View Full Version : the anti-lesson

07-30-2004, 08:07 AM
i was replying to the "i read the hess article..."-thread but decided to open a new one.

first of all:
of course it is good to learn every detail and solve every problem that occours on guitar, but the first and biggest things are to listen, relax and have fun.

sometimes i have that feeling that some beginners (and more advanced players as well) worry too much.
i think a lot of guys sit down with the guitar and have tons of problems right away.
there is:

the alternate picking problem
the sweep problem
the hand position problem
the string dampening problem right hand
the string dampening problem left hand
the how to transcribe things problem
the my sound sucks prob
the "i don't know theory - can i still be a rockstar" problem
the i can't play 16th notes at 160bpm problem
the i can't sightread problem
the .... "add your favorite problem here"

know what i mean?
of course this is a board with a lot of good people to ask stuff and that's why a lot of probs are talked aboud here, and there are a lot of articles to read, but sometimes, for some people it seems to me that the guitar is problem that they have to solve.
that's not how it should be.
if you play only what you want to play and listen if it sounds good to you, then you are on your right way. even though your picking hand does not look like paul gilberts!
don't worry about too many details or you'll end up beeing a practising machine that won't be able to transport your minds music.
what a lot of people want to express on the guitar isn't so da*n hard most of the times.
it becomes hard when they think "okay i have all that technique - how can i make my idea sound complicated".
to astonish somebody with a tricky lick is something cool but quickly forgotten (average users won't even hear that it was so hard to play!).
to produce a feeling in somebody or bring back memories in somebodies mind is cool but also makes sense and is valuable for that person. that is the reason why this person will come to your concert again , will buy your cds and t-shirts.
technique - the thing we all (at least many of us) practised so much can really stand in our way. strange , isn't it.

this is no next technique vs. feeling thread.

i just wanted people to not worry so much about those "problems".

get out there and play what you feel like!

07-30-2004, 08:35 AM
Kick *** post!

07-30-2004, 08:39 AM
now...um...could you check out my Dire need Of help thread :D j/k :)

07-30-2004, 09:18 AM
"this ainīt brain-surgery, nobody will die if you play a wrong note" - Scott Henderson

07-30-2004, 09:28 AM
lol captain.. should be on a guitar teachers t-shirt...hm but kickin' students when they play sloppy is fun as well... j/k

thanks ryan ;-)

07-30-2004, 10:29 AM
Don't know why but this reminded me of this.... I was at a wedding and a cover band was playing. They were doing Message in a Bottle by The Police, the guitarist was also the singer and rather than playing the stacked fifth arpeggios of the riff he was just strumming the chords. I mentioned to a friend I was standing with... His answer: "nobody else noticied that". Very true, nobody cared, they were enjoying it just fine, this was about music for enjoyment there was no requirement for exact reproduction!

07-30-2004, 10:51 AM

yeah that's how it is, and there are even guitar players that don't care if it's played perfectly as long as it serves the purpose of transporting the song.

just wanna add to my long post above:
there is nochting wrong with practicing let's say your favorite solo for hours and days and you'll definately learn stuff like accuracy and eartraining and different techniques while doing that. and i know the satisfaction you get when finally you make it through that difficult solo. you just have to be aware that it makes only a small part in the overall picture of the guitar player that you are. how to hold the hand, with wich finger you tap, and details like that are just tiny bits of that arleady small part of the overall picture. serving the song and making statements in a solo is worth so much more to 99% of the people out there.
in case somebody wants to stay a "secret guitarist" locked up in his bedroom practising diagonal quadraphonic septuplet strinkskipping arpeggios of the hindu scale in G superimposed over the F# androgyn-chord for the rest of his life, he can skip this thread and go back to practice. ;-)

07-30-2004, 10:52 AM
I agree fully to what Sven posted there.
Iīd like to add though that, if you feel like you want to focus on something and work hard on it, you should go for it and donīt stop until youīre satisfied.
What I mean is... if you really know that you i.e. wanna pick fast, and you know why you want that ability,then go for it.
No one can do it all... no guitarist is good at everything. There are some who come close ( Steve Morse with his ability to play both the electric and the classical guitar at a very high level ), but in general, you should trytofigure out what you like,what you wanna do, what feels and sounds good to you and play ! Donīt keep skipping from topic to topic... if you work on your picking one day, chord-soloing the next only to purchase a nylon string acoustic the next to learn "Bourree"... well, you might as well try to practice playing piano one day, trumpet the next etc.
It might be more interesting and challenging to skip from subject to subject, but it wonīt be very effective. Take your development step by step.
Once you feel a need to push your boundaries ( You should never stop and go "OK, I have accomplished all I want to accomplish,I can now stop learning and practicing" ), go for it.
But always make sure you really want to.
Remember that many of the players who really created awesome songs and solos ( like Eddie, Jeff Beck amo. ) were rather un-schooled players who always seemed to have a "what the heck ? this sounds good, so I donīt care whether this jazz-guy says I shouldnt do it" type of attitude )
And even though it might be inspiring sometimes, stop measuring your abilities against the abilities of your idols. Try to develop your own style and musical personality, your own vocabulary. Donīt waste months on trying to play that lick from the Metropolis-solo. It IS helpful to learn the riffs and licks of the players you admire,but at some point you should work on your own ideas.
I gotta run, otherwise I could ramble on like that for way longer... =)

