How long did it take for you to get good and what did you do

Discussion in 'Bad Dog Cafe' started by 6String69, Feb 23, 2020.

  1. 8trackmind

    8trackmind Tele-Afflicted

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    I started by developing my ear. I played along with the TV, radio. Everything all the time. Must have drove my parents nuts. I'm 42 years into playing (I'm 51) and sometimes think I should be farther along than I am.
     
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  2. Squawker

    Squawker Tele-Meister

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    Took me 22 years to get slightly less crap :D Started at 30, now 52.
     
  3. Marc Morfei

    Marc Morfei Tele-Afflicted

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    That’s a great description. I’ve thought that to truly call myself a “guitar player” I need to be able to play along with anyone, whatever they’re playing, follow along, and play something that fits, even if I’ve never heard it before. So basically that means knowing enough to be able to play what I hear.

    Long ago I had a friend who was an excellent guitar player. He cracked us up all the time, because whatever song you named, he could instantly start playing it. The joke and true amazement was he knew every song ever written.

    But later he told me the secret. He obviously didn’t know all these songs. But he knew enough, and knew enough about music, that if he heard it in his head, he could make his fingers go there, and get pretty close.

    Especially within the classic rock vein, that seems achievable. Really, the whole genre is built on a rather small number of riffs, scales, and progressions. Maybe some day I’ll get there...
     
  4. jvin248

    jvin248 Poster Extraordinaire

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    .

    Learn the notes on the fretboard.
    Learn the pentatonic patterns that go with those notes.
    Learn to use the guitar knobs to change the tones.

    Get a cheap looper pedal, like Kokko/Ammoon Ditto mini clone for $35. It's as good as jamming with another player. Because you are. Improves your timing.

    Play with some friends in a band in the garage.

    Bar gig.

    Write songs.

    Youtube channel.

    Bigger venue gigs.

    Print T-shirts

    ... Profit ???

    ... There was a quote by Satchel of Steel Panther the other day in an Andertons interview: "Learn chords. Learn to put chords together," write questionable lyrics to them, and "make dozens of dollars a week!".

    .
     
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  5. Chunkocaster

    Chunkocaster Poster Extraordinaire

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    I sometimes practice just doing that but not nearly enough. I think the way to get there is to just play a hell of a lot and play by ear. If I could go back in time I would like to have done things that way, spent all my time playing by ear mixed with private lessons with great players. A lot of improv is much the same in classic rock and blues. I end up just repeating stuff i've learnt over the years but I do try to go outside that but mostly in passing notes not committing. By the time I hear something I really like when i'm playing I often find it and repeat it hoping to memorise it but then its just forgotten about. Extending playing and practice times would probably solve that.

    When I hear a new to me player that I think is unique and playing whatever they hear in their head I often spend many months, maybe a year or two listening to everything I can find of them but then I soon realise they repeat much the same licks etc its just that they were new to me at the time.
     
    Last edited: Feb 24, 2020
  6. Marc Morfei

    Marc Morfei Tele-Afflicted

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    I followed a common pattern. Played in my teens and 20s, was terrible but good enough to play in low-level cover bands. Didn't touch a guitar for 20 years. Picked it back up 2 years ago. Quickly got better than I was before, but still pretty bad. I chose to go the band route, which means most of my time is learning and rehearsing songs. That is great in some obvious ways, but it has hampered my ability to concentrate on theory and technique. Taking the time to learn songs note-for-note, including leads, is very valuable because it expands your vocabulary. But the theory part is how you understand what you're playing. I know haveing a better command of theory is the key for me to break through to the next level. I can figure stuff out, but I don't know it cold. Too often when I learn a lead, for instance, I am puzzled by one things or another. Where does that note come from? How does that fit in? I'm far enough along to realize I need to know that, it's pointless to just memorize stuff.
     
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  7. Sounds Good

    Sounds Good Tele-Holic

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    Yes that is what happened to me sometimes the harder i tried and spent say to much time on a hard lick it was fatal, so if i came back refreshed and stopped if i went wrong on it to much then most times the next day or so i could play it.

