Have you ever thought, "Man, I'm good" but then realized the truth?

sws1

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10,771
I held off on joining bands for many years, primarily because I never thought I was good enough. Once I took the plunge, I realized that I was perfectly ok with playing in a band. And the added discipline of having to learn songs from top to bottom, including the 'easy' parts, demonstrated that I could do it.

Much later, and after moving to where I live now, where I am exposed to an enormous amount of talented players, I have drifted back to thinking I'm just mediocre. My singer keeps telling me that I'm better than I think and "just as good as <player X>". Which is ridiculous. And highlights the fact that he doesn't know what he's talking about. ;)

I have now settled for the fact that I think I am a decent guitar-playing-musician. I have a good sense of time, theory, tones, what works in a show/song and what doesn't, how to underplay, feel, etc I am a hard worker, I listen well, I keep studying, etc. So in that regard, when I see some of these players who can dance around the fretboard, but yet who I'd never want to hear again, I regain some pride. I'll take that.
 
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1,537
Happened to me in the ‘80’s.

I’d always been the third-best electric guitarist I knew; then I did a lot of woodshedding in the early ‘80’s and thought I’d got ahead of the field.

Haha.

However I was exposed to Julian Bream at a relatively young age. I knew none of us were any good technically speaking; instead it was about the choice of notes and the amount of feeling we could convey. And the electric guitar is the instrument with the “biggest“ voice of all the instruments available apart from the organ; and not always then either.

It is an instrument that has grown into something with an incredible range of expression. And however good you are there’s always Jon Gomm. But you can play notes that resonate in as magical way without needing that technical ability. Gilmour manages it, and without quite Jeff Beck’s peerless control. Gilmour is the prime example of the notes in context counting for more than anything else.

That’s why we spend time mining the notes for the nuggets of gold. Almost everyone is better than I am. But sometimes I accidentally land on the good notes.
 

Lt Dak

Supporting Member
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3,048
Yeah, I've thought "man, I'm good," then realized there's nuance to that.

I realized that I was relatively solid technically, but not "great." I was good at playing music in the context of a band. We worked our asses off and were very tight. I was "good enough" from a technical standpoint. Both atrophied for a long time, and I'm working on it yet again.

Nothing like watching some Nili Brosch to put your skill in perspective. I took some lessons earlier this year from Jennifer Batten, and that really did it for me. Her entire life has been working on her skill. Mine has not, and therein lies a large part of the difference.
 

Doomrider78

Member
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3,330
When I was in a band, which ended earlier this year, the other guitarist would go around telling people how good I was: I found this quite annoying and embarrassing as I knew there was no way I could live up to what he was saying, and felt like I was setup to be shot down.
 

ishtar

Member
Messages
46
I often thought 'that wasn't too bad.'

I think it is being able to sustain that not too much badness/just the right amount of badness balance... and sustain it throughout one piece, two pieces, a short set.

If it's not bad, it's somewhat good, right?
 

TL;DR

Member
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1,302
Not knowing I wasn’t good actually cost me money in time. In the 80’s, I was the best guitarist I knew. I could play the stuff on the “hard to play” CD’s and thought I was hot crap. I found out after six weeks of music just how wrong I was. If we’d had YouTube back then, I’d have known there were thousands of 12 year old girls who could already play better than I would ever be able to
 

Mark Robinson

Gold Supporting Member
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8,361
I’m adequate to play some songs. Even in school days I was surrounded by great musicians and only edged into gigs by taking up Bass. I’ve said it before here, being a Los Angeles person, I’m not even the best guitarist on my street.
 

WordMan

Silver Supporting Member
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5,968
I guess I would also say this: the longer I have played in a variety of settings, the more I realize that “playing” is one of, maybe 5-6 capabilities that go into being “Good”

- Can I play?
- Can I play in performance situations?
- Can I play with other people?
- Can I lead folks / get musicians working together?
- Can I manage the business of the band, so we can focus on music as a group?

Etc, etc. Am I the best player? Ha! No. But do I bring some of the other stuff to the situation? Oh, hell yeah.
 

Shiro

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
1,121
Funny thing for me is that in forty+ years of playing in bands, hundreds of gigs, I've never been satisfied with my playing.
I've always thought I should be better for the hours spent.
Your contribution to music may not be same as your heroes, but no less significant.
 

jogogonne

Member
Messages
315
I think of it as amateurs versus pros.

Some really good amateurs can do one thing really well, but are limited in what else they can do.

You can only put in so much time if you have a 'real' day job. Even if your job is easy, still. If you have kids, forget it.

You're not really going down the same route.. so I would compare myself to other amateurs.
 

stevieboy

Clouds yell at me
Silver Supporting Member
Messages
37,381
I suspect many if not most have an optimistic view and a pessimistic one too, and go back and forth between the two. With the truth being somewhere in the middle.
 

Tone_Terrific

Supporting Member
Messages
31,771
I guess I would also say this: the longer I have played in a variety of settings, the more I realize that “playing” is one of, maybe 5-6 capabilities that go into being “Good”

- Can I play?
- Can I play in performance situations?
- Can I play with other people?
- Can I lead folks / get musicians working together?
- Can I manage the business of the band, so we can focus on music as a group?

Etc, etc. Am I the best player? Ha! No. But do I bring some of the other stuff to the situation? Oh, hell yeah.
Fortunately, for the majority of us, virtuosity is not a requirement for rock and roll.
 

Hired Goon

Member
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657
Recently stumbled on Nili Brosh. She did a pretty good cover of Cliffs of Dover, and I've been watching her since
 

homeunit

Supporting Member
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1,089
What is good? I started playing rock to 80s so the benchmark was goofy with all the speed demons at the time.

I spend my band life in original hard rock bands, so I was sort of out of any competitive stuff.

Years later I joined a cover band and when we jammed for the first time I got my way through the majority of the set list without ever sitting down to learn the tunes. I thought I must not be half bad if I can do that.

these days I can’t even remember the tunes we wrote. Must not have been that good. I find when I’m jamming at home, I sometimes come up with these killer riffs. Turns out I wrote for the first time in the 90s, lol.
 




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