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Thread: Perpetually frustrated. No direction. Where to start?

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    Perpetually frustrated. No direction. Where to start?

    Hi there. Thanks for having me. I started with the guitar when I was 20. I'm now 43. At that time I was a bit stubborn in that I only cared about lead and being the cool guy ripping solos like the guys that inspired me to pick up guitar. You know the usuals: Hendrix, SRV, Clapton and particularly Gilmour.

    So I learned the pentatonic and some links and enough to throw on a backing track and noodle away mindlessly for hours. I completley neglected the important stuff.. rhythm, learning to fret chords and how to play through a progression with competent strumming. Etc

    I've not been playing steady for 23 years. I pick it up off and on and once I'm bored with mindless noodling again I put it down. But I'm retired (disabled) and have all the time in the world. I want to learn to be more competent with playing rhythm and more interesting stuff than just noodling. At my age I know I'm not going to become a complete and competent guitarist at this point. But I would like to be able to sit down and put together some melodies and progressions and make my casual playing sound more complete and competent.

    My problem is I just don't know where to start. I have a pretty deep technical knowledge of theory and such. Just not how to apply it to the neck. The problem is knowing what i don't know. Unlike most beginners I am aware of advanced concepts like triads and arpeggios and chord tones and construction. I just dont have the technical ability to do it and it's hard to know where to focus practice. Strumming and physically making chords beyond the cowboy cords is hard for me. Its very hard for me to sit down and force myself to start at a very rudimentary level when I know the concepts for the more advanced stuff I just dont have thr physical ability yet and I need some direction on how to learn that.

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    Forum Member blackonblack's Avatar
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    Re: Perpetually frustrated. No direction. Where to start?

    My main advice: Play with other musicians. Play live. Your thoughts suggest you’re ready to become a musician rather than a lead guitarist.
    That is the art form. To supply something for a larger goal.
    Mark

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    Forum Member Tele-Bob's Avatar
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    Re: Perpetually frustrated. No direction. Where to start?

    You can talk about it, or you can play.

    If you indeed do have a good knowledge of theory, all your questions are answered right there. Now it's time to apply it.

    My first suggestion would be to forget you even know the pentatonic minor scale and start playing like an adult.

    The pent minor has it's place, but as you've learned, it's an evil crutch that limits your playing dramatically. It's just too damn easy to flub over that major 3rd and get used to hearing the dissonance.

    Start learning songs that use closed chord forms and require the use of the music theory you claim to know. If you find this boring, you might need to consider doing something else. Mahjong maybe? LOL.
    If you're bored, you're not groovin'.

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    Forum Member Offshore Angler's Avatar
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    Re: Perpetually frustrated. No direction. Where to start?

    Agreed on the pentatonic.

    Focus not on notes and chords - but rhythm and syncopation. That's the beginning and end of all of it.

    Learn to play Funk 49. Play along with the recording. Learn to comp chords on a song like Soulshine, and then learn to play the chords and rhythm to Kid Charlemagne.

    These are some relatively easy exercises that will start you in the right direction.

    But above all, rhythm and syncopation. Scales, modes, intervals, all that is secondary to the timing.
    "No harmonic knowledge, no sense of time, a ghastly tone, unskilled vibrato, and so on. Chuck is one of the worst guitar players I know" -Gravity Jim

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    Re: Perpetually frustrated. No direction. Where to start?

    What style of music do you want to play? It makes a difference, especially with maintaining interest. Different styles also use different theories as their backbone.

    Like blackonblack said, play with other musicians. As with anything in life, you will learn something being around others.

    What other instruments do you play? It gives me something to compare your guitar playing to.

    You say that you understand theory and have deep knowledge of theory... but it sounds like you are limited to pentatonic scale... also, triads and arpeggios are not really advanced knowledge. Advanced knowledge is knowing the difference between an A# and Bb. Yes, there is a difference.

    There is nothing wrong with cowboy chords to learn rhythm playing. Cowboy chords ARE playing rhythm.

    The best way to work on rhythm is to play along to a recorded song. If you want to play without a recorded song, a metronome is super.

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    Forum Member Offshore Angler's Avatar
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    Re: Perpetually frustrated. No direction. Where to start?

