The middle age player....and playing with him or her

Discussion in 'Bad Dog Cafe' started by Flat6Driver, Jun 19, 2015.

  1. studio1087

    studio1087 Telefied Silver Supporter

    May 10, 2003
    Near Milwaukee
    Nope. Been married to the same fiery Irish woman for 24 years and we have 3 beautiful kids. I behave because I love her and she wouldn't hesitate to kill me. Life is good man. (-: The Irish are beautiful and they're nuts. 24 years. I know.
  2. Count

    Count Friend of Leo's

    Aug 23, 2009
    Tenterfield, Australia
    I started at 12 and by the age of 18 thought I knew everything. As I have got older I realised that I had a lot to learn. Now at 67 I know that I still have a lot to learn and probably never will learn it all so I just try to learn something new each day and play what I enjoy playing. One thing I have discovered is that no matter how good I get there is always someone better so Iv'e given up worrying about it and just try to learn from them.
  3. Mellencaster

    Mellencaster Friend of Leo's Silver Supporter

    Nov 22, 2012
    North Bay Ont. Canada
    I was in the same boat , life got in the way for many years and I had not challenge myself to be a better from the time I started playing at the age of 16 .

    For the most part I didn't have to better player for those years, I was competent enough to play with the family gatherings and such .

    It wasn't until I was 47 when I gave my daughter my first only electric guitar that I never used since I had it at the of age 17 . I also bought an amp for her to play on but like kids do they seem to lose interest after a short while but at the same time it was stirring my interest to start playing electric.So I bought my first telecaster. :lol:

    Now, I feel that I improved in the last three years than the first 30 years playing but I also feel like I'm just starting to scratch the surface and I have so much to learn , it's actually fun and humbling at same time :)
  4. Jakedog

    Jakedog Doctor of Teleocity Ad Free Member

    Mar 26, 2003
    The North Coast
    I started playing when I was twelve. Started gigging when I was fourteen.

    I'm 42 now. Still touring. Never stopped playing. Even with a family. It's just what I've always done.

    Still don't have a flippin clue what I'm doing. But people seem to think it sounds good. I keep getting work.

    The biggest thing I've noticed is the age swing of other players. For the first 1/2 of my career I was always the youngest member of the band. Then we were all pretty much the same age. Now I'm the oldest guy in the band. Doesn't seem to bother people most of the time.

    I don't ever talk to anybody who puts age requirements out when they're looking for players. Not even worth the breath. If you wanna miss out on the benefits of 28 years of experience in the trenches, knock yourself out. I learned the hard way too.
  5. Middleman

    Middleman Friend of Leo's

    Aug 29, 2007
    MV, CA
    Good for you man. Keep on trucking.
  6. xland

    xland Tele-Meister

    Mar 26, 2015
    Phoenix, AZ
    I started playing guitar a little over a year ago at 45 years old. It's something that I have wanted to learn to do for 30+ years but I knew that I did not have the patience or determination to see it through when I was younger. And now I could probably count on one hand how many days I have not picked up the guitar and played/practiced in the last year.

    It has been the one of the most challenging things that I have tried to do but it has been equally the most rewarding. If you would have told me a year ago that I would be able to do what I can now I would have not believed you. As all of you know, there are many days and weeks (and months) of self doubt when trying to learn to play guitar but I have continued to practice and strive to get better everyday. And when those break through moments happen, it's pretty magical. I obviously have a looooooong way to go to become a "good" guitarist but my friends and family are very impressed with what I've accomplished in the last year. And THAT is a great reward in and of itself.

    It's come to the point where I could not imagine not playing guitar now. It's just become some an integral part of what I do everyday. Oh, and the best part is that my wife is 110% supportive of me and my guitar journey. She's my biggest fan. :)
  7. VWAmTele

    VWAmTele Friend of Leo's

    Feb 24, 2005
    I started at 14, played a lot for 10 years. A few bands, nothing really good but a lot of fun. Put it away (Les Paul and an Acoustic) for 23 years and picked it up again 12 years ago at 47. It re-opened a whole new world. I play at least a few hours a night. I just try to get better everyday. I'm not a musician and I'll never be one, I just love playing. And music is huge - there is so much out there. I'll never run out of things to play and explore.
  8. Tele-Caster

    Tele-Caster Tele-Holic

    Feb 24, 2007
    Tahlequah, OK
    No "guesswork" here. I'm definitely middle-aged at 50 and finally starting to look the part. I still look younger than I am, but I no longer have folks a few years younger than me calling me "kid" or "young man" anymore.

