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Newbie looking for advice


JimMystic
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Hello, I have been using the site for a few months now, I don't have any previous experience playing guitar and thought Rocksmith would be a fun way to learn. I've tried to consistently practice every day for about 2 or 3 hours. I know this may seem like a stupid topic, it's just I also feel like I am on the verge of giving up. It doesn't feel like I am actually improving. I don't think I am gaining the coordination to hit notes. I've started feeling kind of down about it but maybe I am going about the learning process wrong by relying only on Rocksmith. I don't really have the money to take on lessons but I am starting to think I may also just lack the coordination to learn guitar. any advice/encouragement is appreciated.

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Jim - I'm crap too but enjoy slowly but surely getting better. I suppose it depends what your goal is. If you want to be Slash, maybe you need to reset your sights. If it's to have some enjoyable downtime and gradually improve with no dreams of superstardom (my goal), then persist. Whatever your goal is, my recommendation would be to keep at it as in a few years, you'll be having loads of guitar fun. Nothing good comes easy!! Good luck

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There's no quick way other than just practice give it time and you'll pick it up. The first guitar amp combo I bought sat in a closet for a year before I decided to really devote time to it. Took about a year but final got to where I could play a song without my wife laughing at me and when you pick it up you'll be like dam what was I doing it's so easy now.

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Coordination is learned, it's muscle memory and training. I doubt few if any players have natural coordination. It takes years of practice to master.

 

Enjoy playing, have fun, set small goals, practice the lessons as they teach valuable techniques, practice outside of RS as well.

 

Don't give up, don't expect to be Stevie Ray in a few months.

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It just takes time, the less pressure you put on yourself to get good the faster you will get good has been my experience. I've also found that playing bass as well as guitar has helped me on both instruments. The longer neck of the bass has helped me in developing speed of movement when changing frets, and the space between the guitar's strings has helped me develop accuracy. The thicker strings of the bass have also helped in developing the muscles in my hands and wrists.

 

We all hit walls periodically where it seems like we aren't improving, or are actually starting to go backwards. I've noticed that this is usually, for me at least, happening when I'm putting pressure on myself to get better at a specific song rather than just taking my time and enjoying the music. We all also have times where it seems like we're unstoppable and hit 99%+ on everything we play. It's all about patience and keepin' on.

 

A major thing that helps me when I get frustrated with a particular song is just playing a different song for a while. Usually when I come back to it after regaining my cool, I do better, even if it's just by a small amount, improvement is improvement. Don't push yourself to hit upper 90s the first couple times you play a song, sure it'll happen with some, maybe even a lot of songs over time, but don't expect yourself to constantly pull a rabbit out of your guitar case :D

 

Something that also helps me when I feel like everything is going down hill is revisting my original inspirations to start playing in the first place. Watching the Doomstar Requiem, or videos of bands that I like helps me get that motivation back when all seems lost.

 

EDIT Extension: When I got RS, I didn't think I'd end up being a bass player. A lot of people say bass players are failed guitarists *cough*bullshit*cough* but as a local bassist I know, who has been playing more than twice as long as I've been alive, says, "Sometimes the instrument chooses the musician." I'm not saying give up the guitar for the bass at all. I have a Dean MX L guitar that I love and will never part with. I'm just saying explore your options if you keep going and feel like the guitar might not be your top option.

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My Customs and DD's

 

 

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I got to thinking about this more and thought I might expand a bit further.

 

Don't compare your skill to anyone else's.  This might sound like an odd statement at first, but there are reasons for it, and it will save you from going through the whole, "Why am I not as good as that guy?" pitfall that a lot of musicians fall into.  Even ones with years of experience.

 

I've only been playing since mid December.  The reason I've gotten as good as I am with the bass actually goes further back than that.  WAY back when I was in middle school (I'm 28 now, so not THAT far way back lol) I used to play trumpet in band.  I spent 2 years with that before I decided that brass wasn't my thing, it only would have been 1 year if I hadn't had the opportunity to play on Ellis Island and spend a week in NY that second year.  While I didn't excel at it, and didn't enjoy it much, I did learn a few things that translate to all forms of music, in particular, keeping time and counting beats.  This gave me a bit of a boost when I picked up the strings because there was less of a learning curve when it comes to reading music.  I actually made it through that second year of band by basically turning my sheet music into tabs for the trumpet, just replacing fret numbers with open or closed on the valves, and using markers to annotate pitch.  The point is, I had to learn in a different way than the rest of my section.

