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  #1  
Old 01-16-2022, 02:53 PM
CityPickn CityPickn is offline
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Question Can I get an honest opinion/critique of my playing?

I don't know anybody who plays and this forum seems to have a lot of experienced players. I have been playing for a bit over a year. I enjoy playing so I would like to continue improving. I take lessons at Artistworks but that's primarily for flatpicking. I also want to learn Travis picking for some Prine and Dylan tunes.





I guess what I'm really trying to ask is do I sound and look like I know what I'm doing? I get hesitant to record and share songs I learn. I usually post them on Facebook every now and then and when there is no feedback I feel like I must sound awful and it's bothersome to others. I'm probably just overthinking this but I'm like this with most things. My only aspirations are to be a couch player but I still want to sound good. I definitely need singing lessons. Lol.

Last edited by CityPickn; 01-16-2022 at 02:58 PM.
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  #2  
Old 01-16-2022, 03:05 PM
Jaxon Jaxon is offline
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Much better imo

https://pegheadnation.com/string-sch...picking-guitar
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  #3  
Old 01-17-2022, 04:31 AM
JonPR JonPR is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CityPickn View Post
I don't know anybody who plays and this forum seems to have a lot of experienced players. I have been playing for a bit over a year. I enjoy playing so I would like to continue improving. I take lessons at Artistworks but that's primarily for flatpicking. I also want to learn Travis picking for some Prine and Dylan tunes.

The flatpicked intro is OK - although the rhythm (beat) is unclear when the strumming starts. Then the next flatpicked line is messy - you don't have it fully under control yet.
You need to slow down a little and practice it over and over with a metronome - just that little lick, and then linking it to the following chords.

Also, play with more attack, more emphasis. You need to put a little more energy into it - play like you mean it, as if there is a crowd in front of you, and they're all chatting and you need to get their attention. Hey! Bam!
In fact if you do that, it will sound better immediately - although the timing will probably still need addressing.

Slow and steady (for rhythmic precision), but also positive attack.


You're singing out of tune on the phrase "people don't think much". I could tell that straight away, even though I don't know this song.

it wasn't clear whether you had the wrong chords and the right tune, or vice versa - ​so I checked the original.

You're playing it in the same key, and you have the chords right, but your voice is naturally a much lower register.

You are instinctively resolving to the low G correctly on "from a little town", but you're missing all the other notes because you're aiming too high. Your voice is not naturally a whole octave lower than Hank 3, which is why you're struggling.

In the original, the notes in question on those two lines are:
Code:
Am                             G
----------------------------------------------------
----------------------------------------------------
-2--2---2---2-2---2----2---2----0---0--0---0---0----
----------------------------------------------------
----------------------------------------------------
----------------------------------------------------
My name is Cecil Brown and I'm from a little town

D                   C  (Bm7)  Am
----------------------------------------------------
--------------------1--------------------------------
-2--2----2-----2--------2-----2-----------------------
----------------------------------------------------
----------------------------------------------------
----------------------------------------------------
People don't think much of    me
(The Bm7 is only a passing chord, not significant. The G you're playing is fine, but G/B would be better.)

I'm guessing that register is way too high for you, but in your octave the notes should be these:
Code:
Am                             G
----------------------------------------------------
----------------------------------------------------
----------------------------------------------------
----------------------------------------------------
-0--0---0---0-0----0----0---0-------------------------------
--------------------------------3---3--3--3---3----------
My name is Cecil Brown and I'm from a little town


D                   C  (Bm7)  Am
----------------------------------------------------
----------------------------------------------------
----------------------------------------------------
----------------------------------------------------
-0--0----0-----0----3---0-----0-----------------------------
----------------------------------------------------
People don't think much of    me
But you're finding most of those notes too low for you, and instinctively singing C on the first Am chord. That shows your ear is good (intuitively tuning in to a chord tone, even one you're not actually playing (A string fret 3). You then drop to the low G, the right note, but it's way down near the bottom of your range.

But then you can't find a good note on the D and C chords. Your instinct is to go higher than the correct notes again, but this time the C you're aiming at is wrong on the D chord, and you're stabbing at something like D on the C chord.