    I've been playing guitar since 1980, when I was fifteen. From about 31 to 41 years of age, I had a medically-forced hiautus from the instrument. I'm mostly self-taught on the guitar, but did have a few years of bluegrass banjo lessons under my belt when I got my first guitar

    I know I've played with more "focus and vigor" over the last nine years than I did at any previous time in my history. I like to think I get a bit better each day. On the one hand, I'm not where my 21 year old self was as a player; on another, I'm probably not where I'd like to be, if I were totally honest with myself; but -and it's a big BUT- I'm happy where I am, where every day bring a little improvement, a little fresher perspective, and wheras I might not be the guitar player I was, I'm a better musician now than I have ever been. I

    That sounds kind of like 41 year old me. The me of the here and now doesn't care to be fast or flashy, unless that's what's needed to serve a song, and if I can get buy with creating the illusion of fast and flashy and still achieve the desired end goal, I'm cool with that. I don't worry anymore about whether I'm "bad" or "good" of whether others will dig what I'm doing or find fault in it, or whether what I do on the instrument is "right" or "wrong." What I do care about is getting the music I hear in my head out to the ears of an audience, even it consists of just me, myself, and I.

    Having gone from having virtually zero dexterity in my left hand, to only being able to play Telecasters with a certain neck profile, through being able to play other electric guitars, then some acoustics, and now, finally, being able to play Ovations and able to hold a flat pick again, I'm just grateful for whatever dexterity I have and my approach is one of making the most whatever ability I've got.

    Where do I see myself as a player? I don't have the technical aptitude on the instrument that I had from the age of 18 through about 25. From a technical standpoint, I'm not as good a guitar player as I was back in the day when I would play "Eruption' behind my back just because I could. I am a much better musician, better arranger, better at coming up with original parts, and I am, in all honesty, much happier being the musician I am now than the guitar player I once was. I continue to make focused improvements by discovering new-to-me hymns that are actually centuries old in some cases and giving them my own contemporary arrangement, or by coming up with new melodies and lyrics, or by hearing some song on the radio and trying to play it based off the melody I heard, and playing it my way rather than bother with a note-for note copy.
  9. Tony Done

    Tony Done Friend of Leo's

    Dec 3, 2014
    Toowoomba, Australia
    I'm 70 and I've been playing since I was 17, I think. Like many of you, it took a back seat when I started working. I never abandoned it completely, and it has help me through some hard times.

    Maybe I am a little different in that never been performance-oriented, it has always been about technical challenge and its potential as a retirement plan. I have gigged, but I never had the enthusiasm for it to have an audience-compatible attitude; I am, however, treated respectfully enough by the local musos. As a retirement plan, it is working out well, it keeps my mind alert - as in these fora - and my muscles in reasonable trim. I continue to improve at the things I'm interested in, albeit slowly, which have for a while now included guitar mechanics/electronics as well as playing.

    If I had my time over I would certainly do things differently, like learning jazz and it's associated theory, but that's just wisdom by hindsight. Fact is, I could have done worse.
    Last edited: Jun 20, 2015
  10. Matt G

    Matt G Tele-Afflicted

    Dec 6, 2012
    That approach pretty much sums it up for me, as well.

    In terms of general observations, I'd suggest that what I've learned is (a) buy good equipment once, and keep it; (b) think about the music more than about the equipment.
  11. teleman55

    teleman55 Tele-Holic

    Jul 9, 2007
    fox lake, il
    Great thread! I dunno, for me, just gotta play music, it's what i do, finally realized that, but i left it for a while, almost 10 years. Music was always around. My mom played piano, real good!. My dad sang in the choir. My older sister was a folk singer who later played in some rock bands. My older bro wasn't a player but was a Beethoven and blues fanatic always there with a new tune. There was a piano in the living room growing up but not a tv. Played french horn as a kid in orchestra and band from about 4th grade. then bass and guitar about 14. So then i got a band, I'm the singer, do the usual high school stuff, but we were good so got other gigs, could do that back then, just couldn't drink (lol) Not like that was really enforced. so then i'm 18 and in LA, then come back here for some can't miss deal that missed so here I am playing in blues bands (love that) but still trying a rock thing too and hear the first glimmer of punk rock and think, Oh, yeah! So that does well and the post of it does better so get to make some records and hear myself on the radio, but in the end it crashes and burns and I'm making enough for myself but all of a sudden I've got kids and not enough for them, plus I've got a bad taste in my mouth from bad record deals, etc., plus the kicker, tinnitus, got it kinda bad. So I got a Real Estate license (that was quick and easy) and said ****** YOU to the music business. For almost 10 years. I kept an acoustic guitar and a Pro reverb amp. That's it. I know a bass player who was more successful than I who has stayed away to this day, sold every last thing. In market research. But I couldn't stay away. One of my kids got old enough to play drums and said dad, what the ****** are you doing. He was right. So now I play for an R&B singer. We're all passed dreaming of stardom (lol) so we play casinos and such. And I got a part-time day job that dovetails with it. Hey. It's what I do.
  12. Redd Volkaert

