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

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

  1. Mike SS

    Mike SS Poster Extraordinaire Silver Supporter

    Age:
    64
    Posts:
    8,617
    Joined:
    Aug 9, 2012
    Location:
    Nebraska
    Started messing around with music, drums and guitar, at around age 10. Dad got a cheap classical guitar for Christmas that year, and a neighbor bought him a songbook with chord charts, and off I went. Dad never really got very far, but kept at it his whole life. By high school I was in a band doing covers and originals. Made a little money. Kept doing it as a hobby, and still performing when the opportunity presents itself. Get called up on stage sometimes by friends if they see me in the audience. Try to play a little everyday. Been thinking about doing some solo performing, because I am getting tired of waiting for a gig.
     
  2. teletimetx

    teletimetx Doctor of Teleocity

    Posts:
    10,789
    Joined:
    Jul 25, 2011
    Location:
    Houston, TX
    Songtalk, I'm pretty much with you here, except for the part I set in boldface above.

    I followed the same story arc of many of the posts here - started at 14, played in bands, dropped active participation to raise a family, then returned to playing.

    But I'm not chasing any dreams. I have a regular weekly gig and we play for fun, not the small pay that is split 5 ways. And I kind of find the term "manchild", regardless of its academic origins, rather offensive, particularly for those of us who have been occupied with serious stuff of occupations, raising families, serving in the military or otherwise and just plain navigating the cultural landscape...only to be considered a manchild? No thanks, amigo. I appreciate your sentiments otherwise. I've found TDPRI a very useful source of good information and from time to time, some hilarious entertainment.

    I also thank god I have the opportunity to play. It's something I don't take for granted. You write with style, and your version may fit some folks, but certainly not all of us.
     
    Last edited: Nov 12, 2015
  3. KelvinS1965

    KelvinS1965 Tele-Holic

    Posts:
    766
    Joined:
    Apr 9, 2014
    Location:
    Wokingham England
    Well it's good to know I'm not alone. :D I started to read the first page of this thread and virtually every post (especially the OP) sounded like I could have written it.

    I've always had a guitar near me since being about 7 (will be 50 this Christmas :eek:), I even took my Strat (sorry, but I didn't own a Tele back then :D) down to the Falklands with me, after the war, since I'm not quite that old. Probably drove my ship mates mad with my twanging, but it kept the boredom at bay (no mobile phones or internet in those days).

    I've gone through various periods where I barely play, but I started back at a local college last year as my neighbour told me about an evening 'rock guitar' class he was going to. This got me back into playing and even doing some small end of terms gigs (got one in a local pub next month I'm really looking forward to).

    I can't believe how much information is available to us via the internet these days, both learning and just general guitar/amp information. If I can't play due to disturbing the rest of the house, at least I can get my 'fix' reading stuff on here and similar forums.
     
  4. trev333

    trev333 Telefied Ad Free Member

    Posts:
    22,455
    Joined:
    Dec 3, 2009
    Location:
    Coolum Beach,Australia
    I was asked to play Bass with a few local guys on guitar/drums... they had a bigger band a while back and are down to two now... plus me....

    Cool thing is.. I helped to teach the guitarist his first basic chords on an acoustic 20 yrs ago........ and he ran with it... now singing/lead playing/writing....

    it's been such fun of a Sunday while we build up a set to play... covers/origs.... the vibe is always good, hand shakes all round after the session.... favourable comments swapped over eachothers playing, etc....

    yeh... it's all good..:)
     
  5. Flat6Driver

    Flat6Driver Friend of Leo's

    Age:
    46
    Posts:
    3,529
    Joined:
    Jan 14, 2013
    Location:
    DC Burbs
    Sigh....I feel like adding to this puzzle.

    I stopped by a jam last night, it wasn't terribly inviting and it wasn't really a jam, so I had a beer and went home. No biggie, but got me thinking that as a 43 year old person it's somewhat tough to mesh up with others. I have just exited two projects where I play bass for a few reasons. In both I was the youngest, but the older guys (retirement age) were better. The other fellows (later 40's - 50s) were "low intermediate" players. It was constantly frustrating especially with the drummer's timing.

