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> Beginner, Intermediate, Advanced?, How does the rating work for you?
Andrew Cockburn
post Jan 3 2008, 06:57 PM
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I discussed this with Kris today, and I thought it would be fun to start a thread and see what others think ...

Of course, it's all Muris' fault smile.gif

If anyone asked me, I would say I am an intermediate player - of course, we have observed before on GMC that no one ever admits to being advanced - they become intermediate after a year or two and stay that way forever even though they get better and better. Even Pavel calls himself intermediate smile.gif So after playing for 30 years (some of them good years with progress, a lot of them bad years before I came to GMC) there are some things I can play well, and a lot that I can't. I am a very unbalanced player, being mostly self taught. My theory and musical understanding skills are good, I play legato reasonably well, and my phrasing is competent, but my alt-picking is slow, my sweeping is virtually non-existent and I can barely tap.

When Muris came out with his intermediate Bb Lesson, I was amazed at the musicality of it, it sounded so breathtaking, but was labeled intermediate. There are a lot of techniques on there that I haven't mastered yet, but I was up for the challenge, maybe I could play it after months of practice.

So, I decided to get my feet wet by learning the beginner Bb lesson - again, intensely musical, but a lot easier to play. I'm intermediate, right? Should be able to pick it up in half an hour or so right? Noooooo! A lot of the stuff on that lesson IS very basic, the alt picking is fairly slow, no hard bends, only 16th sweep picking not even 16th triplets, but for me, the sweeps were very hard.

I started slow, and persevered. The basic mechanics of sweeping I have down, thanks to Pavel's amazing sweeping lessons, but I suck speed-wise, but actually this lesson was inspiring to me as I started out at 50bpm and worked up to 72bpm (full speed), but it took me about a week to get there. Now I play this lesson as a warm up, and I am still working on the phrasing - Muris phrasing is exquisite, and actually to get that right and play it cleanly is hardest of all, but I am enjoying that part smile.gif

So all of this got me thinking - if someone who has played guitar fairly seriously for 30 years can't play a beginner level GMC lesson without trouble, what does that mean? Am I a pathetic guitarist? I hope not ... I know I have gaps in my abilities but I can certainly play.

Are the levels whacked? Maybe a little, but that reflects just how hard it is to grade a lessons difficulty - When Muris says a lesson is easy, both he and Steve Vai could probably play it easily, the rest of us might have problems!

It also depends on what you have practiced and the style of it. If it was a blues, or Gilmour style lesson, I would probably have mastered it in 30 minutes and would not have been writing this, but because of the sweeping it gave me problems - maybe that just reflects the fact that as far as sweeping goes, I AM a beginner. I know for sure I will be working on the intermediate lesson for the foreseeable future, and may never get to the advanced lesson.

Be that as it may, I raised this point for a reason, it just took me a while to get to it - how do other GMC:ers feel about the levels? Do they fairly represent your abilities, do you have big gaps like me? Is there a way we can improve the rating system? What do you guys think?

BTW, Kris is doing an awesome job even having such a cool rating system on the site, I am not criticizing, just wondering how it works out for others. And Muris is a guitar god, and plays a lot how I would like to play but he thought of it first!


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Constie
post Jan 3 2008, 07:28 PM
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All in all the system is good but I think the instructors forgot what a "beginner" is wink.gif
The first month I was hardly able to play powerchords. The fingers are wobbly and they won't hit the right fret.
I will give you a few examples which are absolute impossible for a beginner:

neoclassical-3-levels-beginner
three-level-solo-beginner
melodic tapping lesson (difficulty 2)

This is nice beginner-stuff: mixolydian-soloing-beginner

It's really demotivating to see I'm a "beginner" after 3,5 years of playing.
If I saw your beginner lessons 3 years ago, I'd rate them as "professional". As a beginner you are impressed by everything that's a little faster because you're not able to play anything cool

This post has been edited by Constie: Jan 3 2008, 07:34 PM


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Owen
post Jan 3 2008, 07:31 PM
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I had a similar problem playing one of Vinod's classical pieces that was meant to be relatively easy, I can play up to about level 6 palm muted and alternate picking type metal but I couldnt get the level 4 classical piece down at all. I think its all relative to the way you've trained yourself as a guitarist, I liked the fact that Vinod's lesson was labelled easy and that I couldnt do it because I now realise that I need to work on my abilities in that area - whereas had it been labelled hard I would have just given it up because it was marked as beyond my skill level, so for me at least, the grading has been helpful. smile.gif

Constie - I see what your saying though because some of the chops in that lesson I couldnt have done a year ago - after two years of guitar playing. It can also be quite intimidating from that perspective.

