Coulda..woulda..shoulda

BamaSurf

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Aladamnbama......
I am a soon to be 70 yr old self taught guitarist... although to some folks I play pretty good, I have been in a couple of good bands. Even though I know I ain’t that good. Spent most of the time working, raising a family and riding motorcycles. I have seen guitarists that are dedicated spending years taking lessons and honing their craft. When a “newbie” asks what I recommend as far as learning I tell them get a good teacher, learn your instrument and practice practice practice.
Coulda, woulda, shoulda!!
 

JL_LI

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I’m a soon to be 72 self taught guitarist. I had a long and productive career in bioengineering. I’m retired now and have no intention of returning to a life of discipline and work. I play to relax and explore my creative side. I’m not frozen in place. I’m still learning. But I’m relaxed about it. I notice that I keep getting better. I keep noticing things I should be doing better. So I’ll keep playing until I can’t. I won’t sweat what’s impossible for me. I’ll focus on what will increase my playing satisfaction. I practice and I play. They’re two different but related things. But coulda, woulda, shoulda? No way folks. I did everything I set out to do in my career and more. More than I’d ever imagined would be possible. Now it’s time to relax and enjoy the time I have left.
 

P Thought

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I'm in the club (does it have a name?) with you, though I've never been in a band (I did work out a set with a couple guys from school once, and we performed it at our school's "poetry slam"). I'm happy with what I can do, better than what I ever thought I'd be, but I know that I coulda. . .not so sure about woulda or shoulda. I keep working at it.
 

unixfish

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Way too many years here banging out short licks without really "learning". Guitar was a stress relief from my job(s). I am trying to practice technique and fundamentals now so I can progress.

I'm soon to be 58, so I have a few years to catch up. :D
 

Obsessed

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Montana
Self taught as well and limited experience in bands and performing in public. Coulda, woulda, shoulda? Good question. No regrets in my life so far, so … well … I’m starting to feel like I shoulda. I made a huge leap when I started fingerpicking, so perhaps I shoulda started that earlier. Yeah, my best friend and guitar mentor gigged his whole life and yet did as much as I did, so it makes me wonder. I am deeply moved by the escapades from the pros here on TDPRI, which really make me wonder.

So much to do, so little time. First world order angst for sure and I should count my lucky stars.

Yup, no woulda or coulda, but a definite maybe shoulda.
 

OmegaWoods

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Play along with TV every chance you get. Trains you to think fast, learn many styles and trains your ear. Been doing it for 40 years. I’m not that good any more but I still have fun.
That would require watching TV which I'm not prepared to do...
 

unixfish

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Shoulda gotten away from major scales decades ago.
Coulda learned minor and pentatonics instead.
Woulda learned the fretboard better rather than just playing licks.
Maybe things would have been different.
 

Fiesta Red

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I’ve been playing for thirty years (and I’m twenty years behind the OP in age), and honestly, I have had some similar misgivings about what I shoulda/coulda/woulda done…however…

I’ve always been very up front about what my musical goals were (and are)…

I don’t play very many covers; most of the covers I do play are fairly obscure…also, when I do play a cover, I don’t worry about perfectly reproducing a recording or performance by the original artist…I aim for the spirit of the song rather than a perfect recital of the song.*

*note: I don’t even like it when I go see a band and they sound exactly like their own records—I’d prefer a live version that may have small (or even large) changes in nuance, arrangement or feel…if I wanted to hear it exactly like the record, I would have stayed home and listened to the record.

My main goal has always been to play original music…now, I’m not so arrogant as to think that I’m some elite artiste whose talent outshines any and all musicians around them, nor do I think that my original songs (whether live or recorded) are ground-breaking pieces that will change the world of music…I’m (generally) not shaking any trees that haven’t been shaken before—or shaken better—but I’m also not rehashing the same covers that everybody of my generation has played 100,000 times.

Could I be better?
Yes…I am not a technically sound guitarist, nor can I play certain styles, genres or chords with ease…I cheat a lot on my chord fingerings…
But I’m not resting in my (very limited) laurels, and I’m not completely satisfied with what I do…I continue to try to improve on each of the instruments I play…

But because I’ve concentrated on doing my own thing, I generally sound good—or at the very least, decent—when I do that thing.

My goal—playing original music with original lyrics on guitar, harp, slide guitar and vocals—is often reached…and that makes me happy.
 

