what to do when you suck

Discussion in 'Tab, Tips, Theory and Technique' started by ndcaster, Aug 26, 2016.

  1. Flaneur

    Flaneur Friend of Leo's

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    When I'm keyed-up, I usually play OK. If I'm relaxed, rested and looking forward to the gig, sometimes it just isn't working.... Time to concentrate like crazy and play safe, until everything settles down. This make take a few seconds or a couple of songs.
     
  2. Thin69

    Thin69 Friend of Leo's

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    When my playing is off I often will take some time off to let my brain get refreshed. I like to buy a new CD of inspiring music, listen to it repeatedly for a number of days then pull the guitar out and play along with it. New music really helps get me going and out of ruts.
     
  3. chemobrainkid

    chemobrainkid Tele-Meister

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    be kind to myself and continue to do my best.
     
  4. ryokan

    ryokan Tele-Holic

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    ndcaster, you wrote that you start off tentatively "which then makes me think "oh crap, this sucks," which then spirals down". We all know that feeling! I recently came through a period of struggling with this, and re-discovered the book 'Effortless Mastery' by Kenny Werner. If you haven't read it, give it a try, it really, really helped me with this problem. It helps you to work on not thinking while on the bandstand, and not self-evaluating while performing. Once you hit the bandstand, you have to switch from self-evaluation to self-acceptance. Accept everything you play as the most beautiful, incredible music you've ever heard. It sounds crazy, but it works...
     
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  5. AJ Love

    AJ Love Friend of Leo's

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    Now this is a thread I can help with, I've been playing guitar for 33 years and most of that time I've sucked. Some would say I still do! Some days I would agree

    The answer is: practice
     
  6. T Prior

    T Prior Poster Extraordinaire

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    we all suck at times, probably more often than not !

    When not zoned in , I revert back to simplicity and basics. Now I'm not a Jazz player but there is no difference when you are in the SUCK mode.

    Dial it back, play less, play 50% less notes, go to the place where you KNOW you don't NOT suck. Maybe you are now just average, but thats better than SUCK.

    Instead of improv, when I realize I am not connected I revert directly to fret board theory, I play very simple around the chord structure with basic phrasing. Literally looking at the chords and playing inside them in very limited positions. Hopefully I don't have to do that for 3 or 4 hours !

    Kinda like I didn't bring a calculator so I now have to add using my fingers !
     
  7. Henry Mars

    Henry Mars Tele-Afflicted

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    I have found that you never sound as bad as you imagine you do. You have bad nights and good nights. With jazz one of the techniques I use is to try and uncover the harmonic lines of a tune ... most jazz standards have them.
    Then use the Harmonic line to find the melody you are trying to create using scales that are related to the harmonic line. Mos well written tunes will have more than one harmonic line so you can get a lot of variety in your sound.
    The most important advice is don't freeze. If you play a "wrong" note make a hip grin and play it over and over again ... they will think you are a genius. Don't stress.
     
  8. GearHund

    GearHund Tele-Meister Ad Free Member

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    When I get that sucky feeling, well it's time to explore that space between notes. Silence can be your friend and savior... (And give you time to come up with your next move).
     
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  9. AndrewG

    AndrewG Friend of Leo's

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    If you feel suckage coming on look no further for inspiration than the maestro:

     
  10. bblumentritt

    bblumentritt Tele-Afflicted

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    Practice and record. Listen to the playback. Learn what works and what doesn't. Always practice with a metronome, practice track, or looper (as long as it's even tempo).

    Rehearse the same way.
     
  11. screamin eagle

    screamin eagle Poster Extraordinaire

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    While this is very good wisdom, I feel that sometimes it's too academic in nature (though, to some that might not be a bad thing).

    Better for me (which isn't always possible) is to always play with someone else. Take turns practicing comping, the melody, and improvising. Discuss afterwards.

    I find that playing one tune for 10-15 minutes is good practice, you burn through your good ideas and then you gotta think to keep going. Take a turn with the melody, take a couple of chorus', then the melody again then pass it to the other player and let them do the same thing. Go back and forth like that. The other persons playing might inspire a new idea that you want to try and when it's your turn again you can try to cram it it there.

    When this is not an option, my new practice format de jour is iRealPro on the computer. I've had it for years on my phone, but I used it really just to look up changes. For the computer you can have a backing band and I run it through monitors. 'Tween that and the trio + pedal it's easy to always have some quick backing band/tracks available.
     
  12. strat a various

    strat a various Friend of Leo's

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    THIS! Play the melody. If that's hard, practice melodies until you're ready to play the melody. Everything else are harmonizations of the melody ... all the chords (and chordal tones) and the scales (which are linear chords) are harmonizations of the melody, as they apply to a particular song. If it doesn't track the melody, it's counterpoint to the melody, but still harmonizes the melody, even if you play "outside". Just a matter of degree.

    In summation, play the melody. The rest will come from that. Also, sing the notes, even if quietly. If you can sing it, you own it.
     
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  13. TelecasterSam

    TelecasterSam Tele-Holic

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    In the early '80s I had been with a band and I knew all of the solos of our songs pretty well. So I go play a gig with some guys who are way more experienced. We were doing a country song I had never played and I said, hey I don't know what to play for the solo...I got some good advice from the older player that night...he said "you'll think of something"! I knew right then I needed to develop my playing on the spot mode! It made me practice playing over chord progressions, not just songs. I had to develop what I call a sense of melody. It was a great learning moment. I still suck at times though!
     
  14. BigDaddyLH

    BigDaddyLH Tele Axpert Ad Free Member

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    Kick in more delay :oops:
     
  15. Tom Coyle

    Tom Coyle Tele-Meister

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    As the great philosopher Curly Howard once said; "If at first you don't succeed, keep on suckin' till you do suck seed."



    Tom
     
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  16. Anode100

    Anode100 Friend of Leo's

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    Get used to it - I've sucked for years.

    ...then practice more - particularly playing over changes.
    This way, you're not learning 'a song', but the building blocks of many songs.
     
  17. Nickadermis

    Nickadermis Friend of Leo's

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    My old Grandpappy used to say " If you can't play well, Play loud and with confidence, people will think you intend to sound that way" ;)
     
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  18. mauer62

    mauer62 Tele-Holic

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    I see a lot of good advice here. Take the advice on expanding your skills and woodshed as we used to call it. These are the situations that will make you a better player.
     
  19. maxvintage

    maxvintage Friend of Leo's

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    Everybody sucks sometimes. Stevie Wonder has some really sucky moments, and he's one of the 20th century's greatest gifts to music
     
  20. Dennyf

    Dennyf Tele-Afflicted

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    I just turn it up, 'cuz the loudest instrument is always right.
     
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