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Old 07-31-2010, 01:13 PM
Born2be Born2be is offline
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Default Playing 6 Years... I Know About 3 Songs

And no it's not a matter of I learned them and then forgot them. (Except when I stopped playing Classical.)

I began learning guitar by learning classical. My teacher was bad and I didn't learn anything at all, and everything was confusing. I simply went through the songs as fast as the teacher could make me. I didn't thoroughly learn the songs -- I just had to be able to go through them. It didn't matter if there were all kinds of mistakes. In other words, this was a waste of 3 years.

And after a little while of stagnation, I found a teacher that would teach music that I wanted to play, and for what I actually had a guitar for. (I didn't have a classical guitar when I learned classical -- I always wondered why other people had nylon guitars. My original teacher just said that she didn't know why some where nylon and others were steel. She assumed it was preference, I think.) The problem is... it's like I'm not learning anything. I've been stuck in the same spot for the last 3 years. I know some basic levels of theory. I can play the chords to a few songs, but it doesn't sound like anything because I can't sing and I don't have anyone to accompany me with a lead part. I only know one song that can be played solo. In other words I've basically spent 6 years practicing technique, but I haven't even gotten anywhere with that. Everyone assumes I'm good because I've played so long. I'm embarrassed when people ask -- I simply can't play anything worth listening to. And because I don't know any songs, I don't know how to gauge my skill level. I'm beyond just strumming open chords. I can hold my own playing rhythm guitar with barre chords; but anything beyond chords I am a dunce. I've worked out a few melody lines by ear. But I want to move beyond that. I want to play solo instrumental music. And I don't know where to even begin because I don't know what level of guitarist I am or what kind of difficulty of music I should be trying to learn.

It's also very frustrating because there's often periods of time when I can't play guitar. Especially during the summer. It feels like every time I'm about to start making progress, I go away and come back with hands that are slow, weak, and useless as before. And I forget theory and chords and songs, and it's just a mess. This is a sad state of affairs, yet music is one of the most important things to me. This whole situation feels frustrating. I realize my teachers can't help, so now I'm looking to independently get out of this.
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Old 07-31-2010, 01:25 PM
shawlie shawlie is offline
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I know what you mean. I took up guitar 25 years ago (on and off). Up til the past two and a half years, if someone asked me to "play something" there was not one song I could play. Just chords, riffs, and bits and pieces of things. Songs I'd written, I'd long forgotten, and I never bothered to learn real songs.

So when I took up playing again, I finally decided to get some books of tab and learn some songs I liked - and really practice them til I could play them (not just give up after a few bars and go on to the next one).

It sounds like you know enough to teach yourself - I'd look at some books/on-line and see what kind of solo songs you'd like to learn and spend some time on them. I've learned more from learning songs than any other way, and it's great to be able to play a tune or two when you feel like doing it.

Dvds are really fun too - lots of great stuff out there these days, something for everyone (blues, jazz, country, folk, modern, etc.). Very nice way to learn things as well.
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Old 07-31-2010, 01:34 PM
Born2be Born2be is offline
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Hey shawlie,

Your post very accurate and succinctly described the situation I am in. You're much more eloquent. I just feel very frustrated because I want to study music in University, and to use to make a career out of it. Now time is running very short as is running out.

Thank you for the advice -- I'll go searching for some books, and keep an eye out for recommendations.
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Old 07-31-2010, 02:08 PM
selder1977 selder1977 is offline
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I was in a similar position a couple of years ago . i had been playing for years but couldn't actually play anything that people would want to listen to.

I was fritting round with different styles, different techniques and different songs.

I then made the decision that playing songs I liked (and others liked) is the most important thing. So i put a play list on my Ipod of all the songs i wanted to play (most I could play bits of already) and made a CD with the same songs to take in the car. I then practised these songs for months and months on end (probably about 15 songs in total) and eventually the music and the words began to work together.

It is worth saying though that it takes a lot of practise and I realised a long time ago that i'm not a natural and my singing is pretty terrible but the ability to play a few songs to a few people gives me great pleasure.

The important thing is to find songs you really want to play, get the resurces you need to learn them and practise, practise, practise!!!

Steve
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Last edited by selder1977; 07-31-2010 at 02:09 PM. Reason: I spell like a 5 year old.
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Old 07-31-2010, 02:27 PM
Brent Hutto Brent Hutto is offline
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I've been at the three years and can play maybe four or five songs tolerably well, plus several little classical-guitar etudes and such that sound real nice although they're not musically all that interesting.