07-30-2004, 10:57 AM
i echo eric,
in the post above i added something like that as well 'cause i didn't want to sound too disencouraging (right word?) :D .
always do your best, practice hard and it takes blood sweat and sometimes tears, but be aware of the overall picture you (want to) give.

don't worry about reaching goals - don't try too hard cause that implies failure and makes you worry and try even harder. just practice with a smile, do your exercises and success will come. don't shout at your fingers and tense up. you'll reach the goal faster if you reduce the pressure.

07-30-2004, 11:13 AM
do you know that:

you want a girlfriend badly and there is no opportunity what so ever. chances = 0.
and once you find one, different girls start hitting at you and want to date you.

strange thing :eek: . think about it :D .

07-30-2004, 03:33 PM
Nice metaphor :)

07-30-2004, 04:51 PM
Nice post sven. 100% with ya

Bongo Boy
07-30-2004, 06:42 PM
Like I always say, it's like golf. There are dozens of things to remember when you start out, and if you try to think about them all, you can barely hit the ball OR have fun. Likewise, the game is more fun the 'better' you get--that is, it's more fun I think if you spend less time looking for and losing balls. Conversely, 'better' means you're having more fun. See what I'm saying?

07-30-2004, 10:13 PM
i think this thread is really important ... cause if there's no fun in playing then playing your guitar will sometime soon end cause it's too boring (just like going to work) ... on the other hand i think having fun playing guitar and expressing yourself requires some work on it .... the approach? that's up to the person him/herself to find out what's best for them .... some need a practice routine others just beat the hell out of the guitars daily until they get their chops up....

any way is good ... unless the final result is what they're aiming for. Some people want to sound EXACTLY like vai, malmsteem etc ... if that's what they want i'm fine with that everyone has the right to persue his/her own dreams.

one last thing: a "strange" thing happened to me ... i'm the kind of guy who works using some timetable (often modified to reflect my current deficiences) telling me what to do next everyday so i avoid forgetting an aspect of playing ... anyway today i was really tired, bored and all the rest and thinking about actually follow a schedule almost put me off playing today. Anyway i had just listened to Richie Kotzen's (first listen) "Dream of a New Day" and and just went nuts about it. I played it repeatedly on my stereo ... i heard i around 20/25 times already really cool ... i jammed with it, i picked up lines from what he was playing and worked bit on them ... by far i did learn and lot ... AND HELL IF I ENJOY IT LOL .... it was really fun ... but i know that if for the past year i hadn't practiced hard enough ... jamming around with this track would have go me depressed more then i was .... I did not learn the solo, i did not learn anything actually except trying to find out what was really cool (for me) in those solos....

Moral: unfortunately to enjoy playing (or doing anything) you have to be reap some kind of results in our case you have to express yourself the best you can, to improve you have to reap frustration (but turn it into will and inspiration) ... at least that's how it works for me ... i hope for others the case is better :)

p.s. cool post sven this was really inspiring

Priest Becker
07-30-2004, 11:49 PM
Are you taling about my thread? If so my problem was indeed getting out what i wanted to hear. I couldnt get onto my guitar what was in my head. In other words as you put it sven I didnt like what I was hearing. I was having problems taking what I wanted to hear and couldnt put that sound down on my guitar. I know that everything on guitar takes time to develope but what you said in the first thread didnt make sense to me to what I said before. I am not having problems with a technique but simple the same thing hess said he had a problem with when he was playing before he went to collage. If its not me your talking about then im sorry I posted this and I feel like a fool lol.The only reasoned why I asked what I did was because he said in learning how to do this he became alot better of a musician it was a big turning point for him and changed his musical life.Just thought maybe it could help me :D

Priest Becker
07-31-2004, 12:11 AM
O yeah and also i do agree with you sven whats the point of playing if your not having fun lol. We only live once right? So do what feels right when your hear. :)

08-02-2004, 11:31 AM
da*n!!! i just wrote this huge post and my pc crushed when i hit the submit button. :mad:

so here is the shortversion of what i wanted to say. :(

@bongoboy and all

i had a lot of fun when i started out, going nuts with 3 chords and didn't worry about the "why" they sound good and all the dos and don'ts.
but i don't know how it is with golf though. ;)
but like you say the trouble starts when you have to think about all the dos and don'ts.
the deeper you get into a subject, the more you realize how little you know. no matter if its music, painting, mathematics, astro physics or cooking. there is no point where you can say alright, now i know it all, now i am perfect. no great artist would consider himself perfect. in the opposite
a lot of artists lack of self esteem, think they are mediocre and don't deserve any worship, because they know they are still on their way.

