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

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

  1. tele salivas

    tele salivas Poster Extraordinaire

    Sep 5, 2008
    Mounds, OK
    "Play like nobody is watching and you'll have more fun.."

    Sounds about right. I don't have to fake it , though.:lol:

    I started when I was 13/14, was into punk and metal, and then got more chaotic and noisy from there and as I got older I got into country music, after almost like a Shazam! moment. After that, I could barely stomach fuzzed or buzzed out guitar chords. Problem was, my previous stylings, which were really ingrained in my playing did not translate to country music at all. Sure I could pump some stuff out with some practice, but I wasn't feeling it like I thought I should, it wasn't flowing.

    Then I realized what I was really trying to do was emulate the steel guitar player. I got a pedal steel and it all clicked again, I fell in love with playing music again. I don't care if I'm playing along to records or in front of 35 people, I got another ace up my sleeve. And getting older isn't a bad thing when yoru behind the steel. Almost everybody is older behind the steel. :lol:
  2. mad dog

    mad dog Friend of Leo's

    Jun 27, 2005
    Montclair, NJ
    Been playing a long time now. Best things I ever did:

    - Realized it's a relationship with these instruments ... you have to keep picking them up, no matter what.
    - Experimented with open tunings and slide.
    - Never stopped listening to jazz, fusion, alternate stuff, blues, country, indian classical.

    It kept me in the game, and set the stage for a late surge in interest and ability. I've learned much more in the last 10 years than in the preceding 30. Played more, gigged more, rehearsed regularly. Slowly, really slowly, got better. And it's still happening. Started jazz studies earlier this year. Nothing dramatic or immediate, but it's influencing my playing and phrasing.

    I hope other players and listeners will be patient with an old guy. So much more music to play, and I'd really like to gig more right now.
  3. Toto'sDad

    Toto'sDad Telefied Ad Free Member

    Jun 21, 2011
    I just gotta ask, are you living on Tulsa time?:D
  4. Jimmy Dean

    Jimmy Dean Tele-Afflicted

    Jun 2, 2009
    Portland, OR, houseboat
    I am doing more, musically in my 60's than I did in my 40's. In my 40's I moved to Portland. I did not connect with other musicians or venues, so I became jaded & stagnant. Sold all my guitars, amps, everthing. Took African drumming classes, learned to play didgeridoo & Native American flute. Got another guitar (Squier 51) in my 50's, but didn't seriously get back into it until I was 58. Since then I have put together a couple of nice rigs (guitar & bass). Taught myself to play bass. Took voice & theory lessons. Learned to play bass & sing. Am able to pick things up by ear much faster. Hung out at jams & open mikes. Hooked up with a guitar player & a drummer my age & we rehearse weekly. I really feel my best days are ahead. Sure my fingers don't work as good as they used too, but I've learned to play smarter.
  5. bblumentritt

    bblumentritt Tele-Afflicted Platinum Supporter

    Dec 3, 2012
    Austin, Texas
    I've been playing guitar for 40+ years. I play better now than I use to, because I keep learning more and more. My fingers may not be in addition good a shape, but my playing is smarter and more knowledgeable.
  6. songtalk

    songtalk Friend of Leo's

    Sep 5, 2014
    Greensboro, North Carolin
    At the risk of sounding incredibly "lame" and "cheesy".....I find the content of this thread beautiful and utterly human. The answers to these questions are largely the essence of who we are as people in a lot of cases it seems.

    TDPRI is a flame beckoning all of us, wayward moth-men, as we try to figure out why we did/are still doing it after x amount of years.

    We are all expressions of the post industrial "manchild" archetype. Chasing our dreams and passions and re imagining them, flickering in and out of focus, the obsession.

    It's hard to imagine what I'd be doing or who I'd be without music.