 

Another thing to look at is the time put in.  I'm disabled and don't work a steady job, so I have a LOT of time to spend with my bass.  This is a luxury many don't have.  And learning style comes into play once again when you look at what kind of music a person is trying to learn.  If you take someone who is specifically wanting to learn a single style, or a single band's music, they can become very good at that style relatively quickly.  However, they won't be nearly as good when presented with other styles for the first time.  This hit for me in that I like to play a lot of metal, and a lot of high speed music.  When I switch over to something slower though, I often miss notes because I'm already thinking about the next note and moving towards it.  This is why I try to play multiple styles though, so I can get a well rounded skill set.  The only reason I did well with Les Miserables on my first run with the bass was because I was already very familiar with the music from when I played it in band.  I already knew the beat and the time changes, and I had a good idea which direction I'd be going on the fret board because I was already familiar with it.  Put something of comparable difficulty in front of me that I'm not familiar with though, I won't do nearly as good because I haven't heard it much, if at all.  Even songs that I am familiar with, but are outside my normal playing style trip me up sometimes simply because I don't play that style as much.  The first few times I played Online - Brad Paisley I bombed out hard because while I've heard the song dozens of times, I wasn't familiar with the style, and it still trips me up at times because I very rarely play any type of country music.

 

Basically I'm just trying to reiterate, don't push yourself to match anyone else, or to be at whatever level you think you should be playing at.  Take your time and enjoy the music.  We all picked up an instrument because we love music, and we did it to have fun!  The level where you're having fun is exactly where you should be playing at.

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My Customs and DD's

 

 

Current Projects:

 

Suffocation

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If you keep trying and are still getting too frustrated and thinking of quitting I would suggest trying the bass. I'm a bit older and had no previous experience with any instrument so decided to go bass. Plus I really love the sound of bass. It's much, much easier and you'll catch on really fast. Which motivates you to want to play more. Plus you'll develop finger coordination easier and you can then move on to guitar if you want to later. You can buy used basses for around $100 at Guitar Center and return it for any reason if you decide you don't like it. You can get on their website and view basses at all their stores in the US, and have it shipped if you want. I guarantee you'll like it though. Instead of getting frustrated you'll be making incredible gains very quickly. I've been playing 4 months now and absolutely love it.

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I'm a new player, too, and the challenge is certainly real.  I have to ask, though, when you say you don't feel like you're progressing, or that you aren't coordinated enough, what do you actually mean?  What problem areas are you frustrated with?  I know that for me, once I started moving from just playing my E string to plucking up and down all six, that the next step into chords was just kicking me hard.  I felt like I couldn't nail a good note, much less an Am.  I ended up chilling out, checking out some hand exercises on a couple of guitar sites and doing some practice scales.  I'm still terrible, but it got me over that frustrated feeling and now I'm back to enjoying the practice.

The point is, maybe a little outside help will get you up and going again.  

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Everyone is different but for me the turning point was learning my first song and getting a gold pick on hard score attack. For the first few months I tried to play X-Kid by Green Day which was just way out of my league. It was frustrating and I was not getting better. Then I read a thread on easy songs and bought 7-nation army and learned the rhythm (not lead) path. When I finally got a gold pick the feeling was incredible and I was motivated. Then I learned to play Next Girl, then Angela, then Blitzkreig Bop and all of a sudden I was super motivated to play more and more. I still play these songs because it is fun and it can’t hurt to exercise the fingers although now I play games with the songs such as playing 7-nation army using 3 finger power chords to make it a bit harder and develop skill and yet still score well on RS 2014.

 

Here are some songs I felt were easy in my early days. I just scored a gold pick this weekend on the rhythm path for Enter Sandman which was huge for me personally it is at a level 12 months ago I did not think I could ever reach. Anyway hope this helps in some way.