    Also i found some licks others found hard were easier to me and vice versa that helped calmed my mind alot and not over try at things and progress.
     
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  8. muchxs

    muchxs Doctor of Teleocity

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    So by 22k I'll be able to play like John 5?!

    :cool: :cool: :cool:
     
  9. DrPepper

    DrPepper Friend of Leo's Ad Free Member

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    Still working on it...
     
  10. basher

    basher Tele-Afflicted Silver Supporter

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    I studied with a classical guitar teacher all through high school, and I started out as a classical guitar major when I went to college. I got fed up with it about halfway through my sophomore year, had a big blowup with my major professor, switched my major to English, and started playing rock & roll. That's when I started understanding what I had to contribute to the music I played with other people, and it's also when I started giving myself permission to enjoy my playing. So I'd say it took me about five years and some change to "get good" by my own standards.

    Understand: The path is the goal. I've been playing for 43 years now and I'm still learning and improving. There's more to learn in music than can possibly fit into one lifetime. (Thank god!)
     
    Last edited: Feb 24, 2020
  11. 8trackmind

    8trackmind Tele-Afflicted

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    Nice! My father told me when I started that while I may "learn the guitar, I'll never master it" I was a decade in before I realized this was true.
     
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  12. tery

    tery Poster Extraordinaire

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    After 10 years I thought that I was pretty good .
     
  13. El Tele Lobo

    El Tele Lobo Poster Extraordinaire Silver Supporter

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    Still getting there. Check back with me.
     
  14. ClashCityTele

    ClashCityTele Tele-Afflicted

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    Been playing over 40 years & still have a lot to learn.
    I play my own songs, so they're not a challenge.
    I need to learn some covers that push me a bit.
     
  15. Steerforth

    Steerforth Tele-Afflicted

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    I’ve been playing for 50+ years. I consider myself adequate. There are people who would say I’m being overly modest. I disagree with them. I could be better.

    On a light day, I play for about 6 hours. On my more enthusiastic days, I’ll play for 14-16 hours. The fingertips of my left hand are like iron.

    The highlight of all my guitar endeavors came a few years ago, when I played with a well known Rock and Roll Hall of Famer. A good time was had by all, and everybody was still smiling and laughing when I left, so I assume that I didn’t screw anything up too badly.

    I also sing and according to pretty much everyone who ever comments, I sound more like Waylon than Waylon, whatever they mean by that. Some people even call me Waylon, and I’m sure they mean it as a complement, but I wish they’d quit. Waylon was Waylon, I’m just me. Sounding like that is great for country, but not quite as suited for rock.

    But learning to sing while playing is helpful. And if you’re about to claim that you can’t sing, bull! Your voice is an instrument. Practice. When people say, “Oh, I can’t sing!” I tell them, “I wasn’t born able to play the guitar, harmonica, piano, or saxophone either, but I learned and practiced.” Your voice is an instrument. Remember that.

    I get a lot of invitations to parties and stuff, usually appended with, “And bring your guitar!” And my wife, who is a talented musician herself, sometimes brings me a guitar and says, “I want some music.” My daughters always want me to play, too, and demanded that I perform at their weddings. I even got some new gear out of that.

    So I guess I do all right, but in my own opinion, other people hold too high of an opinion of my abilities. I know where I am, and I know where I’d like to be, and I’m not there. Yet. But I’m stubborn.

    Have a point to your practicing. If you sit there and noodle for 8 hours, you’re just exercising your fingers.

    If you try something and it seems like juggling while riding a unicycle, don’t give up and switch to something easier. Get stubborn and keep on until you wonder why it ever seemed difficult.

    Listen. If you want to play, listen to a lot of music. Not the usual sort of listening. You should be thinking, “Hold it! What’s he doing there?” and hitting rewind.

    Play along with recordings, maybe even get some backing tracks.

    Learn music theory and how to sight read. Think about learning to play the piano as well, it’s good for theory. And listen to horn players, they translate well to guitar.

    Take an interest in jazz, even if you don’t really like it. You’ll learn a lot from listening to it and learning to play it. Play every kind of music there is, even if it’s not what you want to perform.

