Critique me

privateer1967

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So…I’m 53 and started 2 years ago…I’ve had a few lessons first teacher was an absolute mess…second teacher was all about teaching me jazz which I’m not into…so I’m mainly self taught. These days I’ve been trying hard to work on technique and some theory but I feel I’m a slow learner at this. I have nobody but family to critique me and they are alway encouraging but I would like some feedback from players. I’m very hesitant to have others listen to me but if you have a couple minutes please give a listen and comment.



Thanks
 
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BDW60

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I would just say that when you’re playing a slow, shuffle blues the real music is sorta between the frets. Meaning, part of what makes this interesting is the bends and how you slide into notes, among many other things. You are trying to do some bends which is good (some of them are under pitch and you have to use your ears to tune them, which is a talent some people just have and others must develop).

Also, you don’t want to be only soloing a shuffle over a shuffle rhythm part because that makes it sound stiff and beginner like. Try to use the rhythm part as something you put interesting patterns around, not something you are riding with your solo.

Vibrato ... it is king. Without it, especially the kind of music you’re playing here, it will just sound like notes and not music. Vibrato makes notes come alive and gives your soloing an actual voice. It’s a skill that needs practice. If you put in that work, you will be rewarded. In fact, if you did nothing else in this clip but add nice vibrato and a little bit of “swing” to it, even if you played the exact same notes, it would sound immensely better.

I don’t think you should be discouraged at all, taking up guitar late in life and being only two years in. Stay on the journey. Listen to the kind of music you hope to play, and listen critically so you can take take something away from it for your own playing.

Last thing: don’t play it safe. Don’t be afraid to make mistakes. You will really get into this guitar thing when you feel like you can communicate something of yourself through your playing.
 

privateer1967

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Thank you very much for the input…I struggle with vibrato…I hear it when I play but can’t seem to get it to come through the recording…perhaps I’m being to subtle with it. Bends are another thing I do struggle with and will keep working on. Again thank you
 

gadafi

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Hi P. That's pretty good for 2 years, I feel you might be at a breakthrough point and just need a push in the right direction to move on to the next level.

Ditto BD's comments.

Work on your bends. Try holding them instead of bend/release, it will give you more time to ascertain if you are hitting the right note and it's also a common playing technique. When you are comfortable with that try adding vibrato at the top and also mixing it up with double or triple bends, bend/mute release//new note etc. Also with bend/release it is important that you land back on the original note and that you're not still slightly bending the string which is easy to do.

Try spicing up your timing a bit, it's kind of same same the whole way through. Maybe drop some different triplets in here and there etc.

Also sounds like you're mainly playing in the one box and not using the E and A bass strings. Try using all the notes available to you in the box across the fret board and also learning the other box positions one at a time up and down the neck it will open up a lot more options for you.

imho I wouldn't get too caught up in theory at your age apart from the basics. You need to keep it interesting and enjoyable for yourself. Keep up the good work!
 

Freddy G

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It's all good. The important thing is to keep the joy and thrill of playing. You will expand.
 

Steven

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Keep practicing. In time you will become more familiar with the scales.
 

catstrat

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You're doing really well for 2 years in! Here's some thoughts for what it's worth.

You're keeping really good time. That's so important, many players with many more years under their belt still sound like they're trying to play as many notes as possible. Don't fall into that trap, keep focusing on playing in time.

You're playing "musical" sounding lead lines rather than a grab bag of "guitar licks" which is great. Learning licks is a great way to get better, but jamming a bunch of licks together sounds really "unmusical". Best advice for soloing I've ever heard: "If you can't sing it, don't play it".

Here's some things you could try to take things up a notch:

Start Slow and Low, then Build

The key to a good lead part is taking the listener from one point to another. Think of it like a story, you need an "arc". If you start at the crescendo you have nowhere to go and the listener will lose interest quickly.

One trick is to start "slow and low". Start your part on the (often neglected in lead parts) low E / A strings, playing slow, simple licks that build in complexity over a few bars.

