Picking up the Guitar (again)

blakstang98

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It's that time again. I have picked up the guitar again. For reference, I have played on and off for close to 15 years. And after a hiatus of about 5 or 6 years, I've picked it up again. This time, I'm going to make it stick and improve to be a legit adequate player.

So in my personal crusade to improve myself, which was mostly geared around work/career/business stuff, I came across some spare time. With all of my efforts, I landed a new job. And with this, I've found happiness in that realm and have mostly shelved the idea of starting a business. I ended up doing some part time work right after I started my new job, so this took up a large chunk of my days. When I stopped this, I realized I had time at night. Now that I've always been busy at night, I felt like I needed to fill that time with something other than video games and/or watching video games.

I dusted off the guitar(s) and started that up again. Boy was I horrible when getting going again. But after a few weeks or so, I started to regain and get close to where I was when I put it down. I decided to work on the Guitar Aerobics book I had for years. I never used this book earlier because it has a daily exercise and I was too worried I wouldn't have the time to fulfill that. This time, I'm confident I can and have, as I'm on week 24 (almost half way home). I feel like I'm playing better than I ever have, which is a wonderful feeling. I even traded in my old Ibanez for a Fender Strat (Mexican, not American).

Now I'm running into an impasse. I feel like I've hit a wall as far as improving goes. Most any chord change, progression and simple phrases go, I can hit them without much issue, no matter the speed. Now it's solos that I'm having trouble with. The book has helped with getting the knack for how to handle some of those passages, but it's not enough. I feel like poor technique is the culprit, mostly. I've been pondering getting lessons or going to school to help get me to the next level. I've looked at Berklee online courses, but it seems too expensive. This is the next obstacle I'm trying to work out.

Anyways, that's my story.
 

Dionysos

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It's good to hear from you!

I have no experience with guitars to offer any meaningful advice (I've sometimes joked I'd sooner learn how to play the lyre or panpipes or something before guitar) but it is great that you have been able to make time to commit to learning guitar in a structured way, and that you are making swift progress.

I've known people who have benefitted from guitar lessons, but depending on the area they could be expensive. I don't know what the cheapest options are. YouTube tutorials maybe?
 

Dr. Percival Cox

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I'm really happy for you. I had a similar situation where I had no free time for years and when I got to a point where I had some again it was like I didnt know what to do with myself and picked guitar back up.

Unfortunately I dont have much advice for adjusting technique outside of possibly trying different hand positions and grips. I still struggle with efficient alternate picking a little but I definitely saw a huge improvement when I adjusted my grip with my picking hand. Still can't sweep pick to save my life but I find more enjoyment with string skipping arpeggios so it all worked out.

But theres always online videos. Theres a ton of Paul Gilbert videos that are great ways of learning new approaches. A lot of them are old (like early 90s) but still totally hold up.

But anyways, congrats again on the new direction in life. I hope you the absolute best with the job and wherever it takes you, my man
 

blakstang98

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Thanks, appreciate the input.

To update you all, I'm now on the final week of my Guitar Aerobics book. Running through this book, I do feel like I've improved in various areas. Much to my surprise, the jazz related practices I did were super fun and got me interested in wanting to explore jazz guitar some. Unfortunately, when you reach the intermediate phase, your improvements are very small. My chops are coming around, little by little.

Now my problem is, with the book coming to an end, I have to figure out what I'm going to practice. I have seen/heard of some Paul Gilbert videos and he's taught a decent amount. I don't know much of Gilbert, but he's nasty, so it's worth a look. I did get a few books, one with Marty Friedman (my personal favorite, see the avatar), Jason Becker and Joe Satriani. Satch was also once a teacher, so also informative. I have subscribed to many YouTube channels, if at the very least to learn stuff other than technique. I'm trying to learn more about music theory, modes, sound engineering and song writing. I even got a new guitar for Christmas, an Epiphone Les Paul. My array of guitars can hit every sonic possibility now.

My goals are to continue working my chops, ear training and maybe trying to transcribe game music, my ultimate goal in guitar playing. Wish me luck!
 
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