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> I Find It Hard To Go Beyond A Satisfying Level
SpiritCrusher
post Apr 9 2019, 03:56 PM
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Hello again GMC. I'm back after a short break as I wanna continue my guitar journey again.
Now the thing that I have the biggest problem with is going beyond a level that I find satisfying. About 2.5 years ago I had a period where I had a consistent practice schedule for a few months where I would practice every day for 2-3 hours, and I improved my abilities A LOT. It was mostly because I always saw myself as a "less than good" guitarist that I strived to become better. It was when I got praise and actually started to impress even professional guitarists that I lost all motivation to become better. After that I still had periods where I would practice a lot, but I never improved that drastically as I did back when I didn't see myself as that good and I would quickly lose those gained abilities.
My goal is to be able to play lessons here that are 8's, 9's and 10's in level and play pieces by my favorite guitarists like Michael Romeo, Yngwie Malmsteen, John Petrucci etc.
But my desire and motivation to go from being "good" to "expert" is lower than going from being "bad" to "good" if you know what I mean. I have read these philosophical texts on the matter about having a completely neutral approach to it and not to see anything as being good nor bad, but it's hard because I can play something and as I reaching a speed and level that I subconsciously find good I find it hard to go beyond that and then it starts feeling so forced.
This question goes mainly to those of you who managed to break that "wall of satisfaction" in therms of guitar playing.
Thank you!
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Todd Simpson
post Apr 10 2019, 02:47 AM
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Looks like I'm the first one to field this. Here goes smile.gif First off, you are not alone in this. Every player who ever touched an instrument has to struggle with this. It never really goes away. Among many other things, it's one of the list of bits that each player has to find their way through in order to continue. Finding the motivation to keep going. To push through. To not just sit the guitar down for long periods of time. This is perhaps the most important question of all. After all, if one is not playing, one can't get any better. So finding the motivation to play is at the core, the very foundation of improvement and progress.
I remember being at this very spot. I really, really, really wanted to shred. Wanted it so bad I could taste it. It seemed like I was never going to get there. I practiced until I injured myself from over practice and still could not bridge the gap. It was as if a magic wall was in the way. I couldn't make it over the wall to play at break neck speed with control, like my guitar heros seemed to do without any effort.

This stage is quite common. The time it takes to make it over that hump seems to be an eternity. Along the way it's very easy to become unhappy with one's progress and just put the guitar down. A day passes, a week, a month, etc. Next thing you know, you've all but stopped playing.

For me, the revelation came when I borrowed a small booklet that came with a specialty pick. It was a pick built just to train the hand on alternate picking briskly. It made me realize I'd been using a soft pick, (bad idea) and a dull pick ( bad idea) when I should be use a very stiff (1.0 mm or thicker) very pointy (either factory pointy or sharpened by me) pick.

Also, it trained me not to go to far past the point of the string when picking. To use just the very tip, the very edge point of the pick when playing fast. This reduces recovery time between strikes.

It had a few drills to work on alternate picking. Just stuff on one string really,.

Bottom line, get a very thick/no flex pick and make sure it's very pointy. If it's already pointy, maybe grab a pocket knife and bevel the edges. the Vpick Switchblade Buffed is a great pick to train your hand with. Also, the Mathas Guitars Impaler. These are pointy and beveled so that you can traverse strings as well.

This gave me the boost I needed. After that, I started looking for things that i could play to help me get faster.

I have synthesized all of the lessons I learned in to my SHRED BOOTCAMP. Once you have a stiff, sharp pick, you can work your way through the missions and just pick and choose by yourself, or you can work through with me as your mentor and Badge up as you complete each one.

There are an endless number of paths one can take in one's journey. This is only one of them. I'm happy to help you walk the path smile.gif Just let me know with a Personal Message.

