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When you're playing like s***, do you forge on, or take a break?

Discussion in 'Bad Dog Cafe' started by DesmoTele, Nov 15, 2018.

  1. dguitar3

    dguitar3 Tele-Holic

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    When I’m not happy with my playing I will just set that thing down and hardly think about music in my free time. I do play for a living so I do 3-4 gigs a week and teach 3 days a week so it is always in my hands. But I won’t pick it up sometimes for a month or two unless its for work. I’ll just read or go hiking or whatever instead. I used to force myself to practice for hours and hours when I wasn’t feeling it and get SO depressed about it. Now I just go with it, knowing that inspiriation will always come back and I’ll get to woodshedding again and enjoying the instrument.

    I find that after these “breaks” I come back playing better and fresher somehow. It at least “feels” better.
     
  2. soulgeezer

    soulgeezer Poster Extraordinaire

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    I couldn't possibly disagree more with this advice. The OP is frustrated, but if he's like me, he'll be struggling with something at some point in the near future, a little bulb of understanding will go off, and he'll be thrilled and excited that he could play it or figure it out.

    This happened to me in what I'm guessing is a unique way...

    One day when I was starting out, I was trying to play along with a Runaways record. My ear wasn't developed, I hadn't taken any lessons, etc. -- I was just fishing, hoping to figure something out.

    Then, the song "School Days" came on. And, I could hear that the first chord was an E. Then, the next was an A. Then E to A to D. I was playing the song!

    That breakthrough probably saved me from giving up.

    The OP needs a similar breakthrough to restore his confidence and make him excited about playing again. Once the door opens, the floodwaters start coming through (yeah, I mixed my metaphor, but you know what I mean!).

    So, I say -- Keep at it! Try playing along with something you like. See if you can figure it out. If you're just going on YouTube and practicing scales, then yeah, that's like typing class. Don't do that -- Learn how to play some songs!

    That's my completely unsolicited, probably absolutely useless advice. But, it's what happened to me. Learn from my experience!

    If you still don't enjoy it, THEN quit. If music isn't fun, then it serves no purpose, period.
     
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  3. MonkeyJefferson

    MonkeyJefferson Tele-Holic

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    I've reached what I call "plateaus" many times- you reach a point where your tolerance for learning anything new is saturated. So you have to keep incorporating the new until it becomes old- but it's never not been fun, not enjoyable, not life-sustaining. If you were drawn to it, there' something there. Some people live by the sea and eat fish only all year, all their lives. Some folks don't like it like that, have Lobster once a year. Doesn't mean you're broken.
     
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  4. MattyK-USA

    MattyK-USA Tele-Afflicted

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    The key to success, like with everything in life, really, is to persevere. Persistence will always overcome resistance.

    When I am struggling, I have found that what works for me is to forget about playing songs, and just go back to basics for that session. Play some scales, and try to just play relaxed. Maybe mix it up a little in ways you haven't previously. But relax both hands. Go online and find a couple of SIMPLE licks you haven't played before.

    It's in there, trust me. We all have it. You just have to find your path, and how to coax it out. :)
     
  5. Larry F

    Larry F Doctor of Teleocity Vendor Member

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    Nah, he won't stick with it. The language that he used was super extreme for how shallow the problem really is. If a student says something is like a nightmare, I bow out. I can't help someone who talks that way. The words a student uses are revealing. Normally, I'd advise someone to keep going, but not in this case. If he is having nightmares (exaggeration, I hope, but why did he say it), I'd want that to stop right away. He sounds resentful about the whole thing, and, as a teacher, I won't deal with a student who feels that way. I've learned through my 49 years of teaching when a student is not matched to the task.
     
  6. scottser

    scottser Friend of Leo's

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    If guitar doesnt do it for me today, theres always drums, piano, mandolin, bouzouki or singing to be getting on with.
     
  7. scottser

    scottser Friend of Leo's

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    Oh, and i get nicely distracted by open g, dadgad etc. As long as ive learned something new after playing an instrument im happy out.
     
  8. ElJay370

    ElJay370 Tele-Afflicted

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    Couple of things:

    - Make sure your guitar is set up and adjusted properly. Take it to a good guitar tech (or learn to do it yourself if you enjoy tinkering). A poorly set up guitar that won't stay in tune and is physically fighting you will never be enjoyable to play.

    - Are you happy with your tone? If the sounds coming out of your amplifier aren't moving you it will be reflected in your playing. Mess with amp/pedal/guitar combinations until you land on something that gets you going....Like what you hear on your favorite records.

    - Get with other players who are at or around the same skill level as you. Being around other musicians who can offer advice, critiques, and encouragement makes you better.

    - Judging by your posts, it sounds like you have some issues with self confidence. Trust me, there isn't a single artist of any stripe who doesn't. We are all our own worst critics and are generally never "satisfied".

