how good were you at 18?

Discussion in 'Playing and Technique' started by spaceboy, Jul 28, 2004.


  1. spaceboy

    spaceboy Member

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    I was just having this little crisis recently thinking "**** **** ****, I'm nowhere near good enough right now, maybe I've left it too late, maybe I don't have enough time left to get really really good!" and crap like that...

    so i was wondering if any of you could give me some indication of how good you were at the age of 18? be it how fast you could play semi-quavers or what techniques you had down or what really hard piece you just learned or anything like that...

    if you don't mind...?

    ooh, and if you could maybe tell me how long you had been playing seriously at the age of 18, that would also give me a better idea of where i stand...

    and if you've got any clips floating around ofyou recently, that would also be great! (I always save Ed's clips for when I'm a bit tired of practicing and need some inspiration ^_^)

    anyway, thanks to anyone who can be bothered to reply to this silly insecure guitarist :rolleyes:
     
  2. jeffnmoe

    jeffnmoe Supporting Member

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    Don't worry. You're gonna feel like that even after decades. I do, anyway. Its normal. Just keep playing.
     
  3. johnspeck

    johnspeck Member

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    When I was 18, I had been playing electric for 8 years, maybe 10+ years altogether. Listening to the more riff-oriented stuff I recorded then, I thought my playing was immature and tasteless, regurgitating cliche'd licks where I'd heard them played before, not playing what I thought was correct for any given part. I played like an 18 year old kid with something to prove to the other guitarists out there.

    Nowadays, professionally I'm known as much as a singer/songwriter as a guitarist, so I try to think in terms of producing a track. What's the right part? Play that. It helped me to find my own tone, playing voice, and style. When I stopped worrying about what I could and couldn't accomplish on the guitar, my playing improved my leaps and bounds. Don't be discouraged, keep playing.

    And yes, I still think my playing is crap most days, it's what keeps me constantly playing to get better!
     
  4. somedude

    somedude Member

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    I started playing at 17.

    At 18 I could nail some mean power chords and play them really fast. :dude

    That was about the limits of my skill at 18, but I also had that punk mentality that theory is useless sh*t that stifles creativity. I've since grown up, and I started taking lessons in theory a few months ago (I'm now 26, it's never to late to learn anything).
     
  5. kev

    kev Member

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    When I was 18 I was just beginning to move out of the bedroom and into the garage :) . I could play a bunch of songs riff wise and chord wise, but never tackled the solos. I knew how to drive my family nuts with pinch harmonics, dive bombs, a screaming elephant, power shift Ferrari sound effects, bad Eddie tapping imitations, feedback, and riffin' in E (dropped D? What the h*ll is that!?!). The hardest piece I had been working on back then was either the first side of Hemispheres or Broon's Bane (both by Rush). An acquaintance who played bass was impressed that I knew what I still call the Jimi chord (Purple Haze's finger twister). One of my friends just knew he was the next Tommy Lee and, there you go, instant power trio!! I had been playing guitar seriously for about four years by then.
     
  6. lhallam

    lhallam Member

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    Too true.

    There are some licks that it took me many years to get down and I still screw them up sometimes.

    Find your weak spots and work on them. Practice a minimum of one hour a day. Practice in a place with no distractions, including a TV.

    Use a metronome no less than every other day. You should use it daily but I'm being realistic. Do not turn the speed up until you get the lick down.
     
  7. Mark C

    Mark C Member

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    Lance, as usual, has some sage advice. I wouldn't worry about how good or bad anyone else is, it isn't a competition. Pick some long term goals, and then break them down into little goals that you can accomplish in short periods of time, such as learning a new tune every week, maybe a new lick every day, etc. I used to write out practice routines, varying them day to day. For example
    15 minutes chop building with metronome, 30 minutes practicing a new scale, 30 minutes sight reading, Spend 1 hour learning a song or licks from a solo by ear, etc.. Vary your practice depending on your goals, ie. chops, ear training, theory, improvisational skills. Most of all, have fun in the process and don't forget to jam with others to show off all the new stuff you learn!
     
