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Playing guitar for several years and hit a brick wall....

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(@alextin)
Active Member
Joined: 18 years ago
Posts: 5
Topic starter  

Hi gang. I'm BRAND new to the forum. I found it just by searching for guitar players forums on Google. I've been playing since 1998. I started out using the guitar merely as stress relief but in recent years I've tried to take things a little more seriously. I read most of the magazines, i.e. Guitar One, Guitar World, etc. Guitar players I admire include Joe Walsh, Steve Cropper, Doyle Bramhall II, SRV, EC among others. My gear list includes a Fender 60's strat re-issue. G&L Tribute Tele, MIM Strat that I've stripped down to the bare wood and had Hot Rails pickups installed, Epiphone Sheraton II and a Garrison acoustic guitar. Amp wise I have a Fender Princeton Chorus and an Ampeg Retrorocket. I don't use effects much, but when I do, I use the BOSS SD-1, BOSS Blues Driver or BOSS Digital Delay.

Ok enough of that. The reason I'm posting here is because I've seemed to hit a brick wall as far as playing goes. I don't feel like I'm getting anywhere lately. Like I'm repeating myself. I try to look up new scales and modes to expand my playing a bit, but I feel like I don't know what I'm doing. Am I stuck in a pentatonic rut? I like mainly blues style songs and some hard rock. I just can't seem to progress at all. I'm writing to you all, since I'm sure there are some out there that have had the same problem I'm having right now. What can I do to prevent stagnation in my playing? Is there anything I can do to revitalize my playing?

Anyway, I thank you all for reading my rant. I hope there's someone out there that can help...

Alex

Do it for the phat lady!


   
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(@daniel-lioneye)
Reputable Member
Joined: 18 years ago
Posts: 234
 

play a different style of music than you normally play, try classical with finger plucking or something along that line. Or just take a break from playing say maybe week or so, you'll come back feeling refreshed.

Guitars: Electric: Jackson DX10D, J. Reynolds Fat Strat copy
Acoustic: New York and a Jasmine.
Amps: Austin 15 watt, Fender Deluxe 112, Fender Champion 600 5w, 0ld 1970's Sears 500g.
Effects: Digitech Whammy, Big Muff Pi USA, MXR, Washburn Distortion.


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

Hi Alex and welcome to GuitarNoise.

Funny, I have never felt that I was in a rut like this. I have always felt that there is so much to learn, and so little time to learn it. But many here write about this exact experience often.

My only advice is that you have to apply your music. It's like having a bunch of brushes and paint. Doesn't do you any good unless you actually paint something. So find a way to apply your music. When I was young I played in bands. Later I got married and had kids, but I would play in church. I wrote a few songs for awhile and recorded them. And now I play in bands again.

So you have to do something to keep the fire burning. Go down to an Open Mic and jam once a week. Get some recording equipment and write your own songs. Recording will really improve your skills as you must play a song perfectly (or as close as possible). Jam with some buddies or play in church. Search musician ads like those on Harmony Central and find a local band looking for a guitar player.

If you are having fun playing, you will improve without really trying. If you play in a band you are likely to have to learn songs in different styles you might not know now. You also pick up lots of new stuff from others.

My 2 cents.

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


   
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(@coloradofenderbender)
Noble Member
Joined: 18 years ago
Posts: 1106
 

Here is something I benefited from. Find a teacher, preferably who enjoys a different style from you. It taught me things I never knew I didn't know! At first, I was annoyed with the stuff he was teaching me (finger picking, country?!?), but it was stuff I would never have tried and now it has expanded my skills. Not BAd!


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

Hi, Alex,

I realy envy Wes, I think most of us have sat down on more than one occasion and thought "Do I want to keep playing this stuff forever?"

The answer is "Yes", we do want to keep playing it, but we do need to rememebr that "It" is a very wide spec. Daniel sugested playing a different style of music for a while, and that's got a whole heap of benefits as each style has its own different disciplines. I'm not suggesting that as a bluesman you go off and play some Nelly & Kelly warbling twaddle for a month or two, but start with a similar style - say C&W, though personally I tend to go for punk when I'm on a mission like this - and check out the skillset needed to play it well. You'll suddenly find blues and rock speaking to you in your sleep and you'll be back on the path.

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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 lars
(@lars)
Noble Member
Joined: 19 years ago
Posts: 1120
 

Hi and welcome :)

I know the feeling. :( I feel the same every now and then - I know I have a poor progress, I know I should have a teacher, I know I should practice more structured and focused, I know I should practice difficult picking patterns - yet I end up doing more or less the same. Still - I don't consider quiting. I just feel that the guitar(s) is part of my life. I don't feel I'm in a hurry either - probably I pick up something year by year, and I know I will play for the next 50(?) years. :)

This does not help you except showing that yet someone else feel the same. My impression is that everyone does occationally (except Wes...). The suggestions inthe post above make sense tho'

Lars

...only thing I know how to do is to keep on keepin' on...