This post has been edited by Owen: Jan 3 2008, 07:34 PM


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fatb0t
post Jan 3 2008, 07:37 PM
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Just with taste, things vary. You may be an 'advanced' gutiarist with blues but be a 'beginner' with metal. I guess the only TRUE advanced guitarists are those who've mastered most styles reasonably well?

I dunno, I've pondered this many times and just assumed I needed more practice in various styles namely metal.
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jacmoe
post Jan 3 2008, 07:39 PM
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It must be extremely difficult to rate a tutorial, especially if you made it.
And what do you measure it against?
When you have played for years, you tend to forget just how difficult it was to do things you take for granted now. laugh.gif

How about letting the users grade the lessons?
By means of 10 radio buttons at the bottom of each lesson page? smile.gif


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Constie
post Jan 3 2008, 07:42 PM
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QUOTE (jacmoe @ Jan 3 2008, 07:39 PM) *
It must be extremely difficult to rate a tutorial, especially if you made it.
And what do you measure it against?
When you have played for years, you tend to forget just how difficult it was to do things you take for granted now. laugh.gif

How about letting the users grade the lessons?
By means of 10 radio buttons at the bottom of each lesson page? smile.gif

Good idea, but it has to be visible that you're not rating the quality smile.gif


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swingline
post Jan 3 2008, 07:43 PM
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Me too, Rock and Metal stuff I can play sixes but I try classical and jeez I don't even know what number I'm at, but its going up this motivated me to pick up the old acoustic and do some good classical stuff.


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Jakub Luptovec
post Jan 3 2008, 07:46 PM
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+1 to that, that is very cool idea! You know, the users could DIT so the rating would be.. suiting their needs:)


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Chris Evans
post Jan 3 2008, 07:54 PM
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wow what a great thread, be some interesting answers here for sure.

My opinion, hmmm... well I was in chat with Muris a few nights back and we touched very slightly on this, the Paul Gilbert lesson is a 9, theres many techniques in there that are indeed advanced, I`m very close to nailing this lesson but wouldnt class myself as advanced, Muris indicated that perhaps it was more inter-advanced which I would say is a fair comment.
The weird part is that some of the lessons around 5-7 I find a lot harder to play than this, but I think Andrew has covered this well in his post, I think a lot has to do with the way you have "trained" yourself as a player.
I`ve been playing pretty much the same style of guitar for 20+ years, and the techniques (although I have no claim to have mastered them) used are very familiar to me and work for me as a player.

I actually think the rating system is genius, I am almost jealaous of new guitarists starting out on this site, I`m too set in my ways (full of bad habits) to change now, the new guitarist can model themselves around many different styles here and learn correctly, something that I am trying to do, but I`m able to listen to a lesson and say, yup I know I`ll be able to play that eventually, or whoo this ones gunna be hard, you guys can use this rating system to progress through many techniques.

I`m kinda re starting out on some aspects of my playing and learning the "begginer" lessons too, as they are full of great techniques to try and change some of these habits that some of you guys wont pick up coz of the excellent tuition that is here.

I agree Kris has done an excellent job on the rating system, and I think it works pretty well, its never going to be perfect, but if used as a guide then its great.


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Philippe
post Jan 3 2008, 08:05 PM
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Was Hendrix an advanced player? In any case, he was not that fast, didn't do much tapping or sweeping. Most of the most famous guitarists are not fast players.

To me an advanced player is someone that has a good musical knowledge, can perform well with other musicians, has a decent technique, a good repertoire...

I found this school syllabus and I think it gives a nice level scale. Maybe if i was living in the UK I'd take their test in order to get more motivation to practice.
http://www.rockschool.co.uk/rsl/sites/6/do...labus_guide.pdf
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jacmoe
post Jan 3 2008, 08:05 PM
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I don't think that sweeping and tapping belongs in "Beginner" - they are intermediate techniques to me.
But I am probably getting old.. laugh.gif


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QUOTE ("Steve Vai")
Start by playing something - a bend, a riff, a scale, a song - very slowly; if you make a mistake, start over; do this over and over, until you can play it flawlessly - and I do mean flawlessly - many times in a row. Next, gradually increase the tempo. Eventually you'll be flailing like a madman.
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Tomy Jeon
post Jan 3 2008, 08:10 PM
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Hmm... I think I'm a beginner to intermediate because I can only play 4's smile.gif I guess people have different standards if what beginner, intermediate and advanced are but I think I'm in between a beginner and intermediate.


