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Guitar Practice Frustration

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(@blackenedanger)
Trusted Member
Joined: 20 years ago
Posts: 43
Topic starter  

I seem to get really frustrated everytime I practice....to the point of wanting to throw the damn thing out the window sometimes.

Anyone have any ideas on dealing with that, or changing it!?!

"Into ruin, I am sinking, hostage of this nameless feeling!" - MetallicA


   
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(@musenfreund)
Illustrious Member
Joined: 22 years ago
Posts: 5108
 

Do you learn songs while practicing? That can break up the monotony.

How long have you been playing?

Take things one step at a time -- break songs and lessons up into small increments and master them bit by bit.

What in particular frustrates you?

I find that periods of frustration often happen when I'm on the verge of som breakthrough in my playing. Hang in there. I'll wager that you're about to experience some rapid progress.

Hope that helps somewhat. If not, take a break for a day or so. Then come back to the instrument fresh and relaxed.

I'll stop rambling now.

Well we all shine on--like the moon and the stars and the sun.
-- John Lennon


   
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(@dcarroll)
Reputable Member
Joined: 20 years ago
Posts: 216
 

I say time for break! If its not fun anymore, put it down for a few days.

As far as practice goes...Why not try learning some of your favorite songs! If you can't play the songs you want, focus on why you cant play them. Start breaking down your technique and practice on the problem areas, (i.e picking, left hand, chord changes, ect). If you do this with a metronome, you will see vast improvement.

-Dustin

I've been imitated so well I've heard people copy my mistakes.
- Jimi Hendrix


   
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(@blackenedanger)
Trusted Member
Joined: 20 years ago
Posts: 43
Topic starter  

Do you learn songs while practicing? That can break up the monotony.

How long have you been playing?

Take things one step at a time -- break songs and lessons up into small increments and master them bit by bit.

What in particular frustrates you?

I find that periods of frustration often happen when I'm on the verge of som breakthrough in my playing. Hang in there. I'll wager that you're about to experience some rapid progress.

Hope that helps somewhat. If not, take a break for a day or so. Then come back to the instrument fresh and relaxed.

I'll stop rambling now.

Yeah I learn riffs and parts of riffs in between exercises and lessons.

I've been playing since May.

What frustrates me is being able to look at a lick or riff...being able to decipher the exact rythm and melody in my head perfectly on the spot, being able to play it that way maybe the first time...and then everytime after that I sound terrible...miss strings...miss frets...

Another question I have is about exercises. Are exercises meant to be practiced until played perfectly? Or are they meant for you to keep trying to play perfectly but never really get there? I have noticed that I can play some songs better than before since I've been doing more exercises....but the exercises are the ones that really aggravate me because I can never get them down like I can songs.

"Into ruin, I am sinking, hostage of this nameless feeling!" - MetallicA


   
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(@musenfreund)
Illustrious Member
Joined: 22 years ago
Posts: 5108
 

Just keep working at all of it. It takes time and eventually you'll be happy with your progress. If something's too frustrating now, lay it aside and come back to it later -- I mean days or even weeks later. Use the exercises to help you build your skills but be sure to work on learning songs too. The exercises should help you with your technique and help you play songs better. You don't have to have any of it perfect right now. The main point is to keep getting better -- and to realize that it's a process. It takes time.

Hope that helps.

Well we all shine on--like the moon and the stars and the sun.
-- John Lennon


   
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(@danlasley)
Noble Member
Joined: 16 years ago
Posts: 2118
 

Play simple songs well.

Play with other people.

-Laz


   
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(@xtremesheep)
Eminent Member
Joined: 20 years ago
Posts: 25
 

i noticed some people suggested putting the guitar down for a while. like days or weeks. u could try that. but in my own personal experiece thats a bad idea. i did that once. and then when i came back to it, it was even harder. i forgot songs, i wasn't ask quick. so i wasted alot of time like relearning things. but just do what u think will help.


   
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(@snooker)
Active Member
Joined: 20 years ago
Posts: 5
 

I'll step up on the soap box for a minute.

All good advice mentioned above, here's my two cents.

For me, the most frustrating thing about practicing, is being able to hear it in my head, and not being able to get it out through my fingers. That was a real stumbling block and to get over the frustration I had to acknowledge and accept that I'll never be Chet Atkins.

But what I do tell myself is....Tomorrow, I'll be better than I am today, as long as I play it today.

Putting down the guitar isn't the answer. I'll make a solid bet that you are a better guitar player today than you were 6 months ago, and in 6 months you'll have improved that much more. And on and on and on....

One thing I did when I started was print out every tab/chord file of every song I wanted to learn (it was about 200 tunes). Put them in a 3-ring binder. when i started to go through the notebook i could only play the songs that had C, G, and D. That was maybe 15 songs. I couldn't get through the rest. But now, after a few years, I can play through more than half of them. I'm working on the skills to get me through a few more.

Keep it up...play what you can to have fun, practice what you can't play to get to that next song.

My apologies for the winded response.