    Anyhow, in my quest to find something more fulfilling, it's not easy. Family, work, schedules and then the invariable mismatch with another person (or many) about song list, skills, etc. I answered an ad for a guy looking to jam, he mentioned this other fellow I had been working on a project with last fall who mysteriously disappeared. I took it hard as I never knew whether it was my skills or his "vision" that didn't mesh.

    Maybe it's just my age at this point, but it's getting me down. I know I will be constantly improving my skill set through some lessons (found a guy I click with and working on theory), but finding a match in which to use it, is becoming increasingly tougher. I envy you all that have life long friendships with other musicians that give you the opportunity to gain some fulfillment. Thanks for listening, my wife doesn't get it. :)
     
  6. brookdalebill

    brookdalebill Tele Axpert Ad Free Member

    Age:
    62
    Posts:
    69,474
    Joined:
    Nov 15, 2009
    Location:
    Austin, Tx
    As I prepare to leave "middle age" and slide (hopefully) into old age, I only hope to maintain my busy schedule.
    Most people I play with are at least my age, with a couple of puppies in their 40s thrown in
    for good measure.
    Very few younger folks enter into my picture.
    When I was young, guys like me sought out older, more seasoned players to learn from,
    and add cred to our resumes.
    Don't observe much of that now.
    Aside from whining about moving gear, most of my partners still got game.
    Some of us don't sing as well as we once did, some sing better.
    I dig playing to and for my age bracket.
    Don't miss the younguns' much.
     
  7. IggyT

    IggyT Tele-Afflicted

    Age:
    60
    Posts:
    1,079
    Joined:
    Apr 21, 2008
    Location:
    toronto
    heres my story..short form... started playing at 12 years old...Im now 56...wanted to play like Clapton and Johnny Winter...worked really hard...got sidetracked in the late 70s /early 80s playing 3 chord punk and simple rock...because I could...sort of forgot about it....the guitar case got some white kind of mold on it and the marshall cab got sold....I kept playing for fun at home and sometimes with people..then about 7 or 8 years old formed a band with people from work and a few old musician friends...and surprise: started playing the old blues tunes again! we have kept the band going at times on life support but always ready to go. Being a musician is about continuing to learn. I also spent a lot of time learning to sing and play guitar just by myself...when you have a repertoire of well known (or simple if not well known tunes) and you sing...you are in the drivers seat...and others will follow you... so I do my solo acoustic thing where its easy for people to join me and I do my more "arranged" blues act with the band. I spent (and wasted) a lot of days with people trying to figure out intricate tunes with multiple layers...here's what NOT to do: show up to an open mic with your les paul and marshall and expect the locals to instantly support your attempt to play The Ocean by led zeppelin... trainwreck... but...if you and another person shows up with a harmonica...who couldn't get through Hoochie Cootchie man ?..simple...done well and everyone has fun. I just witnessed a guy at an open mic do a solo acoustic version of zep's the song remains the same....it wasn't the same....but it was interesting and I applaud his guts but he could ONLY do this by himself..the other musicians stood down during his performance...he changed course and did Johnny B Good...and everyone joined him and rocked....Its not age...its attitude...in my opinion...
    keep showing up....the disasters and failures and mistakes especially lead to being a better musician and performer just a few thoughts :)
     
  8. Rich724

    Rich724 Tele-Meister

    Posts:
    251
    Joined:
    Dec 26, 2012
    Location:
    Linden, MI
    I started taking lessons at 9 years old and was teaching at a local conservatory by age 19. Spent several years teaching and gigging but could never make a living wage at it so I started to look at other opportunities. Back in the mid 70's there was a real push to get people trained in the computer sciences as there was going to be an expected shortage of talent in the industry so I started looking at going back to school to learn computer science. My family would financially support that decision.
    The fork in the road-
    One evening I get a call from a recruiter from some L.A. based music school (can't remember the name now) and discussed my musical background and where I would like to take it. I was invited to come to L.A. and check out the campus and see if I would like to attend. I brought this up to my family and silence was the response.
    So I'll be 62 this year, have been in the computer industry for almost 37 years now, always had a job. always made better than average pay, hope to retire this year. I have a roster of guitars I still like to play, play for my church orchestra, have a little trio and gig on occasion. Do I have any regrets? Not really but I do sit back once in a while and wonder what the other road might have had in store.
    My advise to those who really want to work in the industry is to attend a music college, get your education, make your contacts and take it from there and don't rely on lightening striking putting you on top.
     
