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Be honest about your guitar ability...

Discussion in 'Music, Box Office, TV & Books' started by cleanbluesky, 5 Mar 2006.

  1. Augmented


    Joined: 18 Oct 2002

    Posts: 5,464

    Location: London Town

    I should hope not; I'll have nobody playing my 7th while I'm not looking.

    I certainly agree about the two spheres of ability, and the rarity of musicians that sit in between. I think whilst experience is important in attaining this, especially in terms of gaining technical ability and having a mental dictionary to source from, experience also breeds laziness. Once you become comfortable with your instrument, you rely on the same old fragments of knowledge to bolster your playing, and fail to actually progress as fast as when you started out. At least, that's been my experience. I only play guitar as an occasional hobby now, but I still love the instrument enough to want to improve.

    Notes are where my failings are. I'm quite comfortable playing to a blues progression or jamming to rock, but I find myself stuck playing the same stock riffs and sequence of notes. I'm quite aware of this problem, but haven't yet got myself engaged enough to start learning. I've never been interested in doing the whole widdle-rock thing, it's the use in jazz improv that really makes me want to improve in this area. Exactly as Andelusion posted - the ability to be comfortable enough with the fretboard to know what you can play when and where and then be able to experiment with that, is where I want to be. I'm still at the stage where I know which scale positions I can use for a key, and move between them. I guess it's a lot down to actually listening to the component parts of the chord progression - rather than just playing one scale over the whole sequence.

    When I've looked into expanding my ability in this area, I've just felt overwhelmed - "You can use this scale and that mode and then switch to this scale on this part.." etc. Guess it's time to start reading those training books I bought about 6 months ago...
  2. Sparky191


    Joined: 6 Dec 2005

    Posts: 790

    I just hear something in my head and see where it takes me. Usually just experimenting with positions and scales seems to go somewhere different. Maybe my wide taste in music has something to do with with that, or perhaps I'm just too bad to remember all the stock riffs and progressions.
  3. aceface57

    Wise Guy

    Joined: 25 Jul 2004

    Posts: 2,040

    Location: Aberdeen

    I'm pretty much the same as Augmented with my guitar playing. I learnt quite fast early on then got more and more lazy. I'm now just picking my guitar back up after about a 5month break (i had been playing for about 7years), fingers are hurting like hell after just a 30min session, can't wait until 2moz to practice some more. The main area i would like to improve on is my technical side of playing, to be able to put together a half decent solo on the spot. Other than that if i have the tab to a song infront of me i can usualy play the song with just a couple of attempts. You always need to keep practicing though.
  4. Andelusion


    Joined: 1 Oct 2003

    Posts: 14,339

    Location: Huddersfield

    I should hope not as there's no such thing :p
  5. ArmyofHarmony

    Wise Guy

    Joined: 15 Feb 2006

    Posts: 1,872

    Location: hell

    Im no way near the level i want to be at... education just gets in my way.

    My general arsenal of knowledge is low, i need to learn more theory really. One thing i like about my playing is my tone/vibrato/bends
  6. 4T5

    Man of Honour

    Joined: 30 Aug 2004

    Posts: 27,745

    Location: Middle of England

    Don't leave yourself so open to ridicule my friend.

    Augmented seventh chords
    C7+ C E G B
    E7+ E G B D
    Augmented seventh chords are formed by adding a minor seventh to an augmented triad, or alternatively by augmenting the 5th of an ordinary seventh chord.

    Alternative notations include

    C7+, C7aug, C7+5, C75, C+7, Caug7

    These all reflect the notion that an augmented seventh chord is a seventh chord whose 5th has been augmented (or "sharpened").

    Taken from http://www.mozart.co.uk/information/articles/chordnames.htm
  7. Andelusion


    Joined: 1 Oct 2003

    Posts: 14,339

    Location: Huddersfield

    I obviously need to do a lot more work :p I shouldn't have been so hasty to be honest as i've definately heard of the chords you mention before, doh :)
  8. Matt


    Joined: 18 Oct 2002

    Posts: 5,661

    Location: Ledbury

    I am awful :( I pick up the guitar every day or so and have a play, but i can't really improvise at all, all i can do is 'try' to play tabs. What would be a good place to start? maybe some scales? if so, which one's, and does anyone have any tabs for them? Thanks
  9. Flying_V


    Joined: 1 Apr 2004

    Posts: 492

    Location: London

    Like to think i've got a lot better recently. Been playing for about 13 years and got so tired of playing the same stock blues fills again and again. Finally got some lessons of a cool guy, been going twice a week for about a year and have learnt loads. Mostly caged method stuff, starting with minor pentatonic and building to major scales and modes.