   
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(@martha)
Eminent Member
Joined: 20 years ago
Posts: 35
 

I haven't yet experienced frustration with the guitar because I haven't been playing long enough. :p But I expect it won't be different from frustation with other instruments.

After a glaring mistake in the middle of a recital, I went through a phase where I got very frustrated with my piano playing - and this is what I found helped me get over it:

Accept that not being perfect is ok.

Hit the wrong note? Laugh it off. Or better yet, use it as a basis for some improv. Use that wrong note and go with it - see what melody or what riff you can come up with based on it.

Use your errors as creativity fodder.

Just relax.

Why? Because if you get nervous, irritated or frustrated when you make a mistake, it will only breed more mistakes. The more you stress about missed frets, the more you psych yourself out.

When your mind is "busy" thinking about how miserably you played a second ago, you aren't giving your current playing enough attention... making it miserable as well. ;)

If you have to, put down your guitar for 10 or 20 minutes and do something that relaxes you. Don't Think About Your Mistakes. Come back to the guitar when you're relaxed.

Then analyse your mistakes.

"Why do I keep hitting the wrong note? Maybe my hand position doesn't let me reach the fret? Maybe my body-memory is recalling another song where this note/chord sequence is used? What can I do to avoid this problem in the future?"

Every problem has a solution. But you have to look for it. ;)

And don't be afraid to use a Metronome and to Slow Down. You don't have to play the 100 in under 10s. ;) Take it slow. Veeeeeeerrrryyyy slow.

"Speed" is not a synonym of "Virtuosity". Anyone can play fast. Few people can play well.

Quiquid latine dictum sit altum viditur.

(Whatever is said in Latin sounds profound.)


   
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(@olive)
Estimable Member
Joined: 22 years ago
Posts: 126
 

I agree with Martha. Slow down!

I find that when I rush through learning/playing a piece or exercise I get frustrated very easily. I have to remind myself that speed is not the answer. I just take a deep breath, sit back and just look at the music to visualize what it is that I am going to be playing. Then I play through it at about half the speed I started at. It works like a charm. At slower speeds my brain and my fingers coordinate much better! Once you get all the motions down mistake free you can start slowly adding speed.

Most importantly, don't give up! We've all been through those rough patches. Eventually the frustration will pass and you'll be wondering what all the fuss was about!

"My ex-boyfriend can't tell me I've sold out, because he's in a cult, and he's not allowed to talk to me." --Dar Williams


   
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(@grafphoto)
Eminent Member
Joined: 20 years ago
Posts: 12
 

I know I have already experienced many frustrating moments, but I have only been playing for about 8 weeks. Total beginner. But some things that I think should be simple to learn, like a consistent sounding upstrum, I botch pretty badly. I have to just keep reminding myself that this is going to take awhile and dedication to keep at it no matter what. If my upstrum is frustrating me, I will usually switch to something I know I am better at just for that little confidence boost.

~mark


   
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(@elecktrablue)
Famed Member
Joined: 20 years ago
Posts: 4338
 

You know... I've been playing for several years (about 12 to be precise), and I still get frustrated at times. Occasionally things that I have played perfectly since the beginning of time turn to crap. Don't know why. Don't ever know when it's going to happen. It just does.

In the beginning of the learning process, though, frustrations are inevitable. You've only been playing for about 6 months, and I'm afraid you're in for much more of it! :wink: Your fingers aren't used to doing what your mind is asking them to do. There's also the factor of trying to learn too much at once. I never work on more than 2 songs at a time. I also never work on less than 2 songs at a time. My reasoning for this is the frustration factor. If I try to work on more than 2 songs, I occasionally have difficulty separating them. I'll start out playing one thing and wind up playing another, which screws both of them up. I don't work on less than 2, again, because of the frustration factor. If I find something particularly difficult and feel the frustration beginning to rise, I switch songs. I completely do away with the frustrating one and work on the non-frustrating one until I'm centered again, then I pull the frustrating one out again and start working on whatever caused me to stop in the first place, and it generally goes much more smoothly when I come back to it after having walked away from it for a little while. Anyway, that's what works for me.

..· ´¨¨)) -:¦:-
¸.·´ .·´¨¨))
((¸¸.·´ .·´
-:¦:- ((¸¸.·´ -:¦:- Elecktrablue -:¦:-

"Don't wanna ride no shootin' star. Just wanna play on the rhythm guitar." Emmylou Harris, "Rhythm Guitar" from "The Ballad of Sally Rose"


   
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(@forrok_star)
Noble Member
Joined: 21 years ago
Posts: 2337
 

It comes down to how you look at things. Think Positive. I like to do a hand and finger exercises before playing anything. Think of it as the warm-up before the workout. Maybe start practice with a few tunes that you enjoy, tunes with which you're comfortable, tunes that make you feel good. Even if you think you can't sing, try singing. Don't be afraid to let your fingers and mind venture off playing something that's new. Improvise..In other words just make stuff up.

Fun is how I started playing guitar and Fun will keep you going if you remember to have some.

Joe


   
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