    Quote Originally Posted by MacBayne View Post

    ...You say that you understand theory and have deep knowledge of theory... but it sounds like you are limited to pentatonic scale... also, triads and arpeggios are not really advanced knowledge. Advanced knowledge is knowing the difference between an A# and Bb. Yes, there is a difference....

    Well, yes and no. They're the same pitch, but depending on the key signature we choose to denote them differently. Plus, in the key of F major or D minor we write it as a B, not a Bb, but it's the same danged note on the keyboard or fretboard. And since we're all adults here, Bb is the first flat as you move counterclockwise on the circle of fifths, so unless you're in the key of C if you see a Bb it's really a Bbb which makes it an A.

    Or just play in the key of Cb and only use the black keys. That's theory at it's finest.

    Look, I figure I know as much theory as the next player but in reality, your ears tell you what works. It's not that you know a Bb is played, it's that you realize that you might want to solo using the F major scale when the Bb is used in a chord in the key of C. But unless you have the ears to hear the flat seven and the dominant feel you wouldn't know to do that. And then you need to know which major scale only uses one flat after the cleff.

    But it comes down to your ears and experience. Ears and years?

    And finally, you can play the wrong note at the right time and nobody will care, but play the right note at the wrong time and it will stick out like a sore thumb.

    How do you get good at it? You practice with a goal. You play along with recordings and don't concentrate on notes or scales, concentrate on nuance. Take a player you want to emulate and then tear one song apart until you really get it not only getting the notes, but their style.

    Remember- notes come from your left hand, music comes from your right hand.

    Everyone takes from everyone else and builds on it.

    Chuck
    "No harmonic knowledge, no sense of time, a ghastly tone, unskilled vibrato, and so on. Chuck is one of the worst guitar players I know" -Gravity Jim

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    Forum Member OldStrummer's Avatar
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    Re: Perpetually frustrated. No direction. Where to start?

    I'm going to echo MacBayne's comments, mostly because I fall into the trap of trying to be the "everything" guitar player. I mean, who doesn't admire the guy at center stage that's making awesome licks, fills, and tones come out of his rig? I confess that in my youth I dreamed of being the rock star everyone admired and who groupies threw themselves at.

    Then I got real.

    While I've been able to build up a "library" of licks and fills, as boring as it may seem, the real business end of my guitar playing is being the rhythm guitarist. When you join in with a capable drummer and bass player, you can become an extremely solid foundation for the pyrotechnical soloing. When I think of a rock-solid rhythm section, I think Creedence Clearwater Revival. Oh sure, John Fogerty was the songwriter and central figure, but his brother, Stu, and Doug gave him the "engine" from which to drive.

    Having been a bedroom player and soloist for most of my playing days, I can recall spending inordinate hours just playing leads. Oh, I got better at fast runs and techniques like hammer-ons and pull-offs, but after a while, I wasn't playing lead guitar, I was just noodling.

    So, for the past couple of years I've started playing at open mics. Most of the time this requires me to play acoustically, and accompanying a song rather than play the song. And let me tell you, if I'm out of rhythm, the song turns into crap. It's harder than it seems.

    Now, I do a lot of practice combining rhythm, vocal and short, complementary leads that embellish a song and aren't THE song. One side benefit of doing this, I've found, is that my singing voice has vastly improved. Because that's what the audience wants to hear. Not my lightning fingers impressing no one but me!
    Striving to be ordinary

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    Re: Perpetually frustrated. No direction. Where to start?

    Quote Originally Posted by Offshore Angler View Post
    Well, yes and no. They're the same pitch, but depending on the key signature we choose to denote them differently. Plus, in the key of F major or D minor we write it as a B, not a Bb, but it's the same danged note on the keyboard or fretboard. And since we're all adults here, Bb is the first flat as you move counterclockwise on the circle of fifths, so unless you're in the key of C if you see a Bb it's really a Bbb which makes it an A.

    Chuck
    And here I am picking the flyshit out of pepper...

    Like I said, advanced knowledge is knowing the difference between a Bb and A#.

    Not to offend, but what you wrote is NOT advanced knowledge, Angler. It's QUALITY knowledge, for sure. We are NOT violin players, nor Balalaika players. (both need different approaches to temperament)

    The circle of fifths is a great thing to know. It's the backbone to guitar music.

