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Where do I go from here?  


Active Member
Joined: 3 years ago
Posts: 12
02/04/2020 11:24 am  

I have lengthy questions for those who are advanced players. I'm a little frustrated about my skill. Please bear with me. 

Let me talk about myself for you to give me proper advices.

I hadn’t touched my guitars for 2 years and got back to it about a week ago. Re visited everything I learned in the past and I am up to speed now. I dabbled piano a bit too. As you know, guitar’s very different than piano in a way that you need to know where in fretboard to hit in guitar. Whereas with piano, you can see everything already. My goal with the guitar is that I would be able to play electric and acoustic both proficiently that I can jam or make a garage band.

I consider myself an intermediate player although I haven’t memorized any particular song at all (I did 5-10 songs before but I lost them). Just with strumming, if somebody gives me the starting chord, I can play acceptable backing guitar with occasional hiccup depending on how familiar I am with the starting chord. If it’s a chord without flat or sharp, it would be easy but if it’s like C#, my head spins. But I can play w/o hiccup if I play just bar chords(not 5’s) on any chord although I may not know which chord I am playing during the song sometimes lol.

My understanding on music theory is pretty solid including transcription. I can transcribe most songs (Please don’t ask me if I can with rap songs cuz I don’t lol) just by listening to it although I take longer with minor keys and advanced chords such as Cmaj9, C6, C9, etc. I’m pretty sure I can compose simple songs with my knowledge but I haven’t tried yet.

I can find any key in fretboard but I’m not proficient on it as I can’t continue to play without pausing from time to time. This slowness makes me not be able to play particular scales fluently unless I memorize the boxes.

I understand CAGED system but have been refusing to memorize the boxes as it feels stupid to just memorize them (no offense to anybody). I have memorized them before and just played scales up and down but it wasn’t fun at all and over time, I forgot them.

I understand and memorized circle of fifth somewhat. It still takes me time to figure out relative major/minor depending on the chord and 1-4-5 chord progression, also depending on the chord.

I can figure out which chord has how many sharps and minors but I can’t play scales fluently cuz of the reasons above. This leads me back to having to memorize the boxes which I refuse.

I have pretty solid understanding on intervals on fretboard. So if given time, I can make pretty much majority of chords at almost anywhere on fretboard. But of course, I can’t make them in like 1 sec.


  1. Have all of you memorized circle of fifth and can you draw it even in your dream, I mean w/o any effort at all?
  2. When you solo licks, do you play based on the boxes you memorized or are you just so good at knowing where to hit which key? And there are many boxes other than pentatonics. How do you possibly memorize all of them? Melodic minor, harmonic minor, major, pentatonic minor, pentatonic major, blues, etc.
  3. When people play finger style or just combination of strumming and picking together ( I find this a lot in country music surprisingly), they sound so good but I get to wonder how they play so good. Do they just know what note to hit whatever chord they play? For them to do that, I suppose some of them know every single note in every chord so well. But I have seen many guitar players around me who barely know anything about theory and who don’t even know where particular notes are on fretboard. But they are still so good. How do they or do you do that?
  4. Please advise me what I should do next. I feel that I just need to memorize map of fretboard and every note of every chord inside out but it’s frustrating feeling because the thought itself is so daunting and I have not seen many who did those around me yet play so good. What’s the trick?
  5. Today I transcribed entire song of Nothing else matters-Metallica including the solo. Although it must be a pretty easy song for many of you, the solo part for me took some time because I have not transcribed or practiced lots of licks at all and I am not really proficient on fretboard map yet so I had to sort of go by the intervals of G chord (the song is Em) and figure out from there. When you copy somebody’s solo, how do you do it? Say you already knew the chord. Can you just play the solo based on the chord once you listen to the song enough? And if the solo is not based on the starting chord, I would be very confused.
  6. When I play some pentatonic solos with backing track( I didn’t memorize the boxes as I said earlier but I can play pentatonic scales based on tetrachord that I learned from my guitar teacher a while ago), it sounds ok but is not really good. And I get lost sometimes during the play if I try to move horizontally (not knowing the fretboard well enough, not knowing all notes right away contained in the chord). What do I need to start doing to improve on this?

I’m sorry I have been wordy with many questions but your help would be appreciated. I guess in one sentence, my question is how I go about practicing at this point. Thank you much!


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