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The Tipping Point - A question for advanced players

Discussion in 'Tab, Tips, Theory and Technique' started by matrix, Sep 25, 2020.

  1. castermike

    castermike TDPRI Member

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    I am 72 and have been playing since I was 18 so the passage of time is a big factor in my development. First hurdle was overcome by the purchase of Bert Weedon's book "Play in a Day". For many years my enthusiasm outweighed my ability but things improved when getting together with other amateur players when I realised I knew more than I thought. Then the internet happened and things really took off with Youtube tutorials, online tabs, etc. Now I'm a competent player but my two regrets are not really mastering fingerstyle and not having a longer pinkie on my left hand!
     
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  2. gimmeatele

    gimmeatele Tele-Holic

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    It did and it was leaning music theory
     
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  3. bigdaddy

    bigdaddy TDPRI Member

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    Still working toward that tipping point. Your story sounds a lot like mine, only I’ve been “playing” since I was 10 and now I’m 58. Over the last year or so, I have been really trying to “learn” the guitar. I practice scales and I’ve memorized the notes for each fret / string. This is stuff I never cared about, back in the day. I’m also rereading a basic musical theory book, that I first read 20+ years ago.

    I definitely learn songs much faster and my playing is much cleaner (not as many unintentionally muted or buzzing strings). All that said, other than some basic blues riffs, I’ve never been comfortable up the neck (I.e., never been able to play lead guitar solos with any proficiency). That is my goal. I don’t have false expectations, at my age, but I would like to be able to improve against a backing track and string together enough licks/riffs/runs to sound good. I’ve resolved myself to the fact, I will always be a “slow hand” player, but I’ve never wanted to be a shredder.

    Glad to hear you’ve found your tipping point. It just feel great when you “pickup a guitar and play”.....
     
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  4. Arfage

    Arfage TDPRI Member

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    You're not hallucinating, it happens. You just crossed another in a long line of thresholds when that happens. For me it happens suddenly. First time I noticed was age 9 when I found I could play a John Fogerty lick. Then a couple months later that that grindy tone on my amp (overdrive) when I turned it past 5 for the first time that helped me with Joe Walsh licks. You're correct. It's been a series of unexpected thresholds breaking. Luckily it happens still.
     
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  5. Eric Dalton

    Eric Dalton TDPRI Member

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    Yes, I understand where you are coming from. These milestones (usually) pass more quickly with each one; it just takes work and desire. Congratulations! I have been playing for over 40 years...professionally for some of that time (part-time of course; I make more money as a Handyman!). To this day when I tackle a new song or phrase that doesn't fall under my fingers, I remember that at one time (in a galaxy far, far away) I had difficulty playing an open "C" chord, but overcame it with a little practice. It still applies at 57 years old! Start slowly and be persistant. I realize that I am likely preaching to the choir, but rudimentary things do apply. Again, congrats on your journey and it's milestones! E
     
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  6. Jay Jernigan

    Jay Jernigan Tele-Holic Silver Supporter

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    Easy to get wordy on this subject. I will try to avoid.
    I have known since childhood, that above all else, I wanted to be a musician. Guitar came later.
    Studied piano for years, The Beatles came along; add in guitar and drums, then bass.
    Played whichever in high school, stuck with guitar after that.
    Listened to all of the stars of the day, learned what I could, but the guy that really handed it to me was Mike Bloomfield. Can't explain it. Just know that it's true.
    Soon after, I was blessed to be able to join a band of guys who could really play, and to me that was a tipping point. Everything since then has been additional.
     
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  7. Jeremy_Green

    Jeremy_Green TDPRI Member

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    I wouldn't say there was a tipping point really... more a series of plateaus that were eventually breached over many years. The progression from beginner to advanced is certainly not a straight line by any means. There were many points for me along the way where I was convinced that I didn't have the "obvious talent" as you put it. But just by never giving up or sheer sado-masochism/stupidity/arrogance/stubbornness I forge on. I am still nowhere near "there" but I am taking steps in that direction each day and week.

    I have had the experience a few times of breaking through a difficult plateau, where I felt as you describe and things came easy for a bit. But before too long, I always ultimately get stuck in the ascent again. As years pass, I have come to realize that when I am at my most frustrated with my playing - that is literally the point right before the next summit is reached. Guitar is an odd an sometime abusive life partner.
     
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  8. 8barlouie

    8barlouie Friend of Leo's Gold Supporter

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    I don’t think I can narrow it down to one tipping point. There have been many. Mind you, I’m not an advanced player. Two tipping points come to mind immediately. First one was early on when playing in front of an audience. I was inhibited- no, petrified. Then I realized something: you have to be willing to suck. I embraced it. My comfort level grew exponentially once I did that.