    Fmaj=Dmin is fine. Move your "Box 1" up three frets or down three frets...

    But...

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Musica...forte%2C%20etc.

    OP, Have you ever noticed that when you tune your guitar according to your tuner, that if you play a standard open 'G' it sounds good, but when you play an E major, the G string sounds off? Now you fiddle fuck it to sound "okay" in both chords? That's temperament. Bb does not equal A# on a fretted or keyed instrument. It's an "average." In that particular case of G maj vs E maj, a G note open and a G# note fretted are dissonant in one of the chords.

    THAT is advanced knowledge.

    SRV turnarounds sound awesome. He bends and plays chromatic notes like no other... Best. Ever. Guitar. Player. But his speed is the fix of the temperament. Texas Flood at the El Macombo is the bestest guitar performance, ever.

    But there just are three Kings. Albert, B.B., and Freddy. THEY played temperament. They played fewer notes than what is now considered a "good" guitar player, but they nailed the temperament with their slow bends.

    https://youtu.be/N03FV1QQCwA

    Their slow bends were the precision between 466 Hz and 463Hz. A# vs Bb

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    Forum Member Offshore Angler's Avatar
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    Re: Perpetually frustrated. No direction. Where to start?

    Quote Originally Posted by MacBayne View Post
    And here I am picking the flyshit out of pepper...

    Like I said, advanced knowledge is knowing the difference between a Bb and A#.

    Not to offend, but what you wrote is NOT advanced knowledge, Angler. It's QUALITY knowledge, for sure. We are NOT violin players, nor Balalaika players. (both need different approaches to temperament)

    The circle of fifths is a great thing to know. It's the backbone to guitar music.

    Fmaj=Dmin is fine. Move your "Box 1" up three frets or down three frets...

    But...

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Musica...forte%2C%20etc.

    OP, Have you ever noticed that when you tune your guitar according to your tuner, that if you play a standard open 'G' it sounds good, but when you play an E major, the G string sounds off? Now you fiddle fuck it to sound "okay" in both chords? That's temperament. Bb does not equal A# on a fretted or keyed instrument. It's an "average." In that particular case of G maj vs E maj, a G note open and a G# note fretted are dissonant in one of the chords.

    THAT is advanced knowledge.

    SRV turnarounds sound awesome. He bends and plays chromatic notes like no other... Best. Ever. Guitar. Player. But his speed is the fix of the temperament. Texas Flood at the El Macombo is the bestest guitar performance, ever.

    But there just are three Kings. Albert, B.B., and Freddy. THEY played temperament. They played fewer notes than what is now considered a "good" guitar player, but they nailed the temperament with their slow bends.

    https://youtu.be/N03FV1QQCwA

    Their slow bends were the precision between 466 Hz and 463Hz. A# vs Bb
    Actually, I do play the violin, viola and trumpet (Bb cornet too) so like Lynyrd said "I know a little." I majored in aerospace engineering but since my best friend's father when I was growing up was our school music teach for 8 years I was able pass the auditions to get a music minor. Not that I wanted a music minor, but there were NO girls in aerospace engineering so you needed an artsy minor!

    So obviously, a well-studied musical academic such as yourself understands that lots of the instruments in the orchestra are actually "tuned" into different key signatures, for example If you play C on the French horn it's an F on the piano, or a C on a saxphone my be a Bb on the piano. So, there are times when the A# and Bb are the same concert pitch just played on instruments in different key signatures.


    Since the piano is in concert pitch the key signatures are relative to the piano, but the piano notes are always the same.

    In your bending example above you're obsessing over less than 12 cents.

    Not that I would know anything about it, lol!

    Chuck
    Last edited by Offshore Angler; 06-06-2023 at 01:25 PM.
    "No harmonic knowledge, no sense of time, a ghastly tone, unskilled vibrato, and so on. Chuck is one of the worst guitar players I know" -Gravity Jim

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    Re: Perpetually frustrated. No direction. Where to start?

