Lately I keep hearing stuff like "I've been playing for a while and I just don't improve", "I'm no good, i've been playing for 2 years and I can't even play a solo..",
"How the hell do people play stuff like this??
or..."Why is it that I can't even play something like this consistently?"
Wellll being the StrangeJam I am, I decided to share with those who ignore it, a bunch of general tips everyone knows, but never really mention when it comes to this. This is mainly from an electric guitarist perspective, idk if it varies for acoustic folks, so...put that acoustic in some forsaken corner of your closet, get an electric guitar and enjoy!...nah im just kidding.
1.-Realize you're in for a lot of work.
For 95% of people,playing guitar at a reasonably good level is far from a casual hobby, if you want to get decent you're gonna have to work hard,practice, learn,grind, and probably hate such routine too. It pretty much means taking guitar seriously, and devoting more time to it. if you don't feel like making that sort of commitment, it is alright, I'm sure everyone has their own reasons to play guitar, but if you're wondering why you just don't seem to improve, and you want to take your skills to the next level, you know where to start.
2.-Quality over quantity.
Do I need to be some sort of antisocial hikki to get really good? I heard Steve vai and the like used to spend up to 7 hours a day playing!
nah, not necesarily. it's all about investing the time you have into practicing significant things, and working in your weak areas (one by one). Of course if you're a person with all the time of the world at your disposal, you will see results faster than those who play an average of 20-30 minutes a day, however just playing 20-30 minutes a day, practicing stuff to improve your weak areas will add up faster than you think. (read: practicing, not jamming, or playing along to your favorite riffs).
3.-"Talent" is subjective.
Narutal talent is only a variable in the grand scheme of things. "Talent" will help you grasp and learn stuff faster, but that's all it will do for you, don't be disocuraged even if you feel you have no talent whatsoever for guitar playing, it only means you'll have to work a little bit harder, but nothing impossible.
4.-Learn songs by ear.
Probably, pretty weird advice in a tab forum, and probably something which should be number 2 in the list, priority wise. Learning by ear is difficult at first, but once you get into the habit of doing it, not only will you improve your ear for notes, you will also refine your technique. How? listen and start emulating what your favorite guitarists do, dissect their technique, note per note, pay special attention to how they vibrato, how they bend, how they use a certain technique instead of other alternatives, when and where, listen to all those small details and practice them, aim to play like him, your favorite player, guitar tablature won't teach you this. when you get stuck in a section you can't accurately play, practice it until you can before moving on. and this leads to number 5.
5.-Metronomes, the keys to success.
The title says it all. If you haven't yet, get a metronome, it will be a vital tool for any meaningful practice, it will be your measuring stick, your marker, as to just how good you can actually play something, and when you have actually mastered it. you don't even have to buy one! pretty easy to get one online these days. typically people start out slow, really slow if needed, and build from there towards faster speeds.
Record your guitar playing, listen to how awful you sound the first time (technique wise at least). this will give you a better idea on how much you need to improve, and later on, how much you have improved. And it's actually a pretty fun activity! feel free to share your audio recordings with us.
6.-Grind over and over.
It aint pretty, it will even most likely get boring, but it will get the job done. with just some sacrifice you'll see results before you know it, remember the point is to grind properly , make sure you are practicing correctly, that is, slow down the metronome if you can't really play the phrase/lick/riff at the speed you're attempting, challenge yourself, step out of your comfort zone and don't look back. participate in our riff challenges! they're definetly the kind of exercises required to start improving. the only reason they're hard is because you haven't actually tried them properly yet! that and you can't really rush things, it doesn't matter how long it takes to get them, just keep at it, even at super slow speeds.
7.-Theory. Oh Theory.
Learn theory, one of the biggest favors you can do to your playing. Albeit not a critical priority when you want to refine your technique, don't overlook theory for too long, at least the bare basics. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jRsmXyo7mug&context=C3004d08ADOEgsToPDskI... You can play something like this with bare theory basics.
8.-Seriously, Realize you're in for a lot of work.
Don't get discouraged if you don't see results right away (right away being anywhere from a few weeks to a month or two). Don't get discouraged if you find it extremely boring to practice with a metronome. "Taking guitar seriously" isn't the most fun activity to do at first for a lot of people, but think about it, isn't it like that with nearly everything you do in your everyday life? if you have the ambition, you'll have the drive to do it. Happy grinding~