My dream at 53

Headshok

Member
Messages
2,669
All my life I wanted to play guitar in a rock and roll band. When I was a kid (1970's), Pink Floyd, KISS, Frampton and Rush were the bands that made me want to play music. But, we were poor and could never afford to get a guitar. Time moved on and I went in the Marines. Still loved music, still wanted to play. But drinking and partying in Southern Cal seemed to be more important (1980's). Then I got married and had a kid, settled down into that life. Buying diapers and baby formula took precedence over buying a guitar. Then in the late 80's early 90's I was a policeman, still raising kids and always seemed to have to spend my money on anything but a guitar. But the dream of learning the guitar was still within me. At one point in the late 90's I was able to get a guitar. It was an Ibanez Iceman. I loved that thing. I started taking lessons and the teachers would just sit and solo but not teach me anything. I got frustrated and quit. But the bug hit again about 2011 and I started buying all kinds of guitars and equipment. Still could not play but had really cool gear. I started trying to learn using youtube and some online lessons. Then my wife got sick and I had to sell everything I had. But I still dreamed of being a rock star. Now, the wife got a little better and I was able to get some more equipment, although not as high level as I had before. Then she relapsed and I had to sell off again. But the dream remained. Now, she has gotten much better, has regained her ability to walk, my job is steady and allows me latitude to deal with her lingering issues. So, the desire was still there. So I got a TMG Dover, a cheap little amp(but it sounds good) and I practice every day. I still have the dream to be a rock star. I think I would have a niche all to myself. A beginning 53 year old, fat, bald rock star. I am serious. I think if I learn how to play this damn thing that I will one day be on stage in front of tens of thousands of people playing my heart out (or maybe just 10 people but still playing my heart out.) Have any of you guys ever picked up the guitar in your 50's and actually got good enough to gig? My wife thinks I can do it but no one else does. They say I would look stupid. I think I would look like a guy that followed his desire and dreams and is having the time of his life. Do you guys think it can be done at this stage of my life? Hell, I might even learn some country. (I do have to admit that it is harder than I thought it would be. I hope my age has not brought on a mental block of some sort that makes learning that much more difficult)
 

StevenS

Member
Messages
1,132
I'm 53 as well. Started playing when I was 10. You'd think I'd be really good by now.........:D

I don't read music and learn everything by ear. I say you can do it if you really want to.

The great thing about learning guitar today is YouTube. If you're stuck on something just check it out there. Nine times out of ten you'll find some great players there that will show you the right way to play it. In the old days I learned on LP's which usually got scratched to pieces from lifting the needle over and over again to figure out a lick. 8 tracks were even worse....

I played Hotel California wrong for years until one day I was blipping through videos and came upon Don Felder in some guitar shop playing it. "So that's how you play that....." Same with a ton of other songs I've learned over the years.

I think if you get your basic chords down and just keep playing. It'll come!
 
Messages
1,965
Glad your wife is doing well now. You have the dream, you have some time, you still sound like you want it. Devote some time to it. Plenty of folks here to help you along. Keep making an effort to learn something new when you can. And check out different genres as well. Everything you get exposed to can help you realize your dream. Good luck with your quest!
 

Headshok

Member
Messages
2,669
Thanks, I have learned quite a few chords. I can play power chords that almost sound as if I know what I am doing. But I have not yet learned how to put it all together for songs. I learned the intro to a couple of songs but cannot play anything all the way through. I know the pentatonic scales but haven't yet figured out what to do with them. But I am enjoying myself immensely. I watch Steve Stine on youtube as he seems best at explaining stuff simply. There is a professional bass player that lives across the street that has offered to teach me how to play songs. He is actually just as good on guitar as bass. (He builds boutique 3-5k basses) Hopefully I get good enough to gig with him
 

stbhorn

Member
Messages
201
I started playing guitar at 30 and have played in a band for the past 12 years, I am now 49. Living the dream. 53 is not too old . . . :)
 

armadillo66

Member
Messages
2,038
63 and playing the best guitar of my life, amaze myself with what all I have learned in just the last two years. I had a great band, power trio in 2000, thought I had good chops, NOPE, not anywhere near as good as I am now. Wish I had those same gigs with my current Gnometown Heros lineup. We could have made a bunch of money
 

Sigmund Floyd

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
2,414
Yeah, have fun... but a good way to quit is to have too high of expectations. Practice, take lessons, jam with others. Guitar is hard but it's about music, think Johnny Cash. By your picture in your avatar you have a large forehead which indicates intelligence, so go for it!
 

sixstringfuel

Hotdogs kill
Messages
14,265
Never too old to rock n roll. I think you being older you would be more disciplined with practice and goals without a lot of the distractions that happen when your younger. Practice, determination, confidence and a little knowledge is all it takes to get there.
I think we all (I'm 55) keep the dream alive somewhat. I play out only a few times a year and that's good enough for me at this point. I do think if I get healthier I would increase it a bit.

Good luck! :dude
 

Steve Hotra

Gold Supporting Member
Messages
8,937
53 is young!
I know pedal steel guitar players in their 60's who gig here in Portland Or on a regular basis.
Keep going after the guitar!
 

jmp2204

Member
Messages
397
As long as you're enjoying yourself, effin' rock on, man! You need to grab any 'joy' that you can these days.

There are so many more resources now than when a lot of us started out, too. Youtube, online lessons, tabs, etc.... All great resources, but do go see other bands and ask questions about how they're doing it. You bass player friend is an excellent start, too.

I'm 54 as of last week and currently practicing my ass off for a band reunion gig in two months. Listening to recordings of our past glory has me both inspired and worried!
 

