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How Comfortable (or Frustrated) are you, with your current guitar playing?

charlie brown

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Guitar IS a life-long learning process, and will always

be (somewhat) dependent, on innate talent and, of

course, commitment! So...how are you doing? Are

you satisfied with your progress? Are you frustrated

by your lack of progress, and/or opportunities to play

more, with others? As most here know, I stopped

playing for 30+ years, and only started up again,

about 8 years ago. So, I'm no where close to being

where I'd like to be, technically especially, and am constantly

working, to better my playing! But, that aside...the most

frustrating thing, for me, is lack of opportunity to play with

others of equal or better talents/progress.


How about you all? Do you like where you are, or are you

wishing, working, wanting, a lot more?



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Im going through a bit of a high point... I was gonna have a go at the open mic session at the Gibson meet up, so I have been playing lots more than normal which has a had a good all round effect on my playing.... I have decided not to play as I will more than likely to be half cut by the time I get there!


No matter what you do in life, even the day you die you would still have loads to learn...



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I play good enough to enjoy it, but I am horribly sloppy and there are simple things I still can't do. The beginning phrase from the Black Dog solo confounds me. I can play it maybe 10% of the time. I am happy with my speed (I'm not a shredder) and I love my vibrato. I haven't played in a band since high school. Recently I answered an ad for a band looking for a guitarist. I completely fell on me a$$. They considered themselves a blues band, but everything they played was fast, and upbeat. I like a certain groove and just couldn't adapt.

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It's been a long ride, and for as long as I have been playing, I should be better.


In high school, all I ever wanted to be was Eddie Van Halen. I even got a USA-made Kramer for my sweet 16. Unfortunately, I learned it was a long way from owning a EVH guitar to playing Van Halen. In fact, if there was a more difficult guy to try and emulate, I haven't met him.


My guitar teacher in high school was quite a character: had a prosthetic leg, smoked nonstop, and railed at me when I pulled up in my parents' Honda. The fact that I drove a "Jap car" was much more frustrating to him than my lack of Barre chord mastery. Eventually, I learned how to play "Apache" and a great deal of The Doobie Brothers.


In college, I gravitated to the acoustic guitar because I lived in the dorms and it was obviously much quieter. I also found that - surprisingly - I was more adept at finger-picking and folk playing than I was at hammer-ons and the dreaded tremolo bar.


When I got my first real job, I took classical for about a year, then gravitated back to electric, then back to acoustic. I now play acoustic well and electric fair.


All this points out my main flaw: I'm not dedicated enough to ever be really great. I know a lot of guys who learn every note in a long solo; that just ain't me. I'm just too ADD to hang in there that long.

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I only get frustrated when i cant find the right note, I am pretty happy with my guitar playing after a couple of years of playing i feel like i am beginning to develop my very own style of playing.


I never got into reading tabs so i can literally learn things from ear or just by playing with the fretboard, I am in a jam band so i do allot of improvising.


P.S I am still young so i got allot to learn.

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I know I can always do better. I think that's one of the things that has kept me interested in playing all this time. The other day I was listening to a recording of my playing when I was 17. I thought it was pretty hot sh*t at the time. However, to me now, it just sounds horrible.

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Listening to recordings of one's playing, is VERY helpful...IMHO. The recorder

doesn't lie (as long as it's a raw/honest recording that hasn't been manipulated, etc.).

It's always fun/interesting, to hear oneself. Can be disheartening, at times, too...

"Does my voice, or playing really sound like THAT?!!!...LOL! But, it can be surprising,

in a good way, as well.



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Well, you young guys... <grin>


I have a real problem in that my personal expectations are greater than my talent.


In fact, I've said on many occasions that I have no talent for anything except to work hard to develop skills. That's brought me a degree of skill and "success" at several quite different sorts of endeavors, but it's also brought me to realize that in comparison to those with talent, skill is a second-best solution except for one's own satisfaction.


Several of my late '60s and early '70s guitar students ended up with a quarter of the technique and twice as good a sound as I had with the same material. That also convinced me about the "talent" thing.


OTOH, I do dearly love the concentration required to work on new material, new technique, new challenges on guitar.


