Who is happy with their playing/sound?


Lots of threads deal with improving our chops and/or tone. Is there anyone out there who is happy with their sound or technique? I know things can always be improved but some people seem to obsess about it endlessly, always buying a better axe, a better amp, better pickups, new pedals.

I think there comes a time when you have a good enough axe and equipment, you know how to play the thing, and you just have to get down to doing it. Kind of like when in karate class when sensei says it's time to fight. There is no more adjusting of your gi or belt, you focus and just go to it.

I for one am pretty happy with my current sound (equipment) and chops. I know there are still lots of things I can't do technically that I work on, but overall I can do most of what I need to do very well. And there are some things I have decided I have no interest in learning how to do.

I'd just like to hear from anyone else who is content with their current sound and playing. Not that we can't all get better and improve with practice, but there has to be someone out there who feels good about where they are and what they do. I sometimes get the impression that us guitarists can come off as a bunch of whiners, and that's not me and I don't think that's you.


Silver Supporting Member
I'm finally at the point where I feel like I have it back together after dealing with tendonitis for years. Haven't gigged in a long time because of it. I've gotten a good bit of endurance back and feel that my ear, chops, and musical sensibilities are better than they've ever been. So, hopefully, I can get back into the local club scene and do some open blues nights to start off with. We'll see how it goes. But right now I'm feeling pretty good about my playing and tone after a long period of frustration. So I'm happy but will always be working at it, pushing myself (now that I can). Been hard at work on Sheets of Sound for several months now.

As far as equipment, I have to admit to being spoiled with top notch guitar gear. No complaints there and haven't had any in a long time. I do get a kick out of getting new things to try though. So I do a fair amount of buying and selling. But it's more of a hobby/fun type thing than not being satisfied with my tone.

The biggest tone improvement I've had came from getting my hands back in shape.



Gear wise, I’m finally completely satisfied. Basic set up is a PRS McCarty Rosewood, Tonebone Classic (after 2 million pedals, I’m finally happy), and my Top Hat Club Royale 2x12. I own many other pedals, and several guitars and amps, but… If I got rid of everything else, I’d probably be OK.

Chops wise, I’m satisfied too. Although their stuff isn’t considered that “hip”, learning to play guitar when you needed to be able to nail stuff by Paul Gilbert, Nuno Bettencourt and all the other Van Halen variants, has helped me immensely. With what my gigs call for now, I just sit back, jam and have fun. The past few years has brought me to a study of Jazz harmony. Music wise, there’s not really a better way to fulfill the intellectual side of music. It has helped me a great deal in ready charts at gigs and my improvisational skills. By no means have I arrived, so I still practice around an hour & 1/2 per day. Wish I had more time, but I’m also an accountant and a husband.

Being a good musician takes diligence, and you must asses your goals to apply due diligence. After 17 years I’m glad I can truly say I’m happy now…

Mark C

At the gig, I forget it all and go for it. So I am happy at that point. A lot of what I am unhappy about comes from my own personal laziness. I know the theory and I know how to learn by ear and apply all this stuff - I just need to get off my duff and do it. Everyone can always improve, but you have to be able to enjoy the moments in between learning and play for fun.


I feel pretty good about where I'm at & where I'm going. Although, it took years of study & lots of $$$. Specifically schooling, as I worked myself through a B.M. from Berklee & a M.M. from Boston Conservatory.

I was always a creative little bugger, but that's not always enough. I spent all my life trying to feed the creativity a healthy dose of knowledge and background in; music history, theory, & different styles, & of course training my ear.

Now, I feel as though I have come back, full circle to the music I grew up with, the stuff in my heart. Not only do I feel I have something to add, but I feel I have the facility and knowledge to do it pretty well.


I'm VERY happy with my gear, i have four great amps and a couple of great guitars. If I sound bad at least I can't blaim the gear;) .
My playing could be MUTCH better but considering work, family, house and all the other stuff i don't have time with i cant complain. I think my latest clip (Fire In the Kitchen) sounds rather good. Can be found in the soundclip section.

Brian D

Originally posted by Old Tele man
Brian D does your "handle" Procrastinator mean that you're a professional crastinator?

BTW--what does a crastinator do?
I really should post a definition. I'll do it tomorrow...



i move between being somewhat satisfied to wanting to sell all my gear and start my new interest in collecting twist off bottle caps. i put in the hours on this stuff and cold molasses moves faster than my growth. but then i beat myself over anything. if i could only build speed and accuracy and play with some confidence.

unfortunately, natural talent is not something you can learn.

but, i keep doing it because i love it,



scottyboy, do you have a metronome or a drum machine (preferable)? Will help with your speed and accuracy immensely! Please, do yourself a favor, asses your budget and invest in one of these. I've worked with a time keeper for 17 years, still need to "sync up".