The fix here is to first of all play that melody on the guitar. Check you can actually sing those notes (one by one); play a note, sing it. My guess is that you'd be more comfortable with a capo on 2 or 3 (or even higher), where your ear would more easily find the correct notes: tuning in naturally to the right chord tones. (Notice the melody notes are all in the chord shapes, so you can easily combine picking the tune along with strumming the chords. Only the A on "of" is not in the chord at that point, but it's one of the less important notes.)

Of course, then you'll be in a different key from the original, so you couldn't sing or play along with it. But it's essential you find the best key for your voice.

The only other advice is similar to the first video - apply a bit more energy! Your voice is good, and would be a whole lot better if you sang as if to other people rather than to yourself! I realise that's harder to get comfortable with than just playing a little louder. But it's certainly easier if you find a comfortable key to start with.
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Last edited by JonPR; 01-17-2022 at 04:38 AM.
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Old 01-17-2022, 07:17 AM
CityPickn CityPickn is offline
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Thanks for all that information. I'll try out the melody stuff today to see if it makes a difference. I'm really trying to find my vocal range and this will surely help.
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Old 01-17-2022, 08:14 AM
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Canít add anything as JonPR has given you excellent advice but I will say you are doing fantastic for one year of playing.
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Old 01-17-2022, 08:51 AM
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Since you looking honest critique which is by nature opinion,, here goes

First let me echo Sprintbob, for a year of playing you are doing great.

The first video is IMO problematic in not at all being ready for prime time . It seems as if the picking fills and runs are out of time with the strumming . (I'm guessing you are much more comfortable and more practiced on strumming)
Which no big deal given learning guitar is a life long project.

The second video I would agree with others the timing is ok but the vocal needs work for one it's a bit stiff (here is a hint for improving your singing while playing) Practice the chord changes to where you play them in the dark. When you can do that you can begin to concentrate of the vocal and not split your concentration between the chord changes and the vocal which in turn will allow you to listen to the (melody) of vocal in relation to the (harmony) of the chord progression and be better able to sing in key.

IMO you do not need any more attack on the guitar at all, the attack is fine in fact the guitar sound is maybe even a bit harsh... But that may just be a function of your recording chain.......

Also (and this totally just me) For video and or live performance I'm old school, and am of the mind that the audience/viewer will always take your performance just a little less serious than you do .. I would loose the short sleeve T shirt On the couch it's fine on the video not so much IMO. I have made two video's one with short sleeve T and one with a long sleeve T and honestly I will not do that again. YMMV
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  #7  
Old 01-17-2022, 12:44 PM
Glennwillow Glennwillow is offline
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I think you are doing great after only a year of playing. Any of us could have used a pile of criticism at only one year of playing, but I think overall you are doing well.

Regarding learning the Travis pick, I did a tutorial on a John Prine song here for "Clay Pigeons" using a simplified Travis pick that you may find helpful.

I think the critiques you have received above from others, especially from JohnPR, are pretty accurate and should give you plenty of stuff to work on. It's a long road; don't be discouraged, because you are doing well at your stage of learning. Keep at it!

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Old 01-17-2022, 04:00 PM
CityPickn CityPickn is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Glennwillow View Post
I think you are doing great after only a year of playing. Any of us could have used a pile of criticism at only one year of playing, but I think overall you are doing well.

Regarding learning the Travis pick, I did a tutorial on a John Prine song here for "Clay Pigeons" using a simplified Travis pick that you may find helpful.

I think the critiques you have received above from others, especially from JohnPR, are pretty accurate and should give you plenty of stuff to work on. It's a long road; don't be discouraged, because you are doing well at your stage of learning. Keep at it!

- Glenn
I took a quick look and it is exactly what I was looking for. It's one of the two Prine songs I want to learn this year. I really liked the Blaze Foley documentary and I learned about this song. Is it alright if I keep in touch with you as I learn it? I'll post in this sub or something if I have any questions about it? I really appreciate the time you have take and everyone else as well.
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Old 01-18-2022, 07:26 PM
Glennwillow Glennwillow is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CityPickn View Post
I took a quick look and it is exactly what I was looking for. It's one of the two Prine songs I want to learn this year. I really liked the Blaze Foley documentary and I learned about this song. Is it alright if I keep in touch with you as I learn it? I'll post in this sub or something if I have any questions about it? I really appreciate the time you have take and everyone else as well.
Yes, you can certainly contact me here on the forum via Private Message.