  9. String Tree

    String Tree Doctor of Teleocity

    Posts:
    14,572
    Joined:
    Dec 8, 2010
    Location:
    Up North
    "Where do you find yourself as player and how have you made focused improvements as an adult? What has or has not worked for you?"

    As a player, I have the ability to rise to the occasion. When there is a specific goal, I can focus my practice habits to meet it.

    I have worked at becoming a better Reader.

    One thing that has worked is being a Pit Guitarist (or Bassist) for a Local Theater. It is all charted out. Learn or be replaced. On several shows I was the guy who replaced the guy that couldn't cut it.

    Practicing with a Metronome helps too.
    The Picking Hand is something you can't overlook.
     
  10. bowman

    bowman Friend of Leo's

    Posts:
    2,657
    Joined:
    Sep 15, 2006
    Location:
    Massachusetts
    It should always be fun. Even hard work is fun if you're enjoying it. I don't know much theory except what I've picked up by just playing, but after awhile things start to make sense, even to a dummy like me. :lol:
    I long ago realized that I'm never going to be a gunslinger, but that doesn't mean I can't be really good at what I can do. That's what I strive for. Rather than doing endless exercises - and there's nothing wrong with doing that if you like it - I learn and play songs. Lots of them, with the vocals. Started years ago with simple ones, then gradually went after more complex ones. And what I found is that each part you learn drags the other stuff along with it: the simple chords and choppy singing slowly but surely morphed into much better playing and vocals that have a certain style. And your confidence grows until it's not an issue anymore. I'll give pretty much any song a shot now - it either works, or it doesn't, or it's somewhere in between; in which case it will get tried again at a later date.
     
  11. Flat6Driver

    Flat6Driver Friend of Leo's

    Age:
    46
    Posts:
    3,529
    Joined:
    Jan 14, 2013
    Location:
    DC Burbs
    One of the guys from one of the projects I just quit just asked me if I would play bass again for a new project. I'm considering it, but I'm at the same time somewhat offended that I wasn't asked to play guitar (he already had asked some fellow he'd worked with before). I'd been trying to pry him from the collapsing project, but I guess I should have been more overt about it.

    Further into the self doubt abyss go I.
     
  12. ndcaster

    ndcaster Poster Extraordinaire

    Posts:
    7,815
    Joined:
    Nov 14, 2013
    Location:
    Indiana
    "Where do you find yourself as player and how have you made focused improvements as an adult? What has or has not worked for you?"

    - learn songs, because no one performs exercises publicly
    - get the slow down software and something like band-in-a-box
    - abstract "the idea" at work in a given piece of guitar work (ah, this is just pentatonic box noodling, or ah, this is basically around the C shape, etc)
    - practice passages with a metronome
    - figure out how to play changes using only the top three strings, then the bottom three strings, and then whatever strings
    - don't improvise over any changes you haven't memorized completely
    - and remember what my old teacher once said: "it ain't where you are: it's *how* you are, where you are"

    what a great thread. thanks flat6 for starting it.

    I'm 49, and I've been playing guitar since I was fifteen. I still remember that afternoon in middle school when the kids from the downmarket part of town shuffled into the gym to the talent show and kicked into a note-perfect rendition of "Sweet Home Alabama." I've been lit up ever since. I started on piano and got pretty good with the classical thing, so I read music well. Then my buddies started a cover band playing arena rock favorites (Rush, Journey, etc), and they nailed those tunes so well, with the right gear, that I was probably the younger sort of embarrassing kid who would hang around just to absorb what I could about gear, too.

    Like all self-taught guitarists, I learned in fits and starts, and spottily.

