I don't think I can play guitar anymore

Rena Rune

Senior Member
Messages
3,218
For the longest time guitar has been my primary instrument. I made electronic music for the most part but always assumed that I'd add more and more electric guitar to my pieces, maybe do something shoegazey or alternative.

I've generally felt fairly comfortable with an electric guitar, but my crippling ADHD made it hard to learn anything including much music theory. I also never really figured out a way of properly writing songs on guitar, so I mostly just noodled.

Recently I decided I wanted some sort of acoustic instrument so I considered the acoustic guitar, obviously. After a while I realised acoustic guitars, while awesome in the hands of the right person, sort of bored me as it felt like, especially as someone who tends towards lead, should be playing electric instead for all the extra cool things I can with distortion, delay etc. or just the dynamics and ambience of electric in general.

I ended up picking up a Mandolin. I was awkward about it because of my fat fingers and tiny neck - but now I'm kind of used to it. In fact, guitars now feel huge to me. Like a regular Steel String acoustic gives me that odd feeling that approaching a nylon string wide necked acoustic always seemed to give me. I can't even really play my electric. Whereas before the necks seemed plenty thin enough for me hands(especially after having played a 7 string for a while) I just don't know what to do.

I don't really have the money for example to start over with Tenor guitars(though it might be kind of neat to - I just watched the Sound City documentary, and while the analogue snobbery was grating I loved the bo diddley style tenor guitar Paul McCartney had towards the end) or something along those lines right now and it might be limiting myself and running away from developing technique properly.

I guess I feel like I can't do anything impressive or worthwhile on guitar and there's less pressure to do so on Mandolin(it feels a little more natural in some ways too, though it does suck that it's hard to make some chords). I was hoping the Mandolin would give me the spark to become more interested in playing physical instruments again in general and breaking my musical lull - which it did, but now full size instruments are just awkward.

I'm just not sure what I want! What should I do? Will I get used to guitar again? Was my boredom with acoustics actually a boredom with guitars in general, and this is why I've never been able to advance past a certain place? Or do I just need some extra spark?
 

neoprimitive

Senior Member
Messages
2,348
Don't give up. Keep playing the mandolin ( I'd love to have a mandolin ) I can relate though. I recently bought a Yamaha gl1 guitalele and it like my mandolin for me for now.I'm just getting back into electric guitar after 11 years of not playing. Sometimes I feel like "why even bother?" But it's all worth it.. don't get discouraged by the acoustic issue, i've played since 1978 and as many times as I've tried, acoustic guitars and me just didn't get along, they bore me and I've owned many, but I get tired of them quickly., but I do love my guitalele, it's like a guitar and a ukulele in one little instrument. Mandolin is next on my list, such a cool instrument and can sound so incredible..for me, I started playing guitar because of rock n roll, and by the I was 12, I knew that electric guitar was the only kind of guitar that was going to satisfy my ears, heart and hands.. don't give up on guitar, the right thing us out there for you.
 

Irreverent

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
2,900
I noticed that you used the word "impressive" in your post. Who are you trying to impress...?

Figure out why you want to play guitar in the first place...

I'll likely never play as well as 90% of the kind folks on this board, but if I keep working at this thing that I love, one day I might just impress myself.

Peace.
 

Lotis

Gold Supporting Member
Messages
3,425
The impulse to simply make music is a powerful one. And a sort of spiritual path. I play a bunch of different instruments, guitar being the main one. Playing the others keeps that drive strong. Its not about any sort of attention or competition. Just do it because I have to. Alone, with others, audience or no audience. As I get older and I am getting old I have to take care of my physical relationship to music but it is still a vital component of who I am and always will be.
 

Nebakanezer

Member
Messages
3,629
When I stopped playing in a band for a while, I had 2 ukuleles that I played with around the house. Both are cheap Hilo brands from Guitar Center. If you were to capo a regular guitar at the 5th fret, that's basically how the soprano uke is (but the top string is an octave higher in pitch). The Tenor is just the bottom 4 strings of a guitar. They are fun to play around with. Check out Jake Shimabukuro on YouTube, he is amazing and does a lot of great Beatles covers!
 

dazco

Member
Messages
14,962
I guess I feel like I can't do anything impressive or worthwhile on guitar and there's less pressure to do so on Mandolin
So ! Why do you need to do "impressive" things? If you enjoy playing thats all that matters. Look at me. I had a problem with my fretting had about 15 years ago and literally lost 80% of my technical ability. I no longer play out partially due to that, but mostly because i'm just old. :D But the thing is, even tho i can't play remotely close to as well as i used to, i still enjoy playing and even just for myself at home. Thats the key. If what you play gives you no enjoyment thats one thing, but if it doesn't because you feel it's not on par with what others do, then you need to rethink your priorities ! I we all felt that way everyone would give up except those at the top like tommy emanuel and paul gilbert etc ! But if you play guitar to impress, you're playing for the wrong reason.

