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iFlops
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#1
Report Thread starter 1 week ago
#1
I've been playing the guitar for 9 years now and in that time, whilst my guitar skills have obviously improved from beginner standard, I don't feel confident playing guitar. I can play a lot of chords, (admittedly, not some of the more unique ones) but I don't know where to go from there. I'm supposed to be grade 6 standard on guitar, having completed it with a solid merit. That being said, I just don't feel like I match up to that. I'm doing grade 8 now - I can play the pieces in the book, and I'm sure I'll be able to get the grade within the next year, but I don't feel like I'm improving my guitar skills... is that weird to say? It's embarrassing to say I'm doing grade 8 guitar to people and when I try to show off my guitar skills, I can only play 1 or 2 pieces from the top of my head, and even that's done rustily.
Also, I don't truly understand music theory so I can't really compose any music, which is a huge aspiration of mine in the future.

Anyway, this isn't just me being annoying and complaining about my guitar skills, I want to ask fellow musicians and guitarists how to a. effectively learn music theory (and apply it) because I've had gcse music and it all went straight over my head quite honestly
and b. what can I do during my guitar practice sessions to build on my skills, learn how to improvise and play lots of pieces?
Thanks in advance guys.
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anastasia666
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#2
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Wow, I understand exactly how you feel. I'm a grade 6 bass player and I've experienced this before. I think in every musician's life they come to that plateau where they feel like they just aren't progressing at all. But trust me, you will get over it. In terms of performing, I think I've conquered that plateau. Here's a few tips that might help:
- If you have the opportunity, play in some bands, either at school or with other local musicians. I know that this helped me SO much and I just gained so many skills whilst playing with other people.
- I know you've probably heard this a billion times but keep on practicing. Bottom line, it's the only way you'll ever get "better" at playing and reading music. Try to learn a new song or technique as many times as you can. I try to learn a new song at least once a week.
- Expand your range of different techniques. This is in my humble opinion but I think versatile musicians with a wide set of skills are more likely to succeed.
- Youtube is your best friend!!! It might sound dumb but hey, it's free and there are MILLIONS of videos that can help.
In terms of theory, I can't really help you since I use blood, sweat and tears just to stay on top of it all. Put any bass part in front of me and I'll read it and play it, but it's all that wider theory they shove down my throat that doesn't even apply to my instrument that gets me!
And one final bit of advice, learning an instrument is a wonderful journey that NEVER ends and you're just at the beginning! Don't ever feel like you're not good enough... you've already got an amazing talent, embrace it!
I'm pretty sure none of that is helpful but please don't ever quit playing guitar. I have faith in you. Good luck!
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iFlops
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#3
Report Thread starter 1 week ago
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(Original post by anastasia666)
Wow, I understand exactly how you feel. I'm a grade 6 bass player and I've experienced this before. I think in every musician's life they come to that plateau where they feel like they just aren't progressing at all. But trust me, you will get over it. In terms of performing, I think I've conquered that plateau. Here's a few tips that might help:
- If you have the opportunity, play in some bands, either at school or with other local musicians. I know that this helped me SO much and I just gained so many skills whilst playing with other people.
- I know you've probably heard this a billion times but keep on practicing. Bottom line, it's the only way you'll ever get "better" at playing and reading music. Try to learn a new song or technique as many times as you can. I try to learn a new song at least once a week.
- Expand your range of different techniques. This is in my humble opinion but I think versatile musicians with a wide set of skills are more likely to succeed.
- Youtube is your best friend!!! It might sound dumb but hey, it's free and there are MILLIONS of videos that can help.
In terms of theory, I can't really help you since I use blood, sweat and tears just to stay on top of it all. Put any bass part in front of me and I'll read it and play it, but it's all that wider theory they shove down my throat that doesn't even apply to my instrument that gets me!
And one final bit of advice, learning an instrument is a wonderful journey that NEVER ends and you're just at the beginning! Don't ever feel like you're not good enough... you've already got an amazing talent, embrace it!
I'm pretty sure none of that is helpful but please don't ever quit playing guitar. I have faith in you. Good luck!
Wow, thank you so much. As a fellow guitarist (bass is close enough to acoustic lol), this is really inspiring and motivational for me, especially since we have similar circumstances of getting stuck and not knowing how to progress. Your advice is great, I'm definitely gonna try it all. And I don't think I could ever quit playing the guitar, I love it too much (even if I don't feel like I'm getting better). Again, thanks!
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anastasia666
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#4
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(Original post by iFlops)
Wow, thank you so much. As a fellow guitarist (bass is close enough to acoustic lol), this is really inspiring and motivational for me, especially since we have similar circumstances of getting stuck and not knowing how to progress. Your advice is great, I'm definitely gonna try it all. And I don't think I could ever quit playing the guitar, I love it too much (even if I don't feel like I'm getting better). Again, thanks!
don't mention it. glad I could be of some help
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Hpreston2014
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#5
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I play drums (obviously not as theoretically complex as some other instruments) and passed my grade 8 a few months ago. I found that just playing along to random tracks and improvising worked tremendously well in my progress as a musician. Most of my cool discoveries happen by accident when i'm playing, not through craftsmanship or thorough design. I always found that practise was more effective than study when it came to progressing fast in music. When you find something interesting, look into why and how it works, then you'll quickly come to understand what situations require what notes. You'll find yourself almost absentmindedly becoming better and better, good luck
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iFlops
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#6
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(Original post by Hpreston2014)
I play drums (obviously not as theoretically complex as some other instruments) and passed my grade 8 a few months ago. I found that just playing along to random tracks and improvising worked tremendously well in my progress as a musician. Most of my cool discoveries happen by accident when i'm playing, not through craftsmanship or thorough design. I always found that practise was more effective than study when it came to progressing fast in music. When you find something interesting, look into why and how it works, then you'll quickly come to understand what situations require what notes. You'll find yourself almost absentmindedly becoming better and better, good luck
Thank you, I really appreciate the advice - seems genuinely very helpful especially in my case. I don't even think it matters all too much about the instrument played, it's a universal thing for playing an instrument; playing things that we find interesting and eventually finding our own footing for musical success by not trying to seek out progress and letting it come naturally.
Again, love the advice, definitely gonna be taking it on board
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