    In college, I played in talent shows and student performances, did some session work as a member of a pit band (wonderful story), and once sort of opened for Taj Mahal at a campus event. (He was awesome, and I choose that word very deliberately.) In my late twenties, I was playing jazz standards at open mics with lady singers, and was good enough to be a sideman to country singers, but nothing professional in the career sense. My own career was headed in a good and different direction. I kept going with guitar as an avocation. I really got into Django Reinhardt and started to play, again for fun, with a very good player in that style. That's when I had to get serious, because the tempo gets very fast and you have to stop thinking. I also started composing music for choirs, short things, student pieces really, which were performed by graduate students at recitals.

    I'm married with three kids, so all this time guitar was something I had to do on the side. For a while I felt bad about that, but then things fell into place. I've now been playing semi-pro with some colleagues at work, and we play jazz mostly, though I certainly don't care what we call it. We've played big conferences and small parties. We can play pretty much whatever we want -- although there *are* things we want to play that we can't. Yet. The #1 hardest thing is finding time to get together to play. Most of the time we can manage to rehearse two sets maybe once or twice before a gig. That's enough, but we all want to play more often than that. So it's interesting to be away from each other for sometimes months (like now, in the winter) and discover, on our return, that we've obviously been woodshedding! We've all grown as players.

    At this point, we don't need to play for money. We play just to play, because it's a compulsion. I get up at 5:30 am every morning to practice for one hour before the wife and kids get up. It's precious time to me, so I have to make the most of it. Lately I've been learning every Merle Haggard tune in his boxed set "Down the Road." Lots of interesting things to hear in that catalog. I'm sure at some point I'll be able to make it finally down to the open jazz jam on Monday nights (currently taken up with kid music commitments!), so learning a lot of hard bop is probably in my future.

    I don't want to bore you all, but I just wanted to let all this out. Music is really important to me, and I love nothing more than to learn and improve. Of course there are better players than me, in every style, but like many of you, I simply don't care anymore. The only thing that really matters is to be able to play what I want to play. The opportunities for doing that in public will come, and those opportunities will either fit or not fit my other commitments and schedule. I don't sweat it.

    But as someone pushing 50, I do indeed feel that sudden cold feeling in the pit of my stomach that someday it will be over, perhaps in the blink of an eye. And that just makes me long all the more for making the time to put on the boots, throw the guitar in the case, and head down to The Green Spot (or wherever) to sing and play.

    Just do it. Making music with other people has never been anything but a joy for me, even when it doesn't go well. The alternative, i.e. no music at all, is infinitely worse.

    I'll raise a glass to all you guys this weekend.
     
    rdonahue likes this.
  13. McGlamRock

    McGlamRock Friend of Leo's

    Posts:
    4,376
    Joined:
    Jun 1, 2010
    Location:
    San Francisco, CA
    What has improved my playing, as an adult, is getting into (or at least trying to get into) other kinds of music. Expanding my musical horizons; especially practicing jazz and classical music.

    About a year and half ago I even took some lessons with local guy to improve my right hand technique. And while learning all this classical music has helped my right hand's dexterity, it's also improved my reading and given me new perspective on voicing chords.

    I also started jamming with a guitar playing friend. We mostly play jazz, but neither has many tunes memorized and we are also not too smooth with chord solos. But it helps (me at least) with soloing over tough changes. I notice that my solos in the rock band I play with are much more melodic when we practice a couple days after my friend and I jam
     
  14. Uncle Joe

    Uncle Joe Friend of Leo's

    Posts:
    2,235
    Joined:
    Aug 5, 2012
    Location:
    New Jersey
    I'll throw something up on Youtube now and again but I always disable the comments.

    I play and sing for fun. Never had any aspirations of greatness in music. Played bass in bands in my teens, learned the guitar in college and played around at home throughout my life. Learned in earnest by taking weekly lessons for a year at age forty. I'm fifty three. My brother's a pro. Piano/songwriting. Not an easy life for him. Nothing's easy. I digress. If I can offer something that the extended family enjoys it makes me proud of my limited prowess and keeps me going for the next offering that hits me. I've had opportunities to play with guys and sometimes it's fun but sometimes it just doesn't click. Usually they're too good. I know a few guys retired into "new" careers who played in famous bands as kids. Playing with them pushes me, but I get stressed out when I should just be having fun. I'm better off teaching the kid next door, which I did, and he went on national tour with his band. That's my claim to fame with guitar, I guess.
     