Todd




QUOTE (SpiritCrusher @ Apr 9 2019, 10:56 AM) *
Hello again GMC. I'm back after a short break as I wanna continue my guitar journey again.
Now the thing that I have the biggest problem with is going beyond a level that I find satisfying. About 2.5 years ago I had a period where I had a consistent practice schedule for a few months where I would practice every day for 2-3 hours, and I improved my abilities A LOT. It was mostly because I always saw myself as a "less than good" guitarist that I strived to become better. It was when I got praise and actually started to impress even professional guitarists that I lost all motivation to become better. After that I still had periods where I would practice a lot, but I never improved that drastically as I did back when I didn't see myself as that good and I would quickly lose those gained abilities.
My goal is to be able to play lessons here that are 8's, 9's and 10's in level and play pieces by my favorite guitarists like Michael Romeo, Yngwie Malmsteen, John Petrucci etc.
But my desire and motivation to go from being "good" to "expert" is lower than going from being "bad" to "good" if you know what I mean. I have read these philosophical texts on the matter about having a completely neutral approach to it and not to see anything as being good nor bad, but it's hard because I can play something and as I reaching a speed and level that I subconsciously find good I find it hard to go beyond that and then it starts feeling so forced.
This question goes mainly to those of you who managed to break that "wall of satisfaction" in therms of guitar playing.
Thank you!
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Kristofer Dahl
post Apr 10 2019, 10:18 AM
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Great topic mate!

I think the key here is determining where you get your inspiration from, and why you play guitar in the first place! So I made a little video about how this could help you solve the issue smile.gif



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SpiritCrusher
post Apr 10 2019, 01:36 PM
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Exactly Todd. It's funny how I also used a wrong pick, a soft pick for strumming to try to improve my alternate picking, until I found the magical Jazz III picks that I've used for the past 5 years. I find it incredibly important to look inside and see what actually motives one to become better, which at times can become hard. And I fully agree that one can take many different paths towards their goals and that your Shred Bootcamp is one of them, which I will definitely look into taking up again.

Kris, I've watched your video through a couple of times, and the thing you said about the purpose and goals really resonates with me. I really looked deep within to see what my actual drives and desires were. While I certainly do want to play like my favorite guitarists for myself, I had to be frank with myself and acknowledge that there are also some external factors in play. While not being dominant, I still feel like some of my drives towards mastery are based on being better than "the guy next door" and being impressing towards other people. Now that I've managed to identify the source of my drives, I find it much easier to leave my ego behind when practicing.
You asked if I also listen to the music of my favorite guitarists, and yes, most of the music I listen to is in the prog metal genre, however, I also get tempted to listen to folk music and certain rock from the 70's and 80's. I also recognize that I'm too rigid in my practice. I focus too much on building speed and playing melodic solos and lessons instead of learning form different angles and learning "sideways" like you said, which could accelerate my learning. Like Todd said, "There are an endless number of paths one can take in one's journey." Currently I'm practicing the Neoclassical Etude #1 by Marcus Lavendell, and when I'm done with that I will look into a style that I'm completely unfamiliar with to see where it can take me and spice things up a bit. Very insightful video btw.

Thank you for your feedback, both of you! I definitely find it useful.
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PosterBoy
post Apr 10 2019, 01:57 PM
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I think the thing I found with this was, once you can play fairly well, you have the ability to spend a lot of time just playing what you can already do, nothing wrong with that, it's enjoyable, makes you feel good etc but it does make it harder to practice the stuff you can't do very well, because it makes you feel inadequate and doesn't send any feel good chemicals around your brain.

Notice that I'm still at Level 8 of Todd's Bootcamp? Well this is the reason. I must get back to the training.

This post has been edited by PosterBoy: Apr 10 2019, 01:58 PM


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Monica Gheorghev...
post Apr 10 2019, 05:48 PM
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Usually people have more motivation at passing from "bad" to "good" just because it's the "beauty" period where our progress is very visible even for a "blind" person. With a daily practice, things can be learned in a much shorter period, other players praise us and this thing brings us joy and satisfaction.


From "good" to "expert" things are different. We need more time until we can manage in a good way some techniques. Those lessons from these 8's, 9's and 10's levels have high requirements.
Some details like hand positions, precision, strength management, hand sync, which at a lower level not gave us problems in such a way to fail a take, now it hit us right in the face and we must take care about every detail to be able to go further.
The progress is slower because things are very harder but the satisfaction when you succeed to end a lesson from a high level it's much bigger. wink.gif


Look, at this moment I play lessons from level 8 and I have more motivation than I ever had. How? Is simple:

- I'm never satisfied about my level because once I achieved new skills, I already want more. My expectations rise overnight but it's a normal thing.

