do you guys sometimes feel this way - unsatisfied with your playing no matter what

Discussion in 'Playing and Technique' started by purestmonk, Feb 8, 2008.


  1. purestmonk

    purestmonk Member

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    Hi guys

    For the past few months, ive beenlearning to superimpose triads, augmented, major minor and diminished

    At the beginning, they sound really hip and cool. But after some time, I start to feel that they sound "normal" .. and I dont feel satisfied
    I need more crazy sounding stuff .. Upon reflection, I feel that this happens to me all the time - learn something, like it at the beginning, get bored of it after a while, nevertheless it's still in my playing

    Am I hard to please or is it just human nature?!

    Wonder what coltrane would feel when he listens to himself

    cheers
     
  2. Kappy

    Kappy Member

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    When he was alive I get the feeling he was too busy practicing to spend much time dwelling on it. Food for thought.
     
  3. willhutch

    willhutch Member

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    Your feelings are a sign that you care about improving. If you intend to learn more and get better year after year, you will never be satisfied with your current level. This is part of what creates the drive to practice.

    You can overdo it, too. If you obsess about your shortcomings, it can detract from your ability to play music when it is time to do so (at the gig, studio, jam session).

    So I say keep being dissatisfied; usethat as impetus to strive and struggle to improve. At th same time, be sure to relish whatever gifts you have and use the tools at your disposal to create something nourishing.

    I'm 36 and have come through several developmental phases in my music. A recent breakthu: It isn't what you CANNOT do that matters. What counts is how you use the things you CAN do.
     
  4. mojoslide

    mojoslide Member

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    willhutch is right, it's about balance.

    I too feel this way a lot but it drives me to play better. My feelings about my own playing aren't necessarily related to technical issues (of course I could always improve on that), but are more about playing melodically and saying something with my guitar parts. Sometimes I'm just not feeling it in a solo or lead break and I need to rethink my approach. Your playing definitely can feel stagnant, but you have push beyond it. And I'm certainly not the best at it, but it's something I work at. Sometimes learning to play riffs in new positions can help. Or trying to improvise off the basic riff and come up with something new. Or try using your fingers instead of a pick, etc. Anything can inspire. Also playing out more (even at jams, etc.), really puts things into perspective.
     
  5. brad347

    brad347 Member

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    don't forget to have fun playing music.

    basically what it comes down to is that you may be overly preoccupied with what others think about you without even knowing it.

    The gift of music is so much more than just a tool to make us 'hip and cool.' Most of us know this, at least intellectually.

    You obviously have a hunger to increase your musical vocabulary. This hunger is truly a blessing. There is absolutely no reason to judge whether what you are seeking is 'hip or cool' or not. When you reach a point where what was once "new" becomes "old," then you seek out the next "new."

    Follow your curiosity, not your need to please and impress-- avoid even the compulsion to impress yourself.

    The need to please and impress anyone, including yourself, is really just the same thing as being controlling-- not normally considered a healthy or positive personality trait. The need to please/impress comes from a need to control how others perceive us (or how we perceive ourselves).

    The ability to let go and unashamedly let the truth come out, even in all of its beautiful shortcomings and inconsistencies, is one thing that most of the truly great musicians I've ever met have had in common. It results in a genuineness that transcends any type of cool harmonic, melodic, or rhythmic concept you could come up with. It's sometimes confused with confidence, but there is a difference. I've heard it called "soul."

    Enjoy playing!
     
  6. KRosser

    KRosser Member

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    I don't think a certain amount of 'dissatisfaction' is a bad thing, necessarily.
     
  7. brad347

    brad347 Member

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    I guess it depends on what you call it. Any curiosity or thirst for knowledge implies a sort of dissatisfaction with one's current level of knowledge/expertise. If there was no desire for "other," then nobody would ever be motivated to do anything.

    There is a choice, however-- you can be tormented by it, or you can love and embrace it. It's like actual hunger. It's pointless to be tormented by it. It's much better all-around to just view it as an opportunity to go eat some tasty food.
     