Once you've established a mood, start to move up the neck / down the fretboard ie. start playing in a higher register. You can also get a bit quicker with your licks at this point.

Your lead part should then build to a crescendo, usually up on the high strings, thats when you can really let em have it and bring the whole thing home.

Many backing tracks don't help in this regard, they tend to be "flat" the whole way along. The best backing tracks have some dynamic variety and build over time. It's also really hard to solo for 4-6 minutes, restricting yourself to 12 bars or so actually makes it easier to build a complete solo and is better practice for taking a solo at a blues jam :)

Play The Same, But Different Ways

We'd all love to have an endless bag of licks, but repetition can also be really effective.

Playing the same lick, the same way over and over isn't going to impress too many listeners, but you'll be surprised how playing the same lick with slight differences can be really effective.

Example: Here's four ways to play the same basic lick:

lick.jpg


Bar 1: Basic pluck the notes
Bar 2: Pluck the first two notes, but slide up between the third and fourth notes
Bar 3: Pluck the first two notes, but bend the third note to the fourth
Bar 4. Pluck the first two notes, quick slide from one fret below the third note to the third, then pluck the fourth

All I've done is chosen a note from the lick each time and thought of a different way to get to it (slides, bends etc). That's really the key, there are a bunch of ways guitarists can get to a note:

- Pluck it
- Hammer on
- Pull off
- Bend up
- Bend down
- Slide up
- Slide down

Piano players would kill for that many options, so take advantage of them to keep things interesting ;)

Anyway thats some thoughts, hopefully there's something in there for you. Keep rockin.
 

L3rxst

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Also, importantly, play and aim to learn the stuff that you actually like and aspire to. I took lessons once at the start of my playing career and the guy was intro the Beatles. He just rammed Beatles down my throat and I didn’t enjoy it, didn’t practice it, didn’t progress.
I am not criticising the Beatles at all.
I wanted to play stuff like Rush. That’s what I aspired to and that’s what made me practice and progress.
Good luck, work hard on it and above all enjoy yourself
 

BRMarshall

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Using a looper pedal may also be helpful. You can create your own rhythm tracks and play over them. I have a Ditto looper pedal - less than a Benjamin, very easy to use for this purpose, and fun. There are some good online videos that seem quite useful in lead playing fundamentals. Best of luck on your musical journey.
 

Mikkkele

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Great tipps for you privateer1967.

I don´t want to overwhelm you, but maybe this guy Rick Beato https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCJquYOG5EL82sKTfH9aMA9Q is interesting for you. You will find good hints and examples.
Of course what he knows is probably too steep a gradient, but nevertheless you can expand your knowledge.

Additionally I would search for yt videos and guitarists which have something special to teach. Like bending, vibrato, cages ...

Do you own a guitar tuner?
You can train to bend a string to the correct tone by using this device.

Good luck!
 

privateer1967

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Thank you to everyone! It’s so easy to get discouraged without feedback because I think I’m my own worst critic. I’m definitely going to work on all the tips given, I do have a looper pedal but I use my computer to record instead , I have a digital audio interface and mic and all that , still learning the software but I can make it work. Again thank you for being positive.
 

Dude2Dude

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For two years in, you're doing well! But as someone said earlier, don't be afraid to take chances and to fall flat on your ass if need be.

The one thing I truly loved about Eddie Van Halen's playing was that he always seemed to be balancing on a tightrope - just barely. Grteat sense of time, but in his best work it's like he's THIS close to having the whole house of cards collapse around him. He did not give a s***.
 

lptbw

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Bravo. First, your tone is really good for someone two years in and that is something that some never get, so you are on the way. I would encourage you to loosen up your style a bit to change the notes in into NOTES if that makes sense. You can follow your scales but you can bend to get many notes. Listen to some David Gilmour for rock or other great tone benders like Albert King for blues. Congrats on your journey so far.
 

