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Thread: How do I improve?

  1. #1
    Registered User BlueJakester's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2005

    How do I improve?

    This may have been addressed elsewhere but I couldn't find it with a search.

    I have reached a plateau with my blues playing and cannot find a method to advance. I've been practicing almost everyday for 18 months and have learned scales, blues scales, several lead riffs, playing in different keys, 12 bar blues, blues shuffle, cut shuffle, boogie, chord progressions (I, IV, V) in different keys and a lot more of the basics.

    I have been trying unsuccessfully to improve, pick up speed, make runs up and down the neck, and just plane "sound better" with bends, pull-offs, vibratos, etc.

    Aside from practice, practice, practice ... how do you break through to that next level when you have reached a plateau? I have had no luck in finding other guitarists locally to practice and jam with.

    Thanks in advance for any suggestions.

  2. #2
    Registered User Santuzzo's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2004
    Amsterdam, The Netherlands

    try to find a band to play with, get yourself into a real playing situation and apply all that you have learned.

    Also try to change your approach to practicing. I don't know how you practice so I can't really give any detailed advice on this. Do you learn tunes ? If not, do it, if youR'e into blues learn tunes by BB King, albert King, Eric Clapton, Stevie Ray Vaughan, Robben Ford .... etc. Also check out some jazz players playing the blues (Wes Montgomery, Grant Green, George Benson, Kenny Burrell ...)
    Like different types of blues players.

    You also might want to check out some other musical styles : Rock, Pop, Funk ...

    Basically : try to find something new that interests you and dig into it !

    Good luck !


  3. #3
    Registered User Madaxeman's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2005
    In addition to the good advice from Santuzzo, I'll add: SET SOME REALISTIC GOALS for yourself. The best way to improve is to get from point A to point B. It is completely up to you where point B is, but without defining it somehow you will never get there!
    You have listed one goal already...'pick up speed'. There are many great articles and threads here on how to do just that.
    Find a song you like and dedicate youself to learning it. Not just a riff, or part of the solo...learn the whole thing. So as not to discourage yourself, start with something relatively easy.
    Record yourself doing the 12 bar blues, then jam over it.
    See how close it is to the sound you want, and other artists you listen to. Keep working on it until you 'nail' that sound.
    Just my 2 cents...
    (also...never give up! Often times you are getting better, but just don't realize it because it is hard to compare you to yourself...this is where recording is great)

  4. #4
    Registered User BlueJakester's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Thank you for the good advice and encouragement. I'll give it a go and hang in there!

  5. #5
    Registered User Malcolm's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2004
    Deep East Texas Piney Woods
    ......Basically : try to find something new that interests you and dig into it !
    The blues scale is the basic starting point for jazz. Jazz is just a blues scale all jazzed up with a Dorian, Phrygian or Mixolydian mode thrown in. Time to move over into jazz. Click here and look at the guitar section of play-a-long CD's and instructional books on improvisation. With your first order you will receive the Jazz Handbook which is great about explaining the theory behind Jazz, hints about soloing, comping, etc.

    How to play Jazz and Improvise Volume 1 is a good starting place.
    Then any of the five Barry Galbraith books. Guitar Comping # 3 is good. They all come with CD's.

    That'll keep you busy for eight to ten years..........
    Last edited by Malcolm; 02-10-2006 at 02:30 PM.

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