Lef T

Member
Messages
5,904
It's never too late.
Maybe you could find a couple of like minded souls in your area who would like to jam
and work up some songs that would match with your technical ability.
Playing with others is a great way to learn and improve.
 
Messages
281
Good luck, man. It's never too late! I suggest looking up song tutorials on YouTube. Some of them are quite good. Pick songs you're familiar with and play them slowly until you memorize the chords and licks. Then play over the originals until you get it.

The important thing is to keep a steady flow of inspiration. Watch videos of players doing incredible things. Maybe find local players to jam with on Craigslist or Facebook groups.

You'll learn much more and have a richer experience if you have someone to play with.
 

dmr34

Member
Messages
380
At 45 I joined a "School of Rock" type group for adults. It was a blast. Simple songs, we'd work on the parts, all of us learning both how to play the instrument, and how to play in a band, as we went along. Made some lasting friendships.

After about a year, 3 of us left and went out and started a "real" band. Which keeps me sane today. We played to 200 people last month. It felt like Madison Square Garden.

Go for it.
 

Headshok

Member
Messages
2,669
Yeah, have fun... but a good way to quit is to have too high of expectations. Practice, take lessons, jam with others. Guitar is hard but it's about music, think Johnny Cash. By your picture in your avatar you have a large forehead which indicates intelligence, so go for it!
That ain't me. That is a dude that looks like Beavis of Beavis and BUtthead fame
 

Headshok

Member
Messages
2,669
At 45 I joined a "School of Rock" type group for adults. It was a blast. Simple songs, we'd work on the parts, all of us learning both how to play the instrument, and how to play in a band, as we went along. Made some lasting friendships.

After about a year, 3 of us left and went out and started a "real" band. Which keeps me sane today. We played to 200 people last month. It felt like Madison Square Garden.

Go for it.
That is what I want to do. A fantasy would be to be a "Rock star". A realistic goal would be to get good enough to play to a couple hundred people and have them like what we are doing.
 

sahhas

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
16,067
i will use a bit of some talk we had in grad school for "art" (MFA in painting)
i believe the term "rock star" is a myth, that is really unobtainable for most people. i'm not sure what a "rock star" really is....i guess when i think "rock star", i think
of DLR from 1978-1985....i guess steven tyler is probably a rock star.....i think there is a difference between "rock star" and "guitar player", some can be both (say Jimi Hendrix),
but there are not as many. i think a lot of "guitar players" are people who like music and create music that falls in the vein of "rock music"...some say this form is dead (it might be).
i'm not sure if "rock star" is really viable anymore also.

when we talked about "rock stars", my professor in this class (this was from 1994), said that "rock stars" are people who live on the edge of society and don't conform
to society's rules and regulations....ie: they dress as they like, the do what they want (drugs i guess and die, or throw tvs out windows or ride motor cycles down
hotel hallways, or trash hotel rooms b/c there were brown M&Ms in a bowl....)

i suppose at one point when i started to play guitar at age 19, i dreamed of being a "rock star", but i knew i'd never be as good as hendrix, VH, etc etc...
and then at one point a few years ago i realized i'm pretty much an introvert, so being a "rock star" and the center of attention is really not for me.
i did do an open mic night a few years ago, playing 25 min of what i thought was my "best songs" i'd written-sang them and played guitar. not sure i was any good (probably not)
but i did it. i think i realized i doubt i could do this for a living-it was very hard and a very surreal situation! so i just like playing guitar for fun to entertain myself.
sometimes reality hits and you have to live with it.
i do admire the people who follow their dreams and really pursue them, i think those stories are very interesting, but a lot of it is about the struggle....
i suppose i should read some more rolling stone or spin, i bet there are a lot of stories about the current rock stars of the world...i'm probably way out of touch!
good luck!
 

Samsun19

Member
Messages
1,196
First, let me say as a career guitar and voice teacher, when I hear about your terrible experience with "teachers" just soloing through your lessons, I get very angry. Those idiots were not teachers, just guys with no ethical, or moral compass who took peoples money so they didn't have to work at some fast food restaurant. As I kid I ran into that once or twice, but had enough experience to dump them fast. And as a teacher, I have had many many students come to me after being ripped off, so I know how it goes.

To your question, I have had many students start in your age group, and much older. Some have worked hard and become players who perform. The bottom line is desire! You have to love it so much that you would rather practice than watch some TV, get drunk every night, or do any other non necessary distractions. You also have to be willing to be bad, that means be brave and play those open mics, even though your not the greatest yet, because "We All Learn By Doing", and putting yourself out there is going to help you learn twice as fast. Most people get confused and say there are going to get great and then perform.... That never happens, because you can't get great if you don't perform. Better to say I'm going to perform, and learn as much as I can as fast as I can, that way someday I will be great. Never speak negatively about your music, skills and abilities. Instead of I can't, Say I can, practice practice practice, then magic will happen, and you will!

Best of luck on your musical journey,

Sam

(For reference, check out what my students think about my approach... www.SunPathMusic.com )
 

great-case.com

a.k.a. "Mitch"
Messages
5,748
While I can't relate directly to the question - I started very early in life - I do know of many payers who started late and simply hit the ground running... worked hard and most of them are fine players now. Rock Stars? ƒ(no) but they enjoy it so very much that a coffee house is just as good (to them) as a packed stadium and screaming fans.

There is ALWAYS someplace that will welcome a player. Maybe it's just your backyard BBQ w/ friends. That can be very rewarding - to hear all your mates singing along to a simple tune. Maybe you're good enough and dedict=ated enough to get a paying gig someplace.. .why not try?

Good Luck my new friend and welcome to the chase. It's a race between our Dreams and Our Mortality... may your Dreams Win!
 




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