Learn challenging stuff before the easy? | The Canadian Guitar Forum

Learn challenging stuff before the easy?

Discussion in 'Theory and Technique' started by tomee2, May 5, 2019.

  1. tomee2

    tomee2 Gold Member

    Joined:
    Feb 26, 2017
    Location:
    Ontario
    I'm not young, but I'm new to guitar playing. I started 3 years ago with lessons that were the basics. E and A chord shapes, I IV V progressions etc. Not much open chords or the "cowboy chords" as I've heard them described.
    So I got the barre chords down and can play random progressions and a few chord progressions from a few classic songs. That took 18 months.

    FFWD to a now. A new teacher is teaching me challenging blues riffs. Sweet Home Chicago and other blues tunes that have me going from the 2nd to the 12th fret and back and forth all over the neck.

    Then I watch Austin City Limits and I see someone barely move their hands, just a couple of fingers, and they're playing songs. On stage. Next song a capo comes out and it's a few small hand movements and another great song. On stage, live, and on TV. Great stuff that looks easy.

    Am I missing something? Should I have learned to play like that first?
    It's taking me weeks to get a few bars of this all over the neck playing to sound, well, barely listenable.
     
    Last edited: May 5, 2019
  2. 1SweetRide

    1SweetRide Gold Member

    Joined:
    Oct 25, 2016
    Location:
    Ottawa, Canada
    Learning the hard stuff first is a good way to give up fast. Many, many great songs are a couple of chords. Sweet Home Chicago will be a good tune to learn how to improvise with scales. I think it’s in E.
     
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  3. Budda

    Budda Gold Member

    Joined:
    May 29, 2007
    Location:
    London, Ontario
    What are your goals, musically? Have that discussion with your teacher, then map a plan to get there.

    I agree that learning hard stuff first is pointless. How would you understand it?

    If you can play E and A open position, learning G C and D will come. Then it's a case of putting in the time to practice switch between chords effortlessly.

    All you need is 3 chords and you too can play live on tv. Since you have barre chords, you're technically there already.
     
    greco likes this.
  4. tomee2

    tomee2 Gold Member

    Joined:
    Feb 26, 2017
    Location:
    Ontario
    I'm thinking I need a different teacher. If I could play a few classic rock tunes or just bits of them like some acdc or black sabbath I'd be good. Maybe. I started thinking I wanted to play jazz, now the blues, now maybe I just want to play songs people know.

    I do know that the challenging stuff is making me play better. It took 3 weeks but I go from the 12th high e fret to 2nd fret A now. I think that's his point.
    I asked about easier stuff. He said that's boring.
     
  5. tomee2

    tomee2 Gold Member

    Joined:
    Feb 26, 2017
    Location:
    Ontario
    I know, right? I can do a I IV V effortlessly, but I cant play a song. I can do barre 7, minor and major, E and A string.
     
  6. Wardo

    Wardo

    Joined:
    Feb 5, 2010
    Location:
    South Ontario
    Tell him all the money is before the fifth fret.
     
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  7. Budda

    Budda Gold Member

    Joined:
    May 29, 2007
    Location:
    London, Ontario
    If you can play I IV V, you can play a ton of songs.
     
  8. JBFairthorne

    JBFairthorne Gold Member

    Joined:
    Oct 11, 2014
    Location:
    Hawkestone, Ontario
    Trying to learn challenging material before you've learned all the skills necessary to pull it off sounds like a recipe for frustration to me. I've always looked at learning guitar like building lego. A piece here, a piece there, attach them together like so, add another piece or two and now it's starting to resemble something. You have to build on what you've already learned in order to progress.

    I've found, for me, I have the most success if I learn within a context. I pick a skill I want to work on and then work on three or four songs that use that element. Sooner or later, you'll find that as you're learning new songs, you have 80% of the skills needed to play it (a good base of lego blocks) and you really only need to learn the other 20%.

    Trying to learn advanced material/skills when you're just a beginner is why you find so many used, mint condition entry level guitars for sale on kijiji. I mean, once you realize you're not going to be a rock star in ten minutes and it's actually very hard to learn and takes a great deal of time and effort, well, you might as well just quit right?
     
    Last edited: May 5, 2019
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  9. cboutilier

    cboutilier

    Joined:
    Jan 12, 2016
    Location:
    Halifax, NS
    Just keep learning. Learn everything you need to do what you want to. Then learn to do it better. Finally, go learn some more.
     
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  10. tomee2

    tomee2 Gold Member

    Joined:
    Feb 26, 2017
    Location:
    Ontario
    Thanks for all the advice guys. I wish I had started younger, and had lots of time to build up skills, but heck at least I started. My goal is 5 years to play a few songs, complete, and maybe be able to solo to chord progressions on a looper. I’m just over 3 years in and have made ok progress. If I could do 70s rock like Johan Segeborn on YouTube I’d be pretty happy too.

    I’ll stick with it a while longer. He said doing these exercises in E then A then other keys will allow me to play lead lines anywhere on the neck. it’s also building up my hand movement skills, although slowly.
    If it turns out I’m not progressing or enjoying it in a few months, I’ll have to move on.

    Also, my son is teaching me some songs on the first few frets, and he’s learning them from his friend at school. We did Wonderwall the other day.
     
  11. tomee2

    tomee2 Gold Member

    Joined:
    Feb 26, 2017
    Location:
    Ontario
    This applies to everything, from programming in Java to BBQing... Good advice!
     
  12. Do what he says. Stick with that teacher for maximum learning in minimum time.

    BUT!!!

    At the same time learn songs on your own. Easy ones, medium ones. Build up a book of songs you can play and sing.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: May 6, 2019
    Sketchy Jeff and tomee2 like this.
  13. High/Deaf

    High/Deaf Gold Member

    Joined:
    Aug 19, 2009
    Location:
    LM,BC,CAN
    It isn't really bad to learn stuff. Just frustrating if you aren't ready to learn that stuff yet. You gotta walk before you can run (or learn the basics of electricity before you build a Hadron collider). I would keep doing what you're doing as long as it isn't making you want to quit or break things - but I would definitely spend some time learning the basic open chords. They are the foundation of many other, more difficult skills.

    But good on you for just doing it. I've got friends that for 10 years have been talking about it. Imagine where they'd be now if they just did what you're doing.
     
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  14. Dorian2

    Dorian2

    Joined:
    Jun 9, 2015
    Location:
    Edmonton, AB
    Always try to push your perceived limits. You may surprise yourself.
     
  15. vadsy

    vadsy

    Joined:
    Dec 2, 2010
    Location:
    greater metro area
    I try to learn the 4/4 riff of the song before moving on to the following 9/8-8/8-7/8 onslaught that way when I screw up twelve times in a row I can retreat back to the easy opening riff and feel accomplished
     
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