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Time for my 6 month whine...

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Anonymous
 Anonymous
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I was really hoping to avoid this but I just don't feel like I have been playing for almost 6 months. I still can't hit open chord cleanly, my string skipping is TERRIBLE, my fingers are always slipping off the strings, and I really don't know any full songs.

Yes I have been concentrating on blues techniques but even with that I can only play a few short licks and some basic strumming patterns. Being a teacher I know that we all learn at our own pace but I also know that there are learning milestones we all achieve at certain points in our lives. Guitar HAS to have some milestones that should be achieved at certain time intervals? I don't mean a number of songs learned or number of chords memorized. I mean should I be able to fret open chords cleanly 99% of the time at 6 months? Are there certain skills that are MANDITORY for a player at the 6 month interval? Should hammer-on's/pull-offs be somewhat mastered by now?

I know I am rehashing this but I just guess I am in one of my ruts. I'll be honest it's been a while since I have been in a rut that frustrated me so I guess I should be glad. Maybe it's just the Christmas Blues getting to me...I don't know? I just needed to vent my frustration...

Thanks


   
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Mike
 Mike
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Joined: 19 years ago
Posts: 2892
 

We all need to vent sometimes, don't worry about it.

Where should you be?

It's not how long you've been playing, it's how much time you practice.

You've always sounded like a person that puts too much on their plate. Slow it back down. How much time have you spent on open chords? I know I use to do them for at least an hour or two on the weekends (only get @ an hour weekdays to practice). It will all come with time. Work on one thing at a time until you are happy with it and remember to keep it in your practice routine.

Stop worrying where you are or should be...... worry about what you are having a problem with. Slow it down..... Take deep breathes and get back into it as calm as possible. The tenser you are, the harder it will be to execute what you are trying to do.

Remember, this is for fun, not stress.


   
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wannabe
(@wannabe)
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Joined: 19 years ago
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hi there mikespe,

sorry to hear your frustrated, we've all been there and frankly it sucks. i found that my chords cleaned up alot as i tried to learn simple songs. it happened just like magic the first time, i picked up my guitar and my first chords and chord changes just happened. It only happened intermittently but it did happen. i think that your putting pressure on yourself by saying that there are certain skills that you should be able to do at six months. there is no magic formula. how often do you practice. I used to play alot just infront of the tv or noodleing, but my job at the time allowed me to spend alot of time with my guitar. unfortunatly now i don't have the time and my progress has slowed noticably.

don't worry to much, just keep practicing, try to learn a song right through, there are tonns of them on the site. it really helped me clean up my chords

good luck and happy holidays

Cheers,
Brian

I don't understand, I got the guitar, and the beer, the commercial said I'd be a rock star by now...

the reason we fall is so we can learn how to pick ourselves back up


   
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TwistedLefty
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it was such a very long time ago , but i still remember practicing Em, Am, A, and D for several months before i could play them cleanly and another several months to add C and F. after that it seemed like an eternity to be able to switch without looking.

after that i added a chord every week or so until i had the majority of the open chords memorized.
finally i could play along with my friends and started picking up 2 finger picking and some arpeggios. Triads started coming along shortly after with learning the Cmajor scale and some other techniques like hammers and stuff.

before i knew it i had been playing for over 2 years and still could only get through 5 or 6 songs that were worth playing.
what i mean is that as i improved, my taste elevated above my ability as i went so that i was never happy with my progress.

Don't get caught up in pre-conceived expectations or unrealistic goals. it made me quit altogether for several years because i felt i was unable to learn what i thought i should be playing in the time that i had spent so far.

now that i'm older i threw all that out the window and basically started over again.
i'm much happier now with my progress as it comes.

#4491....


   
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Anonymous
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Thanks for the support guys...I practice open chords every practice session as part of my warmup along with barre chords. I figured it would be a great way of assuring that I practice them everyday. That darn D chord is still giving me grief! :evil:

Matteo has been helping me with my strumming and that is taking shape well but then my chord changes suffer. When I do SLOW D-D-D-D strumming the chord changes are fine but when I add a more complicated pattern I miss the chords...

I guess looking back I can do more now then I could at 1 month but I just don't feel I am as far as I should be. People at work keep asking me when I am going to play for them but I don't have anything to play. I feel like I don't have anything to show for my efforts.

I'll be honest I think most of these feelings is because of the holiday blues. I did some Christmas shopping today and just got depressed. I just went on our Christmas break and I usually don't have anyone to talk to for that time so I tend to get depressed...

Anyway, thanks again for the support.

Happy Holidays


   
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pearlthekat
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i think what you should do is to concentrate on very easy songs. things like margaritaville, dylan songs, easy beatle songs, even if it's not your cup of tea. find songs with two or three chords and learn them just for the chord changes. don't worry about licks and blues techniques and hammer-ons and barre chords for now. keep it simple, take lessons and try to improve one thing a week.


   
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klim
 klim
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Joined: 19 years ago
Posts: 269
 

Hey Mike,

Don't beat yourself up so much. I understand what you mean about some sort of milestone at three, six, 12 months. But the truth is, that you should assess what you know now, which you didn't six months ago. It isn't a race, take your time as you enjoy it. If you find that you feel like you're in a rut (I know the feeling all too well, just started playing this week after not touching the guitar for a month), try learning new songs in another music style other than blues, learn some theory, take some lessons or better yet, find someone else to play with. You'll be surprised by how much you can learn from playing with another guitarist.