    Quote Originally Posted by Offshore Angler View Post
    Actually, I do play the violin, viola and trumpet (Bb cornet too) so like Lynyrd said "I know a little." I majored in aerospace engineering but since my best friend's father when I was growing up was our school music teach for 8 years I was able pass the auditions to get a music minor. Not that I wanted a music minor, but there were NO girls in aerospace engineering so you needed an artsy minor!

    So obviously, a well-studied musical academic such as yourself understands that lots of the instruments in the orchestra are actually "tuned" into different key signatures, for example If you play C on the French horn it's an F on the piano, or a C on a saxphone my be a Bb on the piano. So, there are times when the A# and Bb are the same concert pitch just played on instruments in different key signatures.


    Since the piano is in concert pitch the key signatures are relative to the piano, but the piano notes are always the same.

    In your bending example above you're obsessing over less than 12 cents.

    Not that I would know anything about it, lol!

    Chuck
    YES! There is the flyshit and pepper, advanced knowledge!


    This thread is has officially gone off the rails.


    I didn't intend to derail this discussion into the weeds, in my original response. I originally wanted to show OP that triads and arpeggios aren't the end of playing.


    They are the building blocks. The beginning to solo playing. Early guitar players didn't know what they were doing, they were just doing what they liked to hear. They didn't study theory, they just played what sounded good to them. Some made a good career of it. Many modern guitarists know a fuck-tonne of information and never get anywhere. Maybe the fellow with a masters in Bass Guitar could play with an orchestra... after he beats the other 6 in the audition... yet Mark (Junkus) Hoppus makes millions...


    I completely misspoke and was WRONG, when I said "Bb does not equal A# on a fretted or keyed instrument." They absolutely are.


    Yes, you are right, that all instruments in an orchestra are tuned differently. I do not play brass, so I cannot verify your claims about certain note equivalencies. I trust the info you give.


    You are also correct that I am obsessing over 12 cents.


    But that is exactly my point.


    There are records of Middle-age Lyre players moving what they used as frets to play different songs to maintain timbre.


    I CANNOT STAND EVH live acrobatics. They sound like a cat barfing. He plays ambulance sirens that could best be described as "Horrendously and Intentionally out-of-tune."

    He's a Guitar Hero... making a living playing more wrong notes than a drunk jazz musician...

    As an aside... I love the backhanded compliments, here.

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    Forum Member Offshore Angler's Avatar
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    Re: Perpetually frustrated. No direction. Where to start?

    I think what you're trying to convey is that microtonality is a part of individual style and when it comes to that, if you really listen to EVH, that, and his seemingly superhuman use of syncopation while shredding was what set him apart from the rest of the shredders. Listen to the Beat It solo. Or Love Comes Walking In.

    Like what you like, that's cool, but we shouldn't rag on players who have different likes than us. That's not what good musicians do. I'm not a huge fan of EVH but I sure as heck respect what he could do compositionally and technically. If you really listen to EVH as a musician and from time to time your jaw doesn't drop and you go "WTF??" then you either have bad ears or confirmation bias, lol. No worries, opinions are like rectums, we all have one.

    Maybe listen to some Charro and Segovia too.

    Additionally, regarding the myth that early players didn't have training: In some cases yes, but A LOT of the hits we grew up listening to where actually written and played by highly trained players in the Funk Brothers, The Wrecking Crew, The Swampers, etc. These folks where monsters who were often sight-reading the music as it was recorded. Even Jimmy Page was a well-groomed session player before Led Zepplin. Brian Wilson - pretty good on theory.

    All IMHO, YMMV, WTF, OU812

    Chuck
    "No harmonic knowledge, no sense of time, a ghastly tone, unskilled vibrato, and so on. Chuck is one of the worst guitar players I know" -Gravity Jim

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    Forum Member OldStrummer's Avatar
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    Re: Perpetually frustrated. No direction. Where to start?

    Quote Originally Posted by Offshore Angler View Post
    Maybe listen to some Charro and Segovia too.
    I saw Andres Segovia live in concert many years ago. An astounding guitar player, and every bit deserving of the accolades heaped on him. Even though Spanish guitar isn't my "thing," some of its practitioners are every bit as talented as an EVH, Jeff Beck, Hendrix, etc. Just in their own way. I even have a vinyl collection of the works of Manitas de Plata (literally, "Hands of Silver") who passed away at age 93 in 2014. Also an extraordinary player.