I'm so glad that this John Prine song is of interest to you. I really hope my tutorial will be helpful. Best of luck to you!

Take care and be well!

- Glenn
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Old 02-09-2022, 07:11 PM
TwinandTwang TwinandTwang is offline
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Land you chord hand a bit sooner so you hit the chord on the downbeat.
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Old 02-11-2022, 05:31 PM
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Way to get out there and ask for help. Keep it up! I started at 50 and now just don't care because the love of playing took over.
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Old 02-11-2022, 05:36 PM
ReneAsologuitar ReneAsologuitar is offline
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For somebody to be playing for a year, this is not bad at all. Your strumming is consistent, and the chord changes are smooth. You can also use the capo to raise the pitch of the song, if it is a bit on the low end.
Hope you are able to get the feedback you are looking for.
And keep playing. You are definitely at the right place to get adviser on guitar playing.
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Old 02-11-2022, 06:32 PM
Jamolay Jamolay is online now
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You sound good for a year in. I am a year in as well, and you are a bit ahead of me.

Just as an option, have you considered JustinGuitar? He has very coherent lessons, a great attitude and philosophy, and there is an associated community forum where people post their playing, questions and thoughts with additional learning and conversation.

They even host open mics with people from all over the world!

The beginner to intermediate stuff and the forum are free. There are additional, more advanced paid lessons, apps, songbooks and other stuff, but there is a vast collection and community that is free or donation.
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Old 02-12-2022, 08:11 PM
FrankHudson FrankHudson is offline
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Here's my response. This is will be from someone far behind many here in terms of consistently attractive playing and singing. There's danger offering advice from my level, but I'm going to try to help.

I'll start by saying too that you're doing better than many for 1 year in. JohnPR's remarks on pitch, finding the key for any particular song that fits your range, etc sound valid to me. The timbre of your voice (yes, even though you may well be low to too low in your range for this song) sounds promising to me.

The plan background in the video didn't add or detract. The light was good, and you frame yourself well in the screen. I've seen lots of Youtube videos that are much worse than what you did there. However, your vocals in this video are too low compared to your guitar. I can't tell you how to fix that (I don't know how you sound pushing your voice to higher volumes for one thing). First thoughts: if your mic is part of the camera, you may need to use a separate microphone or microphones.

What would make your stuff more compelling/attractive? There's a factor that has various names that I'll call "convincing the song." By that I mean the ways that you sing and look as you perform that allow the listener to think that you mean what the song is expressing, that's it's important for them to hear. Different performers do this in different ways, but it's even more important than singing every note in tune or having better guitar technique.

Which ways will work for you and for your desired audience? As you watch video or live performance of those whose work you admire take time to watch what they do with their vocal delivery, body language, even introductory "This next song is...." talking introductions that may increase that sense of conviction in the song and compelling them to listen. Watch their face, little things they may do with their voice and phrasing. Like a good salesman or actor this doesn't mean you have to pour it on, lay it on thick. Some things they do may well be subtle, yet still make a difference.

Some above have suggested (and you say you've thought about) improving your playing and adding techniques. That's another area, and there are performers for whom technique alone compels an audience. I'm not saying to not learn new and more advanced techniques, but I'd say that it'd be better to primarily master the strumming you're doing now. The reply that said "so you can play it in the dark" said something I'll second. Getting the mechanics of what you play down lets you move on to better execute those audience convincing things, including things like eye contact and concentrating on vocal delivery.

You've got a good start. Take heart. What you say you want to do: create compelling performances is a good goal. Much of what I've put in this reply is "do as I say, not as I do" material, but I hope it still helps.
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Last edited by FrankHudson; 02-13-2022 at 12:54 PM.
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Old 02-12-2022, 10:03 PM
SongwriterFan SongwriterFan is offline
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The guitar work is extremely good for just one year.

As to the vocals, definitely get a capo, and try playing it capo'd at different places to find the right vocal range for your voice. Or learn to play it in a different key (a lot harder, at least for me . . but it might sound better than capo'd . . only one way to find out . . try both).
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