Do you play or noodle ?

oldunc

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I started learning guitar 2 years next month when I bought my grandson a guitar for Christmas and the guitar came early.
I did what any grandpa would do , I opened the box and played with it.
Opening that box was like the scene out of the Wizard of Oz , when Dorothy opens the door and the world is in color.
It was like crack cocaine, I was hooked and still am , only problem is I'm pretty old to be new at anything.
I know I will never be great so I would rather instead of practicing something until it's perfect I would rather noodle and figure out where and how to play it in every spot I can on the fretboard or in different keys , to me it's more fun to just be mediocre and explore everything.
Are you ok with just being ok and just having fun?
Or are you driven to be perfect?
What you are doing is actually a vital part of learning the fingerboard, which you'll need for your improvisation to ever go beyond noodling. It is especially important to know scales that way, there are many ways to get around any scale and you'll need them all.
 

Knows3Chords

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I have always had a problem with paying attention and concentrating on a specific topic. It's been a lifelong task to fight it. I'm sure I would have been diagnosed with ADHD if it was around in the 60's too. My wife swears I have it. For me, getting back into playing the guitar (and some keyboards) has been a way of trying to exercise my mind in ways of concentrating and structure. I'm closing in on 60 and medically retired, so I look at it as preventative maintenance. It stills feels like a moon shot for me to be able to make it thru a whole song without making some kind of mistake.
 

trapdoor2

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I met a lifetime pro musician a month ago. Nice guy, former type A personality now mellowed in old age. I watched him practicing. Dog, please don't let me grow up to be this guy! He played chromatic, 4-note runs up and down each and every string for the full length of the fingerboard. D,D#,E,F... then F#,G,G#,A...then A#,B,C,C#... He was (according to him) both working out his LH stiffness and making sure he used the correct fingering sequence and dead even dynamic on the RH.

That's all...for 30 min. He's been doing that for 60+yrs. Calls it his "warm up". He's a former excellent player in old age, still plays violin in the symphony orchestra (and banjo, which is what he was practicing).

Nope, I'm happy being a noodler...except that I don't usually "noodle". I pick a tune and play it. I've never been much of an improviser, rarely use a lead sheet (though I can). I'm happier with Tab or sheet music...and my ears.
 

timbgtr

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Ι noodle more than I should. Despite playing 55 years, there is so much to improve and so much to learn. But I confess that at this stage, I find myself simply enjoying how nice my guitars sound. How well I play them gets less emphasis, probably unfortunately.
 

Strat Jacket

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I started learning guitar 2 years next month when I bought my grandson a guitar for Christmas and the guitar came early.
I did what any grandpa would do , I opened the box and played with it.
Opening that box was like the scene out of the Wizard of Oz , when Dorothy opens the door and the world is in color.
It was like crack cocaine, I was hooked and still am , only problem is I'm pretty old to be new at anything.
I know I will never be great so I would rather instead of practicing something until it's perfect I would rather noodle and figure out where and how to play it in every spot I can on the fretboard or in different keys , to me it's more fun to just be mediocre and explore everything.
Are you ok with just being ok and just having fun?
Or are you driven to be perfect ?
If I was driven to be perfect, I'd have given up on guitar 50 years ago. I play well enough to enjoy my own music and that suits me fine!
 

NHFlyCaster

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Couple of pillows behind your head and you can play lying on your back. Plugged or unplugged.
Sometimes I play laying down until falling asleep. I wonder what gets played when that happens with no thinking is involved? It might be funny to record/play back.
 

JSMac

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For as long as I've been messing with guitars, I've always been a noodler. I'll beat and intro or a lick to death then move on. Unless it's a simple song I rarely learn and play the whole song. I don't sing so there isn't the motivation to play a song all the way through. Other than occasionally sitting in on acoustic with my wife, bro-in-law and a guy they used to have a trio act with, I've never jammed with anyone.

Well that changed this week. I've done a lot of work on guitars and amps for a guy and we have since become friends. A while back he invited me out for a beer. He asked if I'd be interested in getting together to work on some songs. I agreed that that might be a fun thing to do. I have another friend that plays guitar and bass so I arranged an introduction. Over a beer, we discussed what our goals might be and how we might get started and picked a date to get together.

We were each supposed suggest two songs and work on them before our first meet-up. One guy got back with his two and we haven't heard from the other guy so it may be a duo to start with.

One of mine was Get Back. Over the past week I've been really woodshedding and, with the exception of a couple of licks, have learned both guitar parts and the bass line. I can almost get through the song and cover both guitar parts myself.

