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How long to become good?

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(@twisted_man)
Eminent Member
Joined: 18 years ago
Posts: 13
Topic starter  

I recently read that it should take 6 months to a year to master Mel Bays Guitar Method Grade 1 book. Which got me thinking. It might take a few years till i am average at a guitar. I was wondering how long it took you guys to become good. I need some inspiration.


   
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(@hummerlein)
Estimable Member
Joined: 20 years ago
Posts: 168
 

It really depends what you mean by "good". Is good just what will make you happy? Is good being able to play a I IV V progression? If you just want to play open chords in time, you can easily be good within a year. I have been playing for a little over 1.5 years and I just recorded myself playing a classical piece http://gforti.homestead.com/files/rowyyou.mp3 but I don't consider myself "good". I can hear a lot of mistakes in it, and I find my playing to be silly, especially the last half.

Good is far too subjective. If you just want to be able to play along with friends, or play most popular songs around a campfire, a year is probably enough.

Good for me means I can write a piece of "art" music that has good usage of variation and repetition, and that people would actually listen to because they wanted to. Art music is more than just a three chord song. I have a long way to go before I think of myself as good.

Don't let that stop you. You can't ride a bike without training wheels first. You can't get a bachelor's degree before you graduate from elementary school.

My advice to you is to play every day for as long as you think is fun. Goodness will come in time. Don't feel like you need to practice because you have to. You don't have to do anything. If you are practicing from the mentality that you have to, you may get burned out and quit altogether. It's a journey, don't be too focused on the end.

PS. Didn't Nick make a really good post on this exact subject a couple weeks ago? That would be worth reading, if you could find it.


   
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(@voodoo_merman)
Reputable Member
Joined: 18 years ago
Posts: 368
 

How long does it take to get good?

A lifetime.

Just play everyday dude. Guitar is a part of your life. If its just a frivolous hobby, then you dont have to worry about "getting good" anytime soon...

At this time I would like to tell you that NO MATTER WHAT...IT IS WITH GOD. HE IS GRACIOUS AND MERCIFUL. HIS WAY IS IN LOVE, THROUGH WHICH WE ALL ARE. IT IS TRULY -- A LOVE SUPREME --. John Coltrane


   
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 cnev
(@cnev)
Famed Member
Joined: 21 years ago
Posts: 4459
 

Humm,

I just listened to your recording..sounds pretty darn good nice job!!!

"It's all about stickin it to the man!"
It's a long way to the top if you want to rock n roll!


   
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(@wes-inman)
Illustrious Member
Joined: 21 years ago
Posts: 5582
 

Getting good on guitar or progressing can fool you.

To me, being "good" means being able to play songs in a fairly professional manner. Not perfect, but well.

When you first start you don't know anything at all, so it seems like you are really progressing quickly.

But after a year or so, depending on how much you practice and study, suddenly it seems that your progress becomes very slow.

This is not true, but it seems that way.

I was a real practice freak when I started. I would come home from work and play guitar until I went to bed or fell asleep still playing. I would practice 5 to 6 hours everyday. Also, six months after starting, my brother and I formed a band. So I could play pretty good in one year.

But I practiced a lot more than most people do.

After that, progress seemed very slow. I could not really tell that I was improving. And it has been that way ever since. But I can clearly play much better than I did back then.

It is kind of like children. If you see a child everyday, they never seem to change. But if you see a child you haven't seen in 5 years. Wow! You have really grown! you say. You can see the difference easily. Guitar is exactly the same.

So, you don't really notice your improvement after you get the basics down. You begin to think you are not really improving at all, but you are. Others can see and hear it better than you can yourself.

If you play a hour or two every day, you will be plenty good enough to perform in 2 or 3 years. That is about average. If you play 3 or 4 hours everyday, you will be good much sooner.

Just keep playing and you WILL get good. 8)

If you know something better than Rock and Roll, I'd like to hear it - Jerry Lee Lewis


   
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(@rocker)
Noble Member
Joined: 19 years ago
Posts: 1128
 

twisted man,

there is no set time, you will be as good as you wan't to be, set goals for yourself
" this is where i am, this is where " I AM GOING TO BE" and don't stop until you get there.
don't give up, and practice, practice, practice, oh ya, have fun 8)

even god loves rock-n-roll


   
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(@cyranodb)
Estimable Member
Joined: 22 years ago
Posts: 178
 

It only takes a lifetime, maybe a little longer. :)

"I use heavy strings, tune low, play hard and floor it. Floor it, that's a technical term." - SRV


   
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(@twistedlefty)
Famed Member
Joined: 20 years ago
Posts: 4113
 

From one "twisted" individual to another, i would have put the aproximate time at 6 months, 3 weeks, 4 days, 16 hrs, and nearly exactly aproximately 17minutes+28 seconds.
(Ziggy StarDust told me this in a dream) your mileage may vary.

