That last 10% is a mother

Discussion in 'Guitars in General' started by fjrabon, Feb 10, 2020.

  1. the_Chris

    the_Chris It's All Been Done Before

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    I can really identify with this. It’s amazing how much I glossed over for years just hammering away with everything on at 10. There’s so many shades in there if you can dial it in between your electronics and the way you approach playing the instrument.

    I can’t begin to measure how much I don’t know on the instrument, but I can tell you with absolute certainty that I sound better when I’m working with limitations and spending less time tweaking.

    There’s no question this is the golden age of gear and you can do a lot with a little where previous generations didn’t have that luxury.

    OP, the simple fact that you know yourself well enough to believe you’re only 10% away shows you’re doing something right so keep it up!!
     
  2. fjrabon

    fjrabon Member

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    I think a lot of it is perspective as well, when it comes to the sort of arbitrary percentage thing.

    I teach a lot of complete beginners. So I get some perspective on what 0% truly is. My goal was to play in a band that I enjoyed the music we made, and I’d say in 90% of the way there. I started in my mid-30s, so my goal was never to be a master.

    I’ve got a good/great understanding of theory and my technical playing is about as good as I want it. As I was talking about, to me “that last 10%” that sets apart the “one in every crowd” from “one in a million” is more that being able to tap into “the inner flame” more than being able to play arpeggios faster or even more fluidly.
    That’s what I was remarking on more than anything... the idea that no matter how much I learn, or how much my technique might improve, the hardest part is really tapping in on a subconscious level. That was more the point than whatever arbitrary number I put on the percentages.
    But yes, if zero is “can barely play an Em chord” and 100 (for me, as far as what I want) is to be a blues rock player on level with somebody like Kenny Wayne Shepherd, then I’d say it feels like I’m 90% there. I can play in a band and entertain people.

    yes, my goals could be higher, and maybe they’ll change. But the tricky part is that my current goals have almost nothing to do with becoming a better technical player. Or learning more theory (and I love theory).

    Most of my current goals have to do with being able to better lock in on stage, hear what’s being played, feel what’s being played, hear what my inner flame is saying I should add and following that.
     
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  3. Vaifan

    Vaifan Member

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    You said basically what I would have. I've been playing since 1980. I still can't get that ever elusive 10% in grasp. I think it's just a concept anyway. Guys and girls that are the absolute greatest players always feel like they're not there yet, wherever "there" is. If you ever got there, what would be left?
     
  4. GreatSatan

    GreatSatan Member

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    i give this thread a 6/10
     
  5. Digital Larry

    Digital Larry Member

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    If you're at 90% after 3 years then you did way better than me. I'd say for the first 5 years I was about as fun to listen to as dropping a brick onto a china plate. 35 years later, I'm 98% of the way to sounding like "me". It's about 0.01% of the way towards Tony Rice and Al DiMeola I was shooting for.
     
  6. fjrabon

    fjrabon Member

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    I was pretty lucky. About 6 months into it I was able to throw myself into it pretty intensely and practice 4-6 hours a day every day for about a year and a half. I had a great teacher and mostly he helped me design a practice regimen that made the most of my time.

    I was also extremely fortunate that I had friends that basically forced me to start playing on stage in bands around a year into starting.

    it also helps that I really just want to play blues rock. With the occasional forays into country rock, hard rock and alt rock. I love al di Meola but I never had any desire to play that kind of music. I’ll occasionally tease sunny moon for two, So What or footprints, but that’s about as far into that world I ever delve.
     
    goodertone likes this.
  7. JosephZdyrski

    JosephZdyrski Member

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    I could care less about that last 10% of tone.

    I chase being able to play like this...



    And I realize even if I achieve that they’re will be another 10% more i now will see as possible and I won’t be satisfied until I’m there too... it never ends and never will. You’re Journey is just starting.... my Advice is don’t look for an end point because there isn’t one. The rabbit hole is as deep as you and your imagination are.
     
    Last edited: Feb 11, 2020
  8. haslar

    haslar Member

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    I'm not sure the 10% thing actually means anything.
    I think what matters, is the goal.
    As far as I'm concerned, over the last years I've done what I had to, in order to reach my goal: being able to entertain people in a semi-pro country-rock context.
    I think I've managed to do that.
    At a Brad Paisley level? Nowhere near, maybe 5% of the Paisley level.
    But for *me*, I am 100% where I wanted to be.
    I still work everyday to improve my chops!