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Spiderusalem
post Jan 3 2008, 08:19 PM
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If I may geek out here just a little bit..... In the world of role playing (and to an extent, video game role playing) one can be a high level and still lack in many abiliites.....its just the nature of the beast we call life. For example: the highest level grand death wizard might not be able to punch someone out as well as a low level martial artist.

Through time and training, you are given "points" to spend on increasing a skill in a certain field.
This mode of thought works in the world of guitar as well: If I had to "stat" myself out, It would look like this:

Metal/Rock Proficiency: 5/10
Blues Proficiency: 4/10
Jazz/Fusion Proficiency: 1/10
Flamenco Proficiency: 3/10
Classical Proficiency: 3/10
Country Proficiency: none
Finigerstyle Proficiency: 3/10

if you wanted to get in-depth, it would have sub-stats like this:

Alternate Picking Proficiency: 5/10
Sweeping Proficiency: 1/10
Legato Proficiency: 3/10

and so on.....


For some of you, the above chart looks like this:

Metal/Rock Proficiency: 9/10
Blues Proficiency: 8/10
Everything else: none

Its really all a question of what you spend your "points" on (factors like 'what do you spend your time training on' 'the quality of your training' and the 'time spent training' will decide this) and also its a lot harder to go from 8 to 9 on something than it is to go from 1 to 2.

Just a thought

This post has been edited by Spiderusalem: Jan 3 2008, 08:23 PM


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Tomy Jeon
post Jan 3 2008, 08:24 PM
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QUOTE (Spiderusalem @ Jan 4 2008, 08:19 AM) *
For example: the highest level grand death wizard might not be able to punch someone out as well as a low level martial artist.


biggrin.gif biggrin.gif biggrin.gif biggrin.gif biggrin.gif

But a great example. People like to practice different styles more than others.


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Chris Evans
post Jan 3 2008, 08:34 PM
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Thats a really interesting idea Spidey.

Who would award those kind of points tho, how would they be earnt and who would decide?

I really think it is a good idea, can you expand on it for us


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mattacuk
post Jan 3 2008, 08:41 PM
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So far I have found the levels quite accurate !! Im lucky in that i started my journey with GMC and so its almost a part of me !!

I guess it all comes down to what techniques you practice most!! I find by practicing mainly alternate picking/speed runs and sweep picking the rest kinda follows easier ! smile.gif


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Spiderusalem
post Jan 3 2008, 09:12 PM
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QUOTE (Smells @ Jan 3 2008, 11:34 AM) *
Thats a really interesting idea Spidey.

Who would award those kind of points tho, how would they be earnt and who would decide?

I really think it is a good idea, can you expand on it for us



Well I'm not saying we should install a rigid system of charts and stats that we increase with the purchasing of points, it would make playing guitar too much like a video game.

But think about why things like video games (or anything where the experience is broken up in "levels" and one perseveres through the increased difficulties with equally increasing skill sets) are so fun to us. It makes us feel like we've achieved something.

I'm not saying "install a system" but rather "keep this mentality" and know that when you increase your skill level in a certain style or technique you ignore others. The phrase "advanced guitar player" is too broad. One must break it down.

When you have this mentality, you are more conscious of the big picture. What you want to learn, what you want to mold yourself into, and what you are going to end up lacking are all important things to keep in mind, but sadly is something that a lot of people dont think about. Like Andrew, he wonders if he's a beginner just because he has problems with certain aspects of the lesson, when really Andrew just didn't spend enough "points" on Sweeping. He spent them on other things...

I mean, Imagine having that mental "stat sheet" (or you could even write it down if it helps you to visualize it). When you finally become the guitarist you want to become, what will that stat sheet look like? what will it say? Will it look like this?:

Metal/Rock Proficiency: 2/10
Blues Proficiency: 8/10
Jazz/Fusion Proficiency: 10/10
Flamenco Proficiency: none
Classical Proficiency: none
Country Proficiency: none
Finigerstyle Proficiency: 6/10

or will it look like this?

Metal/Rock Proficiency: 10/10
Blues Proficiency: 10/10
Jazz/Fusion Proficiency: none
Flamenco Proficiency: none
Classical Proficiency: none
Country Proficiency: none
Finigerstyle Proficiency: none

you decide. They're your stats wink.gif


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Chris Evans
post Jan 3 2008, 09:15 PM
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oh i see, I understand m8, its a great way of putting it and thinking about it, I might actually give that a try, sounds interesting, thanks smile.gif


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Muris Varajic
post Jan 3 2008, 09:36 PM
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All my fault sad.gif sad.gif
I'm gonna play only chords from now on sad.gif sad.gif


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mattacuk
post Jan 3 2008, 09:42 PM
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Awww ! Dont be sad sad.gif sad.gif


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