  8. Pedro58

    Pedro58 Supporting Member

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    I didn't start playing until I was 18 years old. I'm now 35 and play, ahem, professionally and have been for years... But, in my opinion, I've still got a long way to go! Get used to that feeling. It never goes away, if you're doing things properly. It's the players that feel satisfied with what they know that suck.
     
  9. Tom Gross

    Tom Gross Supporting Member

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    I felt the same about my playing at 18 as I do now at 48:

    - There's some stuff I can do that's cool and I enjoy playing it.
    - There sooo much I don't know.
    - Almost every guitarist I hear can do something I wish I could
    - There's a bunch of stuff I'm working on that I think I might get if I keep at it.


    It doesn't change...
     
  10. y2stevo

    y2stevo Member

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    Hey Man..

    Im in pretty much the same rut you are now, A few weeks ago that reality check just hit me, i never really used to practise at all mabye an hour a day at most and then just sit down watch tv or whatever and hope i get better by tomorrow, But i ralised that doesnt work and for about the last 2 weeks ive put in between 5 -10 hours practise a day with metronome, And ive found already my playing has improved,
    Also im 17 and i feel like its too late also..:)
     
  11. Tom Gross

    Tom Gross Supporting Member

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    When I was 14 I took up bass, but everybody else in the neighborhood had started a year earlier. I was told I was starting too late.
     
  12. littlemoon

    littlemoon Member

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    Shoot - I inflict that same psychological punishment on myself every single day! You learn to deal with it a little better with time, but it's always painful.

    At 18, I had been playing for about 8 years and had been playing professionally for 2 years. I thought I was pretty good but knew I had a long way to go. But at 18, it all came way too easily to me. I had a band with a national reputation and was signed with ABC Bluesway Records and fully sponsored by Fender. The company I kept was lofty to say the least, and, at 18, I had no real concept of how fortunate I was to be where I was.

    I'm past 50 now and would love to see a little more of that kind of luck come my way. My best advice is just play your ass off and enjoy the journey. Don't worry, be happy! Life is short and seemingly pointless, and it will all be over before you know it and before you're ready to see it end.

    littlemoon
     
  13. littlemoon

    littlemoon Member

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    P.S. It's only too late when they pry your guitar from your cold, dead fingers.

    littlemoon
     
  14. Tag

    Tag Gold Supporting Member

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    The first time in my life I ever picked up a guitar I was 21-22. I guess that means at 18 I must have been pretty darn awful. :eek:
     
  15. lhallam

    lhallam Member

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    Zappa made that claim as well in some interviews but it doesn't jive with some other things I've read.

    You're a helluva player and even more remarkable is that you started at a later age.
     
  16. Tag

    Tag Gold Supporting Member

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    Thanks Lance....I was lucky to have the teachers I had. Made all the difference! I fully credit Richie Hart for making me at least a decent player.
     
  17. aleclee

    aleclee TGP Tech Wrangler Staff Member

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    I started at 14 and playing 3 hrs/day gave me some pretty sharp left hand chops.

    Now, about twenty years later, my left hand can't do a lot of the things I could do then (I took most of the 90s off) but my right hand is catching up and my ear is waaaaaay better.
     
  18. markp

    markp Member

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    I was really good at Basket ball at 18.
    Got hurt and bought a guitar,19 when I learned how to tune the darn thing.
     
  19. spaceboy

    spaceboy Member

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    wow - great responses!

    i guess I new the "answer" before i posted - don't worry, life is too short, all you can do is practice your ass off etc. but it's fascinating to see how everyone else started out - but unfortunately I don't know what any of you guys sound like now! anyone wanna post a link to yer best clips?

    I was hoping Ed, Matte or Jack might post, just cos i already know that they are guitargods :D
     
  20. Tom Gross

    Tom Gross Supporting Member

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    Just check the "Members Soundclip" section for a lot of amazing clips.

    Also check the amps section. For clips of TAG playing, look for threads about "Why the Bruno is the best Clean ever - and that's a fact" or "Why the EM Pro is the best - if you can hear" (Just kidding :) )
     

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