My "frustration" if you will, comes from playing almost up to where my head is thinking on one night, and having that level totally elude me the next night.


Still... I return to this fingerboard or that, this piece or that... changing keys, changing fingerings, seeking that "lost chord" or that lost musical bit that I hear only at the edge of my internal consciousness...


I agree... yes, I do record myself on the computer. Since I'm doing the recording, playing and singing, I'm usually disappointed and wonder how I'd sound if I had only the playing and/or singing to do...


But then I realize it likely wouldn't make much difference. Darn it. So I think about what I've done and return again the next practical opportunity... and try to let it flow through what too often might seem to be a technical mental inhibition to letting the music flow.


And... yes, perhaps since I've immersed myself in several totally different "things," I wonder what life might have been like had I settled on a greater degree of specificity and then simply lived instead of always "worked?"


That may be something for you young guys to think about, perhaps, in terms of your personal goals. I think perhaps I've been too eclectic in interests for anything but my own enjoyment and fulfillment. Which then again, perhaps isn't really all that bad. It is indeed a good ride, just not one with which to make me either rich or famous. <grin>

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Good topic, Mr. Brown.


I am an infinitely better player today than I was last year at this time. I got serious after fifteen years of playing and took some lessons (theory and application) from an excellent teacher.


I agree that guitar is a lifelong endeavor. I still have a long way to go before I reach the level of playing I desire.


Which brings me to this: I saw the Jeff Beck at Ronnie Scott's DVD, because someone on the forum suggested it. It was WONDERFUL! And it made me realize that many guitarists who started out in a certain genre end up doing some amazing things that are totally different from their earlier "mainstream" work. You can tell that they got tired of the same old stuff and began trying to create new sounds, techniques, styles.


I hope to someday be as good as Beck and the likes.

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In terms of being in love with music and being grateful for having a body that touch wood, is working well and being able to play what I hear in my head, I am very pleased and happy.


I am never completely satisfied though LOL; and am taking lessons again my a hero of mine Carlos Bonell, in fact truth be known I want to pick people brains with lessons my whole life.


I love learning new things and love hearing each persons individual take on music and the guitar.


I think a huge part of the fun an energy of playing the guitar is realising the truth that you know nothing!



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I think I'll never be truly "satisfied," with my playing, as I will always want to learn more, do something better,

try something different, etc. But, like a lot of you have mentioned, knowing one's limitations, and being able

to work around or within them, I guess you could say I am more comfortable with that part, at least. Resigned,

anyway. ;>) In "frustrated moments" I wonder why I'm allowed to be just good enough, to know how much

better I should/need to be? LOL! But, I know that even for the really good/great players, there is that same feeling,

quite often. So, I don't really let it get me down...for long, anyway.


Thanks, for the participation...keep it coming!



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Im very mood driven.Sometimes I start playing and just put the guitar down and think not today thank you then other days Im on fire baby. Little on the inconsistent side. I have been told that I would be a good session hack.

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As you may know from reading previous posts (you do read ALL my posts, don't you? <big grin>) I've doubled on rhythm (bar chords) for many years, and I also played bass for a year or so when saxes were not in demand. Also, guitar is my seventh instrument.


After saying all that, I'm very happy with how I'm doing. I can create nice blues, country, and rock leads, and am steadily progressing on speed and accuracy. Of course, I gig with this thing (along with sax, flute, wind synth, vocals, and sometimes keys) so I have plenty of incentive to practice and learn.


On the other hand, I wish I had gotten serious about the guitar when I bought my ES-330 in the 1970s, because I'd be much farther down the road than I am now.


Starting at this late stage in my life, I doubt that I'll ever be a Jeff Beck or Christopher Parkening, but I am happy that I can hold my own on stage now and as time goes by I'll get even better.


The more I learn about the guitar, the more I'm aware of how much I don't know, things I didn't know were there until I seriously put my fingers on the strings, but that's the game. If there wasn't something new to learn around the corner, I'd get bored with it.


"Music is enough for a lifetime, but a lifetime is not enough for music" - Sergei Rachmaninov



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