Does it ever get any better?

Fillmore

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I practice regularly, ever day and its starting to sound decent....but the next day I can't even fret the easy chords I have learned. Which sets off more problems like missing strings. Frustrating is an understatement.
 

BadPenguin

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How long have you been playing?
I'm somewhere near my 40th year of playing, fuck F major! (I blame arthritis, but I have ALWAYS hated that chord.)
It does get better and easier, once muscle memory is developed. You think it, it appears almost magically. C add 9, Gm7, E9#7, they do become second nature.
Look at driving for example. If you had to think about all the small things you do, you would think it's impossible to drive. Yet, second nature. It just takes time.
 

Foo for Thought

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Yes. You just have to keep plugging away at it. I'm by no means good, but I've noticed slow and steady progress just by trying to be consistent and playing at least a little bit every day.

So much is just muscle memory. Chord shapes aren't the most intuitive things to grasp, but fumble around long enough and it starts to take hold.

A couple things I've found that help:

Relax! Just have fun, don't be a perfectionist.
Barre chords open up a lot of possibilities for chord variations.
Learning a little music theory helps you connect why you are doing what you are doing.
 

Brek

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yes it gets better, what you are doing with your daily practice is building muscle memory. It might feel like you can't play those chords the next day as well, but you will have improved. 18 months in and i am starting to surprise myself, and still have same issue as you mention.

I have been learning the stairway sole recently and spent a good few hours on it the other day to the point that I good play it in real time along with the record, but the next day, I was struggling, sometimes its purely my mental state, where i can feel my focus is not there. learning guitar actually never stops, I mean you can plateau from time to time, and if you don't push past that then I guess you'll stay at that point.
 

Fillmore

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Thanks to all for the help. It's great to know that most people struggle. I appreciate it.

Today was okay, but barre chords are impossible. But I'll keep pushing.
 

Rds

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man just keep plugging away. it gets better. no one in the world can play like you. the motor skills come with time. i remember the first time i stumbled through a scale with all clean notes. practice and time....
 

rockstar232007

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Thanks to all for the help. It's great to know that most people struggle. I appreciate it.

Today was okay, but barre chords are impossible. But I'll keep pushing.
"Impossible", in what way? Are you stretching your hands, or warming up?
 

Fillmore

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"Impossible", in what way? Are you stretching your hands, or warming up?
I usually start working on barre chords after a half hour of open chords, strumming and a few single note licks. I haven't been able to find a correct position for my fingers. I've tried the positions suggested in books and online but my hands won't form them. So I try form them the way I can make them work.

Thanks
 

WannaLesPaul

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I usually start working on barre chords after a half hour of open chords, strumming and a few single note licks. I haven't been able to find a correct position for my fingers. I've tried the positions suggested in books and online but my hands won't form them. So I try form them the way I can make them work.

Thanks
[/QUOTE
The key to getting comfortable playing all the different chord shapes is to first... pay attention to your WRIST and elbow.
Relax and grab a barre chord. Start with an E shape on the 3rd fret (G chord), then slowly move your wrist/and elbow all around until your fingers can fret the strings comfortably and cleanly. You will know when you've found the optimal wrist position. Play it over and over, move up and down the neck... play a few open chords, then change to the barre shape again. Do this every day and in a short time, when you start to change to that barre chord, your wrist, elbow and fingers will all naturally fall right into place without even thinking about it.

Master this E shape first. Then move on to the A shaped barre chords after. To me, they are a bit more tricky, but now you will know how to get it done ;)

Its kinda difficult to explain this lol, but hopefully it will help to get you moving a bit. Or perhaps you already knew all this shit :D lol

I've played rhythm guitar for many, many years, but I can still recall how realizing and paying attention to all this wrist stuff really unlocked my playing.

I sense that you're feeling discouraged. Try to shed that feeling and keep going because from time to time, we all have these "a-ha!" moments where suddenly everything just clicks and you advance to the next level. Its a great feeling and makes it all worthwhile!
 

Foo for Thought

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Great advice. That last paragraph is so true. This has been a typical progression for me:

I suck. I suck. I suck. Man, I still stuck. Hey....what was that? That actually sounded half-way decent!

Wash, rinse repeat. Persistence does pay off in the end.
 

Shelkonnery

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I know the feeling. Some days my chops just aren't the same.

Usually when I get stuck at some part, I realize I'm gripping way harder than needed with my left hand. Especially when playing electric, a gentle touch will do in most cases and you can deploy that energy more efficiently. I hope that helps.
 

Fillmore

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I know the feeling. Some days my chops just aren't the same.

Usually when I get stuck at some part, I realize I'm gripping way harder than needed with my left hand. Especially when playing electric, a gentle touch will do in most cases and you can deploy that energy more efficiently. I hope that helps.
Yep, that sounds like me.

Thanks.
 

Jymbopalyse

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I found that posture while playing is important.

Personally, I find that I play better standing up.
I also have more fun playing standing up.

I noticed that my playing while sitting down was sloppier then when I stood up.
I needed to sit "up proper" to get the best finger/fret action and get rid of the "slop"

Maybe, part of it , is in how you sit.
Or try readjusting your guitar strap by a notch (either way), just for kicks.
 

Freddy G

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It is muscle memory. When I set out to learn a new lick or even a progression of unfamiliar chord inversions, it takes time. But knowing how to practice can reduce that time. Practice what is hard...not what is easy. Concentrate on getting it smooth and clean....over and over. I can practice a 10 second piece for an hour or two and get it down. But then the next day it might be terrible....so I'll practice it again. Drilling it in over and over. With me, it's also about remembering how it goes as much as muscle memory (timing, rhythm, etc.)
It may take 3 or 4 days in a row practicing that one thing before it becomes embedded in my fingers and mind. And then the first time you perform it in front of somebody, say at a band practice....it's terrible. And that's psychological pressure....once you get over that hump (which shouldn't take long) you've got it.
 

smk506

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Forgive me if it’s been mentioned, but @Fillmore are you seeing a professional teacher yet? If not I’d highly recommend finding one in your area and doing lessons for a year or two minimum.

If I’m person lessons are out of the question right now, even online lessons with a webcam and a live teacher to interact with will still be a big help. It’s not as cool as a new amp or guitar, but a years worth of lessons will make you a better player.
 

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