A few months ago I was on a kick of trying to add some classical-guitar pieces to my repertoire and they were pretty hard ones by my standards (although still beginner level). At some point my mom asked me to play the guitar when she was at the house and I played my couple of ditties but she asked didn't I know any songs she would recognize.

So I pretty much dropped everything and told my teacher I wanted to learn at least two Beatles songs well enough to play them for someone. After a good bit of work I can do a fingerstyle "Yesterday" and kind of fake my way through a semi-recognizable "Here Comes The Sun". My rendition of "Blackbird" isn't quite there yet although I can get through it at slow tempo, on a good day.

My suggestion is to add two recognizable songs to your repertoire as soon as you can. Now maybe that means six months (if you learn as slow as me) but I mean drop everything and have as a goal being able to play the three songs you know plus those two more. Find easy arrangements of tunes you like and just hammer away at it every time you pick up the guitar until you can play them. No theory, forget your scales and your chords and whatever technique and just spend every minute you are able to have a guitar in your hands learning those two songs. One phrase at a time.

Plus each day play through one of the three songs you know now a time or two at the end of your practice session. Stick with it until you can play five songs instead of three. You'll feel a lot better about everything, especially if one of them is a song you really love (which is "Yesterday" for me).
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Old 08-24-2010, 01:30 PM
DROCKETT DROCKETT is offline
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I second Brents suggestions. I was in a similar situation and added recording what ever I was working on at least once a week. I quickly relized how much my practice was paying off by reviewing the recordings. I also use a looping pedal so that I can get immediate feed back on the areas of the song that need the most attention. This helps my practice time become more efficient, which makes my recordings sound better, which makes me want to practice because I can hear the improvement. Good Luck
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Old 08-24-2010, 03:44 PM
David Hilyard David Hilyard is offline
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Good advice from all. I think you just need to decide what tunes you want to learn that are within your reach, which is beginning/intermediate I'd think, find them and work until you can play them. Guitar is, after all, about making music and playing tunes/songs.

Try looking at these websites, find a couple books/dvd's/cd's that have the kind of thing you like, order it and launch ahead.

http://www.homespuntapes.com/

http://guitarvideos.com/

http://www.acousticmusicresource.com/

There are so many more resources available to learn from than there used to be, in any style you want to play. Lots of free stuff online, as well. But I think an instructional dvd geared toward the style you want to play, with arrangements included, is what you need. One book is less than the cost of a lesson from a bad teacher.

Good luck.
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Old 08-24-2010, 04:29 PM
rick-slo rick-slo is offline
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Yeah, it really comes down to the songs you can play. To have a few under your fingers relatively quickly pick the pretty sounding and easy ones. There really is a bunch you could learn, perhaps some celtic stuff. Pop tunes are ok but most listeners probably would rather be hearing you sing them than play a solo instrumental of them.
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Old 08-24-2010, 05:58 PM
HiddenMoniker HiddenMoniker is offline
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I can totally empathise with this, mate. I'm five and a half years in, and while I've developed certain guitar attributes to quite a good standard, I seriously lack a guitar catalogue that I can rely on past the basic 'standards'. I know that guitar is not about competition, or who can play the fastest or best because this is ultimately subjective and quite frankly a pointless line of debate; but I can't help but feel that if I hadn't of wasted so much time playing what was comfortable and instead tried to expand my repertoire, I would be a better guitarist to this day.

On the bright side we have plenty of time to learn and improve upon our playing.
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Old 08-24-2010, 09:43 PM
Cibby Cibby is offline
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Playing 6 Years... I Know About 3 Songs
And no it's not a matter of I learned them and then forgot them. (Except when I stopped playing Classical.)

I began learning guitar by learning classical. My teacher was bad and I didn't learn anything at all, and everything was confusing. I simply went through the songs as fast as the teacher could make me. I didn't thoroughly learn the songs -- I just had to be able to go through them. It didn't matter if there were all kinds of mistakes. In other words, this was a waste of 3 years.


I like your post...really do I think many of us may feel the same way. I can relate to a lot of what you said. My disadvantage is my singing voice is not good. I read tab but not notes and from memory maybe can play 5 or 6 songs. Now with the tabs in front me maybe 15 or more songs I can play..Like you took lessons this when I was young but didn't learn anything the guy just took the money and spent more time talking than teaching. When I hit 50 after many years of not playing I started again.. I do it to enjoy myself no plains at my age of studying anything. The people I know who play on stage and a few make a living doing it studied music and can read music. The lucky few who have the gift of playing by ear I envy they make it look easy.. All I know after being back at it for 7 years is I do it for the love of guitar music and I keep trying. It is good to here someone else who works at it but it's not easy for either. Thanks for the honesty.
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Old 08-25-2010, 04:33 AM
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I'm the same way and I think its because I play the guitar to entertain myself, not others. I enjoy "doodling" on the back deck and composing an instrumental once in a while.
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Old 08-25-2010, 09:19 AM
Allman_Fan Allman_Fan is offline
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If I were you I'd try to find three fairly common fingerstyle songs and start working on them. What I mean by fairly common, is those where you can find a "beginner" "intermediate" and "advanced" version of these songs (whether you use an instructor, tabs, sheet music, etc.)