    Play both acoustic and electric. I even have a flamenco guitar that I use if I play something like Los Lobos’ “La Pistola y El Corazon”. The more stuff you play, the better. And get a few harmonicas in different keys. You can stick them in your pocket and have something musical to do wherever you go.

    Learn about your instrument, how it works, what it’s strong points are and its limitations. And learn to do your own setups and maintenance. I learned a lot from Don Teeter’s books, both volumes. Apparently Dan Erlewine’s books are good, too, but I haven’t got them yet.

    Off the top of my head, books that I think are good would include those by Ralph Denyers, Mark Hanson, Ted Greene, and Dan Crary, though I don’t use books much.

    Invest in your music and have good instruments, good amps, and good accessories. Learn what works for you. It isn’t necessarily what works for me, so play a lot of different instruments before you plunk down your money.

    Aside from all that, live for making music and try to always have a guitar nearby. And turn off the TV. Nothing steals from your music like getting stuck in front of a TV. You should be playing your guitar.
     
  16. glenlivet

    glenlivet Tele-Meister

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    I don't claim to be good....

    -- for me playing has always gone in plateaus..... I learn something new / trick / lick / scale / chord progression / substitution etc.... and I tend to kind of grind on that for a while (sometimes to long..) .. and then move on to the next tip / trick / thing that I want to learn....
    This also means that I get "better" in small bursts...rather than "constantly and consistently" getting better, I tend to stagger and stall....then jump up a bit...in fairly small increments.
    My short attention span doesn't help .....


    Practice with a purpose.
    Try and master something new once in a while, even if it's not "your music". (ie: never hurts to have a few jazz standards in you bag...)
    Focus.
    Don't get stuck on something that really might not help you that much, or is currently above your skill set. Work towards those thing, but don't get all wrapped around the axles because something doesn't fall into place.
    Spider walks (up / down and across) are never wasted time. They really help with fingering/picking speed and accuracy.
    Scales -- yep. Learn different fingerings, and learn them all over the neck. Same as spider walks....scale practice is never waster time.
    A good teacher can help....they can really push you to up your game. Especially since you have a background.
    Start building yourself a set list....and start NAILING those songs.
    It's muscle memory and repetition.....
    Practice
    The more you play, the better you will get.
     
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  17. Chunkocaster

    Chunkocaster Poster Extraordinaire

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    I had a bunch of teachers back when I started, all played in local bands. A couple released albums and toured nationally. One guy could listen to a song like eruption and tab it out for me over two half hour lessons while still having time to run through the basics playing with me so I had a start to go on when I got home with the tab he had written. All by ear from a crappy cassette recording I got from the radio. Less fast or extreme songs i'm pretty sure he could just follow and play along in real time. He was only around 20yo at the time. I started on pentatonic blues and the teacher would play rhythm while I had to improvise over it and we would go back and forth for half an hour. I improved a lot in my playing with those two guys, the other teachers spent most of the lesson running through theory and when we played they sounded stiff and I wasn't as impressed by what they played so I made no real improvements with those guys.
     
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  18. Sounds Good

    Sounds Good Tele-Holic

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    Wow! that is some feat in itself! i thing the longest i played was for about 5 hours once and my hands and fingers were knacked, you must have some great strong fingers their.

    I am worried about wearing mine out they are still ok for about an hour now and i take cod liver oil as well to help them along.
     
    Last edited: Feb 24, 2020
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  19. ElJay370

    ElJay370 Tele-Holic

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    While schooling and regular practice are obviously essential, for me nothing compared to being around other players and the support, encouragement, (constructive) criticism, and praise they offered.

    You can noodle and woodshed at home all you like, but getting into a room with full bass/drums/vocal accompaniment and trying to get through a few songs will tell you all you need to know about where you're at as a guitarist. Do that regularly and you'll honestly be surprised at how quickly your playing will improve.
     
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  20. Steerforth

    Steerforth Tele-Afflicted

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    I take fish oil and something called, “Turmeric Complex”. And ibuprofen, LOL!
     
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