  8. bbarnard

    bbarnard Member

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    I need to print this out and paste it on every one of my guitars!

    I go through phases when I'm totally dissatisfied with my playing. Right now is one of them. I also second guess myself a lot. For instance I've been taking lessons for about 6 years and still really have trouble trying to jam over a jazzier tune. Now I should say, I'm 55, I have a day job, I can't practice hours each day (sometimes I'm too beat to even play some days). I AM playing with a band and with a youth choir band (which makes me play a lot of music that is outside of my typical blues number). I CAN play a LOT more chords than I used to be able to play and more quickly. I can figure out leads (note for note) more quickly than I used to to learn new songs. I don't LISTEN much to jazz (which I know has something to do with it). I'm still FIRMLY a pentatonic player (in fact a lot of the time for a non I IV V tune I look at the key and say, okay it is in G so I can play Em pentatonic over most of it). I've learned about modes and scales besides pentatonic and major (e.g. melodic minor) but probably couldn't play the scale for you now if my life depended on it. I'm learning to read music but am not very good at it.

    In short I feel that I should be way beyond where I am as a player and it is pretty depressing. Then others will see me play that haven't seen me play in a while and tell me I'm really getting a lot better. So who knows?
     
  9. GBStratman

    GBStratman Member

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    I know exactly what you're talking about. The drive for novelty is deeply embedded in the brain. Shameless plug and disclaimer: I wrote a book about this: http://www.amazon.com/Satisfaction-Sensation-Seeking-Novelty-Fulfillment/dp/0805081313/ref=ed_oe_p

    Greg
     
  10. willhutch

    willhutch Member

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    It's nice to have people who have written a book chime in on that subject.

    Stratman - have you, perchance, written any books on D'Pergo guitars, Bruno amps, John Mayer, or whether tone is in the hands or the gear??

    ***Gear Page inside joke. If you don't get it now, you will before long.***
     
  11. GBStratman

    GBStratman Member

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    LOL. In this forum, it's clearly in their hands, but in the Gear forum, it's the other way around.

    But seriously, I don't think it really matters whether you're talking about gear or technique. Everyone who is serious about making music suffers from the OP's original lament. We all want to do something new. Whether it is learning/writing new songs, improving technique, or, the most expensive and least satisfying of all, acquiring new gear. A famous social psychologist from the 70's had a term for the latter: it's called the hedonic treadmill. This is why I try to spend more time here than the gear forums. No satisfaction there...
     
  12. dewey decibel

    dewey decibel Member

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    we eat a lot of cheese and drink a lot of beer

    I went through a phase like that- I kept searching for new sounds, getting more and more "out". But it really wasn't fun and I realized it wasn't what I wanted to do, not the reason I started playing. I began looking more inside- both inside the changes, inside the tune, mood, groove, etc and inside myself (yeah, cheesy :rolleyes: ). That's what's important, really knowing and understanding what's there and filtering it through yourself and being able to do something with it. If you read Coltrane quotes from later on in his life you'll notice a certaint lament for the path he'd choosen.





    +1. That was my problem.


    That looks like a cool book.

    That was my problem- I was thinking "new" had to come from somewhere else. I realized that the only place "new" is going to come from is from me- from my unique take on things. Of course listening, learning theory, deconstructing other stuff, etc can all be fuel for this, but in the end it's the way that you put it together that makes it "new". So as they said, it's a balance.
     
  13. purestmonk

    purestmonk Member

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    i really like what brad 347 and some of the stuff what u guys said ......... i guess ill continue playing
     
  14. rosscoep

    rosscoep Member

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    Never with my playing. Often with my progress. God forbid I ever become satisfied. This is a path.
     
  15. cram

    cram Member

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    I drift into this feeling every once in a while, but when I notice it, I plug along and concentrate on fundamentals. I work through training my hands to get a pattern, rate, or tying in chords and scales. I work through my exercises and soon comes the point where my fingers feel nimble on the fretboard and the same ideas that sounded stupid now have new meaning.

    sounds kinda altruistic and cheesy but it works for me and that's what matters.
     

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