Hobbyists - how do you improve your playing?

VintageSG

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Lessons.
Want to learn to drive? Lessons
Want to skydive more than once? Lessons

Devise a method of recording yourself playing along to your favourite songs or backing track. Listen back to it. Criticise yourself, but not oo harshly.
Metronome user?, if not, why not. I prefer the swing arm metronome, as I like the visual clue of the arm for pushing and pulling timings. Make it fun. Make a song from a scale or set of chords. The tick-tick is your less than interesting drummer laying down the beat.
Drum machines! or software. Sdrum or Digitech Trio+ are great for getting some beats going. The Trio+ is a cut down 'Band In A Box' in pedal format. It gives you drums, bass, a looper and a sequencer.
Garage Band/Band In A Box - See above.
Jam with mates.
Try to learn a genre out of your normal furrow.
Learn a new song
Create a song
 

teletail

Friend of Leo's
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Aug 25, 2019
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West By God Virginia
I will look into lessons. Any recommendations in St. Louis?
With Skype you can study with anyone in the world. I took some lessons from Johnny Hiland and Daniel Donato. I heard Redd Volkaert teaches too. If you want to do local, I’d start by checking out instructors from your local Universities. Just remember, a bad teacher is worse than no teacher.
 

johmica

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Joined
Mar 10, 2011
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Berea, KY
I’ll take a look. I have guitar tricks but haven’t utilized all the resources on it.
TrueFire is a treasure trove of lessons produced by incredible players spanning the gamut of styles, from rock and country to jazz and acoustic fingerstyle. You can buy individual lessons, but it's also a subscription service. Once you see the production quality, the amount of material available, and the quality of the instruction, you'll understand that they can't make it for free.

I would recommend trying out the "All Access Pass" for a month. Buying individual courses can be risky, because it's considerably more expensive, and you never know if you're going to like the course until you get elbows-deep into it. If you try the All Access for a month, and decide that it's something you'd like to continue with over time, look out for their sales, and get an annual subscription.

I always renew my annual subscription at around Christmastime, when they run a $99 sale (it's usually $249). They run that same sale periodically throughout the year. I wouldn't ever recommend paying sticker price. They run the sales too often for that.
 

Call Me Al

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Even as a hobbyist I think lessons are important if you’re feeling stuck. If you can’t afford a teacher, an online platform like True Fire would give you some structure and new perspective.

Starting to play with others is another way to push yourself to a new level.
 

Rosewoodtele

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Feb 24, 2021
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Location
Midwest
You are probably getting better but sometimes it's hard to see for yourself. One way to gauge is play something that you couldn't play a few months or longer and notice if it feels easier to play than the first few times you tried and played it. If it does then congratulations, you are getting better.

However if you have been playing the same things for a number of years, not trying any new material, then yeah, you are probably going to stagnate a bit. In order to get better you need to push yourself, get outside of your comfort zone and be really critical of what you can't do and want to do better. Like someone mentioned above, recording yourself is the best way I know how to see where you really suck.

Record yourself playing something you know like the back of your hand, and listen to yourself. First find out what you DO like, which can be easier than finding out what you DON'T like about your playing. Be really critical! Make a list of what you know you need to work on, break them down to smaller portions and work your way up to the big picture.

Getting a teacher (a good one) who can help you work on weaknesses, and it sounds as if you might know what they are, is always the best way to get better provided you know what you want to work on.
I’ve considered getting some basic recording gear but haven’t taken the plunge yet. My apartment is tiny but maybe when I get a house I’ll go for some recording equipment.
 

MilwMark

Doctor of Teleocity
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near Arnold's
What do you like about playing guitar? What do you want to be able to do?

If you like looking at, shipping for and buying gear, maybe that’s the real interest.

If it’s also playing, playing what? Figure that out. Then learn or write, and play entire songs.

If you like theory go for it but beyond a very bare minimum it’s not necessary.
 

Telecasterless

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Jan 29, 2011
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los angeles
I started watching Tom Bukovac more for inspiration. Then I thought, "If I keep watching this I'm gonna blow my brains out". Not sure how anyone can get that good on guitar.

Let me know when you find something that works for the 99.9% of us hobbyists.
 

TG

Doctor of Teleocity
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Jan 23, 2004
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Location
The wild west of Ireland
I do what, I heard, Jeff Beck does.
I noodle quietly while watching TV and don't think much about what I'm playing, I sort of let it happen.
You find yourself accidentally coming up with interesting links.
 

stormsedge

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E. Tennessee, USA
Memorization (which I have not been a big fan of) has helped me.

Edit: I probably can do a thousand tunes with the lyrics and chords in front of me...there is no risk of my ever memorizing them all and going without a music stand :lol:😂:lol:😂.
 

P Thought

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For me scales....I freakin' hate practicing them but I've never been consistent with them.
Several years ago, just when I needed to hear it, @Larry F posted a comment about varying direction and intervals when "practicing" scales--come back up the scale after 3 or 4 notes down, and sometimes skip a note or two (play a third or fifth) while still getting the scale "under your fingers". It's much more musical, much less boring, and I think more effective in promoting our development as musicians. Thanks, Larry, I'm still grateful for that post of yours, sorry I can't quote it more exactly.

OP, if you're really interested in getting better (you're probably getting better all the time as it is, but you don't see it day by day), I'd suggest watching the good threads in the Tabs, Tips, Theory and Technique subforum here, the ones that talk about music fundamentals and playing technique, and asking questions when you have them. There are several members posting there who are highly trained and highly skilled. You can learn a lot from them, and apply what they say to your playing as you are able. The example above is just one of many that I've picked up and used and grown from, and I'm very grateful to several TDPRI members for "taking me to school".
 

NC E30

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TrueFire is a treasure trove of lessons produced by incredible players spanning the gamut of styles, from rock and country to jazz and acoustic fingerstyle.
I have an all access pass and have been having trouble finding lessons that are appropriate for my skill level. What I was finding was either pure beginner, or way over my head. Any tips on finding appropriate material?

That is a sign to start taking lessons! A good teacher can help you figure out where you want to go and how to get there.
Did that for a couple of years, decided to try it on my own for a while. Maybe a finding a different teacher could be worthwhile.
 

johmica

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Berea, KY
I have an all access pass and have been having trouble finding lessons that are appropriate for my skill level. What I was finding was either pure beginner, or way over my head. Any tips on finding appropriate material?
That makes me curious to know what level your playing is at. One of the nice things about the Learning Paths (which are available as part of the All Access pass) is that they start out at the pure beginner-level (this is a G chord), and they progress gradually in difficulty. Most of the intermediate and advanced-level courses are amalgamations of other courses, and so finding where you're at in a particular learning path would guide you towards courses that are appropriate for that skill level.

For example, in the Blues Learning Path, Lesson 5 (Lick Vocabulary), there are licks from Robbie Laws' "Penta Sonic Blues Licks" and from Cory Congilio's "Texas Blues Licks That You Must Know" courses, among many, many others. After finishing the Learning Path core course, I went on to complete those individual courses, as well.

So, that would be my recommendation. choose a Learning Path that you're interested in, quickly blow over the lessons that seem too simple for you, and then slow down and focus on the ones that offer material that is new and/or uncomfortable for you.

Good luck!
 

Whatizitman

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WV
I always say you play guitar.... not work.

Right. English does not have a very good translation for the physical act of musical instrumentation. In Spanish, for example, there are separate words for playing games and sports, and playing instruments. One does not necessarily equate with the other.
 




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