Learn all of them at the beginner level; you'll probably be able to do this fairly quickly. Then go on with the same songs, but advance the level . . . more complicated stuff.

After reading this post, it seems like you need a little confidence. Focus on where you want to go, not on the negative past. Take a path comprised of small achievable goals.
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Old 08-26-2010, 08:05 AM
zombywoof zombywoof is offline
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I have been playing some 50 years now and can work my way through hundreds of songs. But if you ask me how many I feel I play really well - the anwser is a small fraction of that number.

The only advice I can give is to stick with songs you like. I love blues and after decades have yet to grow tired of playing say Rev. Davis' "Hesitation Blues." I never play it the same way twice and always am finding some new twist to throw into the arrangement. On the other hand, while I can play something like "Dust in the Wind" I find the fingerpicking pattern boring and have never had the ambition to come up with an interesting and a bit more challenging arrangement. I don't hate the song, if I did I never would have gone near it, but it is just not one that I wanted to devote whatever it takes to make it work for me.
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Old 08-27-2010, 02:59 AM
daza152 daza152 is offline
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[QUOTE=TBman;2325853]I'm the same way and I think its because I play the guitar to entertain myself, not others. I enjoy "doodling" on the back deck [QUOTE]

I was thinking the same thing , that I play what I want to hear and what songs really mean something, not for anyone else, and its grerat out on the deck too playing in the sun, that was me today got pretty warm too so thought that was enough sun for my newly acquired Yamaha, it was come inside or put sunblock on the guitar

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Originally Posted by zombywoof View Post
I have been playing some 50 years now and can work my way through hundreds of songs. But if you ask me how many I feel I play really well - the anwser is a small fraction of that number.

The only advice I can give is to stick with songs you like. I love blues and after decades have yet to grow tired of playing say Rev. Davis' "Hesitation Blues." I never play it the same way twice and always am finding some new twist to throw into the arrangement. On the other hand, while I can play something like "Dust in the Wind" I find the fingerpicking pattern boring and have never had the ambition to come up with an interesting and a bit more challenging arrangement. I don't hate the song, if I did I never would have gone near it, but it is just not one that I wanted to devote whatever it takes to make it work for me.
Maybe you could help me, I too love the blues, but can't play anything bluesy except a very basic 12 bar blues(very basic) and would love to play some blues acoustic, whats a relatively easy blues song to learn? My finger-picking isn't rock solid and my barre chords are alright, open chords piece of cake,hence the progression into barre chords, stuff from EC unplugged is great even though not all original, Hey hey by BBB (Big Bill Bronzy is awesome) also like Robert Johnson too. Cheers.

Daza. (I havn't yet grasped the pick and strum, playing the constant bassline with the thumb right thru, trying it out now) got the minor pentatonic down on the Gm Em Cm and Am.......I play stuff like pink floyd, eagles, Bob Dlan.laid back stuff sounds sweet!!!

Been playing off and on for 4 years more off than on, but best time and longest time is now for 7 months straight everyday.......everyday! I keep a song book that I made up like a journal in which I refer to and write all the songs I'm learning in it....Also you and everyone else should definately check out YOU-TUBE for learning songs, its better than a guitar teacher IMO.
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Old 08-27-2010, 04:14 AM
Brent Hutto Brent Hutto is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by daza152 View Post
Been playing off and on for 4 years more off than on, but best time and longest time is now for 7 months straight everyday.......everyday!
Yep, you can defintitely make more progress in a six weeks of playing an hour a day, every day than in sixty years of playing once in a while but never two days in a row.

Quote:
....Also you and everyone else should definately check out YOU-TUBE for learning songs, its better than a guitar teacher IMO.
Not sure I agree with this part. Sounds like you've encountered some pretty poor teachers. Worst case, I could ask my teacher to play whatever song off of YouTube for me and I'd be able to see and hear it better from four feet away than on a compressed video. Best case he could actually answer my questions and show me what I'm doing wrong. Plus he's a better player than some of the guys you find with a YouTube search!
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