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Thread: new player getting a little frustrated

  1. #1
    acoustic afficianado jackleg's Avatar
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    Unhappy new player getting a little frustrated

    i don't know if this is just normal impatience or if i am doing something wrong in my practice routine. i started playing about a month and a half ago with a samick acoustic. i was off to a romping good start and have since kind of begun to slow down
    i can play most of "good riddance" by green day and have a few chords down by heart
    E
    Em
    A
    Am
    G
    C
    D
    and a few variations of each. my bigger problems at the moment involve accuracy. picking mostly. i have downloaded quite a few articles by guni and eric and they're great but i'm suffering a bit of information overload and not really noticing the vast improvemants i was seeing a few weeks ago. i'm sure a few of you have gone through the same thing and i was kind of wondering how you got through it.

    i know if there is good advice anywhere on the web i can find it here

    thanks in advance
    there are no shortcuts to anyplace worth going

  2. #2
    acoustic afficianado jackleg's Avatar
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    oh yeah...and my left hand reach is ... well pathectic... i have never used it for anything before
    there are no shortcuts to anyplace worth going

  3. #3
    Registered User LarryJ's Avatar
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    Relax. It happened to all of us. Of course you had such huge gains, you were starting from nothing, whats important now is that you build on that foundation. Theres a ton of stuff to explore next, bending, hammer on/pull offs, vibrato, scales etc. What is your practice schedule consist of now? Simply adding a few new things to it could make all the difference in the world. If you post what your doing, maybe some of us can suggest some changes or additions.

    Picking/left hand control will come naturally soon enough, it takes a while, how long, I can't say. This was recently reintroduced when a friend of mine got a guitar for xmas last year. He was really awful to start, had no rhythm, picked 3 strings instead of just one etc. But the last time I saw him, just recently, he had really improved Now he has much more rhythm, and has control over what his hands/picking is doing. Just stick with it, it WILL come.

  4. #4
    acoustic afficianado jackleg's Avatar
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    to be perfectly honest i don't have a specific practice regimin

    i usually spend about twenty minutes just fooling around and warming up

    and then i'll go through the chord i know the best and work on changing to all of the others from each of them

    after about a half an hour of the i'll practice picking with some tabbed licks from a few songs i know

    just recently started playing around with a few of the picking excercises laid out here on IBM and am looking forward to being able to play them better

    that's about it...
    there are no shortcuts to anyplace worth going

  5. #5
    IbreatheMusic Author Bizarro's Avatar
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    I think you're seeing the normal frustrations of a beginning player. Hang in there!

    You might want to go to a music store and talk to the local guitar guys and ask for some advice... things like how you're holding the pick, strumming, hand position, etc.

    I think a couple of lessons and/or a beginners Video tape or DVD might help out too. It could accelerate your learning curve tremendously.

    It is fantastic that you are warming up first! That is very important!

    Good luck!
    -Bizarro
    Google is your friend

  6. #6
    Registered User SillyCone's Avatar
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    Re: new player getting a little frustrated

    Originally posted by jackleg
    I was off to a romping good start and have since kind of begun to slow down
    I know what you going through, I'm having the same after practicing for 1 month and a half on "Babe I'm gonna leave you" (5 chords in fingerpicking). It's just periodic. Sometimes, for days you can see a small improvement everyday, making you happy and thinking : I'm getting there, cool And generally, after you reached a "peak", you seem to slow down, don't get better from one day to the other, maybe even get worse... That's totally normal, it's like in every human activity where you have muscles memory (I have the same feeling playing the Quake games serie, which needs loads of practice to be efficient too).
    I read in Zen Guitar that it often get worse as you play better and better. In fact, the author says we learn by "plateaus". A better player will need more work to get even better.

    What I do when I'm feeling frustrated like you do, is try to replace myself a few months ago, when I just started, and see the progress I made since then. Come on, you already know all those chords ! Remember the first time you tried a C maj chord : you thought "how in the world will I be able to dive bomb those fingers !".