#4491....


   
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(@sparrow-aka-honor-roller)
Trusted Member
Joined: 19 years ago
Posts: 55
 

hummerlein, is there a tab available for that song?


   
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(@matteo)
Honorable Member
Joined: 19 years ago
Posts: 557
 

It depends on how many hours you play and on your natural talent. I've been playing for almost one year and a half, never take lessons and I'm not talented musician at all. I think I'm very, very average but after this time I'm to the point that if I listen a song in most cases I'm able to play it alongside the cd with in quite a short time (even the first time if it is based on open chords). If I play alone a song, after a few times I can play it in a way it is recognizable by other people (of course if they know it!). So let's say that after one year and a half I have a decent grasp of main rhythms and could ind a suitable pattern for most of the songs, decent knowledge of main chords, play a few barre chords (mainly F and G). A couple of days ago all of sudden I was able to play a fingerpicking version of "Sweet chilkd o' mine" and "patience" by Guns and Roses but that's all. Let's say that power chords, barre and fingerpicking are almost obscure to me not to talk about playing solos or improvising or trying to understand the chords by ear...so as other, more experienced guys, had already told you I think that to really play well you need a liferyim


   
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(@kingpatzer)
Noble Member
Joined: 19 years ago
Posts: 2171
 

"Good" is very much a realtive term.

I'm "good" compared to my students. I'm not compared to my teacher, Herb Ellis, Django, or about 100 other people I could name and thousands I don't know the names of.

I'm sure there are people on this forum who can play circles around me.

The question, to be meaningful, is when will I be happy with what I can do?

And the answer for that, for people to whom music is important is twofold. First, Immediately! If you're making music, you can be happy every single day that you're just a little bit better than the day before. You've improved, even if it is something you can't hear or see at the moment. Second, Never! No matter how long you play there will always be music out there that you want to be able to play better than you can today. It's an ever expanding horizon, an infinite sea of possibilities that is simply beyond the capability of any one human life to master.

And those two answers, taken together, are what makes music great.

"The music business is a cruel and shallow money trench, a long plastic hallway where thieves and pimps run free, and good men die like dogs. There's also a negative side." -- HST


   
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(@hummerlein)
Estimable Member
Joined: 20 years ago
Posts: 168
 

hummerlein, is there a tab available for that song?

I doubt it. I could send you a pdf of the standard notation if you wanted.


   
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 P0RR
(@p0rr)
Estimable Member
Joined: 21 years ago
Posts: 141
 

The general attitude is, "I want it, and I want it now!"

But it really takes years if you're going to do it right, and a lot of kids just don't want to take the time to work on it and see where it's all going, and what it means, and where it comes from, and how they should apply it and use it in playing their songs.

It doesn't make any difference how technically good you are or fast you are or how many notes you know. You just can't do it in two years.
- Johnny Winter


   
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(@alangreen)
Member
Joined: 22 years ago
Posts: 5342
 

I have been playing for nearly 32 years, have a small but full teaching practice, have half of my Classical Guitar Grades, and do the odd gig every now and then which earns me a satisfying amount of applause; but I would not consider myself to be good.

What would be the point of continuing to work at my musicianship if I thought I was good? There would be none. I'm still hungry to learn more; not to play a really hard tune really well or make loads of cash, but to be able to play at a level where people come up to me and say "Thanks, that was good"

Best,

A :-)

"Be good at what you can do" - Fingerbanger"
I have always felt that it is better to do what is beautiful than what is 'right'" - Eliot Fisk
Wedding music and guitar lessons in Essex. Listen at: http://www.rollmopmusic.co.uk


   
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(@chalkoutline)
Estimable Member
Joined: 19 years ago
Posts: 157
 

The general attitude is, "I want it, and I want it now!"

But it really takes years if you're going to do it right, and a lot of kids just don't want to take the time to work on it and see where it's all going, and what it means, and where it comes from, and how they should apply it and use it in playing their songs.

I resemble that remark. When I was in high school I decided I want to become a guitar god (not THE GOD...just A god). I struggled with it for about 6 months and couldnt play like Clapton and slowly gave up on it. Now 20+ years later I give it another shot and after 1-1/2 years of playing I don't know if I am "good" but I feel good enough about my progress to keep at it and get better.

Interview guy: What is the source of your feedback?
Neil Young: Volume.


   
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