Lost interest in playing because I wasn't getting better. Need advice.

Discussion in 'Playing and Technique' started by mlweidl, Dec 31, 2015.

  1. mlweidl

    mlweidl Member

    Jun 12, 2010
    Santa Barbara
    I realized that all my guitar stuff, short of my acoustic guitar, has been packed away and unused since last December. I would occasionally pick up my acoustic and would play the same old thing every once in a while. I really want to pick it back up this year. Can you guys recommend a book or video series or...?

    I learned guitar by ear and have a basic understanding of music theory but most of it I need a refresher on anyway. Any ideas???
  2. stevel

    stevel Member

    Apr 6, 2008
    Hampton Roads, Virginia
    Here's your problem: "Can you guys recommend a book or video series..."

    No. You need a teacher.

    You need something to prepare for every week, and someone who can arrange material in a pedagogical manner so you can learn logically and remain inspired to play.

    Honestly, if you're not inspired to do something, then maybe it's not the right thing for you. Why do you "really want to pick it up this year"? It's like that line from a Pink Floyd song - "Is it love, or the idea of being in love?". Do you want to play, or do you just think it's something you should like to do but don't really have any real interest in it or inspiration to do it?

    Usually people who want to play - nothing can stop them - even plugging away on the same thing for weeks at a time.

    Books and Videos can be inspiring, but you know what's really inspiring? Music.

    You need to stop thinking about learning to play guitar, and learn to make music!

    A good teacher can assess your current skill level, see if there are any gaps, and devise a lesson plan to fill in any gaps and the progress from there, continuing to challenge you to keep it interesting and build on your knowledge and skills.

    I've seen hundreds of people flounder without that direction. Some of us just need direction. There are few that can self teach, but they often have huge gaps missing in their knowledge or experiences.

    Do you play with other people? That's also an invaluable experience.
  3. great-case.com

    great-case.com a.k.a. "Mitch"

    Aug 14, 2007
    Yes.. find others who play and play often, but don;t be happy with a few stolen licks here and there. Learning licks is an easy way to suck at guitar, so watch out for that trap.

    Technique is built with unimpressive pieces, a little at a time. Also YES: Teachers are the key. If you can afford a teacher, then you will certainly have the best shot at the fastest path to success ...

    ... but most can not. Teachers are expensive and if you are truly self disciplined to work toward your goals - there are tons of instructional materials all over the place for free.

    With all due respect to the sage advice above... before you take it, ask yourself if you are self motivated. If you honestly answer that question with Yes, then you can learn without a mentor and/or coach - saving a lot of money for gear.

    Realize that you've already failed the test of motivational level. You stopped playing. Why? Answer that and you'll have a hint at what you need to get you back into the game.

    Example: If the simple stuff you learned early-on bored you, try this test of your desire. Google "Major Scales on Guitar" and select a lesson, beat the lesson to death for an hour everyday over the next four days and then tell me if you STILL want to learn how to play.

    To be fair, your future is more fun than I made it sound. Soon, your daily lesson plan will have variety and excitement, but if you can't beat out scales for an extended duration and at a controlled pace... you are never going to be able to play much of anything you like to hear. Too harsh? I hope not and I certainly do not intend to discourage you. On the contrary. Your outreach here is a good sign. I expect you will soon be flooded with a long list of links and references to lesson plans and ideas, but don't forget the "Test" that I proposed.

    PS: Good luck and if you are ever near Denver, let's jam.
    Last edited: Dec 31, 2015
  4. Pitar

    Pitar Member

    Mar 9, 2010
    Most people with an interest in guitar don't have enough desire to drive them to learn. Interest is one thing, desire begets motivation. You probably have the former but it isn't enough. Even a teacher can't give you that. You need to find desire first. When you do you it will take you where you need to go with learning.
  5. Clifford-D

    Clifford-D Member

    Jan 8, 2007
    Close to the burn zone
    What are your musical interests? Bands, tunes, artists, genre,,,?

    My suggestion for those same old tunes you play, don't play them, they will get you nowhere.

    If you get a teacher, get one that knows how to come to your level of understanding. One that can use your interests to design a study path for you. No one understands you better than you, and there are "hand in glove" teachers who know how to relate to you. Just because the teacher has toured with the stars doesn't mean he/she can teach. So be aware and be in charge of your direction with teachers.
    A good teacher doesn't tell you you're doing it wrong, they will say that's one way to do and provide other ways, other suggestions and perhaps a way that clicks with the student.

    A good lesson should fill you full of inspiration and drive.

    But, it's a two way street, you need to be present, and that means leave past failures at the door. Be present.

    And even if you end up teaching yourself, be present, ask yourself lots of question then seek the answers to them.
  6. guitarjazz

    guitarjazz Member

    Dec 29, 2009
    People, people who need people, are the luckiest people in the world...
    Find people to play with or for. Join a praise band or hell-raining poop-kicker band, anything.
    amstrtatnut likes this.
  7. hobbyplayer

    hobbyplayer Member

    Sep 2, 2012
    "Lost interest in playing because I wasn't getting better. Need advice."

    So why weren't you getting better?

