I want to really understand the guitar.
July 28, 2009 12:08 PM Subscribe
How can I advance from being someone who plays the guitar to a real guitarist? I'm tired of the same old open chords and basic barres. How do I become a true musician on the instrument? Kinda long inside thingy.
posted by Precision to Media & Arts (22 answers total) 38 users marked this as a favorite
Some background on me: I took piano lessons through my childhood. I regret quitting, who doesn't? I played on the drumline in my middle school/high school band. I was quite proficient in mallet instruments, playing four mallet marimba parts in 8th grade.
I picked up the guitar a little over three years ago. I took lessons for about a month, and after that decided I'd learned enough for myself for then. My teacher told me I was advancing stupidly fast (mostly because I played every night until my fingers bled, often 6-10 hours). I learned the open chords (C, D, E, A, G, Emin, Amin, Dmin, G7, etc...), and exactly one scale pattern. I've spent the last two and a half years or so learning four to six chord acoustic songs that I like to sing. I guess over the time I've become better at picking up strum patterns, chord changes, rhythm and such, but I'm feeling extremely stagnant, and for good reason. I have zero skill in soloing/improv. Somewhere along the way I had a year of college level music theory and ear training. My knowledge of modes and how they relate to soloing over progressions and changes is extremely lacking.
I'd like to learn the instrument very well, and I'm willing to put in some hard work. If I had to break my goals down simply, I'd do it like this:
1. Learn the fretboard backwards and forwards, up and down. It frustrates me that I can more quickly form complex extended chords on the piano than I can on the guitar still. I want to be able to put my finger on a fret at random and know precisely what note that is.
2. Learn to play jazz guitar, both rhythm and lead. But, I'm not looking to memorize 4820 "jazz chords", I'm looking to develop the ability to build them myself on the fly. I'm also not looking to be able to solo over one scale pattern in one position, but to be able to seamlessly use the entire neck. I have some classical theory education, but zero in jazz theory.
The music I listen to is probably only classified as "indie rock", and that's kinda what I see my style as. Mellow, very melodic, expressive. My hero on the guitar is Chris Walla, not Satriani or Vai.
Lessons are out of the question, as I simply cannot afford them. I'm hoping for a few books that I can work through independently that will advance my mastery of the instrument. I'm not looking for the suggestion that "music is not math--just keep playing and you'll get there." No true, I've just been "playing" for over two years. I'm perfectly willing to put in some hard work every day, just need some direction. Feel free to memail me or anything.