    Thank god I don't have to.
  7. Flat6Driver

    Flat6Driver Friend of Leo's

    Jan 14, 2013
    DC Burbs
    Occasionally when I feel low, I re-read this thread and it makes me feel a little better. It's good therapy of some sort.
  8. GuitarJonz

    GuitarJonz Poster Extraordinaire

    Mar 16, 2003
    Started playing at 10, after some air guitar on my Mom's frying pan...a real guitar and lessons came for Christmas. Played in a country rock band back in the 70's, then later, when real life hit, with jobs, wife and houses, only played in the basement for my own amusement, with occasional jams for 35 years. Now gigging regularly in a classic rock band with a bunch of similar relics. Big fun, keeps me out of the bars, oh wait, we play in bars :)
  9. HotDan!

    HotDan! Friend of Leo's

    Oct 2, 2013
    Belleview, Florida
    I come from a family of musicians so I really don't remember at what age I began playing. I played in a rock 'n roll band in high school which was also good for always having a lot of girls hanging around too but maybe it was the letterman's jacket or the car...

    I'm mostly family tutored and self taught but I've been in and out of bands my whole life and have played with guys way better than I am. A lot of pointers, tips, instruction and just plain 'try it like this' stuff along the way.

    I still do 50's rock 'n roll and classic rock but mostly country these days. I don't know if I've ever been 'good' but I've always gotten by. Sometimes I remember myself as being pretty decent and other times not so much. I think it depends on who you play with...

    I get a lot of good stuff from YouTube and go there almost daily during my practice time for something. I haven't really noticed a diminishing of actual skill yet but I sometimes can't remember how to play songs that I've played for years...Just not recently.

    I'm nearly twice as old as the next oldest person in the group of folks I'm playing with these days but they are all mostly younger anyway. Our fiddle player is a 20 year old girl and her brother, our bass player is 19. His mustache and a good crop of whiskers make him look a little older and she has...Well...You know...Other stuff. Who the heck can guess female ages anyhow? The rest are all thirty-somethings. I've been lucky in that I've never really shown my age so we all fit and no one really stands out.

    I practice daily and we have band practice three nights a week. I equate it to going to the gym. It's a requirement if you want to stay in shape. I've been playing a long time and I continue to learn. There are limitations for each of us, though and the idea is to expand them and simply not try to play beyond your current ones. That alone will make you sound 'good'...
  10. Steve 78

    Steve 78 Friend of Leo's

    Oct 27, 2015
    Melbourne, Austraila
    It looks like this thread is resurrected, so I'll chime in.

    I'm self taught. I played live from 19 to 34. Pretty much all original stuff, some metal, alternative, etc. I've never been a great player or a shredder but I think I'm a decent song writer. I've never made money from music!

    I used to write songs which were above my skill level to improve my playing. That worked for a while but then it got to the point where I was playing stuff which was too hard and didn't really sound any good musically.

    I've barely picked up a guitar in 3 years - 2 young kids. I think in about 6 months time I'll get back into it but it'll be tough. I'll have to make opportunities to practice, but I'm very keen. I've still got a lot to say, musically. When the kids are older, I'll probably spend more time at it, maybe even take lessons.

    It's good to have a focus and look for ways to improve but I think unless you are a professional musician paying for food and rent with your earnings, then it's important to keep it fun. I always played my best but I never worried that I wasn't a virtuoso. I had a blast, met lots of great people, did some small overseas tours, etc. I know people who got so caught up in perfection that they never even got on stage and the years have slipped by and I think it's sad that they missed out because of that.

    So my take on it is, do what you can with what you've got.
  11. Freejack

    Freejack Friend of Leo's

    Apr 26, 2011
    Nederland, CO
    Yep, older guy starting a few years back when my Ex said "either sell it or take lessons" :) I was pretty anxious about taking lessons but I signed up and the instructor was awesome (still is, seeing him again tomorrow night).

    I'm not sure I would have kept up on it though had it not been for Rocksmith. Very very motivational to me. Got me playing regularly (nightly almost) up to 614 hours since 2014 was released in Oct of 2013 and 1111 hours on the first release when I got it in Dec of 2011.

    I've become much more familiar with the guitar and my fingers have many of the patterns down. Going to an instructor off and on has let me learn the things you can't learn with Rocksmith.