I've been only playing for a couple of years now. I sometimes still can't hit a clean chord, especially barre chords, but I try and not worry about that and just play on. In fact I have a friend that's been playing for five years now, she still hasn't bother to learn barre chords and doesn't even care too learn. She's happy with what she knows and very comfortable with singing and playing songs with open chords.

Everyone is different and you're right, we all learn at different rates. So relax and enjoy the ride, because in another six months, you'll be wondering why you ever fretted (no pun intended) about in the first place.

Cheers, Kenny


   
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Anonymous
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Joined: 15 years ago
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If it makes you feel any better, I've been playing for a month less than you and I suck at open chords too. My collection of chords that I can change to quickly enough to play something are: A, D, E, Em..........yeah, that's pretty much it. But I don't really care how many chords I know or can play cleany, because as soon as I take these chords and hit distortion.........pure mud.

So I wouldn't worry about what's "mandatory." I say figure out what you need to know to play the music you like, and work on it.


   
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U2Bono269
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open chords are hard to hit cleanly and it took me almost a year before i could do it effortlessly. i'm at the point where i can play entire songs without really looking at my fingers to do open chords. once you get to that point, it's great and you'll be very happy with yourself.

sidenote: do you all have practice times/sessions/warmups etc? I find that i don't have "practice" time and i dont really consider it practicing when i pick up a guitar. i just play and whatever happens, just happens. ive never had a lesson, the only instructional book i own is a book of chord shapes. scales? i guess i know some, but i have no idea what they're called, i just know they sound "right." i dunno, this might be a crappy piece of advice, but why not just, for a little bit, get your mind away from "practicing" and just focus on playing. maybe if you take that stress away and just pretend for a bit will help you out. i think it's helped me, so maybe you could try it.

http://www.brianbetteridge.com


   
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kblake
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Hey Mike,

I know where you are comming from believe me I noodled around for years trying to learn out of books and the internet, but believe me there is nothig like having a REAL LIVE teacher.
You are a teacher yourself I don't know what of but can you must realise the importance of teachers. I mean if everyone could learn everything out of books, hey your job would be redundant!

Cheer up and get some lessons you will be surprised at your progress !

Merry Christmas

andaveagoodweekend

Keith

I know a little bit about a lot of things, but not a lot about anything...
Looking for people to jam with in Sydney Oz.......


   
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Anonymous
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Hey Mike,

I know where you are comming from believe me I noodled around for years trying to learn out of books and the internet, but believe me there is nothig like having a REAL LIVE teacher.
You are a teacher yourself I don't know what of but can you must realise the importance of teachers. I mean if everyone could learn everything out of books, hey your job would be redundant!

Cheer up and get some lessons you will be surprised at your progress !

Merry Christmas

andaveagoodweekend

Keith

Thanks Keith but lessons are out of the question for awhile. Being a teacher means I have NO time to go somewhere for lessons on top of the practice time I already do. I wish I could but not until Summer vacation.


   
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rparker
(@rparker)
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Joined: 19 years ago
Posts: 5480
 

Hi Mike,

Yeah, that area of the country and Christmas time can be quite a struggle. I remember not seeing the sun for weeks.....

I've always thought you've been quite impressive. Sounds like at the very least, you've got some things in the same amount of time as most others. How many 6-monthers can do barre chords? I couldn't. That took me up until 13 or 14.

Roy

Roy
"I wonder if a composer ever intentionally composed a piece that was physically impossible to play and stuck it away to be found years later after his death, knowing it would forever drive perfectionist musicians crazy." - George Carlin


   
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andrewlubinus89
(@andrewlubinus89)
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Joined: 18 years ago
Posts: 181
 

Everyone has been in your place. I have been playing for about a year and only recently has my chords become completely clean and my barre chords still are missing a note 60% of the time. Just keep it up and it'll come around (yeah, I know this is kind of a repeat of previous posts).

A hoopy frood knows where his towel is....


   
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Wes Inman
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Joined: 19 years ago
Posts: 5582
 

All I can say is that I too am a very driven type personality and perfectionist as well. I put tremendous pressure on myself when I first started, practicing probably 6-8 hours a day or more. I was always frustrated.

Fortunately, I am also an extremely STUBBORN person. That is not usually a good personality trait. But for guitar it is. There is no way I was going to give up.

I finally realized one day that I needed to relax and enjoy guitar. I quit worrying about how long it was going to take to get good. I knew that if I kept playing, someday I would get there.

And Mike, believe it or not, I think this was the best thing that ever happened in my playing. Simply by relaxing and having fun I noticed I actually played better. I am not saying that I became a good player like magic, but I really did start improving at a much quicker rate.

So relax. Have fun and play with your soul and feelings. Just let go and play. I bet you will see improvement quickly. But stay with it. Guitar takes a while. It is a skill.

Start a notebook. Learn very simple 3 or 4 chord songs with strumming. Learn to sing while you play. Learn a song from beginning to end.

Jam with others too. This is fun and you play complete songs. You will improve very quickly doing this.

Sorry to ramble. Just hang in there and play. 6 months is just the beginning. You have many years ahead of you. Enjoy them and play. You will get there. :D

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


   
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Minus_Human
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Joined: 19 years ago
Posts: 381
 

can't agree more with what wes said, just relax and get loose with it all. It's funny things always seem to be easier when you don't try so hard.

And have a good christmas !!! i just got home awhile ago - had a little 2 much christmas cheer and will be heading of to bed :)

Cheers
Minus Human

And all the things you said to me
I need your arms to welcome me
But a cold stone's all I see

Let my heart go


   
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