    The answer to this question will go a long way in determining how (or whether) you should proceed with the guitar.
  8. strumnhum

    strumnhum Member

    Mar 17, 2012
    Louisville, KY
    Hate to admit it, but been there, done that. Imagine at some point, may have felt the same. I find lately that if I'm not satisfied with progress I'm making, I'll go to you tube or other means and look up a genre that I'm not accomplished in. Lately have been watching and trying my hand at jazz--lots of chords with which I was unfamiliar. Gives me something to try for. Think that's the main thing--keep challenging yourself, get outside of what you are used to, and give it a shot. Got to keep it interesting, or it becomes the same ole, same ole, sounds like that is what you are going through.
    bloomz likes this.
  9. Jon

    Jon Member

    Oct 20, 2004
    Birmingham, UK
    Exactly - if you can't put the damn thing down and don't actually enjoy practicing, then you probably won't make much progress ever. Sorry if that seems negative, but it's meant to be truthful. There are so many posts on here from players saying that they want advice on what to learn, what books to get, what instruction sites to visit etc. All are excuses for not doing the thing that means the most - teaching yourself. By that I mean taking responsibility for your own development and progress - setting your own goals, and working out how to achieve them, endlessly reading interviews with your favourite players to see how they learnt, and then following their lead, experimenting with techniques and styles to see what works for you, learning licks, riffs and sings by ear from your favourite players etc. It doesn't mean not having a teacher, or using any available instruction resources, but rather seeing these in the context of your plan, rather than hoping someone or something will set the plan for you and do all that work for you. If you're not really committed to improving, then you won't.
  10. AndyNOLA

    AndyNOLA Member

    Feb 13, 2012
    This all the way. You aren't getting better because you aren't developing your ear and rhythm and that takes practice. Like hours a day....
  11. JonRock

    JonRock Member

    Dec 28, 2014
    it helps to have an outlet for playing or something to aspire to etc

    join a band
    write songs
    learn others songs

    I sort of got into home recording..so there is my outlet and reason to practice etc
  12. fezz parka

    fezz parka Member

    Nov 25, 2009
    The Land that Time Forgot
    1. Set a goal.
    2. Set a reasonable time limit to achieve the goal.
    3. Figure out the steps you need to take to achieve the goal in the time limit.
    4. Get to work.
  13. Suave Eddie

    Suave Eddie Member

    Dec 25, 2012
    Ask your doctor if lobotomy is for you.

    Seriously, this is a real question you need to answer. Why do you want to play guitar? Was it ever fun? Did you play every chance you got when you first started?
  14. Steve Hotra

    Steve Hotra Silver Supporting Member

    Jan 26, 2007
    Camas WA.
    Lessons with a "live" teacher.
    No freebie or lessons from friends.
    And set some musical goals for 2016.
    A good music instructor will help you stay on track.
    AndyNOLA likes this.
  15. amstrtatnut

    amstrtatnut Member

    Oct 16, 2013
    Northern CA
    This! Perfect!

    Playing with others is so much fun. It motivates me to work on stuff and it doesnt seem like work.
  16. vashondan

    vashondan Supporting Member

    May 24, 2014
    Vashon WA
    I've only been playing for a few years but put in the time and have learned a lot. I enjoy practicing and have the spare time to do it. I was having trouble putting a lot of pieces together that i had learned. So, I started video lessons with Rob Garland over at TF. It's not face to face but we send videos and text back and forth on a regular basis. What's been awesome is that he was able to take me where I was and step by step take me forward in a way that kept me energized and helped me see where the path was taking me. This has filled in a lot of holes from my self teaching or online course work. It's great getting something new to work on and someone to give me feedback. Its cheaper than weekly face to face and I feel like I'm getting way more than my money's worth.
    SPH77 likes this.
  17. JonR

    JonR Member

    Sep 24, 2007
    Well, why not do just that?

    You say you "weren't getting better", but that can't really be true. You were once a beginner who knew nothing. You got better.
    It's true that if you stop for a while (months), then your technique can suffer - but only a little. You need to get those fingertips toughened up again.
    Usually when you think you're not getting any better, what that means is that your knowledge and ideas are getting out of step with your technique. Your mental progress is exceeding your physical progress, so it feels like the latter has stagnated or is going backwards - but that's not possible, if you play regularly. It's just not moving as fast as your understanding and your goals are.
    (The opposite problem results in knowing a whole load of scales and fancy techniques, with no idea on how to apply them....)
    What, so you don't have to practice? Personally I'd recommend a box set of The Wire, or Breaking Bad....
    Find a song you like and learn to play it. By ear mainly, but use any assistance you can find.
    Get back in touch with why you thought guitar was so cool in the first place.
    If you can find people to jam with, that's ideal, a real reason to keep going. A good teacher can also set you interesting new challenges to inspire you. But if those are out of the question for some reason, there's still plenty you can do yourself.
    But remember you don't have to play guitar. No one is going to make you. Nobody will care if it stays in its case. The world needs no more guitar players. Maybe it was a phase that you're now growing out of. You could sell it and spend the cash on something you really enjoy...
  18. SPH77

    SPH77 Member

    Feb 3, 2012
    North Texas
    I studied with Rob for quite a while as well. Great experience. For me, having a few specific thing to work on is invaluable. In this day and age it's almost impossible for me to really focus on a few things... because there are so many things I can be working on. Which means I accomplish nothing. A teacher helps you focus. At least a good one. Rob is a real great guy.

    I also agree.... Find some people to play with as well. Join a band or whatever. The musical synergy... and the pressure of a performance is guaranteed to make you work a little harder. Or maybe a lot harder!

    When I've felt discouraged or disillusioned, those two things helped immensely. If you were studying soccer but never played with other people or participated in live games you'd probably get bored and want to quit. So increase the challenge factor... Get a coach and play some games.
  19. 2leod

    2leod Re-Member

    Feb 23, 2007
    38 clicks from the town with a woman's name
    Have fun playing!

    Music is supposed to feel good, isn't it?
  20. dewey decibel

    dewey decibel Member

    Apr 12, 2005
    we eat a lot of cheese and drink a lot of beer

    Uggghh, that's what I've been doing wrong all these years! :bonk
    2leod likes this.

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