One of the other guys suggested JJ Cale's Crazy Mama. A pretty simple song but it really needs the swampy wah wah slide to sound right. I've been working on that and think I will be able to go in with a passable cover.

I've never spent so much time on a song and it's pretty exciting to learn that I can do more than I thought I could. Can't wait to get started. I think playing with others will take my playing to a new level.

But I love noodling and will continue doing it every day. ;)

Adding on: Both of these guys use to play in bands back in the day so that's even better, and because they are both friends I don't feel intimidated that they have more experience than I do.
 
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JustABluesGuy

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I started late myself, but have been at it for a while now. I do both. I enjoy exploring the guitar and think of myself as a perpetual student.

Sometimes I noodle around. Other times I am working on theory. I spend more time learning the guitar itself, rather than learning actual songs.

I do know that when I am preparing for the occasional performance, my skills improve much more quickly. The immediate goal of learning to play specific SONGS for the performance makes me up my game.
 

Linkslover

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There is no question that I play with more enthusiasm than talent.

I cannot read music at anything approaching a useful speed. Same thing with tabs. And, I have no desire to learn.

I have about 50 songs (mostly Grateful Dead) whose chords and/or vocals I can remember - most of the time (but Jerry and Bobby didn't always remember the words either). I'm told my vocal range is almost a full octave.

Most of the time, when I start to play a song the guys I sometimes play with recognize what song it is.

I've played some pretty good leads over the years and then had no idea what I just played.

I think that makes me a noodler.

LL
 

Swirling Snow

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I used to 'sell' lessons, so these are my opinions:

There's no question it's good to have a teacher help you avoid bad habits, and to make you practice that piece you need but don't like.

Eddie did not learn the things he's famous for from a teacher.

Over the years, noodling becomes self-reductive. You play and practice what you're good at.

Kids with real talent become "national level players" in three to five years, with or without a teacher. That could be you.

For players our age, I say, tune down and play as long as your joints will let you.
 

stxrus

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I’ve been playing guitar since I was 12. I usually say, “playing at guitar”. Several of my friends had guitars so we got together to learn tunes.

I played in 4 bands from 15-40. It was fun and I knew I would never be great

I took formal lessons at 52 from a guy that was a great player, that could play any style, and was a good teacher. The only downside was he decided that I should learn jazz guitar. I didn’t want to learn jazz. So I quit.

I knew scales and learned a lot playing with tunes I knew by noodling. I came up with some interesting leads doing this. I very seldom learn anything note for note all the way through.

I guess I’m a noodler and I have no issue with that
 

HaWE

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I try to practice some solos from my own songs.I use a looper and a Trio Band Creator and so I have my backing band always ready and around.But I say "try" - because there are also times when I just improvise a solo over some chords.It is all a question of the mood I am in.
But nowadays I do not have to practice to be prepared for a gig or a band rehearsal.I just want to have some fun.
So I have to confess : Yes, maybe sometimes I am guilty of "noodling". :)
 

jvin248

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Lions & Tigers oh Mi !
.

When you noodle ... you create new music
When your new music ends up on the radio ... you create a hit song
When your hit song gets played by other guitarists ... they are not noodling
When they are no longer noodling but playing ... they fail to create new music.

And thus, the reason for the advice "don't noodle" is an economic strategy by scheming rock 'n roll overlords for eliminating competition with their previously noodled hits!

You do all the noodling you want and don't let anyone tell you otherwise.

Fame and fortune await!

.
 

Buell

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Eh, I'm really not sure on the difference. If forced to define, I would say I noodle until I get a song structure going and then keep noodling until the song is complete. I guess at that point, I play.
 

String Tree

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I do both.
I still play ion a couple of part time Bands so, I have to be serious about learning and practicing songs most of the time.
I do however, allow myself to explore when the chance comes my way. Still a lot of fun.
 

Larry F

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To me, noodling is a pejorative term. But many players apply the term to themselves in order to appear modest.

To me, noodling in the pure sense entails playing fragments without context or care. It may be a useful process to the noodler, but it is torture for me to listen to, especially in a band context.

When I used to play with semi-serious musicians, sometimes a guy will start noodling any time the other guys talk through parts of a song that hang someone up. It's hard for me to tolerate when it impedes on others trying to work things out.

Back in the day, when we jammed with people, eventually they seemed to run out of ideas and energy. Too much of that, and I put the guitar in the case and scram.
 

Honga Man

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I guess I'm a noodler.

I wrote more, but then realized I should have read the other replies first.
 




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