Skill has plateaued

Discussion in 'Beginners/FAQ' started by ghostOG, Dec 20, 2019.

  1. ghostOG

    ghostOG SS.org Regular

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    I have been playing for years, and for a long time my skill has plateaued and not seen much improvement. How do you push past this and reach a new level?

    Ironically I see the most improvement if I stop playing for a long time... when I start back again it's like I was slightly better than before. I took some guitar lessons for a few months last year to try and get some skills playing and writing solos. I learned some new things, but it was only a 30 min a week session, and I felt like I could get the same instruction off youtube.

    My weakest area is playing solos, and writing interesting clean parts that use chords and go higher up the fretboard. A lot of my clean parts are simple and low on the fretboard... think like the intro to Harvester of Sorrow or Sanitarium... just kinda simple and generic by today's standards.
     
  2. budda

    budda Guiterrorizer Contributor

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    Join a band.
     
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  3. sleewell

    sleewell SS.org Regular

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    came in here to post that. <hi five>
     
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  4. MaxOfMetal

    MaxOfMetal Likes trem wankery. Super Moderator

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    Start working on something else entirely.

    Pick up a different instrument or throw yourself into a genera you've never explored, and of course join a band, especially one that you wouldn't have thought to.
     
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  5. spudmunkey

    spudmunkey SS.org Regular

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    I'm on a 29.5 year plateau.
     
  6. The906

    The906 lifetime novice Contributor

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    Time to release a greatest hits.
     
  7. ghostOG

    ghostOG SS.org Regular

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    I was playing bass in a band for about a year and it didn't help much with my lead playing lol. Although it helped greatly with my fingerstyle classical guitar playing. I would love to join a band, but I have been trying to start or join one for the past 2 years and haven't been able to get anything going in this area.

    I guess I'm mostly interested in some youtube channels or even paid content that teaches how to play metal solos for intermediate+ players. Like how to actually apply and improvise using the CAGED system (I just can't grasp this for some reason) or explaining how to use the circle of fifths... tapping exercises, and other basic concepts I have no idea about, that might improve my playing.

    I'm considering just restarting guitar lessons, but I feel like it's kind of a waste of money for what it is. My self-taught method has always been to learn covers, been working on the solo in Tornado of Souls for a while although I don't play every day and don't always practice when I play.
     
    Last edited: Dec 20, 2019
  8. budda

    budda Guiterrorizer Contributor

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    Learn 50's blues tunes, and michael jackson songs. That should help reframe things, and then you can revisit the weedly weedlys.
     
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  9. KnightBrolaire

    KnightBrolaire Pointy Gang™

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    I find that playing along to unfamiliar genres and music helps me. I've been on a big country kick the last 6 months and it'a realky helped keep me out of a rut. The way they approach playing is verrrrry diffferent from metal, same thing with jazz, which makes it refreshing to try and play with
     
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  10. Mathemagician

    Mathemagician SS.org Regular

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    Learn songs or parts of songs from different bands. Same thing for solos. And then pick up some music lesson books or whatever and go through them even if they are 100% not a style or song you’re into. You will learn new stuff.
     
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  11. Charlie Foxtrot 3rd

    Charlie Foxtrot 3rd Seven strings, Zero skill

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    I found playing with people who are better, not a little better I mean WAY better helps. I’ve noticed in the 25 years I’ve been playing that everyone has a ceiling to their ability, I reached mine a few years ago but I don’t let it get me down. Not trying to be a downer. Just gotta fight through.
     
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  12. HungryGuitarStudent

    HungryGuitarStudent SS.org Regular

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    My 2 cents:

    Solos: pick artists you like, attempt to learn solos from said artists. Try varying styles (prog, metal, jazz, blues, pop, electronic music, etc.). Being musically curious and dedicating time to listen to new stuff every week helped me progress a lot (and I still have a lot to learn).

    If you want shred, here are some players that help me get better. Stephen Taranto sells for 8$ a bundle of Guitar Pro/PDF tabs for licks on his website. Paul Wardingham’s Epic Metal licks at Jam Track Central is not very expensive for 20 licks and backing tracks. Per Nilsson has the Scar Guitar DVD lessons.

    I spend a lot of time learning stuff by ear and analyzing videos of players I like in order to steal phrasing and composition ideas. Best of luck!
     
    Last edited: Dec 20, 2019
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  13. Hollowway

    Hollowway Extended Ranger

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    Well, you're better off than me. My lack-of-skill has plateaued.

    But, as the other guys have said here, play in a band, if you can. While some of what you have been doing has plateaued, you'll learn real quick in a band that there's a lot of stuff that is waaaaay below the plateau level. Timing, jelling, etc. all come in a group context.

    And for soloing, I also found that learning other people's solos helped. I've always been one to construct my solos, and never just "go for it." I can't follow the changes fast enough to just wing it. But, I can compose a solo much better. The other guitar player in the last band I was in was much better at just doing one-off solos, and they generally sounded great. But different strokes....
     
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  14. trem licking

    trem licking SS.org Regular

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    Have you actually plateaued, or just bored? If u want to continue playing what you play but better, then pick things you want to get better at. Soloing... What players do you like? Find out what techniques they utilize in their playing and practice those. Little steps at a time. If you're bored and really just wanna go downa rabbit hole, find the most complex music you 3njoy listening to and learn/study it. It has to be something you like though for it to stick I find... I do NOT like the sound of a lot of jazz so I can't learn it haha
     
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  15. efiltsohg

    efiltsohg SS.org Regular

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    I came to terms with the fact that my playing has plateaued in many aspects years and years ago - I'd say focus more on composing and less on going fast
     
  16. Erin Hayden

    Erin Hayden Professional Amateur

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    I'm only a beginner level guitarist, but maybe my keyboard/piano experience can help you as well. I've been stuck multiple times, in terms of progressing my skill set, and every time I managed to take one step further, I'm usually caught in that part for months. No real improvements on what I could potentially play, and then I made a realization for myself: Of course I won't improve if I only play what I can already play. I don't mean certain songs or genres, but generally everything. I knew how to play chord progressions, and I knew how to play melodies in all sorts different manners, and quite decent at that, but that was about it.

    The obvious step is now to face what I can't do (and tbh, that's still quite a bit), and even if I feel like a beginner all over again, trying to learn these new concepts and techniques will eventually pay off, and help me grow in terms of becoming a better musician.

    Like the others have said, playing in a band may be the right way to show yourself, how much you don't yet know. Other musicians may be able to do things that you can't do, but likewise, you can probably do what someone else can't, so it's a very good idea to exchange ideas and techniques with others, apart from forums/online communities.

    What I would also recommend is, getting more in to Jazz music theory. I don't often recommend Jazz, but once you hear what a professional Jazz player can do, both musically and rhythmically, it feels as if there is another totally different way of making music (at least for me). Don't completely dive in yet (because that topic itself will keep you busy for quite some time), but get used to the concepts, especially about scales, picking techniques and rhythms.
     
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  17. jaxadam

    jaxadam SS.org Regular

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    Whenever I hit a plateau, I just go through my entire Bass 305 discography.
     
  18. Descent

    Descent SS.org Regular

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    I've pretty much plateauted about 10 years ago. I just became a better songwriter.
     
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  19. Flappydoodle

    Flappydoodle SS.org Regular

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    Just buy more, nicer, guitars. That definitely makes you into a better guitarist! :p
     
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  20. Descent

    Descent SS.org Regular

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    The wisest advice so far!
     
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