At some point you are what you are..

Discussion in 'The Sound Hound Lounge' started by MONSTER ZERO, Apr 15, 2015.

  1. MONSTER ZERO

    MONSTER ZERO Member

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    Some of the other threads I've been reading lately led me to posting this.

    I realize in a perfect world we can all be improving on our instruments and we should all strive to be the best we can be, but what's wrong with knowing your limits and accepting who you are as a player?

    I came to the realization long ago that I'm no virtuoso and I never will be so I've been maintaining my abilities for awhile now. I do want to get proficient with theory and learn how to sight read but other than that I'm happy to be a rhythm guitar player in a rock band that gets the occasional solo here and there.

    TBH I almost feel a little guilty sometimes because I know I could get physically better on my instrument but I never get around to it. I think the guilt stems from "practice what you preach". I raised three girls and always encouraged them to be the best they can be at anything they do. I digress.

    Anyone else here feel the same way I do? You are what you are at some point?
     
  2. Multicellular

    Multicellular Supporting Member

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    Do or do not. There is no try.
     
  3. Yer Blues

    Yer Blues Member

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    I have a week off from gigging/recording... basically a break from having to learn songs. So far all I have done this week is worked with the diminished scale and trying to play it in a way that sounds musical and not just like running a scale. Find a one chord vamp type of jam track and just go for it. I won't be able to blaze through it like Jimmy Herring, but I should get to the point where I can add it in a musical way.... if I keep it up.
     
  4. Z_Zoquis

    Z_Zoquis Member

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    Yeah I mostly feel that way myself. Much of it comes down to my basic inclinations though. I just find that my favorite things to play are chords and cool chord passages - its what attracts me to a song and its what my fingers seem to want to do when I pick up a guitar. I find I'm not nearly as interested in leads/solos...I have literally no interest in "shredding" nor any desire to try and do it. I don't listen to that sort of thing and I have no inner desire to play like that. It just doesn't do anything for me.
     
  5. Pat Healy

    Pat Healy Member

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    Yes, but selectively. You can't improve some aspects, can improve others.

    I am blessed to play in an amazing band where virtually everyone (myself included) is a former touring pro, semi-pro, or session musician. Although I used to do this professionally, not all pros are created equal, and I regularly look around the stage and say, "WTF am I doing on a stage with these people?" They're awesome, and it creates a great deal of self-imposed pressure to improve.

    Thing is, I've found it's really hard to make substantive improvements at the age of 43, particularly in the speed/fluidity/shred chops area. I'm just not that fast anymore, and I ain't getting any faster.

    So instead of worrying about that, I've decided to work on the things I can improve. Like timing - being in the pocket, playing right on the beat, ahead of the beat, or behind the beat as needed. Phrasing - telling stories and expressing something rather than just wanking in a box. Intonation - not in the sense of moving the saddles back and forth, but in the sense of fretting properly so each note is perfectly in tune.

    We record all our live performances, and my goal is studio-quality performance every time. Not necessarily flashy, but CLEAN. Doesn't always work out that way, but my playing has come a long way in the 2 years I've been playing with this band, even though I'm no closer to Petrucci's chops. :bkw
     
    Last edited: Apr 15, 2015
  6. wetordry

    wetordry Member

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    Played for 25 years, bands, tons of gigs in a vibrant large market, the works. It was literally all consuming.
    Quit for nearly 18 years....stone cold quit.

    Picked up my one leftover guitar I could never bring myself to sell 8 months ago and started what I guess is called woodshedding. I could barely play. In my mind it was always there, but in reality the 3 weeks I always invisioned just wasn't gonna do it. About a month in I went thru what was the symptoms of carpal tunnel, numb hand after about 5 minutes...wore a brace whenever possible, ice packs, and backed off some.
    As that settled out over a few weeks my fret arm elbow got to where it literally was impossible to move, like arthritis. Mornings were agonizing. More ice packs.
    4 months later I think in a few ways I'm back to where I was, except it's different, because the old cliche traps weren't even easy to fall into....and it feels like there's plenty more around the corner.
    Now I realize how long it takes to get truly warmed up, which is the hurdle I try to overcome several times a week. Seems to be where I am most open to advancing another step.

    Anyway....you can move forward.
     
  7. taez555

    taez555 Member

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    Do you know what you are?
    You are what you is
    You is what you am
    (A cow don't make ham . . . )
    You ain't what you're not
    So see what you got
    You are what you is
    An' that's all it 'tis
     
  8. Average Joe

    Average Joe Member

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    Yes and no. There is no doubt that the earliest infuences will stay with a player more than later learned behaviour. No matter what I learn, there will always be a blues influence to my playing because that's all I played for the first 5-8 years. And I'm sure there is a threshold definded by talent and biological constraints. For instance I''m not very fast in most ways - slow talker, slow runner, and slow player as well.