- I'm aware that I achieved a good level (few years ago my current technical level were just an untouchable dream) but for me this is just a proof that I can do it. So if I already convinced myself that I can, why should I not try more? Which is my limit has already become a very interesting question for me smile.gif

- I trained myself to see my weaknesses rather than my abilities and this help me and always keep me motivated.

- It's all about how we perceive the things. At high levels the progress is not so visible for the viewers but who cares about it? My purpose is to feel myself good with me and be aware about the steps that I make daily, not to convince people about my progress. The fact that me and my instructor, we see and feel in my playing a daily progress, it’s all that matter for me.

- When I look at me, I don't let myself to be conquered by the fact that I play better than "the guy next door". I always analyze how far I am and how much work I must put in, to arrive at the level of playing that my instructor or any of my favorite musicians are. For me, it's much healthy to be aware how long and hard is the road that I have ahead, instead to stay and admire the climb that I already done.


As a last conclusion and to be totally honest, a perfect tip to break that "wall of satisfaction" is to try to be surrounded by people which are better players than you. You will see that suddenly your goals will change and you will want more from you. It's always good to be honest with you and think at what you really want.
In my case I always prefer to be the weaker among the great players because it's good for my personal developing. The vice versa help just our ego and the satisfaction will not last forever. wink.gif
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SpiritCrusher
post Apr 10 2019, 07:27 PM
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Monica, I've been following you ever since I joined GMC and based on your REC takes, you are constantly making improvements and becoming a better guitarist, which I could definitely learn from. Like you said, I have to be able to see my weaknesses and embrace the fact that I can learn from them instead of being proud of my abilities and strengths. Everything that you mentioned, I will take to me and adopt that mindset that you have. Not only for guitar, but for everything that I wanna accomplish in life.
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Gabriel Leopardi
post Apr 11 2019, 03:48 AM
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This thread is becoming really inspiring guys!!

I think that each person is different so there is not only one answer or one path. But it’s really cool to read all these diferentes experiences from Todd, Kris and Monica because you can take ideas and get inspired at the same time.

When I was a teenager, I remember comparing my playing with guys like Malmsteen, Petrucci, Vai, Gilbert, and I felt depressed when I noticed that they were a lot better than me. However, this feeling made me want to practice more and more, it worked as motivation.

Going to live concerts, watching videos, reading biographies from my idols, and playing with friends that were better than me also made me want to get back home and continue practicing.

I think that the key is to know which are your goals (I think that you already know them) and then find and do all the things that motivate you to practice to achieve them.

It’s true that improvements are less notorious when we are intermediate/advanced players, but we love playing guitar so who is hurried? Let’s enjoy the journey!


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Todd Simpson
post Apr 11 2019, 05:40 AM
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Back to the Front Soldier!!! smile.gif


Todd

QUOTE (PosterBoy @ Apr 10 2019, 08:57 AM) *
I think the thing I found with this was, once you can play fairly well, you have the ability to spend a lot of time just playing what you can already do, nothing wrong with that, it's enjoyable, makes you feel good etc but it does make it harder to practice the stuff you can't do very well, because it makes you feel inadequate and doesn't send any feel good chemicals around your brain.

Notice that I'm still at Level 8 of Todd's Bootcamp? Well this is the reason. I must get back to the training.
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SpiritCrusher
post Apr 11 2019, 02:47 PM
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I completely agree, Gab!

QUOTE (Gabriel Leopardi @ Apr 11 2019, 03:48 AM) *
This thread is becoming really inspiring guys!!

I think that each person is different so there is not only one answer or one path. But it’s really cool to read all these diferentes experiences from Todd, Kris and Monica because you can take ideas and get inspired at the same time.

When I was a teenager, I remember comparing my playing with guys like Malmsteen, Petrucci, Vai, Gilbert, and I felt depressed when I noticed that they were a lot better than me. However, this feeling made me want to practice more and more, it worked as motivation.

Going to live concerts, watching videos, reading biographies from my idols, and playing with friends that were better than me also made me want to get back home and continue practicing.