57joonya

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Depends on what your after too though. I never had any desire to be real fast like a Steve vai soloist for example. I enjoy paying songs and singing and doing stripped down solos - it’s what sounds good to my ear . I play with a bassist friend who is constantly preaching to me and talking music theory - it makes me wanna scratch my eyeballs out though . Them you throw a song at him and he needs to study it... where I could sit in and jam any simple rock song- just about . I don’t know, studying is not what I’m after in music , but I commend those who do as well , if that’s what gives them satisfaction
 

drewg

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952
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West of the mountains...
I’ve been playing for thirty years (and I’m twenty years behind the OP in age), and honestly, I have had some similar misgivings about what I shoulda/coulda/woulda done…however…

I’ve always been very up front about what my musical goals were (and are)…

I don’t play very many covers; most of the covers I do play are fairly obscure…also, when I do play a cover, I don’t worry about perfectly reproducing a recording or performance by the original artist…I aim for the spirit of the song rather than a perfect recital of the song.*

*note: I don’t even like it when I go see a band and they sound exactly like their own records—I’d prefer a live version that may have small (or even large) changes in nuance, arrangement or feel…if I wanted to hear it exactly like the record, I would have stayed home and listened to the record.

My main goal has always been to play original music…now, I’m not so arrogant as to think that I’m some elite artiste whose talent outshines any and all musicians around them, nor do I think that my original songs (whether live or recorded) are ground-breaking pieces that will change the world of music…I’m (generally) not shaking any trees that haven’t been shaken before—or shaken better—but I’m also not rehashing the same covers that everybody of my generation has played 100,000 times.

Could I be better?
Yes…I am not a technically sound guitarist, nor can I play certain styles, genres or chords with ease…I cheat a lot on my chord fingerings…
But I’m not resting in my (very limited) laurels, and I’m not completely satisfied with what I do…I continue to try to improve on each of the instruments I play…

But because I’ve concentrated on doing my own thing, I generally sound good—or at the very least, decent—when I do that thing.

My goal—playing original music with original lyrics on guitar, harp, slide guitar and vocals—is often reached…and that makes me happy.

Here, here to original music, and – when playing covers – to the spirit of the original, without trying to sing exact copies.

The more I read your threads, Fiesta Red, the less different I think we really are.:)
 

Cesspit

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Oct 16, 2014
Posts
961
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Oxfordshire England
There's a lot of us around, I learnt to play in the early 70s, self taught and I have done a bit over the years. Semi-pro for about 15 years, doing the day job then gigging, a little recording, supported some 'ex-famous' people and had a great time. Now we mainly record what we like and do the odd gig when we want. I am fairly proud of that, and how music has played such a big part in my life.
I feel lucky to be able to call myself a musician.
 

beep.click

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When a “newbie” asks what I recommend as far as learning I tell them get a good teacher, learn your instrument and practice practice practice.

I tell them, join a band and learn some songs. Doesn't matter how new you are, don't wait. Just DO IT. That's the CRASH COURSE. You can watch videos, learn from books, practice scales, but if you find yourself in the position of actually being the guitarist in a band -- it shows you what the real priorities are.

As a corollary, it's probably best to be the ONLY guitarist in that band. When you have no net, YOU have to deliver.

As a supplement, if someone wants the next level: WRITE a bunch of songs. Nothing like writing parts and arranging a song to grow your skills as a guitarist, and as a musician.
 

Fiesta Red

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Texas
Depends on what your after too though. I never had any desire to be real fast like a Steve vai soloist for example. I enjoy paying songs and singing and doing stripped down solos - it’s what sounds good to my ear . I play with a bassist friend who is constantly preaching to me and talking music theory - it makes me wanna scratch my eyeballs out though . Them you throw a song at him and he needs to study it... where I could sit in and jam any simple rock song- just about . I don’t know, studying is not what I’m after in music , but I commend those who do as well , if that’s what gives them satisfaction
I have a friend like that…listens to outrageously intricate progressive rock and metal (yuck), talks a big game on theory and all that crap (“Yeah, if a guy can’t understand playing a Mixylodian scale in F#m demolished 7 in the third phase of Sagittarius with Mercury rising, can he really call himself a guitarist?”), but he struggles mightily to play with other people, or even a whole song…and forget trying to improvise…it has to be set out far in advance and exactly like he heard it in his head (whether that’s accurate or not).

He can nail EVH’s “Beat It” and “Eruption” solos, because he practiced 8 hours a day for 12 years, but there’s no context and no groove around it…and if he’s playing those songs with somebody, they can’t deviate one note or it throws him off entirely.

He was recruited by my daughter to play guitar in her band; she sent him copies of the songs (mostly covers), notes about the key changes, bridges, etc., and any arrangement changes she made. She sent this to him several weeks in advance.