    On the other hand, i do believe you can continue to learn and develop. I've always loved jazz, but I've only tried to play it in earnest in the last couple years. I'll never be a virtuoso, but I AM making headway playing over changes, and listening to 25 y.o. tapes (!) of my then heavily EC influenced playing, I think I've come a long way
     
  9. cram

    cram Member

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    I question whether to reply because I picture this reply in a parody; like sitting in a cross-legged yoga pose spouting out obvious platitudes while eastern meditation music plays... But with that self deprecation out of the way:

    - The smallest things in music can excite me as a player and as a listener. To me, this is profound and if we have this, then music as energy will never stop in our lives.

    There is no thought about never being as good as I may aspire to be. There is only how can I feel the best as I create and perform music. Each goal I set for myself or each thing I discover or work on has me experiencing a level of gratification. After a lot of little steps toward my goal, I may look back and notice how comfortable I feel or that I've learned a lot or matured as I have become musically. This isn't solely a musical phenomenon; it's anything we work toward in life.

    If I focus on being limited at any level, I will struggle too much in working through the detail that might get me over a barrier.
     
  10. supergenius365

    supergenius365 Silver Supporting Member

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    There is no wrong way to make music.
     
  11. taez555

    taez555 Member

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    I used to think this as well before I joined TGP. Then I learned otherwise. :)
     
  12. hotpaul

    hotpaul Supporting Member

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    :jo

    Take out the parts in red and would you apply that same philosophy to the rest of your life? If so, I'm sorry to hear that. If not, why would you apply it to guitar?

    If you are happy with settling for where you are, then I guess its fine for but its not something that resonates with me. This doesnt mean you cant be happy with where you are at or not be having fun in the present, but I can fathom settling for the status quo. All a man that accepts his limitations has done is place those limitations on himself.
     
  13. stratocat63

    stratocat63 Member

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    I look at it like, if you have played enough to get some facility on your instrument, you are gonna sound like you no matter what you are playing.
     
  14. Defendant

    Defendant Member

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    I think it's possible. Perhaps the motor skills and stamina aren't as fine as they once were, but there's always something to learn if you want to.

    It helps if you find learning new things fun.

    There's always new genres to try, as well. Tonight I'll be heading to my first ever jazz quartet rehearsal.
     
  15. Ubersooner

    Ubersooner Member

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    I think all players kinda feel the same way. If you're pretty talented, you blew up the first couple of years you played. I was better than everyone I knew a year after I started. Over the next couple of years, I kind of hit a physical ceiling and from there on my improvement was command of the fretboard and a better musical understanding of what my fingers were doing. I have never seen the kind of improvement I saw in those first couple of years and a part of me keeps looking for that kind of breakout. It ain't gonna happen but I still try to improve. I guess it's what keeps me interested
     
  16. Link Ramone

    Link Ramone Member

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    I'm with you. Sad to say I probably hit that point 30 years ago. But I'm still bashing away.
     
  17. TheClev

    TheClev As seen on TV

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    I prefer to think of it as settling down into what you like to play. For many of us, guitar is a hobby and maybe a money-on-the-side kind of thing. It's kind of a shame to make a chore out of it by forcing yourself to learn things you don't really want or need to learn.

    Sure, we'd all like to be improving always. But the reality is if you're not enjoying your hobby, you're doing it wrong. I don't enjoy spending hours upon hours practicing scales to a metronome to improve my speed.
     
  18. rsm

    rsm Member

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    Due to a few factors, I can no longer shred like I once did. I still have a shred guitar and amp, but each time I use them I'm reminded that I can no longer shred like I once did. Nor do I have the time to practice like I once did, several hours a day, nearly every day, and even if I did, I'd find I can no longer shred like I once did.

    However, I've found / rediscovered other types of music I dig which I can play, and I'm creating more of my own aggregation/derivative songs and exploring other areas of music, guitar playing and sound including Ableton Live and Push. I've revamped my gear once before, and I'm in the process again as I find music I dig and want to focus on now.
     
  19. Jim Soloway

    Jim Soloway Supporting Member

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    Everyone will do what they do but I know that I am not even remotely the same player at 62 that I was at 40. I have much more knowledge, much more focus and while I have less speed I have vastly improved my accuracy. I feel like I am continue to learn and improve both in large and small ways and it remains my goal to continue that forward motion for as long as possible.
     
  20. Neer

    Neer Member

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    I know very well who I am as a musician and that is what drives me to always want to improve, which I do constantly. I work extremely hard at it.

    I know I have exceptional taste in music and strive to live up to that for myself.
     

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