Member 1762

When it comes to electric guitar, I'm pretty happy with it. On a gig, definitely. When I sit in my house with my ear to the grill cloth I can nitpick and find all kinds of things not to like. Playing could be better. Hand tone could be better. But overall, things are ok in the world. Others say its good, I think I am just overally critical on myself.

Now on acoustic, I like the way I sound but want to play better.

On bass I feel pretty much one with the instrument. Solid on my chops, strong on my time. Tone is on, playing is on, it all feels good. Also, I love playing bass in a band. It's such a deceptively powerful instrument in an ensemble.

My alto sax playing and tone really sucks these days though :)


Silver Supporting Member
I'm perfectly happy with my sound and chops...

That is, until I hear Ed Degenaro, Richard Bornman, O'Donel Levy, George Benson or Pat Metheny!

Matt Gordon

Senior Member
Originally posted by jzucker
I'm perfectly happy with my sound and chops...

That is, until I hear Ed Degenaro, Richard Bornman, O'Donel Levy, George Benson or Pat Metheny!
Or Scott Henderson, Jimmy Herring, Andy Most, and you! I'll never be happy with the playing, never. Just too much to learn, including your book, one that gets us a little frustrated in a Ted Green sort of way! My fingers will never forgive you. :mad:


I am not really satisfied with my gear, but I know my gear already out paces my playing.

I have a PRS McCarty IRW and like it really well. The wide fat neck plays nice, but it is hard to wrap your thumb around (necessary on some tunes). I am considering getting something with a nice clean sound and a smaller neck like an Ernie Ball Music Man "Luke".

I am a bed room player so I went for a Vox Valvetronix Amp. I get decent sounds at low volume and a wide range of effects at low cost. But....Really would like to have that nice tube tone. At some point I would like to have a Fender Twin for cleans and a Marshal DSL or TSL for bite. But since my playing doesn't warrant the investment so I'll stay where I am.


Silver Supporting Member
More often then not ...
But when I hear a geat deal of the guys here who post clips
in our member's section ... I'm instantly humbled ...


Time Warped
I am happy with my sound, but always working on my playing. Like Joseph said, When I hear clips posted here, I too am humbled, and I go back to work on the playing.

The Captain

I'm happy and content in many ways, but still working on improvement.
The gear is fine, and I have not made any significsnt changes for a while, and don't intend to.
The chops are a work in progress.
My recent elevation to band status has helped a bit.
It's a hobby, no point in beating myself up so much it's no longer fun.


I'm happy with my gear and have been for almost a year now. I have bought one new amp in a years time and thats saying something!! I was going through amps like water until I found what works for me.

My playing, that will always need work and I dont think I'll ever be content with the way I play or I'll never be able to grow. As mentioned above, I'm good but not great but playing music regardless of my talent is better than not playing at all.


Silver Supporting Member
There's really little point in being negative about the way you sound. Playing music is an uplifting experience, and so many of us choose to pollute it with self-centered feelings of negativity, i.e. "I'm nowhere near as good as I need to be" or "such-and-such is so much better than me."

Music is beautiful, even flawed music, and it's not necessary to martyr oneself with feelings of inferiority to learn more about it. In fact, on my own personal journey, I've found that it was the insecure feelings of inferiority/incompleteness that hampered my development. Conversely, it was when I was fortunate enough to experience the self-unaware feelings of excitement about music--and the resultant lack of caring about how I measure up--that I was freed to learn and progress at an incredibly rapid pace.

Well said.

I recently redid my kitchen. I put tile around the counters and behind the stove, painted, resurfaced the floors. Most people walk in and see a vast improvement. I walk in and see all the inperfections - those places where the surfaces didn't match up exactly right.

My music tends to be this way. When listening back, the imperfections tend to stand out more to me than all the things that were good about the music.

That said, I do take great joy in playing. I've mellowed out with the self criticism and the need to be competitive. When I hear great players, I tend not to think about how bad I am, but rather how high the ceiling can be for musical achievment.

At age 37, I have a realistic idea of good I can get in this lifetime. I try now to just enjoy the journey.

One thing to think about is how non-muscians look at you. To them, what (little) I have is a true gift.

As far as tone goes, I'm thrilled with each gig. I've got as much tone as can be purchased. I continue to work on the elements of tone that can't.

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