    The second tipping point took place without my knowledge. I just recently recorded myself playing. Nothing in particular, just noodling around and playing along with a backing track. Upon playing the recording back, I thought, darn, that ain’t half bad. I then pulled up a recording I made a couple of years ago. Ugggh! That was terrible! At the time I thought it wasn’t half bad. Somewhere along the way, I grew as a musician.
     
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  9. bigjohnbates

    bigjohnbates TDPRI Member

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    That's an interesting question. I grew up and started a band with a guitarist named Jeff Waters and I consider myself a friend of Paul Pigat. When you play with guys with all-world talent and technique like them you realize that at some point you will never learn enough but you just let go and fly or fall. Mistakes are just something you learn to naturally cover up and when you get to that point you're flying ; ]
     
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  10. Tommy G

    Tommy G TDPRI Member

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    I started playing guitar in 1958 and I'm still playing. I had a great teacher early on and the only way my folks would agree to let me play guitar was to learn how to read. I was so hyped to play guitar that I agreed. It was hard at first but the foundation has been the vehicle for my playing. I have had epiphanies every so often which were so powerful that new revelations on the guitar jumped out at me. So, many "tipping points" over time. But I feel my learning really took off in my 50's. There seemed to be confluence of musical info that my brain started to put my experience into context and my ability to learn and play increased exponentially. I have no answers to the tipping point for an individual but I'm going to be 74 in a few days and one of the main things that has helped me keep my head screwed on is playing music. Keep playing and you'll find the tipping points, as there are more than one point to tip.
     
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  11. NoTeleBob

    NoTeleBob Tele-Meister

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    I think I'm where you were 5 years ago, OP :). Lots of on and off years, even some times when I was good enough to play out in an amateur way.

    The only music I understand is the blues, so that's what I play. Mostly just improv or improv off someones song. But, I've found myself falling back to playing the same old patterns and not expanding my repertoire. Haven't been able to, or maybe chosen to, put the time into really pushing ahead using on-line resources, but it's on the horizon.

    One thing that has greatly expanded my physical skills is having a guitar out all the time. Bought a cheap guitar that I don't mind leaving out. I can grab it any time to play for a few minutes break. Has helped a lot with actual playing skills.
     
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  12. Bluesfuze

    Bluesfuze TDPRI Member

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    I find that playing with a so so rhythm section helps me to realize how all those licks can fit and opens my mind to really being disciplined on where and how to apply them....of course with a great rythmn section and rehearsal it is almost effortless. However with improve this loose rhythm section opens all sorts of layering ideas by playing with time meaning behind or ahead of beat,and that was my eureka moment or tipping point. INMHO you can play with records and by yourself infinitum but the real test is playing with others in a band and be able to be consistent and make it look easy
     
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  13. Burning Fingers

    Burning Fingers TDPRI Member

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    The gaining of Confidence was my liberating moment that led to my playing improving out of sight.

    I went from a shy bedroom player who didn't know any tunes all the way through to a paid guitarist in 3 years by playing twice a week at open mic nights where (for reasons not fully understood by me at the time ) everyone wanted me to play with them. ( it was because I was much better than I believed I was )

    I soon ended up running the open mics for a couple of years and was the "house guitarist" for anyone who wanted an extra guitar in their act....so I played with hundreds of different people and winged it on hundreds of tunes I had never played before.

    That gave me confidence; so from open mics it then went to cover bands where I had to learn the material fully and from there it has gone to.."I will play the tune anyway I feel like and I hope you can cope with me rearranging the tunes on the fly".

    Confidence...it can't be bought and it can't be learnt...it has to be grown by exposing yourself to possible failure and ridicule and becoming immune to the fear of possible failure or embarrassment.
    .
    I demonstrate the power of that attitude at open mics to those who are frightened witless just before they get on stage for the first time by getting up myself and saying "I will prove, that no matter how bad you feel your act will be , that it won't hurt a bit and you will not die on stage"...then I drop my pants and play as badly as I can for a minute or 2 then walk off stage laughing...usually to loud cheering.

    That nearly always makes the stage virgins relax and therefore perform better and it plants the seed of confidence within them...it's up to them to grow it from there.
     
