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Direction Needed Again ..

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Noble Member
Joined: 18 years ago
Posts: 1435

When I started reading your post, I wondered if maybe I had written it myself. I'm about in the same boat, been playing for about 2 years, can do barre chords, open chords, minor pentatonic scale. I can play some songs all the way through, but not solos. I end up saying "I want to learn to play song x", find it on the net, twiddle with it for a while and right about the time I get to that point where I can just about play it, instead of practicing it more and getting it down firm, I jump to another song. So I've half-a$$ed learned hundreds of songs, but can probably only play 10 all the way through.

One of my bits of advice for you was going to be to find someone to jam with, but you said that was out. My son and I jam together and that really helps, both in learning to keep time and motivation to continually improve. Another thing that has helped me is I went out and bought a keyboard. Nothing real expensive. Just learning the very basic basics of piano helped me with the theory side of the guitar. Another thing is write your own song. My son and I have started working on a song and just coming up with a simple riff and taking that and figuring out the chord progression and changing it up for the chorus and bridge has been exciting. And I found now that I noodle around a little more and come up with different riffs and progressions that sound good.

Good luck and definitely stick with it, I know the amount of work I put in over the last 2 years and it's too much to give it up now.

Oh, from the artists and songs you mentioned, here's some recommendations...

Pink Floyd - Wish You Were Here is pretty simple (at least the rhythm parts, haven't learned the solo) and it's a beautiful song and everyone loves it (or should).
Green Day - most of their stuff is easy, mostly barre chords. The strumming may take a little practice. A good one to start ou with is When I Come Around. Tune all strings down half a step and the chords are
G (3 5 5 x x x) D (x 5 7 7 x x) Em (x 7 9 9 8 7) C (x 3 5 5 x x). Chorus is C (x 3 5 5 x x) and A (open, I'm lazy and just bar the bottom 4 strings and just don't play the bottom string). I have a little trouble getting to the Em quick enough, so most of the time I just play it as the E power chord (x 7 9 9 x x) and you can hardly tell. There's some cool, easy stuff on American Idiot as well.

Bass player for Undercover

Estimable Member
Joined: 18 years ago
Posts: 106

Some people just never need a teacher, they use their ear and just figure it all out from seeing bands play and hitting pause and rewind a million times, most of these people usually are hanging in guitar oriented circles full of players better than they are to ask questions about specifics that they might have taken forever to find out on their own. You sound pretty isolated and if after two years your ear isn't helping I would do a few things.

First I would make a personal goal. From the beginning of when I started playing I had one single minded goal; to play lead guitar in a live band. And because I wanted it so very badly, I willed into existence the means to get there without formal lessons, by ear, 8 hour guitorgies, bugging music store salesmen, bugging music store customers, going to see (or renting DVDs of) as much live music as I could and watching every move the guitar players made, and being friends with some of them. I would learn entire CD's and hold one man concerts in my room playing along with the CD, but really treating it as though I was playing with the band. It's really not that much harder to actually play in a band covering a song you know well rather than just playing along with the CD. Now I am a guitar teacher with about 58 students a week beginner to advanced and I am writing and recording a second CD. Studying is studying, whether urged by a teacher or not... but it does need to be urged by something.

So if that route doesn't seem comfortable to you, then you are really going to just need a good teacher to help you get to the point that you can put on a CD and just play right along, or improvise over it too if you are interested in improv. you will also get the added feature of having the theory behind it explained to you as you go, rather than how it was for me that I went to the library and studied because I was stuck in the middle of some song I was writing and couldn't get out.

Emphasize to the teacher what your goals are and the timeline in which you would like to see them achieved, a good teacher will always adapt to the students needs first, and then try to slip their own agenda in underneath. Stay away from rigid teachers who put you on a path that is not stylistically matched to your needs. Once you get the tools to play the music you love you can branch out to sounds that are not what you are currently listening to and enjoying, a good teacher will beg you to branch out though and hopefully tell you why you may need to! In my classroom, someone coming to learn classical guitar is going to be a long time before picking up power chords, likewise someone coming from a metal point of view these days may not really need to see the basic open D chord for a good while. But it is inevitable to happen, there is just no need to be forced away from what you love about the guitar, away from what makes you want to play and play and play... -Cincinnati CEA Award winners for best original RnB/Funk band! (Bragging is in the user manual and encouraged)(Hi Mom)

Eminent Member
Joined: 17 years ago
Posts: 27

The first song I ever learned was Pink Floyds Wish You Were Here. Very simple chords, once you learn them you can listen to the CD and figure out when the changes come and begin to eventually play along with it. Luckily it is a somewhat slow song. Breathe is another slow PF song. I then learned Comfortably Numb and Brain Damage. The chords should be at

Another alternative could just be to experiment with a few chords like G,C, D ( or even two chords like Am, Em) and come up with your own patterns and changes with just those chords until it sounds pleasant to your ear. Add some words and WHAMMO, you got your own original song.

Most importantly, have fun.

Trusted Member
Joined: 17 years ago
Posts: 58

My advice would be to take a short break away from the guitar, maybe a week or two even a month and just reflect over what you've learnt and you'd be surprised with what you have actually archived.

Also maybe find a teacher would be a another positive direction to take

Estimable Member
Joined: 17 years ago
Posts: 93

Hi Frank,
I can't add to the already great advice given here (really helpful guys thanks :D ), other than to say that it would be worthwhile to check out your local evening classes (starting next week in most places in ireland!) where you can get classes really cheap (usually about 80 quid for 8-10 weeks) which I've found really helpful - lots of encouragement from classmates, and theres always someone worse than yourself which is nice :lol: , plus you get to ask questions directly to a teacher. (I don't know where u are in ireland but u never know, would be nice to see you there!)
best of luck, jen.

New Member
Joined: 17 years ago
Posts: 3

Hello. Buy the guitar tab (not the crappy stuff on the internet) for the music you like and pick a song and learn it just as you would a scale or chord progression. The key to accomplishing what you want is to pay close attention to detail when learning the tab and not take shortcuts. The tablature book explains in detail how to read it etc as I'm sure there are plenty of explanations if you google it. Once you get somewhat familair with the song, play along with the CD. Remember to have fun with it sometimes. It's OK to turn up and play along even if you don't have it down yet. Eventually you will!

I've been playing for 15 years now and had the urge to quit for similair reasons. After about a year and a half, I bought some Van Halen tab and focused just on that. Once I started doing that, I saw real improvement and direction in my playing. There was alot of frustration and listening to the same riff over and over and trying to play it on guitar, etc but that's a neccesary part of the process.

Eventually, you may sound like someone else when playing, but eventually you will learn from it and develop your own style over time. If you want to play lead, pick a good guitar player that you admire. Van Halen was good for me back in the day because of his technique and songwriting. My friends would be saying "that stuff is too hard--learn smoke on the water or some BS like that". Try to challenge yourself and it will pay off if you follow through - I guarantee it.

Reputable Member
Joined: 18 years ago
Posts: 268
Topic starter  

just like to say thanks for your replies i walked away from the guitar and gave it a break so hopefully if i ever start up again ill be rejuvenated and eager to learn whatever it is i'm meant to learn think what i have doctors refer to it as burn out :lol:
again thanks for all your help

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