    For reference, an excerpt from our last gig @Billy Bob's Country Western Saloon, Disneyland Paris:
     
    Emigre likes this.
  9. MatchFive

    MatchFive Silver Supporting Member

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    I've only got 96% to go..
     
  10. guff

    guff Member

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    Perfection is the enemy of good

    I just try to focus on sounding good with what's available, seeking the best available options (for me) to achieve that.
     
  11. Ray175

    Ray175 Member

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    As musicians we tend to focus intensely on squeezing the exact sound we want out of our equipment - by technique, amps, pedals etc.
    In a live situation, many of these nuances are lost in the mix, and just as importantly a very large proportion of people in the audience won't even be aware of the sound differences over which we fret so much.
    I think it's great to follow an objective in terms of the sound we want to achieve, but we mustn't obsess over it to the point that we loose sight of the "performance experience" aspect for our audiences......
     
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  12. outdoorpja

    outdoorpja Supporting Member

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    Davy is pretty incredible. Young, humble, insanely tasteful and talented. He's one of a handful of guitarists that are currently inspiring to me in my practice / progress.
     
  13. jrjones

    jrjones Member

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    It really just comes down to playing through your stuff enough to know how to pull the sound you want out of it. I remember listening to a guy plug a cheap Washburn into a solid state crate amp and sounding like a million bucks. Not that the amp or guitar are great on their own, but that’s he’s been playing it long enough to know how to get the most out of it.
     
  14. PvtKingpin

    PvtKingpin Member

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    I have the same exact feeling about JD Simo.
    The guy just absolutely kills it every time I hear him (+band, can't forget Adam and Andreleia) play.
    There seems to be some magic going on, flowing so easily.

    The reason I like Simo so much, is because his influences are very similar to mine and the way he improvises is sometimes so close to what I hear and feel, but don't have the knowledge nor skills to play.

    Got to get those 10,000 hours in.

    Also: he seems to make gear irrelevant, he (and others) will always sound amazing.

    Some people have reached a certain level where they can play everything they hear and feel inside.

    Probably that last 10% you're talking about.

    I think you can only reach such a level via playing and listening to as much music as possible.
     
  15. Digital Larry

    Digital Larry Member

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    Yeah I was totally self taught the first 5 years or so, mandolin and bass at the same time as guitar. Also in college, formed a few bands with other guys where I concluded that we learned to perform before we learned to play. It was all great fun. Finally, my goals as to what I wanted to do changed along the way. I still have my guitar heroes but realize my own limitations. Fortunately one does not have to be a virtuoso to enjoy playing and to offer entertainment to others.
     
  16. themannamedbones

    themannamedbones Member

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    For me, the last 10% has been all about not listening to my bullsh*t. It is not about a new guitar, or pedal, it’s about recording EVERYTHING and really listening. Finding areas to work on. Putting in at least 3 hours a day. And remembering why we got in this game (for me it’s Robert Johnson). Anyway great post. Good luck.
     
  17. dansworld

    dansworld Member

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    Wow, isn't this the truth. In the contracting world (EC, GC etc.) that final 10% or so is painful. From a billing standpoint, your final billing is tied to final completion and (if you're billing correctly) constitutes the majority of your profit.

    In my years as a low-voltage contractor I had my valued employees who were the "5%" guys- the people you send in who are skilled at nailing all of those remaining details that are holding up your money. You can be sure that they owned a piece of that final payment as well!
     
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  18. bobcs71

    bobcs71 Member

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    I can't say I am there or will get there but my best progress towards tone & note choice was from listening to recordings. I had the good fortune to do some studio recording and have live shows recorded. Often what I thought was good or bad in the moment wasn't accurate.
     
  19. T Dizz

    T Dizz Member

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    Been playing 32 years...I've got a long way to go. It's a lifelong jouney for most of us. That's the fun of it, isn't it?
     
  20. theruley

    theruley Member

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    And 90% of that last 10% is how much you practiced that week.
     

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