Hi, this is my first real post on this forum. Hopefully this is the right forum for this.
I started studying guitar when I was in 5th grade (1991). I got a used Ibanez EX (made in Korea) and an amp and began taking guitar lessons from this guy in town. I learned to read music, learned the open chords, learned bar chords, learned the blues (pentatonic) scale, learned to solo with it a bit, life was pretty good.
A few years later I upgraded to an RT650 and got more into the metal scene. I was to the point where I could sightread jazz and some other fairly complicated stuff but I just wasn't feeling it. I wanted to play METAL. I was in 7th grade at this time and switched guitar teachers to this guy who was an awesome shredder. I had never seen sweep picking before and remember being like at my first lesson with the new guy. I wanted to be able to do that.
By 8th grade my progress had plateaued BAD. I quit taking lessons but continued to play 5-10 hours a week on my own.
Eventually I got to the point where I got bored.
I could play everything that most people were impressed by. This was the mid 90s... I could play every Nirvana song, every Metallica song (not the solos, though), etc. But it was boring because by this time I was listening to Marty Friedman, Vai, Stratovarius, and I couldn't play that stuff, but that was the stuff I wanted to play.
I kept playing through high school, entertaining myself with half-ass versions of Dream Theater and Stratovarius songs. I could fake my way through "For the Love of God" and could play the opening riff from "Sisters" and the "Summer Song" but as soon as the songs got good, I couldn't play them anymore.
I could never solo. I could never play the complicated parts. I could never sweep pick cleanly. I knew the modes but didn't know wtf to do with them or how to know which mode you can play over what chord progression (it wasn't obviously easy like the pentatonic scale was).
I got pissed off with guitar playing and I got annoyed when other people would ask me to play stuff for them. "Yes, I can play 'Today' by Smashing Pumpkins. No, I don't want to join your punk band."
When college started (1999) I started playing guitar much less. I discovered much more awesome music at this time, Sonata Arctica, Children of Bodom, Angra, etc. I found tabs for it but could never play it. It was frustrating. I would play guitar a bit over the summer but let's be honest, playing Master of Puppets gets boring after a while.
College and then work took over and I played guitar a few times a year. It was fun, casual, and I didn't take it so seriously anymore because it wasn't such a big part of my life anymore. Then I'd put it away and not touch it for a few months/years again until the next time. It was almost like "oh yeah, I used to play guitar" and I would pull it out and jam a little and then go back to whatever else I was doing.
8 or 9 years passed.
I was visiting my parents the other day and decided to pull out the old Ibanez. Hello my friend, I've missed you. I plug it into my amp and play for a bit, and obviously my skills have gone DOWN at this point. I remember knowing how to play things, but my fingers aren't doing what they're supposed to be doing
After a few minutes, my amp quit. My trusty Crate amp of 15 years. I took it to a repair shop and the guy said it would cost more to fix than it's worth, so I've been looking for an amp with good distortion for the last few weeks.
At the guitar store the other day, I happened to test out a 25th Anniversary RG. Omg, what a sweet guitar. Except it was too good for me. When you have a guitar like that, it says "I know how to shred!" I don't know how to shred. I was the 31 year old guy playing Master of Puppets in the guitar store
Anyway, something about that guitar... it made me want to start playing again.
But if I do, I want to make sure I can get past the previous plateau I hit.
How does one progress from the "playing metallica" stage to the "being able to play metal solos and shred" stage?
My name is ironfistx and I'm a music elitist without the skills to back it up.
Nice post man! Totally hear you on everything you're saying, the difference being that I have quite a few nice bits of gear that I just can't do justice to.
Talk to seanbabs (he'll post in 30 seconds offering Skype lessons) - the guy is a complete monster of a player and he'll be able to help you more than I can.
Stick at it! Guitar is fun, and it makes women's clothes fall off!