Pretty much just starting out.  Tried to play guitar a few times, took some lessons.  Never got very far.

Built a slider CBG a few months ago.  Subscribed to an online course.  Don't know that I'm getting much out of it (my fault, not the instructors).

I was in band in school and I can read a bit of music.  I can sing and have been in musicals in community theatre.  I just can't get my head around the guitar.  I can (slowly) play one note at a time on the guitar.  Have to think about where each note is, haven't been able to get the fretboard memorized.

How do you keep motivated when it feels like you aren't getting anywhere?

Thanks for letting me rant.

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Lets say you are doing this for fun, not for some long held desire to be some form of music virtuoso. Then the answer is to do what every guitar player who plays by ear does ...cheat. There is an old joke: how do you make the guitar player play quieter? ... Make him read the music.

Just learn the chords. On a slider it is pretty easy. Then go on line and find the chords to the song you want to play ...and play and sing it really badly ... And have fun. You are now started. If all works well you will become as addicted to playing as you get to building these things. As that happens you get fussier and do things "gooder" and sing "gooder" and find people of about your skill level or better evan to make joyful noise with ..and then you will get some one else addicted to playing and singing badly the cycle continues.

Fun for all.
Hmmm. You already read music. You were in band. I'd hazard a guess you're trying to fit the git into what you already know. OK, here's the deal: you can do that. But don't. Approach the guitar (I assume your slider is a 3-stringer) as a triad generator. Three notes equal a chord. Slide those major 3-note chords at the 3, 5, 7, 10 and 12th frets. Work on getting those to ring true. Stop trying to play the git like a cornet or a bassoon. That'll come later. Forget single note playing for the next month, until you get those slider chords sounding right. Work on your vibrato with the slide. Then start trying to ad no more than two single notes in between your slider chords. Work on that for a coupla months. Do as David says, and learn some simple chord forms (which will depend on how you have your slider tuned).

Also realize it takes time. I've been frustrated too. One of my friends is a guitar wizard with very little traditional training. He just listens to a song and plays it back. It's amazing and he's ridiculously talented. I've come to realize a couple things to keep me from being frustrated. I will never be as good as he is and that's ok. He looks at my drawings and the cbgs I'm building the same way I look at him playing guitar. The other thing is that he plays at least an hour a day. Usually closer to two. And that's not when he's gearing up for performances or recording. I also forget that he's been playing this much since he was 12.  Much of the reason he is so good is that he's put in countless hours of practice. 

Also, I find that when people get started they grab a book, sit down, focus on what the book says to do, get mad because their fingers don't do what they want them to do, put down the guitar and let it collect dust for awhile. I find when practice becomes work, I take a break from "lessons". Don't forget that we play guitar. Play time should be fun. Learning an instrument, or anything for that matter, takes time. It won't sound perfect, or even good for a bit. But like Ron said, "That'll come later." Just keep going and keep it fun. Eventually your body will work out things like how-hard-to-press and how-hard-to-strum and how-does-my-pinky-finger-go-there. Muscle memory is an incredible thing. 

How to stay motivated as you slowly build skills? I read a book years ago about learning to play piano. It was a non-classical approach that had been presented as a series on PBS. The host/author had just one suggestion: "Find that song, piece of music that, if you could learn to play, you would feel your musical life fulfilled. His point was that if you have to practice (and you do) why not practice a piece you really love. Now you may not nail it in a day, week, month, but you will see progress and enjoy the practice.

Another good instructor I used said that a practice session should be half practice of whatever the subject is and half-playing around and having fun with the instrument. Point being: not to grind endlessly toward some long term goal.

If you like the sound of the instrument and like the music, then practicing and skill-building doesn't have to be a grind. You should find an approach that you enjoy.

My motivation comes from the anticipation of what kind of sound will come out of my next build. I can't worry about the fact that I am not a skilled musician, but rather a singer who can play some chords on a guitar. The beauty of the CBG is that you can take a few open chords with a slide and make that thing sing.

Sure, I can put my gits in the hands of an accomplished guitarist and and make it sound even better, but why worry over that. Just enjoy the build and enjoy the sounds that you make. If it bothers you too much, put it down and come back to it later.

Music is about fun. Keep it that way.

Live Long and Prosper!

If you sing, the cbg world is not too complex.   Go to page top - resources/ how to play/ and find knotlenny's CBG 101.    It starts off a little slow, but if you want to have a blast accompanying yourself while you play a gazillion rock and blues songs  that is the place to go.   Ten minutes a day for a month and you will have the basics and be having fun. 

And you will look handsome. Look what it's done for Uncle John.
As I've gotten frustrated with the Uke and CBG, I think back to a bar near the family beach house. There used to be a regular band called "The Butcher Brothers". They lived up to their name and still got tips and beer. Guess some audiences are happy with close enough. Oh wait, I meant drunk engaged. Lol

Sadly i can't tell that to my 7 year old daughter as she gets frustrated with the Uke.

Mike, some days I play and really have fun and sound good to myself.  Other days I SUCK.  Just seem to be the way it is.  I never heard the B Bros., but sometimes a band has so much fun they overcome lack of polish.  

Thanks all for the words of advice.  I pretty much knew most of this already, but I just felt like whining a bit. :/

I just run out of patience with myself and forget to have fun.

Having fun much of the time is the key.

I'm in a bit of a rut myself.  I'm playing the same several strumming or picking patterns and the same old chords. 

I have a bank of assets, however.  I play a monthly open mic with a bunch of fantastic fingerstyle acoustic blues players.  I can't pick up much off them just listening, but I have a plan.  I have just finished a great outdoor wood fired oven.  At this month's open mic, I'm offering an afternoon, or a few, of beers and pizza in exchange for guitar talk and playing.  I reckon it will be irresistible.  And I hope to get unstuck from my routine.

Find someone local that can sit down and help you out in-person.


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