LARS kolberg http://www.facebook.com/sangerersomfolk


   
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(@doctorwu)
Active Member
Joined: 18 years ago
Posts: 14
 

I agree very much with Daniel Lioneye above in that you might want to try branching out into other facets of guitar playing. There are so many to explore: alternate tunings, slide, tapping, finger-picking, whammy bar, and on and on. In case you don't already own an acoustic guitar, save your money and buy one. When I start getting a little burned out on my Strat, I'll go back to finger-picking my acoustic or to playing slide on both my acoustic and electric.

FYI, some of these things you may have to force yourself to do for awhile before you actually begin enjoying it. My example, when I first started teaching myself slide guitar, I really hated it but I was determined to learn it. After awhile, I became obsessed with slide playing and had to actually pull myself away from it for fear of forgeting how to play the others ways. :lol:

I started playing when I was 11 years old, but then after about 20 years I completely stopped playing due to burn-out (and getting married :lol: ). I sold all my guitars except one and I seriously thought at that time that I'd NEVER, EVER play again. Then, after a 22 years of total inactivety (crap! now I'm letting my age show) I decided to start playing again. I don't play professionally now as I did back in the day. I just do it as a hobby now, but I really enjoy it more than ever now. There's no pressure involved when you're not doing it as a profession :D . Hell, I might even do it professionally again if I weren't such an old fart! LOL!

Yes! As a matter of fact, I am with you. ;-)


   
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(@alextin)
Active Member
Joined: 18 years ago
Posts: 5
Topic starter  

I'd like to thank everyone on the message board for the advice. I realize we all look at playing the guitar in different ways. Not so much in the way of the guitar's potential uses, i.e., stress relief, making money, etc. But more in how each of us approaches playing. I started playing simply out of a great love for music. Going into it, I knew I wouldn't be playing "Voodoo Chile" note-for-note at the end of my first week. I started simple: I looked up the tabs for a good number of songs I'd loved over the years and taught myself. From there, I learned scales and alternate tunings. I've never had a lesson, but I think I'll follow the advice a few of you gave and break down and finally take a few. One thing I've always resigned myself to accept is that I'll never be as technically proficient as guys like Vai, Satriani or Eric Johnson. That's not because I'm lazy; I just don't appreciate the art of shredding as much as most do.

Anway, it's grand to know there a some players out there that feel or have felt the way I do right now.

Thanks again everyone!

Alex

Do it for the phat lady!


   
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 Taso
(@taso)
Famed Member
Joined: 21 years ago
Posts: 2811
 

Alex,

As a fellow blues/rock player, I'd like to suggest you check out/learn Trey Anastasio's style, of Phish. I'm not a Phish fan at all, and I don't know much of Trey's stuff, but man, the way he plays, you can really add a lot to your playing. Well, I could anyways...Even though I havn't because I'm too lazy to learn anything new anymore, ha. Worth checking out.

http://taso.dmusic.com/music/


   
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(@lunchmeat)
Estimable Member
Joined: 19 years ago
Posts: 153
 

Great advice from everyone - another tip; maybe you're practicing too hard. Take a break and just mess around on your guitar, you never know what might come of it. Let your mind flow outwards...flash! Inspiration! Give it a try.

Also, when you get in a rut, try playing with other people - that can really make you think differently, and it's pretty inspiring. I know that when I play with certain people I come home wanting to practice, practice, practice. Give it a try!

-lunchmeat


   
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 Taso
(@taso)
Famed Member
Joined: 21 years ago
Posts: 2811
 

Duhh! good idea lunchmeat. Are you playing with others Alex? As lunchmeat said, that will REALLY get you going, you'll learn something new everytime you play, be forced to learn new styles, etc.

http://taso.dmusic.com/music/


   
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(@jminor)
Estimable Member
Joined: 18 years ago
Posts: 168
 

Go and get yourself a slide (bought or home-made.. makes no difference) and play around with some open tunings.
This transition is quite easy when you jam over tracks you already know quite well, and the new sounds you can make are great for new ideas/inspiration.

Peace

J

Insert random quote here


   
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(@ignar-hillstrom)
Illustrious Member
Joined: 21 years ago
Posts: 5349
 

Go write your own blues songs, record them and throw them in the 'hear here' section of this forum. Writing songs really lets you put everything you've learned together and helps you develop your own style.


   
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(@doctorwu)
Active Member
Joined: 18 years ago
Posts: 14
 

I started playing simply out of a great love for music.

God bless you! That's the best reason I have ever heard for playing the guitar. Stick with that attitude and you cannot lose!!

Regards,
DoctorWu

P.S. : My "original" reason for playing the guitar was to impress the girls. That's probably the 2nd best reason I've heard ever heard of. :wink:

Yes! As a matter of fact, I am with you. ;-)


   
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