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Should have taken lessons

Discussion in 'Playing and Technique' started by Ubersooner, Jan 27, 2015.

  1. Ubersooner

    Ubersooner Member

    Jun 11, 2013
    I've been on here quite a bit lately reading about technique and working tons over recent months on improving my playing in a fundamental way. It occurred to me last night that if I had listened to everyone 30 years ago and taken lessons from a quality professional, I would be such a better player today. I've learned in the last year how hard guitar is to master, discovering techniques and concepts that I've never touched on that are the cornerstone of so much of the music I have loved and emulated over the years.

    I took the route of "get in a band as soon as you can and start gigging." Copped tons of licks from the greats and learned a catalog of songs across the rock spectrum and tried to play them note for note. I can't count the times over the last 30 years i've learned that what I thought was note for note wasn't. I played what made sense to me within my limitations as a player and pulled off "pretty close". Bringing the music into my wheelhouse unconsciously and stunting my growth, both in understanding and performance.

    So to all you instructors out there, I'm sorry. God bless you for the indispensable work you do in laying the proper foundation for musical growth. So ends my manifesto.
  2. guitarjazz

    guitarjazz Member

    Dec 29, 2009
    Can I have your gigs?
  3. dallasblues

    dallasblues Member

    Dec 12, 2008
    Dallas, TX
    I think a lot of us feel that way about our playing more often than we'd like to admit. Lord knows I have! It's natural to be aware of our shortcomings of musicianship and to even have regret for not addressing them earlier in life. But don't discount what you have learned. I truly believe there's value in the way you approached music then too. There's nothing wrong with playing the music the way it feels right to you. And you're never too old to learn technique and concepts. I too, and I suspect most of us did as well, took the road you did. I just wanted to rock as soon as possible. However, I've spent the past couple of years concentrating on theory and technique and feel like I've made some improvement. Believe it or not, home recording has changed the way I hear and think about what I'm doing on the guitar. I highly recommend getting some simple recording software. When you lay down tracks you have to play and listen very carefully to what's going on. There's nothing like crafting your critical ear to improve your knowledge!
  4. Twangcat

    Twangcat Member

    Feb 23, 2014
    Raleigh, NC
    Wow this thread really hits home for me. My entree into playing guitar almost 50 years ago was precisely as described by the OP. I heard Keith Richards play the opening riff to "The Last Time" and jumped into playing songs in countless bar bands. It worked, to a point. Then I did what I have come to know as something not uncommon, which is I simply got away from playing for about 10 years. Now I'm back at it with a much more focused agenda largely oriented toward building my chops as a chicken picker. I've noticed definite refinement in my playing, largely because I'm less pushed by song repetition now and more driven by developing physical technique and awareness of the fretboard. I'm not saying all of this well, but I certainly identify with the idea that I limited myself by not taking any lessons or even choosing to play with guitarists who could do things, and probably teach me things, that I couldn't do for such a long time. Regretting all of that at this point would be frustrating and a waste of time, and I think all of us are most happy when we see improvement and concentrate on what we can do rather than what we can not. As long as we're aware of the reality that we have a lot to learn and can make incremental progress, the guitar/music addiction is a worthy obsession.

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