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  14. czech-one-2

    czech-one-2 Friend of Leo's

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    Could you write that Eb7b9b13 chord out in tab so I can see if I know it? :lol:
     
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  15. Terrytown

    Terrytown TDPRI Member Silver Supporter

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    As stated earlier by another poster - it all changed for me when "I started listening one measure at a time" with a recording device that had repeat replay that automatically worked between set points.

    The original paradigm shift occurred when I learned to play off a partial bar A Shape up and down the neck. I had three extra fingers to play notes anywhere on the neck off a chord held by my point finger.
     
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  16. JeffBro

    JeffBro TDPRI Member

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    It's just a matter of what your goals are as a guitarist.

    I've seen little kids play note for note Jimi Hendrix songs, bust out Stairway from beginning to end. It's impressive to the laymen, but for most professionals it boring and pointless.

    Personally, the nuances of guitar playing are where the real skill is shown, their style of playing is what separates them from other players. This is why colleges like Berklee don't **** out a bunch of Eric Clapton's and Jimi Hendrix's every year.

    ...the best way to describe it is to be an Olympic athlete you need to be a genetic marvel, same goes for a guitar hero.

    I'd say the same about songwriting and with all the promotion in the world, the media can't write a hit song, they just pretend they did.

     
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  17. tele advocate

    tele advocate TDPRI Member

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    For me learning the box, and I'm assuming you are talking about Box 1 of the minor pentatonic scale, along with knowing the key of the song is what triggered my first tipping point.

    It was amazing..."You mean I can play any of these notes and it will sound ok?"

    It took all the pressure off of playing solos, and the majority of cool riffs or melodies were notes in the box.

    Before I knew of box one, I had figured out some patterns on the fretboard but didn't know I was playing patterns which spanned 2 pentatonic boxes.

    I was also clued into the fact I could slide down 3 frets and voila a major pentatonic for songs in a major key.

    Once I started using box 1, the obvious next step was to learn another one...but I was having so much fun using box one it was probably a year before I thought of learning another one. During that year more patterns learned which unknown to me were using box 5 and box 2. There was also one using box 3 and 4 I had no idea I was doing.

    Fast forward a year or two and I started learning the other 4 boxes, which was a challenge at first, but lightbulbs started going off as I realized the patterns I had memorized were half in one and half in another. Then I started adding blue notes, and that's where I am now.

    Also a quick plug for Robert Bakers free Fretboard decoder which taught me a major scale pattern. That along with the slide down 3 frets to get to the major pentatonic and i'm ready to solo in the major keys. My 2nd tipping point was initiated when I started looking into pick slanting techniques....that's still a work in progress along with continuing to develop spanning pentatonic boxes across the entire fretboard.

    ... I'm hoping there will be a 3rd tipping point...I suspect it will be understanding modes....but i'm in no rush as I have found that learning through trial and error without following documented exercises has its benefits too.

    I'm certainly enjoying the ride.
     
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  18. padreraven

    padreraven TDPRI Member

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    Never been anybody like him.
     
  19. padreraven

    padreraven TDPRI Member

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    Interesting post! For me it was just the accumulation of a lot of stuff. I started playing at 16 (I am 73) and was part of the folk-music coffee shop scene in Seattle. I learned more about music theory in my first two months playing guitar than I did in 10 years of piano lessons. I learned how to Travis Pick and find my way through all kinds of folk music. Then Dylan went electric and gradually the people and places I knew went away and I wanted to learn to play electric music too, which was where I really started getting interested in guitar, in the '50s. I fell into 12-bar blues, and learned about the box and how to play lead starting with the melody, which was natural after the folk-music stuff. Along the way I discovered how very little I really knew and got discouraged. At the same time I was making a living behind a typewriter and could type more than 100 words a minute, couldn't figure out why I couldn't do that kind of thing with guitar. I have played pretty well, to where I have jammed with other decent musicians who complimented me and asked if we could play together again. That felt great but I still wasn't having the breakthroughs I wanted. Lately I started watching Santana's Master Class lessons and the things he was saying about how to prepare, how to warm up, how to practice, and his feel for music from all over the world, started to hit with me and my hands started doing things differently. I'm still in the middle of figuring that all out but things that used to mystify me now are making sense. It's like other people said, a bunch of things all starting to come together and feel like one thing with different parts. I also discovered that playing some different instruments, like bass and ukulele, feed back into the feel of guitar work. Thanks for the conversation.
     
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  20. davidge1

    davidge1 Friend of Leo's

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    Don't know if I'd call myself an advanced player, but I've had a few tipping points. You practice and practice, and wonder how you can make your hands produce the sound. One day you wake up and you can do it and you don't know how you got there.
     
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