    - It ain't gonna happen overnight, or even a year, but if playing is something you long to do, it will happen eventually if you're willing to put the time in.

    When I was about 14 years old my dad said "So you want to learn the guitar, huh?"
    I said yes.
    He said "Okay. Pick a song you'd like to play and I'll teach it to you."
    I picked Runnin' With The Devil by Van Halen.
    Of course I failed miserably, and I was very discouraged.
    So my dad handed me an old bass guitar he had knocking around.
    Within about a week I had that two-note bass part down.
    As simple as it was, I was PLAYING SOMETHING! It was fun and satisfying.
    It would be at least 5 years before I'd learn my first chords, or be able to play whole songs on a guitar with any sort of competence.
    Had I continued to struggle and get frustrated with something that was far, far beyond my current abilities, I'd probably have given up right then and there.
    Guitar playing, or learning how to do anything well is a marathon, not a sprint.
    I've been playing for over to 30 years now.
    I still can't play Runnin' With The Devil.
     
    Last edited: Nov 16, 2018
    hotpot and Sounds Good like this.
  9. Jim622

    Jim622 Friend of Leo's Silver Supporter

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    You get in a funk and then by magic you’ll fall across a lick, you’ll expand on for miles. Every once in a while the funk comes back, but you just keep moving forward. Sometimes slow, sometimes fast.
     
  10. Brian J.

    Brian J. Tele-Afflicted

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    if bad playing was a reason to stop i'd have hung it up 30 years ago
     
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  11. Sounds Good

    Sounds Good Tele-Afflicted

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    You maybe a slow learner i learnt off utube and tabs and felt like giving up many times, to me the open chords are hard to get right at first. Also i got stuck on certain solos and was ready to give in but my girl friend at the time kept me going, so i kept trying till i did following on her advise.

    The times i have been stuck on licks, but i just kept going just doing them slow and getting them ingrained in my mind. Now with practice i can play moreless anything and if i learn new licks i just do the same slow then speed them up. I do not think i was natural just i was urged on, so in the end i was determined not to be beat and to succeed stamped in my mind.
     
    Last edited: Nov 17, 2018
  12. boredguy6060

    boredguy6060 Poster Extraordinaire

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    Calling this guy a guitar player is a real stretch, he’s an angry old dude that knows three chords and can’t tune his guitar.
     
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  13. fattboyzz

    fattboyzz Tele-Meister

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    I was playing like crap just last night . Bored & in a rut.

    Today I picked up this ... 20181102_175119.jpg I made myself start the session off differently. Refused to do the same thing as yesterday and actually had a blast and came up with a couple new licks. :0)


    Plus I seen someone selling their guitar on Craigslist and had it marked as "the giving up sale"

    That was sad to me and gave me some motivation :D
     
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  14. Djentleman Dan

    Djentleman Dan Tele-Holic

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    When you're just learning, you're at the steepest part of the learning curve and make maximum progress in minimal time...a year later, if not learning new stuff but just kinda playing the same stuff you played as a beginner, it can become a plateau where you won't really be improving very fast.

    Maybe try something outside the box? Not cliff diving or anything, but like a song you don't think you're nearly ready to try and learn...that helps me because when you start getting a difficult song down it can work wonders for the confidence and momentum.
     
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  15. Shuster

    Shuster Poster Extraordinaire

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    I should be on a permanent break the way I play:eek:
     
  16. cmclayton101

    cmclayton101 Tele-Meister

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    I am exactly like you! I feel like my playing is just enough to keep me uninspired alot of the time.The only lessons I had was in HS 35 years ago. I feel as if I listened to music way longer than I should've been playing it. Then the mid life came along. I've been trying to tackle a bit more complex songs like Big Log, a recommendation from someone on here (thank you to whomever) and YouTube is actually great! I'll never be a shredder but I think I can hit the stage with a setlist of decent classic rock and alternative songs. Hell, the Stones are the simplest songs to play and they're arguably the greatest band ever.You need someone to jam with that is not intimidating. I am 52 now and playing way way more than I've played in my 20's-40's. FYI, it never goes away. Lol.
     
  17. cmclayton101

    cmclayton101 Tele-Meister

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    That is a riot!!!!! Thanks for the belly laugh!
     
  18. cmclayton101

    cmclayton101 Tele-Meister

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    Where are you with basic chords or even power chords?
     
  19. bgmacaw

    bgmacaw Poster Extraordinaire

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    I usually forge on.

    For example, this week's challenge track was particularly difficult for me. I spent a good part of my practice time this weekend playing to it over and over again.
     
  20. ricardo1912

    ricardo1912 Friend of Leo's

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    You'll always have highs and lows with music. The bad bits pass though. Don't worry about it too much or let it spoil the good times. I've been playing /gigging forever and still get nights where I just don't feel the music or play as I should. But I know it's only temporary.
    The muse is fickle by nature.
     
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