    I've been on a Student stage three times now and played with a band for one of those times. I have friends come out (not as often as I'd like) and I'd like to step up and play regularly with a band. That's the hard part. Finding someone at my level or at a higher level who's willing to put up with my muddling about until I'm good enough to actually play with :)


  12. 4pickupguy

    4pickupguy Poster Extraordinaire Silver Supporter

    May 12, 2013
    Fort Worth, Texas
    I played professionally for about 13 years or so. I had to supplement my "hobby" by "working" at a music store. Then completely stopped playing for 17ish years... I'm 53 now. I am a completely different style of player than I was back then. Although I hungered to be in a fusion band I had a family so I always had to forsake "art" for the highest paying gigs. This pretty much meant I was a human jukebox. At the time one could scratch out a decent living in the right country band. I got lucky by landing in a good band with really great guys. In fact they all still play too. Our drummer (Randy Rainwater, goes by Keach) has played ever since in Lonestar. Anywhoo, I have a jam band of guys my age and would love to play a few gigs again. I am only now getting my "fingers" back and love to write tunes just beyond my ability. Just finished a couple of country/fusion tunes (trying to coin the 'counfusion' genre). Thanks to Sound Cloud I'm getting to collaborate with some players who are miles beyond my playing. Its really, really fun now!! Always learning....
  13. AJ Love

    AJ Love Friend of Leo's

    Jul 10, 2005
    Madison WI
    This is a great thread and I missed it the first time around, so thanks for resurrecting it.

    I'm about to turn 50 in a few months and have been playing since I was 17.

    I've played professionally and semi-professionally for many many years. I've had periods of wasting time not getting any better and periods of time working very hard. In the last 7 years or so I've mainly played in traditional Blues bands and have been very fortunate to play in the bands of a whole bunch of Blues Hall of Famers. I've had amazing mentors in the Blues

    I've also played some Honky Tonk Country, Jamband/Fusion & Reggae music onstage, even backed up a Hip Hop group at a couple of gigs..

    More times than not I have flat out sucked onstage. As in embarassingly bad. As in I'd be happy if it didn't end up on Youtube.

    I feel like time has passed me by in order to get good enough at playing Country music to go to Nashville and be able to keep up. Time might have passed me by to become competent at playing Jazz music too. I think of all the time wasted and it makes me feel heartbroken a little.

    I am capable of going to Chicago and playing traditional Blues with the very best and that is a joyous thing. Lately I've been working at getting better.

    I do love music and love the Telecaster
  14. fgbass

    fgbass TDPRI Member

    Sep 3, 2014
    bridge city texas
    When I was young I play for fun, now at 65 i play for money
  15. TJNY

    TJNY Friend of Leo's

    Feb 25, 2005
    Orange County, NY
    I turned the big 50 in October. I picked up the guitar at 36 and was self taught until I took lessons for about a year. I have been playing out in bands since the mid 2000's. I am not a very good player. But I sing well and definatley believe in the fun angle and don't need to drink my face off to get there! I have many distractions that take my practice time away but that doesnt stop me from being the rhythm guy 99% of the time. Luckily, I have fallen in with some seriously talented guys (Berkely grads & teachers, former Nashville blugrass session guy, Broadway pit fellas, ect) who play wih me regardless and its got to be because they appreciate the passion for making music even if I have a very limited knowledge base. I am blessed. And have a lot of fun.
  16. rebelwoclue

    rebelwoclue Poster Extraordinaire Ad Free Member

    Jan 15, 2012
    I started at 12 years old with my dad's old SJ. I've never taken a lesson- just chord books. Then at 16 my dad needed a drummer so away I went and began playing in the bars & halls and worked my way through school. 8 years later, I needed a change and wanted to get back to guitar so I began playing lead in the band. I did that for a couple of years until 1984 when I had to make the decision to go after a "real" career. So, no more playing except for the odd house party for 26 years!:(
    In 2010 while on an assignment in South Africa I wanted to get back into playing a little just for my own enjoyment and bought a used MIM tele and a little Marshall SS amp. Since then I've jammed with friends wherever I go, learned a lot from others' music and totally enjoy myself- and I've actually gotten better than I was "back in the day".
    I just jammed with some bluegrass pickers (with a tele and a little Blues Jr.) a couple of weeks ago and had a fantastic time doing stuff I have never attempted before and didn't make a fool out of myself! (this was quite an accomplishment IMHO) Sure it could have been better, cleaner, but I had fun and the other pickers enjoyed jamming together as well- no dramas.
    Currently I travel back & forth to Brazil and jam there with the locals doing bossanova type stuff and latin beat music (mainly in Am) and loving it.
    Let me tell you, my ear has gotten a lot better.
    At this point I can't wait to retire so I can play even more- maybe even start a new band.
  17. old soul