    Redd Volkaert Tele-Holic

    Mar 23, 2003
    Cedar Creek, Texas
    I agree . . . .

    I say don't compete or compare.

    Like Pcampbell said;

    "I guess it's all relative. Measured against beginners, I must seem good, but against a lot of serious players, I'm bad.

    the key is to try to keep moving forward."

    This helps too:
    Play like nobody is watching and you'll have more fun

  13. J. Hayes

    J. Hayes Friend of Leo's

    May 18, 2005
    Virginia Beach, Va.
    I've been so damn lucky in my life.... I played full time in the SoCal area until I was three months shy of my 46th birthday and then moved the wife and kids to Virginia to get out of music and the musician's lifestyle which was causing some family rifts... When I got here I had a brother in law who was high up the ladder in local law enforcement (Chief of Police) and through him was able to land an easy job in a City Utilities warehouse where six months later I was the supervisor due to the death of the headman, bad for him, good for me.......

    Anyway I'm retired now and have been for 10 years this October 1st.. I've been a weekender since moving here in Oct. of '85 and usually doing a night or two here and there but I'm back now at age 75 1/2 playing three nights a week and usually an extra few nights a month. I've gotten some awards from the local Virginia Country Music Association such as "Instrumentalist of the Year" twice and the "Pioneer Award" and have pretty much got it made in this area as far as some of the other guitarists... My secret in longevity is that I've learned over the years to be "tasty" more than "firery" and never over play and try to do something to enhance the song and stay out of the way of the vocalist(s) and never try to compete with them...

    I've always tried to stay fairly current and learn different styles as time passed and not get lost in the past... I like effects and keep a full board of them and keep trying out new things... I have a friend who's a pretty decent picker who just uses a little delay and I'll go see him sometimes but it get's boring to watch someone who stays on the same pickup all night with the same tone. After awhile it sounds like the same song, just speeded up or slowed down...

    I've always tried to know a little on other instruments and have become fairly competent on the pedal steel and/or mandolin and do some gigs from time to time on just either of those instruments. I even get a little studio work at this late age and did one last week on bass which was very enjoyable....

    Money means nothing to me anymore as I'm not trying to make a living out of music anymore and I really enjoy it a lot more... I'd rather play a whole night with guys/or girls that I enjoy playing with for nothing that to play a good paying gig with an @$$hole or two and unfortunately there are quite a few out there....

    Finally, I'm at the point in life that I can't stand up to play anymore and have to use a barstool but I'll stay in the "trenches" as long as my fingers still work. I'm lucky to have a sweet wife who's my main "roadie" and does most of my setup except for the heavy lifting. If it wasn't for her I'd have to pack it in as I'd never be able to get my stuff setup..... I keep an electric guitar on a stand right next to my favorite recliner along with a small amp and usually have it on my lap and just noodle on the thing to keep my arthritic fingers working... If I don't play for a day or two it gets pretty painful but just using my hands keeps 'em limber.... I'm happy to say that at my age (75) I haven't lost the love of playing and it looks like I might never lose it, hopefully.......... JH in Va. (The resident curmudgeon of the TDPRI).....