  15. Toto'sDad

    Toto'sDad Telefied Ad Free Member

    Posts:
    42,017
    Joined:
    Jun 21, 2011
    Location:
    Bakersfield
    I'm not middle aged, I'm old. There comes a time when certain types of music are probably not appropriate for one to play. If I feel like it's something that might make me self conscience age wise, I just stay away from it. I won't be doing any so called country rock/rap style songs, that's what I meant by age appropriate.

    Odd thing is, I can still get around on acoustic, electric, and even bass, (my hands tire from too much bass though pretty quickly). Most guys my age are already dead which inhibits their playing quite a bit, the one's who are left sometimes aren't very good.

    I used to go to old folks get together thingies but find that most of them just make a racket and not much music. Occasionally I still play at some sort of function, but I see the end coming to that too. I still like to play, but I've had a real revelation since I returned to playing golf, no matter how much I kid myself, my best playing days are now behind me. I fear, my music like my golf has reached that sign post just up ahead that says "pavement ends, road closed."
     
  16. 1955

    1955 Poster Extraordinaire

    Posts:
    9,943
    Joined:
    Apr 10, 2010
    Location:
    .
    I forgot what a guitar was, life just goes too fast. At the last gig I broke the neck off again. I've played so many shows over the years that I forget that I actually play the stupid thing until something breaks.
     
  17. nomadh

    nomadh Tele-Afflicted

    Age:
    55
    Posts:
    1,021
    Joined:
    May 2, 2008
    Location:
    san diego
    Similar situ. Farted around since teens. Got into a band w friends 8 years ago and finally have focus and push. Now the band is getting lazy. Skipping practices. Limiting my band time. I'm having better luck getting guys off craigslist. I say find a few good guys on the same trajectory as you and get together and have a blast. And if it changes find some more.
    I got to go now and replace a few band members with some people who like to play music :)
     
  18. Mjark

    Mjark Doctor of Teleocity Silver Supporter

    Posts:
    12,716
    Joined:
    Feb 14, 2011
    Location:
    Annapolis, MD
    I've found setting my ego as far aside as I can helps a great deal and being willing to play almost anything is more satisfying than creating tension over band issues, song selection and so on.

    Keep studying, a certain level of competence (fairly easily attainable) makes things much easier. You don't have to know songs if you know how the major major scale is harmonized and you know the basic movable chord shapes/triads.
     
  19. Flat6Driver

    Flat6Driver Friend of Leo's

    Age:
    46
    Posts:
    3,529
    Joined:
    Jan 14, 2013
    Location:
    DC Burbs
    I went to an open mic that had been on my "check it out" list for a while. It was dead because of the snow. They invited me up and I said I wanted to jam a bit with the host. I had a great time. Just read his hands and played along. Some I'd played before some I had not. Dead, Doobies, etc. I led a couple, we had drums and bass. I was so happy. I'll go back next week for sure and play some more. The fact it was so welcoming made the difference. I loved working to make up a complementary part on the fly.

    Playing with dudes a little older made a big difference. Muaicallu I could hang with the Wednesday jam for sure but I hate that "center of attention impress us" feeling when standing there solo. Got some kind of house jam to attend on Saturday and I'm pretty excited about that.
     
  20. Mjark

    Mjark Doctor of Teleocity Silver Supporter

    Posts:
    12,716
    Joined:
    Feb 14, 2011
    Location:
    Annapolis, MD
    "Just read his hands and played along." That works too as long as you know what you're looking at.
     
IMPORTANT: Treat everyone here with respect, no matter how difficult!
No sex, drug, political, religion or hate discussion permitted here.


  1. This site uses cookies to help personalise content, tailor your experience and to keep you logged in if you register.
    By continuing to use this site, you are consenting to our use of cookies.