I think that the key is to know which are your goals (I think that you already know them) and then find and do all the things that motivate you to practice to achieve them.

It’s true that improvements are less notorious when we are intermediate/advanced players, but we love playing guitar so who is hurried? Let’s enjoy the journey!


This post has been edited by SpiritCrusher: Apr 11 2019, 02:47 PM
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klasaine
post Apr 11 2019, 03:59 PM
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Not too much to add as all the above advice is excellent.
I will mention something that I have spoken about a lot here.
I have found that for myself as well as my musician friends, this approach has helped us significantly in regard to "getting better" or advancing. Start to learn something that is completely away from what you (think) you want to play. Something out of your normal taste and/or listening diet. Maybe way outside your comfort zone. A style of music you like to listen to or that you grew up with but have never focused on or even thought about playing.

Every good musician I know in every style and age group studies some type of music that you'd probably never guess they were into just from listening to them. Though, if you ask them, they would tell you that this 'hidden' passion for whatever genre is one of the elements that helps continue to drive and feed their overall desire to play music and, consequently ... get better.

Try it. You might be surprised.

This post has been edited by klasaine: Apr 11 2019, 04:02 PM
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Adam
post Apr 11 2019, 04:31 PM
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QUOTE (SpiritCrusher @ Apr 9 2019, 03:56 PM) *
Hello again GMC. I'm back after a short break as I wanna continue my guitar journey again.
Now the thing that I have the biggest problem with is going beyond a level that I find satisfying. About 2.5 years ago I had a period where I had a consistent practice schedule for a few months where I would practice every day for 2-3 hours, and I improved my abilities A LOT. It was mostly because I always saw myself as a "less than good" guitarist that I strived to become better. It was when I got praise and actually started to impress even professional guitarists that I lost all motivation to become better. After that I still had periods where I would practice a lot, but I never improved that drastically as I did back when I didn't see myself as that good and I would quickly lose those gained abilities.
My goal is to be able to play lessons here that are 8's, 9's and 10's in level and play pieces by my favorite guitarists like Michael Romeo, Yngwie Malmsteen, John Petrucci etc.
But my desire and motivation to go from being "good" to "expert" is lower than going from being "bad" to "good" if you know what I mean. I have read these philosophical texts on the matter about having a completely neutral approach to it and not to see anything as being good nor bad, but it's hard because I can play something and as I reaching a speed and level that I subconsciously find good I find it hard to go beyond that and then it starts feeling so forced.
This question goes mainly to those of you who managed to break that "wall of satisfaction" in therms of guitar playing.
Thank you!


Welcome back and nice to meet you! smile.gif
My only advice is to make sure you enjoy your practice sessions, have fun and look forward to the next one. It's a matter of mindset but I'm a strong believer it's a game changer for every aspect of life.


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Todd Simpson
post Apr 13 2019, 08:28 PM
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Well Said. It's gotta be something you look forward to or you run the risk of falling victim to burn out and just putting the guitar down. Also, having patience with yourself is a big part of it. Learning a new skill is frustrating as it seems as though one gets stuck at a certain level, despite the amount of effort/time put it. In fact, a student can be seen to be improving by anyone watching their youtube videos, but from the inside, it's so slow, that it seems to be not happening.

This is what is so important about documenting your progress using youtube. Take a short vid once a week, or even once a month. Then watch the vids once ever few months. Watch the first and last for 3 or 6 months. You will be able to see the change. It's much harder to see from the inside. Progress is so incremental that it can seem non existent.

Learning this form of persistence, and patience, is a life skill that can be applied to other areas of ones life. It's the "ZEN" of guitar playing. Really the zen of everything, or Tao of everything. Learning to be patient with yourself first, allows you to be more patient with others. Learning to be persistent on guitar, allows one to learn persistence. That one skill can change your life more than anything else.

Todd
QUOTE (Adam M @ Apr 11 2019, 11:31 AM) *
Welcome back and nice to meet you! smile.gif
My only advice is to make sure you enjoy your practice sessions, have fun and look forward to the next one. It's a matter of mindset but I'm a strong believer it's a game changer for every aspect of life.
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