    Originally posted by jackleg
    I have downloaded quite a few articles by guni and eric and they're great but i'm suffering a bit of information overload and not really noticing the vast improvemants i was seeing a few weeks ago. i'm sure a few of you have gone through the same thing and i was kind of wondering how you got through it.
    Well, I also got through the same phase, and the only thing I can say is you will digest the info at your own pace. Keep at it, but don't forget to take a break from time to time, go breathe the air in the autumn fields
    The problem with the net is that there is too much info at once, and as we see all those amazing players, we have the impression we have to get there in 3 months and wonder why we can't. Only Guni's first lesson on intervals could take 2 months to learn. Of course it takes only a few minutes to read, but to learn ? 2 months is if you take it lightly, coz if you try to apply everything you read on the guitar, playing all the intervals, learning them, training your ear at the same time, etc, it could take you 2 years

    So I'd say cheer up, all you achieved up to now seems very nice to me, I wished I learned as fast (I'm playing for 4.5 months and sometimes it looks like I've started 2 days ago).

    Keep going,
    SillyGone.
    Last edited by SillyCone; 09-18-2003 at 09:16 AM.

  7. #7
    Central Scrutinizer
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    Limit youself before you drown in a sea of information.
    Find a few things to work on that cover a varity of topics that intrest you.
    For example pick a picking ex. and stick with it, see it through.
    Maybe this consists on only even group patterns (even amount of notes per string such as 2 or 4). Only simlpy picking up/down on a open string to first get the tech down. THen moving on to two adjacent strings. Finally adding sum finger combinations such as 1,3 or 2,4 or 1,2,3,4 still keeping it so your picking even patterns.
    Later move on to odd groups like 3 notes perstring.
    Again u can start with just open strings to get down the tech, then add fingers in various combos.
    If you do this long enough you'll come up with tons of personal ex. to practice. Note your weak spots and focus on those.

    So that'd be one topic to hit:Picking
    Next maybe sum chords.
    Do I know all basic open chords (not every chord known to man, but the basic common ones that pop up reguarly.) If not set aside time to learn them on fretboard and in your mind (without a guitar).
    Can I make smooth transtions, between common chord movements. Flip through sum tunes and see what chords generally go to where. Prac the common movements first that'll take care of 75% what you need to know for most pop/rock tunes that use open chords.
    Can you make smooth transtions between the chords?
    If not why?
    What are you fingers doing? Gripping the neck like a ball bat. Moving the away from the fretboard instead directly to the chord.
    Be sure u can make the transtions slow (use a meternome).
    If the chords are G-D-C-G-D-C
    Be sure u can move between any two chords first such as:
    G-D sit on it over and over for days till ya get it
    same with D-C
    and C-G

    Point it, pick a few topics that have immedate use for you.
    Find a few ex. to prac those things.
    Then nail them. Take your time and eventually you'll nail em.
    Then fig out if you've gotten everything you can out of that ex. till you jump off in another direction.
    You don't have to beat a topic to death, but be sure you've fully explored it.
    My far off observation is your suffering from information overload.
    Limit yourself.
    "All other things being equal, the simplest solution is usually the correct one." William of Occam

  8. #8
    Mad Scientist forgottenking2's Avatar
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    I'm back

    Hey guys, I've been away from the forums 'cause I moved out and my computer died in the process (RIP my faithful Pentium 3... and I'll replace you with a new one as soon as I can afford it ) and I've been swamped at work all week and the moving stuff and what not... oh yeah, your question... first of all welcome to ibreathe Jack... I think we all go through the same frustrations... and (at least in my case) they come back once in a while (and I've been playing for about 7 years) I find the best way to limit yourself and avoid information overload is to be organized (duh! ) Petrucci's folder system does that for me, I keep it all in a filing cabinet and I take ONE excercise per category (say alternate picking, legatto, sweep picking, string skipping and tapping to give an example) and practice it for 20 minutes a day for a week or more if it's required (that's a two hour <plus warm up> practice session right there), and I just keep adding stuff to my filing cabinet everytime I see something interesting and I don't even bother with it until I am through with one or more of the excercises I'm working on. It takes discipline but it works for me.

