How to (What to) focus on for specific goals?

Paul7926Paul7926 Frets: 225
I have a question on the topic of musical goals.  It has been about 18 months since I started tying to learn the guitar.  I've not made fantastic progress but I've enjoyed the journey.  Two things have happened recently.  Firstly I've started to get a little bored of just moving onto the next song in the course I've been following.  I'm not saying the course is bad, it's most certainly not.  It just includes songs that I oftentimes have no real interest in.  Secondly it appears that I may not have quite as much time left to learn things as I thought.  Nothing is certain yet but it focuses the mind that's for sure.

I've come to the conclusion that there are a lot of areas I have no interest in.  I'm not ever going to have a musical career or be part of a band at any level.  I'm not going to be writing any of my own material for any audience other than myself.  The closest I can possible see me getting to playing with others is Jam sessions but I'm a world away from that anyway.  I have found that there are certain areas I've enjoyed far more than others.  Playing (badly) to backing tracks of what I'd consider to be blues/rock based groups (AC/DC, ZZ Top) has been a lot of fun.  I'm also increasingly interested in what I've started to refer to as 'backyard blues'.  By this I mean the sort of single guitar blues that you might imagine being played by someone sitting in they back yard watching the sun go down with a good drink by their side.  It tends to be very much blues chord progressions on the first beat of the bar will small 'fill in' phrases in a sort of call and response pattern towards the end of the bar.  That's probably a massive over simplification but I hope you get the idea.

So what's the point of this long monologue?  I need pointers of what I should be concentrating on to make progress in those areas.  I suspect the 'play along' stuff is simple.  Just get hold of the right tab and backing tracks for the sort of things I like and have at it.  The more blues side of things I think might benefit from some structure.  The whole point of it is that it's not 'play along' it's more 'noodling' and for that I'm sure some theory and structure to get a grounding is time well spent.  I appreciate that there are no 'short cuts' or 'magic bullets' I just want to use time wisely.  I'm prepared to sacrifice areas that don't work towards these goals.

I do have a guitar teacher and I'll be raising this with him at my next lesson but I'd like to have some ideas to make that a two way conversation.  So any thoughts appreciated.
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Comments

  • mrkbmrkb Frets: 1621
    Id work towards using the CAGED chord method and associating them with the 5 pentatonic scale positions. That will allow you to add in little fills/riffs on the fly over chord structure you might be playing - even just concentrate on the A and E shaped barre chords initially. Its really helped me move on from playing songs by playing "exactly the same thing" each time to "same chord structure with a different ad-libbed feel". 
    Karma......
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  • Paul7926Paul7926 Frets: 225
    Thanks @mrkb for the suggestion. 

    I understand the CAGED system as a way to use those open chord shapes with a barre to play a chord at different neck positions.  That was a bit of a revelation at the time once I got over the fact that the chord shape I was using wasn't the chord that I was playing. (we all did that right? No? Just me again!)

    I also know about the pentatonic shapes but only as a way of grouping notes that 'go together'.  I'll have to understand them more and investigate the crossover between the two.

    I can figure out note positions on the fretboard but it takes an age as I have to mentally count from the open string notes.  

    That's about all I have figured out on my own.  Like I say the books I'm following have been great to get me from 'no idea at all' to 'playing something that people might actually recognise on a god day' but they don't touch any theory or any of the 'why' they are just 'learn this, learn this next, learn this after that'.  Perhaps it's too soon for me to be trying anything more complex than that but the interest is there.
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  • RockerRocker Frets: 3829
    edited November 2019
    The study of how people learn how to do something like playing music is fascinating for it's own sake.

    I found that the best way to learn guitar/bass is to play music with another person or two. Some effort in locating like minded musicians is required: visits to open mike nights in pubs, folk music get togethers, local adverts etc.  Few will have the same musical taste as yourself - you might end up teaching him/her some songs but think of it as a long term project where everyone wins.  Playing music with others is different to playing along to a backing track.  You learn to allow the other person(s) the time and space to play.  You also learn to listen to others playing and to respond to their playing.  If you can sing, however poorly, that will add to the overall sound.  It is really worth the effort so make it a priority as your musicianship will improve by leaps and bounds.
    Insanity: doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results. [Albert Einstein]

    Nil Satis Nisi Optimum

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  • allenallen Frets: 106
    This fellow on youtube does a lot of solo chord and fills type pieces. They are probably a bit tricky for a beginner, but they are not advanced - so it's possible to learn.



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  • Paul7926Paul7926 Frets: 225
    Thanks @allen ;  Exactly the sort of thing I was thinking.  Mind you I hope nobody ever shoots my guitar!
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