    The best part for me is having somebody to bounce off, as i have some technique but am very sloppy - must be going for the jimmy page sound! Am blown away by the OCuK guitar warriors comp on here, must get my entry in!
  10. Hilly


    Joined: 17 May 2004

    Posts: 12,510

    Location: Telford, Shropshire

    i'm awful on all accounts, only been playing for 3 months, but blah ! :D

    Still loving it though
  11. m3csl2004


    Joined: 17 Jun 2005

    Posts: 621

    Location: Sheffield

    you know your bad what you dont even know what some of those mean :(

    ah well, im play everyday and an learning new tabs to practice, learnt around half of the open chords and bar chord 1, allough i cant get the hang of sliding it around quickly, and i suck at changing chords
  12. Chronos-X


    Joined: 3 Mar 2003

    Posts: 5,001

    Location: London ;()!

    You wont be the first to suffer difficulty, everyone has it :)

    I used to do a song that switched from C#m to D - I thought that required superhuman levels of guitar playing to perform at the time.
  13. Makavelli


    Joined: 29 Oct 2002

    Posts: 666

    Location: Bangor, N. Ireland

    Bit of topic, but still guitar related - was just wondering what age the OCUK guitarists are? I'm nearly 33 and was wondering if any of the newish guitarists on ocuk are of a similar age?

    I had a guitar when i was 19/20 for a couple of years and have only just started back about a year ago, Have a reasonable knowledge of standard open and barre chords - not to well versed on embellishments. Been stuck in the Am pentatonic pos1 box doing ascending and descending triplets forever and a day and am trying desperately to break out of it. Can just about manage a chromatic run at 100bpm (4 notes per beat).

    Out of the more experienced guitarists on the forum, do any of you give lessons?
    Would anybody be prepared to do like a weekly/fortnightly tutorial post?
  14. Sparky191


    Joined: 6 Dec 2005

    Posts: 790

    Makavelli - thats about the same as me. Except I always went towards classical/rock ala Randy Roads etc. So always used my pinky in runs and liked doing classical sounding scales. At one point I could do a passable Randy Rhoads "Dee" on the acoustic, but now I realise I've forgotten it and will have to relearn it.
  15. Spirit7


    Joined: 7 Dec 2004

    Posts: 563

    Location: London (uni); Paris (Home)

    1) Timing: A strong area, I think. I've been playing 10 years (am 20), and when I started (yes, aged 10... :p) I pretty much only played thrash for the first 3 years, just playing along to the rhythm sections of Metallica, Megadeth and Testament songs. At the same time I was getting heavily into blues, which requires a totally different sort of rhythm playing.

    2) Notes: My theory is pretty awful, I'll admit it, but I have good ear, which helps a lot. One important thing people haven't mentioned here is that listening to music, and *crucially* a wide variety of guitar (and other) music, especially if you have decent ear, helps so much in diversifying you as a player. I started playing very thrashy leads, mainly based around the pentatonic scale, and bluesy runs but getting into prog rock, then death metal, and eventually people like Vai, Satch and Malmsteen and imitating the way they played expanded my lead playing to such a large degree. I'd say, in fact, that most of my leads now are based upon long chromatic runs and harmonic minor ideas. This doesn't excuse the fact that I know little theory - I'm not denying for a moment that it's useful and extremely helpful to know - but I'm saying you can get very far with just a good ear and an appreciation for various types of music, with one genre (in my case, metal) as a base.

    3) Dynamic: I think I'm alright here, though it's an area I'm working on fervently at the present time. Controlling my slower lead sections and resisting the temptation to go all-out is a priority for the coming weeks.

  16. Sparky191


    Joined: 6 Dec 2005

    Posts: 790

    Just curious, do you consider that diverse? Or did you leave stuff out?
  17. sist_si

    Wise Guy

    Joined: 28 Nov 2004

    Posts: 1,224

    Location: Birmingham

    Whilst knowing every scale under the sun and being a tech guru on the guitar has it's merits, I personally think it's VERY overrated. I have little knowledge of the theory side of things but have been playing for 9 years and I think my playing/timing is good. The band i play in actually experiment alot with that side of things....we're signed so we can't be that bad! :D lol...