    I hope this helps some.

    Regards,
    "If God had wanted us to play the piano he would've given us 88 fingers"

  9. #9
    Resident Curmudgeon szulc's Avatar
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    Try reading this article and trying some of the exercises.

    http://www.ibreathemusic.com/play/article/84

    There are only 18 different picking exercises here so you don't have to worry about information overload.

    They are difficult and address all of the typical (and atypical) picking problems.

    If you can get through these you can do anything!
    "Listen to the Spaces Between the sounds."
    Szulc's Site

  10. #10
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    I haven't seen anyone really mention this so far, but I think it's really important to actually focus on playing some songs that you like and are within reach of your ability.

    Doing exercise after exercise can give you ability quickly. But at the end of the day, we're not machines, and I think most people much prefer playing music than playing an exercise.

    So pick songs you like that have elements in them which you haven't used much or at all, or are at a more difficult level. Then you can find or make up some exercises for the required technique and spend some time in each practice session working on the exercise, in the context of the song you like. You can then spend some time enjoying yourself, mess around with the song, etc.

    If you're just starting out, you could look at some songs with interesting rhythm patterns, perhaps some muted strums. You could look at some songs with some arpeggio chord patterns.

    I'm not saying exercises are bad, because they're not. But if you want to keep the frustration at bay, why not have some fun? At the end of the day, that's why you're learning to play, right? So pick something you want to learn, find some exercises and find a song that you like so that you can adapt the exercises to something you know the sound of.

    And don't forget me when you're a millionaire...

  11. #11
    Talker of bollocks Wizbit81's Avatar
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    Sombody already said it, but if you wanna make progress get a teacher, simple as that

  12. #12
    acoustic afficianado jackleg's Avatar
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    thanks...
    originally posted by szulc
    If you can get through these you can do anything!
    i can barely make it through the first one at 60 bpm but i'm going to keep plugging away...i can't wait to hear what they all sound like fast.
    i have a metronome on my computer so i can kind of get by with that for an accuracy guide.
    i have a good sense of rhythm but it all goes out the window when i am playing something that i am likely to make a mistake on in every bar
    originally posted by potshot
    I haven't seen anyone really mention this so far, but I think it's really important to actually focus on playing some songs that you like and are within reach of your ability.
    i have been working on a couple of songs
    "good riddance" by green day. a nice acoustic tune with some string skipping
    and "rivers of babylon" a gospel song as played by sublime.
    i am getting better and better at them everytime i try but...
    i know some people who learned how to play by listening to the songs of others and just downloading tabs. they cand read music, they don't always know the name of the chord they are playing and i don't want to be that guy. i am trying to learn theory right olongside actually playing the guitar and have been really enjoying reading some of gunis articles on chord scales intervals and the such
    there are no shortcuts to anyplace worth going

  13. #13
    Registered User
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    Sure, read theory, it's a good idea. Just keep playing and learning music you like, because most important of all is to make sure you're enjoying yourself! And when you are playing or learning some song, and you realise it's using some particular facet of theory that you've read about, that's cool too, it helps solidify the theory in your head.

    I've come to the opinion that there is such a massive amount of stuff to learn that what's most important is to make sure you're enjoying yourself while ensuring that you are constantly learning something... anything! It's easy to get hung up on ideas like "I have to be able to do this legato run at 160bpm" or "I have to know every single major scale and its relative minor off by heart".. and they will both definitely help. But with so much to learn, I think that rather than fixating on one thing, it's better to explore and find what you're most interested in, learn and explore some more.

    Let's hope that makes some sense to someone

  14. #14
    IbreatheMusic Author Bizarro's Avatar
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    That makes great sense! It also explains why I've learned classic rock, blues, jazz, neoclassical, fingerstyle, classical, etc over the years. Follow what makes you happy and keeps you interested and learning!

    I tried country but I just can't listen to it for very long...
    -Bizarro
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