Nightrain04

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So…I’m 53 and started 2 years ago…I’ve had a few lessons first teacher was an absolute mess…second teacher was all about teaching me jazz which I’m not into…so I’m mainly self taught. These days I’ve been trying hard to work on technique and some theory but I feel I’m a slow learner at this. I have nobody but family to critique me and they are alway encouraging but I would like some feedback from players. I’m very hesitant to have others listen to me but if you have a couple minutes please give a listen and comment.



Thanks
For only playing 2 years I think you are doing very well. I bought my first guitar in 1976 and have been playing off and on ever since. I tried three different teachers and didn't like any of them so I taught myself too. I remember when I was at the level you are currently at and in my opinion, you are well on your way to being a good guitar player.
A lot of good advice has already been offered so I will only add a couple of things.
A lot of players downplay the importance of speed (which I have never understood), or as they say, trying to play too many notes in a short time etc. From the very beginning I was always pushing to build my speed while maintaining accuracy, if you have that mindset I think it will make you progress much faster. I am not suggesting you become a shredder LOL, but in all genres of music there are times when speed is required and it is not something you will have in your tool kit if you haven't mastered it. Having the ability to play fast and accurately when you need it will build your confidence and will also dramatically improve your ability to play SLOWLY. I would suggest you begin to incorporate speed building techniques such as hammer-ons, pull-offs, speed picking, etc into your playing since they are easy to learn, are fun and dramatically improve your playing. And to be honest, sometimes it just feels good to rip off a thousand notes in a few seconds LOL.

My other suggestion would be to learn the major scale over the whole neck as quickly as possible. While it is a little difficult in the beginning, like everything else on the guitar, it can be easily mastered...with practice!

So, congratulations on the progress you have made so far, many many people have picked up the guitar and quit long before reaching the level you have achieved. Rock On!!
 

Cory

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So…I’m 53 and started 2 years ago…I’ve had a few lessons first teacher was an absolute mess…second teacher was all about teaching me jazz which I’m not into…so I’m mainly self taught. These days I’ve been trying hard to work on technique and some theory but I feel I’m a slow learner at this. I have nobody but family to critique me and they are alway encouraging but I would like some feedback from players. I’m very hesitant to have others listen to me but if you have a couple minutes please give a listen and comment.



Thanks
Hey man - first, I applaud you for putting it out there and asking for feedback - not an easy thing to do nowadays - I think you sounded pretty damn good for only being 2 years in to your journey (as well as being self taught) - my suggestion is to take some more risks - it’s ok to make mistakes - would have liked to hear you covering more of the board (the same notes over and over got a little fatiguing to listen to), as well as changing up either the speed or intensity at times to make it more interesting - I suspect that you were a little conservative in your playing since you were recording it and didn’t want to screw up - as someone else mentioned too - life is too short - play what you enjoy playing and who cares if you don’t know every weird chord or scale - learn the basics, practice as much as possible, push yourself to learn new ideas/techniques, and let it rip!
 

privateer1967

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Hey man - first, I applaud you for putting it out there and asking for feedback - not an easy thing to do nowadays - I think you sounded pretty damn good for only being 2 years in to your journey (as well as being self taught) - my suggestion is to take some more risks - it’s ok to make mistakes - would have liked to hear you covering more of the board (the same notes over and over got a little fatiguing to listen to), as well as changing up either the speed or intensity at times to make it more interesting - I suspect that you were a little conservative in your playing since you were recording it and didn’t want to screw up - as someone else mentioned too - life is too short - play what you enjoy playing and who cares if you don’t know every weird chord or scale - learn the basics, practice as much as possible, push yourself to learn new ideas/techniques, and let it rip!
Your absolutely correct…I concentrated on playing as smooth as I could there. I had some things that I could have added but can’t do consistently. It takes me quite awhile to get things down good enough for me to feel comfortable playing…especially in front of someone. So much to remember while your playing…slide there…bend there…make sure it’s to pitch…oh crap..there’s tension in my right hand…it can be overwhelming at times. It’s funny though…usually my first attempt to play with a backing track sounds pretty good then it goes downhill for awhile…I think that’s because I’m trying to hard sometimes.
 

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