    old soul Tele-Meister

    Nov 11, 2015
    terra firma
    op, you cant fairly compare your accomplishments to a prodigy....thats a whole other ball of wax. youre playing in a 3 piece band at your church. thats cool. it sounds like you have hit the perimeters of where you are allowed to go in that band. not a bad thing at all. is there another couple guys you can get together with on a semi regular basis and do your own thing?
    the middle age guys restarting now are the same guys that wanted to rock in the 70s and 80s. and it sounds like theres lots of people in similar situations as you, me and lots of others. youre going to blow some out of the water talent-wise, and be humbled on more than one occasion. the important thing is to grow as a musician, and youve grown into your role at church, so do a little sidework.
  18. rokdog49

    rokdog49 Friend of Leo's

    Mar 22, 2010
    I really relate to this post. Never took playing guitar seriously until the last three years or so. I'm way better at it than I ever imagined and still pretty mediocre. I play for fun and to improve. I repeadedly advise my grandson who is learning, have fun and set some goals; challenge yourself if you want to improve. That's it. I'm at peace and I couldn't care less about shredding.;)
  19. Andy B

    Andy B Friend of Leo's Silver Supporter

    Mar 16, 2003
    I started playing guitar in my early teens. Played in bands as a teen. Met my wife in college. She has played guitar since she was 12. After moving West we continued playing music together to a lesser extent as new interests took over our free time.

    After my daughter was born the music was dialed back even more. My daughter started playing saxophone in middle school. Eventually the tenor sax helped pay for college. She never had any interest in playing music with her parents. After her senior recital she switched majors & stopped playing her horn.

    My wife & I kept playing music up until the late 90's when we drifted away from it for about 5 years. We eventually started playing some about 10 years ago. We do not play much & the music we play is mostly blues based.

    Last month I retired. 35 years as a camera repairman has taken its toll on my hands & my neck. I have been fixing amps & guitars for the last 10 years which was not that physically different. My hands are rather stiff & muscle bound. I have a torn tenon in my right arm which further limits some movement. My coordination is not that wonderful. The more nervous I get the worse my playing. Because of all this I'm very self conscious about my playing. At the shop I would come in early & test amps when no one else was around because I was so embarrassed to be heard playing in public.

    Now that I have more time I want to spend some of it with my guitar. Get to the point that I don't feel like a fool playing in public even if it is trying an instrument in a store.

    I really like the comments Redd made:
    I agree . . . .
    I say don't compete or compare.
    the key is to try to keep moving forward.
    This helps too:
    Play like nobody is watching and you'll have more fun.

    Reading the comments other posters have made helps.
    I'm hoping not sitting at a bench all day will help the physical problems it caused me. I know when I stopped repairing cameras things improved. I plan to get out & get more exercise. See the amazing Dr. Joel Carmichael for more dry needling which has helped my hands & wrists move more freely than they have in years. Work on playing more confidently & see where it all leads.
  20. Rolling Estonian

    Rolling Estonian Friend of Leo's

    Aug 23, 2009
    Bethesda, MD.
    I picked up guitar about 6 years, no formal training, took some lessons when I was 12 but that's it. I've played a lot and definitely become, dare I say, okay...... I can play and sing, singing not so great but I don't really care! This is for fun and to keep my mind and fingers active. I've also taken up learning recording and production....... Another huge hobby but I make them work together.

    My problem is people to play with, particularly ones that fit, you know? Also being flexible...... Family, work, home life etc makes scheduling stuff difficult.

    Anyway, I'm an example of how you can start late and if you're disciplined enough, you can do it.

    I notice you're in the DC area, need a hack to jam with? lol

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