    On the other hand, i had a mate once who was heavily into the technical side of things (knew scales etc inside out) and couldn't grasp anything that strayed too far off straight timing.

    After a while you do just get a good ear for what is right and wrong. I just like to experiment with sounds, chords, notes whatever. My tuppence worth - play what you want to do, don't worry about doing anything 'by the book' and have fun.
  18. Drak_nyen


    Joined: 23 Oct 2003

    Posts: 515

    Location: Middlesex

    Dont feel too bad mate. I only picked up the guitar just before my 27th birthday.
    Got a guitar I really couldnt get on with and it didnt inspire me.
    Recently got a different guitar and love playing this new one now so playing more.
    Just turned 28 now and still class myself as very much a beginner at technique however I have done lots and lots of research on theory, amp & pedal research and also just reading different technique books to get an idea what the techniques are and where they could be usefull before doing the difficult bit. Actually teaching my big fat fingers to actually do the stuff I am learning.
  19. GordyR


    Joined: 1 Dec 2003

    Posts: 5,625

    Location: Kent

    This may be slightly off topic but something happened last night that made me think of this thread. I, along with the rest of my session musicians were round the house of my bass player. We were all jamming, just generally having a laugh. I picked up my bass players lovely Martin acoustic and without thinking just started playing 'Blackbird' by The Beatles at a stupidly fast tempo while we were chatting. The bass players wife who was listening from the kitchen shouted out "Wow that was amazing". I was flattered but a little taken aback.

    For starters Blackbird isn't exactly difficult to play, secondly at the speed I was playing it all expression and emotion was lost. It just wasn't musical. It reminded me that this is something I have noticed time and time again. Non-musicians always seem to think proficiency on an instrument is down to how fast you can play it. I quickly recorded a couple of clips to show what I mean.

    First this is around the speed I played Blackbird last night:


    Now that sounds awful to me, rushed and completely devoid of musicality.

    Here it is at a more musical tempo:


    Instantly much better to my ears. Yet for some reason people will always be much more impressed by the awful fast version. I find it incredibly frustrating. I honestly believe far too many guitarists these days concern themselves too much with how 'flashy' they can sound. Thats really not what it's about. In fact the flashiest of guitarists always seem to be lacking in many fundamental areas, the biggest one being improvisation. They spend so much time honing the fastest passages to perfection, then when someone says to them "give us a solo, 12 bar blues in A major" they are completely stumped. I guess this is just a rant really. I just think technicality is too overrated. Music is about emotion and expression.

    Anyway back on topic.... My ability. Well I am the first to admit that I cannot play anywhere near as well as I used to be able to. I started playing guitar at the age of 7. Had my ABRSM grade 8 classical guitar with distinction by the age of 12. I was probably at my peak around 13-14. I then stopped playing classical and used my guitar playing merely as a way to get my songwriting accross. I turned my attention to singing and writing.

    Now at 24 I don't even really consider myself a guitarist anymore. I feel I am much more of a singer/songwriter. Sure I can still play, but the edge I had when I was 13 has long since dissapeared. I guess I just lost interest. Nothing in the world of guitar playing excited me anymore. Back then I was putting in hours of practice everyday, now playing guitar is just method I use to construct a song.

    Funnily enough this kind of leads back to my original point. When I was doing my Grade 8 I recall that the piece I feared playing most in front of the examiner was actually a very slow tempo 'Villa Lobos Prelude'. The other pieces I performed were infinately faster and more impressive yet they were so much easier to play since they didn't require anywhere near the same amount of emotion and expression to be put in to each and every note. Hmmm all this talk is making me want to start up classical again. :p
    Last edited: 9 Mar 2006
  20. Chronos-X


    Joined: 3 Mar 2003

    Posts: 5,001

    Location: London ;()!

    Thats pretty much spot-on, Gordy. A lot of non-musicians will think that fast = good, then you get some people who will then take up guitar and think that even faster = even better, and if you can wedge enough irrelavent scales and modes into that space then better still! :rolleyes:

    I can solo pretty well but I find myself gravitating more and more towards an interesting chord, or melody than 'showmanship' per se.