 

A few songs that I found easy as a beginner. My advice is to pick songs you like. I don’t learn songs that I don’t like to listen to.

White Stripes - 7 Nation Army - Rhythm

Black – Pearl Jam – Rhythm

Black Keys - Next Girl - Lead

David Bowie - Rebel Rebel - Rhythm

Green Day - Brain Stew (final riff is a bit harder but you will still sound good even if you skip playing the B & E strings although you probably won't get a gold pick).

Rage Against the Machine - Renegades of Funk - Rhythm

Rage Against the Machine - Bulls on Parade - Rhythm

Ramones - Blitzkrieg Bop - Rhythm (edit LEAD not rhythm. Lead is 2 finger easy power shords. Rhythm is Barre chords)

The Dead Weather - I Can’t Hear You - Lead

Rock of Ages – Def Leppard - Rhythm

Edit to add to the original list:

Cold War Kids - Hang me up to Dry (This song is a major earworm for me). Fairly easy but if you are a new player you may struggle on the fast alternate picking section as a beginner. Good technique practice!

 

I always try to watch songs on Youtube before I purchase to  get a feel as to whether or not I am able to play them if they are official game songs for sale.

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My Youtube channel is basically a list of Rocksmith's easiest songs because those are the only ones I can play.  :P

https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCMV9RfoApHM5Zmi1CobqTJw

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Well guitar is not for everyone, but don't take it the wrong way. If guitar is really what you want to learn you will eventually get over this stage. My friend recently gave up and is in the process of selling his guitar and amp, I tried to convince him to keep at it but he just couldn't push himself. Just remember that if you are willing to push yourself to do it then you will get better no matter what, quickly or slowly.

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Jim

 

despite this being an old thread my advice to myself would be as follows;

 

learn the basic chords outside rocksmith (repetition is key(even if you know them backwards keep practising them to improve muscle memory) 

A,Am,B,C,C7,D,Dm,D7,E,Em,F,G & G7

 

learn the pentatonic minor & major scale all five positions (repetition is key(even if you know them backwards keep practising them to improve muscle memory)  - this will sort your lead & solo stuff out faster than  a fast thing

 

and practice barr chords every night at least 15mins

 

get to grips with basics like blues shuffle 

and rhythm patterns (oasis 'song bird' is a good basic pattern) - see youtube - i cant emphasise enough getting a good selection of rhythm patterns under your belt (which rocksmith sadlly sucks at displaying)

 

record yourself playing for 5mins each month

 

DON'T EXPECT TO BE PLAYING J.HENDRIX PERFECTLY AFTER A FEW MONTHS! (think decades if your lucky). 

 

finally do the calculation if takes a 10,000hrs to get to intermediate level then given the number of hours you put in each day with give a decent scale as to when to expect to at the basics of competent with instrument.

 

(I've been learning for the last 2.5yrs and still suck).

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You don't need to play guitar for "decades if lucky" to play Hendrix properly, it would take much shorter than that to do some fast bends and shred if you know what you're doing. Certainly Rocksmith isn't a good way of progression if you want to play songs such as Purple Haze like Hendrix did live. With proper lessons from somebody that knows what he is doing however, and suffice amount of work, it will NOT take anywhere near that long.

It doesn't take 10.000s of hours to get to an "intermediate" level either, you're talking about some ludicrous amounts of guitar playing time.

Finally, if you have been learning for 2.5 years and still "suck", you're just not doing it right.

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@@Puddle Of Mudd

 

Agreed I haven't been doing right (so after i broke the 1.5k hr mark on RS I reevaluated what i was trying to achieve and how i was going about doing so, I'm now taking lessons and spending alot more time away from RS), as i originally mentioned this above was the advise I would have given to myself when i first started.

 

The fact is when you was start at anything, you no don't know what you don't know.

Everyone's progression is and goals are different, but the above is the foundation i'd advise to start from.

 

in regards to where the "intermediate level" starts I suspect we are both placing the bar in different proficiency levels, which is fine (mentally i'm deliberately making the effort to avoid the 'blue belt blues' & the 'post graduate drop off' syndromes), i'm under no delusions that achieving proficiency is marathon and there are no magic bullets, other than effort and planning.  

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