knowing where I am on the fretboard. I know most of the notes, but only really think about them on the fifth and sixth strings. I could learn the rest of it if I really tried, but I need to see some reason why that would be beneficial to me. I can play mode in any key easily- I look at the fretboard as a picture of sorts, not a bunch of intimidating notes. Even if I've never heard a song before, I can usually figure out what key I'm in after about five seconds. Thanks for all of the suggestions! I don't want to spend money on music or lessons at the moment because I'm still getting the last bit of money together for my Revelator Tele (which I won't get until at least the end of September, but it's good to be ready, anyway).
     
  15. gennation

    gennation Member

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    The main thing to do is to just keep playing.

    If you can't afford or don't want to get lessons, come on over to my lesson site. There's all kind of stuff that will give some new perspectives and some new things to do.

    And, they're free!!!

    http://lesson.mikedodge.com
     
  16. stratcat85

    stratcat85 Member

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    Learning how to read music will help with all the song stuff, working from an actual piece of music may take a little longer but you'll be able to see the time and rhythm of how every thing goes. Get a beginers book and start working on that.
     
  17. Mr.Hanky

    Mr.Hanky Supporting Member

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    To add to gennation's post, keep playing but know when it is time to take a break too. If you are really starting to get burnt out, take 5, go for a walk, spend some time doing something else you enjoy, clear your head and then come back to it. Sometimes that can be the best thing for your playing.
     
  18. lhallam

    lhallam Member

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    Tomo and I are saying basically the same thing.

    From your response it sounds like you could do some work in all these areas.

    Don't worry about what you'll use it for, that's not the point. The point is that you said you're in limbo at the moment. So work on the fundamentals for now and it may possibly open some doors for you.

    For example, learning all the chord triad inversions on the neck may provide new sounds that you dig or you'll find a cool lick built off of it. Dickie Betts' "Jessica" is based on a 2nd inversion A chord.

    Theory is not necessarily for jazz, it's most useful for communicating to others. If I say play I-vi-ii-V in Bb and use a #9 on the dominant to my buddy, we are off and running immediately. Or I may be showing a guy a line and he's not getting it, I say, "no up a 4th" and he gets it immediately. That's why it's helpful.

    Knowing your instument inside and out, up and down cannot hurt. If you were a car mechanic, a doctor or a systems analyst you would be expected to know everything about your discipline. The same goes for an instrument. I've never had a student fail from expanding his knowledge.

    As Tomo has said, they should be "FUN"damentals and I agree, it is fun.

    This is one of those times when you need to put your considerations aside and just do. Like I said, you'll get past this.
     
  19. Bluespicker

    Bluespicker Member

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    Not being able to transcribe is exactly why you should do more of it, that's the only way to get better at it. If you never do it, you'll never be good at it. The only way to become good at anything is to focus on your weaknesses not your strengthes, otherwise you stagnat and never get better.

    And you might consider spending the money for the tele on lessons instead, the tele won't make you a better guitar player, lesson will.
     
  20. jspax7

    jspax7 Member

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    Here's an exercise that I use with my students.

    Chords in the key of C Major:

    I = C
    ii = Dm
    iii = Em
    IV= F
    V = G
    vi = Am
    vii = Bm7b5 (Don't worry about this one too much for now)

    Now, pick any 2 chords. (or pick 2 of the first 6 numbers)
    Play those 2 chords, and create a rhythm. (groove) Record them if possible.

    Use the pentatonic scale for the first of the 2 chords and create a melody, or solo. (If you know the modes, use them. If not, the pentatonic scale has 5 of the 7 notes. It's pretty easy to see which 2 are missing.)

    The reason for this exercise is to get you to play chord progressions that you would not usually play, and to get comfortable playing over them. When you can do this, other people will want to jam with you, and you will have lots of chord vamp/song ideas for the jam sessions that you go to.

    BTW, there is nothing wrong with you that some creative playing can't fix. The music that you create will be yours, and the sense of accomplishment is something you can take pride in. Then you should take these new concepts, and share them with others. Teaching a less skilled player what you know will make you more confident in your abilities.

    Remember, it's a journey. Enjoy the ride! ;)

    One last point. Get some exercise. Being out doors helps to clear the mind. Don't indulge in alcohol or recreational drugs that cloud the mind and hinder the creative process. The music is a great high.
     

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