    Attached Files:

  14. jglenn

    jglenn Tele-Afflicted

    Feb 26, 2010
    everett wa
    If I may add to WildCat's well written post,which is similar to my story.I am 60,been playin 45 years,am am at a similar place as he. I will go play an outdoor party or two a year,if there is no pressure,I get to play mostly songs I still enjoy from the past 60 years.Get to turn up the amps outdoors,play 12 songs,and not worry about what anyone thinks. I too would envy all the local great players,but realized these guys have played thousands of one nighters in 40 years to get to the level they are at.
    And by the way,I mostly play acoustic now at home,learning lotta,Cash,Haggard,John Prine,and lovin it.
  15. Downsman

    Downsman Tele-Meister

    Mar 29, 2013
    East Sussex, UK
    This is pretty much my story. Started playing just over 2 years ago as a 48 year old. Always wanted to, but never made it as far as an F chord before giving up the few times I tried. Then decided I'd make one final push, bought a CV50 and a Mustang 1 and off I went. Did the Youtube, approach rather than a teacher. 2-3 hours a day for a year to try and catch up a bit.

    I was lucky that I found myself in a band after a year, and that's been an amazing learning curve. And incredibly fun. A few covers but mostly writing our own songs so learning that new skill as well. Very creatively rewarding. The wheels are dangerously close to coming off that particular wagon after one of the guys decided we should be at a much more pro level than we are right now, and the added pressure isn't so much fun. I'm more of a "the journey is the destination" kind of person. Would love to reach that level, but can live with it if we take a long time (or never reach it). He can't, it seems.

    Where I am now, is that I'm finally getting a sense of what kind of a guitarist I'd like to become. Not sure the term for it, but kind of half way between rhythm and lead guitar. It's an awful name for a music genre, but Googling Jangle Pop finds the kind of bands I enjoy listening to the most, and a lot of the newer indie bands are influenced by that style. The good thing is this gives me a clearer target of what I need to work on to get there. Alternate chord voicing, arpeggios, sweep picking, spending more time practicing to a metronome to get my timing better etc.

    But I'll never forget that moment about 3 months in, when for the first time I noticed I was playing something that when I started out I physically couldn't do (a progression using barre chords). I'd been telling my kids for years that practice makes perfect, but it isn't really until something like that happens that you realise it's true. And my wife was passing by my study door when I was doing it and popped her head in and said "you're getting good at this". Which was nice :)
  16. pcampbell

    pcampbell Tele-Meister

    Jan 9, 2013
    Memphis, Tennessee
    My goodness, I am honored (immeasurably) to be quoted with approval by Redd Volkaert. Wow.
  17. ce24

    ce24 Poster Extraordinaire

    Jan 26, 2008

    this is me also. they have learned not to ask me to play the little 3-4 note trills that have no soul to them. my take is if you want it to sound like the CD then play the cd. that whole mind set is the biggest killer of the worship spirit. I do not do it and every time i play someone has always approached me after service to say how much they like what i do. i play maybe once a month.
  18. John Owen

    John Owen Tele-Afflicted Ad Free Member

    Jan 29, 2010
    Seattle, WA
    To pcampbell:
    That's what you get for giving the correct answer! I'd be framing that post if I were you.
  19. dlew919

    dlew919 Poster Extraordinaire

    Aug 6, 2012
    Started when I was 19. So just over 25 years. Always wanted to do it professionally and now do. Like those posters who said they have to play: yes. I'll come home after a gig and practice for half an hour before bed.

    I wish I was faster and smoother. I wish I didn't take so long to warm up. I wish I knew more theory (though I've got a decent grounding). I wishe I earned more! ;)

    What I'm working on now is tone: I've collected a few pedals over the last few years but am also tweaking knobs more. My rig has the tone I want.
  20. Kebmel

    Kebmel Tele-Afflicted

    Aug 8, 2008
    43.5* south
    At 54 I'm the youngest in my band, the only guitar player and lead vocalist.
    I started in church when I was 25, learned lots of chords because of that,
    and joined my first band when I was 40. I had one lesson and taught myself
    from books and just learning songs.

    We are old guys having a blast, we get to play a gig now and then, maybe
    every month on average, birthday parties, weddings the ocassional pub gig
    and if we get a modest payment then that's a bonus.

    The guitar/band is my hobby and outlet and where I do most of my socialising
    and without it I would be lost, I can't see myself giving it up ever.

    We play the music that the older generation want to hear which seems to be
    a bit of a rarity now. I was never one to learn guitar solos note for note, although
    the easier shorter ones I can do, and only the guitar players in the audience would
    ever notice. For me it's all about the groove and swing and I get compliments now
    and then along the lines of "I wish I could play like that" and "I really like how you
    played that song", sometimes "you sound like CCR, or ZZ Top, Canned Heat" etc
    which really creates a good vibe for the band.

    This helps too:
    Play like nobody is watching and you'll have more fun

    Redd ..... I have found this to be true too
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