for me playing guitar wasn't necessarily becoming more fun when i got better. it was more a salvation and healing than pure fun. and yes i practised a lot and it sometimes was no fun at all. but playing guitar is not only about practicing. there is time to soak something in and time to let it out. and i don't mean to show off all the licks you practiced to your friends, but to whisper, scream and spit out your thoughts and feelings on the guitar.
the way i think to learn a instrument just to end up teaching it to someone else is useless - its like a chaining letter or a snowball system. to just practice an instrument as well. you have to create! it is not the guitar that it's all about the guitar is just an instrument that converts and transports your ideas and expressions. just practicing (making yourself beeing able to convert your expressions) and not creating is like learning a language but never speaking it - useless in some point ins't it! you don't need to speak french fluently to go to france and communicate and survive.

@priest_becker and all

don't worry, i didn't mean to attack you in any way! in was just when i read your thread i realized "da*n, there are so many things to take care of" and i felt that it is easy to get lost in between all those advices that are out there. especially as a beginner.
see, when i started to play, i had one teacher and his word was the rule - besides reading magazines. now with the internet you can have hundreds of potential teachers showing you stuff but at the same time expanding the dos and dont's very quickly!
there should be room left to experiment with stuff, with ideas and sounds and techniques.
having all the different dos and don'ts accessable is sometimes helpful, sometimes limiting.
no to forget that they are others peoples dos and don'ts - go and find your own!
and i felt that i had to say "hey people, this is music - art! it is not all about technique and craftsmanship!
there are rules and chains to break on your way to be a unique artist.
of course it is good to copy the greats of your genre, but don't forget that expressing your private emotions makes you an unique artist, not that petrucci lick and not that malmsteen sweep.
goals should be set bigger than beeing able to copy "insert your temporarely guitar hero here".
the biggest goal there is, is to transport your uniqueness.
of course you need tools and advice and hours and years of practice - but don't get stuck in those rules and the "i have to practice this and that before i can truly play whats inside me" - addiction.
i'd rather go to a 3-chord punkband concert than visiting a economy picking workshop.

take a look at all those artists like holdsworth, friedmann, beck and so on...
have you seen friedmanns right hand technique? he definately did what he thought works for him and didn't follow the rules in the book - and he can play like hell! and i am not even talking about what he plays!
do you think jeff beck is that great because he practiced 16th notes for years? of course not - he is that great because he found the way how to express himself.
and listening to holdsworth.... i think he broke rules as well.

summary of this "short version": stay at home and practice your tools, get control over your instrument, but don't wait to express what you think has to get out. the guitar is just an instrument through wich emotions and thoughts and feelings are converted into music and sound. practicing is getting the tools together to be able to convert your thoughts and ideas. think about what tools you need and do your best to get control.
playing something you don't like equals saying something you don't mean. you shouldn't do that.

sorry all for that long post.. :eek: but i think i am done now. :rolleyes:

08-02-2004, 11:55 AM
i don't expect everyone to share my opinions, but in case someone cares i wrote columns on chopsfromhell.com concerning where to go with your playing here: about guitar playing nowadays (http://www.chopsfromhell.com/guest_stichter1.html) and about style and doing something "your way" (http://www.chopsfromhell.com/guest_stichter3.html) .
and if you want a flashy lick go here (http://www.chopsfromhell.com/guest_stichter2.html) .

12-10-2005, 03:21 PM
Wow, what a great thread!! I had a ton of things to add but as I kept on reading they were slowly getting addressed by other members (damn I was late! :p ) So the only one I have left is the girlfriend thing... it's true AND it gets worse when you get married... it's like all of sudden girls see you as a challenge or something... very strange the way female subjects think... we have tried to do some research on them and understand the secrets of their thoughts... but it has proven unsuccesful. We will continue however.

12-10-2005, 10:58 PM
I've always found that the answers to my problems with guitar...and life... lie within. There is a level of concentration you can reach when you are so focused that you are almost in a meditative state, and when you get to that state, a lot of answers to your questions can be revealed...the key is to eliminate distractions and to try and relax and focus all your energies into really watching, listening, and absorbing what you are doing, and where you want to go. I'm a self-taught player and I learned the minor, major, pentatonic, phrygian dominant etc, etc..scales through focused practice and experimentation...not from scale charts or lessons...I just gravitated towards what sounded good to my ears. Another thing I find is that too many players are focused on lead technique and get so caught up with speed that they forget about playing rhythm and working on songwriting...For example, if you wanted to solo over an AC/DC album, why not learn all the rhythm parts to every song before jamming solos overtop? You will have a much better feel for improvising a solo over the tune if you know the rhythm parts by heart. When I look at someone like Mark Tremonti from Alter Bridge, I have to laugh, because although his technical facility is much much better than when he was with Creed, his playing lacks dynamics and feel, which is something else players lose sight of in their quest for technique and speed. Rant over.