Heres something you can try....sit down with a guitar and completely forget about playing technically great and fast. Just play as slow and simple as you have to to be able to play comfortably and concentrate on nothing else but coming up with new tasty things. Try and develop some incredibly tasty phrasing, riffs and rhythms. A player who is amazing at that can blow most players out of the water, because what losing my technical abilities has shown me is that it;'s taste and phrasing that are by far the #1 most important thing to be great at. Look at beck. He's one of the most respected players here yet technically he's not near as talented as say govan, who probably gets no more parise here than beck if as much. But listen to his phrasing and note choice....it's top notch and unique. But you don't even have to play technically near that level. You just need to get the phrasing and note choice down. Guys like tom campbell who play dead simple stuff get a lot of praise for the way that play for the song and do it well with minimal technique. Don't give up till you exhaust this possibility. It really is IMO the most impressive of all things you can do with a guitar. Speed is way overrated and never will compliment music itself like killer phrasing and musicality.
 

Rena Rune

Senior Member
Messages
3,218
As I said I watched the Sound City documentary last night and it was interesting to kind of see some of the process of how bands came up with stuff in the studio. I find it hard to come up with and remember riffs and I haven't figured out a good way of writing them down. My technique is really limited because of this and I find it hard to learn things to. Also - I want to sing, and I can't really do split timing well at all. In general it's hard to focus on both which really sucks.

With guitar so much has been done that I'm not sure that method of songwriting is the best anymore either if you want to do something that stands out and doesn't retread old ground. Or maybe retreading old ground with slight variations is okay? I'm not sure. I've been stuck in this rut for a while to be honest. I want to make music that's worth making and worth hearing.
 

A-Bone

Montonero, MOY, Multitudes
Platinum Supporting Member
Messages
102,441
Creating quality music is hard work. It is often enjoyable, but there is a good deal of work involved. Ditto for recording quality music. Your posts sound like you are more enamored of the idea than you are willing to put in the work. I agree with the suggestion that you figure out what it is that you want, and then come up with a list of what it would likely take to get there.
 

guitguy28

Member
Messages
1,163
At the end of the day, it's all about making music, not playing the guitar.

Whatever path inspires you to keep making music, is something that you should follow.

I got bored of guitar at one point in my life. I wanted to try something different, like a Chapman Stick. And move more into the realm of bass instruments as well as synthesizers.
What happened instead is that I found new inspirations on guitar. New players, new music, new styles, new sounds.

Let's face it, we all love the guitar, but there's too many friggin' guitar players out there :). If you find a different instrument I say more power to you.
 

Phletch

Senior Member
Messages
9,896
OP, I have no idea what it's like living with ADHD, so, I guess take whatever I say with a grain of salt. Maybe you can figure out a way to compensate for it. Maybe there's a way to use it to your advantage. I don't know. Maybe seek out the advice of others or experts in the field to help with that.

But about the music itself, just play. Don't worry about other people validating you. You have to validate yourself by just being true to yourself; "keep it real" in the modern vernacular. People will recognize real, and real is what lasts. You can't force real.

In short, just play whatever makes you happy and brings you joy, however you have to do it. If there are things you want to do, like singing and playing at the same time, set little goals and work to achieve them one at a time. Your condition may make the struggle harder, but, man, we're all trying and struggling in our own ways. If you love music and love making music, you'll keep trying, too.

It's all about the journey, not the destination. Just enjoy the ride.
 

jammybastard

"I'm losing my edge, but I was there..."
Gold Supporting Member
Messages
6,239
If you're ADHD is that bad, truly crippling, you should see a doctor.
I know you you think you should be able to overcome it but it's usually not something you can do on your own. It's like trying to perform brain surgery on yourself. Not possible.
Look for a Psychiatrist with an MD who believe in medication but also therapy so you can work it out.
 

Rena Rune

Senior Member
Messages
3,218
my problems are really complicated so it's hard to find the source of it, but there's no real way to solve it. medications tend to just numb you and that would be worse creatively.

The way I've compensated is learning some basic scales and getting a feel for the music and recording semi-improv over my electronic tracks. but it's kind of boring never getting to do straight up rock stuff throughout as I think I could do a pretty spectacular electronic rock, or freak folk rock sort of thing if I could.

Mandolin's layout just seems to compensate for my adhd a bit better. It's generally simpler and a little more intuitive. But I just love the sound of a big crunchy power chord.
 

Rena Rune

Senior Member
Messages
3,218
I have actual medically diagnosed ADHD so that's a bit insensitive tbh. It's an artifact of also having autism and borderline personality disorder. and that's before the fact that i'm transgender.

I have a looot of difficulties. unfortunately a lot of people take things for granted.
 
Messages
15,378
I took a hiatus from playing guitar for a couple of years because I was bored with it, and other instruments seemed more interesting.

I started playing guitar again after my bandmate at the time let me play his guitar, then demanded that I switch from bass to second guitar. Even though I play out on another instrument, I still enjoy playing guitar purely for the pleasure.
 

neoprimitive

Senior Member
Messages
2,348
My old boss had severe ADHD, and OCD, plus he had slight Asbergers syndrom, and was neurotic as a scared poodle.. but he was one hell of a drummer.. In fact he's incredibly talented on the drums. If guitar is bringing you too much frustration, maybe another instrument would serve you well.
 

pitbull45

Member
Messages
740
If you are more comfortable on mandolin, get an electric one and run it through distortion and effects just like a guitar.
 

camstudio

Member
Messages
666
I follow you on soundcloud and really like your stuff. I too have struggled trying to work on my own and incorporate guitar and electronic composition. It is difficult and frustrating to do. I always feel I'm compromising one side or the other due to time restraints or constantly switching between musician and producer roles. Could you get someone to assist with the recording process? Sometimes you just need a break or change.
 




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