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Home Forums Learning Ask a question My learning has stalled… need direction.

3 replies, 3 voices Last updated by  Martin 2 years, 8 months ago
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  • #57679

    Rob G

    I dove into this “hobby” or whatever you want to call it, over Memorial Day Weekend. It’s been an obsession since. Except that things kinda stalled a month or so ago. I’ve barely played any, and I quit my local guitar lessons because I felt like I wasn’t learning anything.

    The problem, it seems, is I lack direction. I’d love to find a real teacher that would have a specific lesson in mind and then assign homework that I have to accomplish before the next lesson in order to continue. My old instructor, as much as I like him, never did that. It was always, “find a song you really want to learn, and that’s the answer.” It isn’t for me. I don’t care (yet) about learning songs. I want to learn the mechanics and the theory. I’ve read a bunch on theory, watched lots of videos, and have learned a lot from that. But that hasn’t helped me play any better. I still struggle to get my fingers into position for the chords that I know, or the chords I’m still learning. G is still a pain in the butt, and C isn’t much better. I can do D, A, Am, E, Em and Dsus2 pretty easily now, sometimes without even looking. But G and C are a problem, and then there’s Bm and Gm (barre chords) which are a whole ‘nother story.

    I had learned several diagonal pentatonic blues scales (I’ve forgotten them now, but could pick them back up quickly). I’ve tried some chromatic scales (first position) and have trouble moving my fingers to do them, especially on the four-note sections (1-4, 1-3, 1-3, 1-3, 1-4, 1-4), since my pinky not only won’t spread that far, and isn’t very controllable either. And then there’s the issue of the right hand plucking the correct string. That needs a lot of work too.

    When I know what I need to do to progress, I’m good at doing that. I’m entirely self-taught in my career as a programmer, and I’m good at it. But for guitar, I’m kinda lost right now. So for those of you who have mastered what I’m talking about, I’d sure appreciate suggestions (including homework). 🙂


  • #65282


    Hi Rob, I’m in the same boat. I can’t tell you how to solve the problem. But I can relate some life experiences. Swimming, it involves repetitive motion and attention to detail in every part of the stoke. I usually only swim laps in the winter the 1st 2 weeks are slow and then the stoke comes right back. Your times come right back to where you were. I’m just week 3 into my return to guitar. The great news is I can form chords and it is just a matter of time and I will be back to where I was. Cycling, we have a different mantra “the more you spend the more you ride” that works too. The problem with self teaching is setting goals that make sense. I found a song I absolutely love. It’s called Queen Bee by Taj Mahal. Check out the riding in the carriage down a New Orleans street video on you tube. Its a really tough song. But that is my long term goal. My short term goal is Bob Dylan’s Knocking on heaven’s door 4 chords how tough can it be? It is giving me fits. I can do the changes smooth and medium speed but I’m still herkey jerkey. I just need a gazillion more repetitions.
    Pick and easy song you like and play it perfect.
    Pick a hard song and just get it under your belt.

    Let me know what you pick. Then you are on the hook.


  • #72525

    Rob G

    I’m kinda OCD so I get bored easily… so focusing on one song doesn’t last very long. Instead, I’m working on several. It’s just a matter of finding motivation and making myself pick up the guitar and start playing. Once I do, I’m enjoying it. But it’s SO much work to pick it up, turn on the amp, and start. :-p

  • #73777

    Rob, everything you said and are going through is the same thing John Lennon, Clapton,Van Halen all have gone through. The more you pick up the guitar even if for 15-30 minutes each day the better you become. If you are having trouble with the C and G, try fingering the chords 1st slowly on and off the strings until it becomes easy. Next you want to strum the chords until you can play them clearly. Then bring changing between these chords slowly until you can do it without thinking about it. Finally speed it up. Then add all the chords you know and work on changing between them until you can do the same without thinking about it. Finally bring in a metronome and work your way up at around 130 beats per minute, at this point you can play 100’s of songs using CAGED and Am,Em,Dsus and so on.If you want to learn the mechanics, then this is what I’ve just explained, theory comes after but it is the “songs” that will teach you everything you need to know. The Beatles learned nothing but cover songs while they played in Hamburg, Germany and when they came back to England they were so good that they could not write a bad song because they absorbed the mechanics and theory all by what they played. So if you want to get good get committed to schedule yourself to make time to practice.

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