    I've only seen videos of Charo, who despite her outward appearance and comical character, was also quite the accomplished guitar player, who started playing at age nine and trained under Segovia. Twice she was named best Flamenco guitarist by readers of Guitar Player magazine.

    In my opinion, talent overcomes bias. If you're good at it, you're good.
    Striving to be ordinary

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    Forum Member Offshore Angler's Avatar
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    Re: Perpetually frustrated. No direction. Where to start?

    And if I may be so bold, as a grizzled old performer, if you're only playing for recreation play what you like, not what other people like or tell you you should like.

    I get paid to do it, so that often means sucking it up and playing some stupid Tubes song or whatever I'm asked to do, but when I'm not practicing or rehearsing I play what I like and I really don't care about what others think about it. (And it sounds a lot like Jerry )


    Peace,

    Chuck
    "No harmonic knowledge, no sense of time, a ghastly tone, unskilled vibrato, and so on. Chuck is one of the worst guitar players I know" -Gravity Jim

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    Forum Member blackonblack's Avatar
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    Re: Perpetually frustrated. No direction. Where to start?

    At the beginning of this thread, I suggested that they play live with other musicians.
    That totally transforms you as a guitarist.

    I actually hit that as a slight sometimes to those that piss me off. “Do you play live or do you just sit at home and play with yourself.”
    Mark

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    Re: Perpetually frustrated. No direction. Where to start?

    Quote Originally Posted by Offshore Angler View Post

    then you either have bad ears or confirmation bias, lol. No worries, opinions are like rectums, we all have one.
    [/QUOTE]

    Yeah... bad ears... and confirmation bias (confirming what bias?). I am not impressed by out-of-tune 32nd notes, I guess I am not impressed by out-of-tune... Go, go Power Rangers is all I hear out of him.

    Quote Originally Posted by Offshore Angler View Post

    Additionally, regarding the myth that early players didn't have training: In some cases yes, but A LOT of the hits we grew up listening to where actually written and played by highly trained players in the Funk Brothers, The Wrecking Crew, The Swampers, etc. These folks where monsters who were often sight-reading the music as it was recorded. Even Jimmy Page was a well-groomed session player before Led Zepplin. Brian Wilson - pretty good on theory.

    Chuck
    Good job. You found a few (albeit, HUGE) exceptions to a generalisation that I made.

    I do love Funk Brothers, The Wrecking Crew, and Muscle Shoals. Yes, they were ABSOLUTE MONSTERS.

    I would also add that almost all of Elvis' catalogue is other, trained writers. At least the good songs, were...

    Did Robert Johnson (or any other notable guitarists from the 30s), Sister Rosetta Tharpe, Hendrix, CAROL fucking KAYE (part of the wrecking crew), or the "Three Kings" have professional training? I cannot leave another great session bassist, Pino Palladino of of this list, either. Nope. And the "Guitar Gods" of the 60s ripped off so many other American black artists... who had no training.

    Don't get me started on the child-molester (Julia Halcome), song-stealing (Jake Holmes, Otis Rush/Willie Dixon, Muddy Waters... and dozens of others), 6-lick pony, James Page. I find it funny that you used "well-groomed" when you described him.

    I know that I am coming off as a troll...

    But this thread started as OP stated he lacked direction and said he was advanced. I disagreed that it was advanced knowledge. I wanted to know if he played anything else, and also mention that simple stuff is still good stuff.

    More flyshit and pepper, I guess.

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    Re: Perpetually frustrated. No direction. Where to start?

    I was looking for some links on YT to help teach a friend's daughter and THIS showed up in the algorithm

    https://youtu.be/Xk6V4OM_vQA

    Flyshit.

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    Forum Member Tele-Bob's Avatar
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    Re: Perpetually frustrated. No direction. Where to start?

    Quote Originally Posted by MacBayne View Post
    I was looking for some links on YT to help teach a friend's daughter and THIS showed up in the algorithm

    https://youtu.be/Xk6V4OM_vQA

    Flyshit.

    Great video...
    If you're bored, you're not groovin'.

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    Forum Member blackonblack's Avatar
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    Re: Perpetually frustrated. No direction. Where to start?

    Has the OP even been back to this post?
    Mark

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