…and during the first rehearsal, he seized up when she threw a simple Johnny Cash song at him…he had to sit down to write some tabs/charts to play the rhythm line to “Jackson”!
It wasn’t like we were playing a Beethoven symphony with multiple movements—he just had to play the rhythm line in C, (I was playing the lead on harmonica)…
To his credit, he finally nailed it, but they had to practice it dozens of times…it blew his mind to play that Luther Perkins Rhythm Thang for a few minutes straight, and he truly freaked out; he also had a hard time playing a couple of other basic rhythms within the framework of the songs she chose…

My daughter (you know, the leader of the band) got frustrated because he basically shoe-horned some songs he’d practiced (which weren’t on the set list she’s assigned to him), and got slightly offended she didn’t want to add them to the performance—even though they stylistically didn’t fit within the rest of the show…she compromised and added one of those.

My drummer (who’s also my daughter’s drummer) said he’d give him another chance, but said he really doesn’t want to play with him any more, unless he shows up prepared and develops a sense of groove…my drummer said, “I’m supposed to be the metronome, not him!” :lol:

Later, I got frustrated with him when he repeated the same joke at least fifty times, “Yeah, here’s [Fiesta Red’s] new song…follow me, boys…it’s in E…a-1-a-2-1-2-3-4…
(then mime playing an exaggerated off-tempo and off-key 12-bar rhythm, kinda like a drunken Jimmy Reed rhythm where the player had just started the heroin knods),
”…just like every other blues song ever written!

I chuckled—I know blues and Americana can sometimes be a bit simplistic, but after 25 times, I finally said, “Ok…show me one of my songs that is off-rhythm, off-key and that stupidly basic? And show me what have you written?”

He laughed, and kept repeating this joke one too many times until I turned it around on him…

Let me play a atmospheric backing track into a looper pedal and then repetitively masturbate my guitar neck over and over for the next 29 minutes, until everyone either falls asleep, leaves or shoots themselves out of boredom and disgust.
He got offended; I told him that was the same thing he’d done to me at least 50 times.
He apologized, but later repeated the joke again…he just doesn’t get it.

I don’t get recruited to play in straight cover bands for pop and rock music, but that’s not what I ever wanted to be…if you need a guy to fill in some blanks on harmonica or guitar or slide guitar (or recently, Lap Steel) in an Outlaw Country, Classic Rock and Blues band, I’m your guy…plus, I can sing decently.

I know I’m not a good guitarist, especially in a technical sense, but I’ve played—and gotten good feedback and response—from crowds as small as a living room jam up to 3,000 people on an outdoor festival stage…give the audience something to hang onto by creating a groove, and you’ll generally see butts getting out of seats and onto the dancefloor, or at least shaking (said) butts.

Get onstage and wank away like Plini or Yngwie, and you’ll loose 99% of the audience—and that remaining 1% (who are Plini or Yngwie-style fans) will criticize your technique.

Play to the song, not the scale, and that will (generally) make you a good band member.


Here, here to original music, and – when playing covers – to the spirit of the original, without trying to sing exact copies.

The more I read your threads, Fiesta Red, the less different I think we really are.:)
Scary to find another mind that sick, ain’t it? :p:D
 
Last edited:

Fiesta Red

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Nov 15, 2010
Posts
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Texas
I tell them, join a band and learn some songs. Doesn't matter how new you are, don't wait. Just DO IT. That's the CRASH COURSE. You can watch videos, learn from books, practice scales, but if you find yourself in the position of actually being the guitarist in a band -- it shows you what the real priorities are.

As a corollary, it's probably best to be the ONLY guitarist in that band. When you have no net, YOU have to deliver.

As a supplement, if someone wants the next level: WRITE a bunch of songs. Nothing like writing parts and arranging a song to grow your skills as a guitarist, and as a musician.
Yeah, I see a lot of kids who learned off YouTube (which is a good resource and a good tool) but have no idea how to play with another person. They can whip out some spectacular solos, but they have no soul, only technique.

I liken guitarists like that to watching YouTube clips of the stunt from a movie, but no context to why the guy is swinging off a bridge with a cable and the pretty girl holding on, while he’s shooting 423 aliens with a handgun whose magazine only holds 9 bullets (and of course, a perfect head shot every time)…ok, that was impressive and cool, but what in the heck is the movie about?

So kid, you shredded this impossibly difficult lead guitar part at 275 bpm for six minutes straight, but that’s just a stunt show—what’s the song about? Even if it’s an instrumental, you gotta move me or I’m not listening again.
 




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