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Discussion in 'Bad Dog Cafe' started by Flat6Driver, Oct 15, 2014.
If I don't give it up soon I'm gonna be dead first.
Are you stalking me?
I ruv U.
I started teaching myself to play guitar around 1994 and in the late 90's I played in a band, playing original songs in bars, recording (at home), etc. Had loads of gear - keyboards, recording and PA, drums, basses, amps, enough for a band or two to play without bringing their own gear. I went through at least 100 guitars, buying, selling and trading.
Then I bought a house, had a lot more things to pay for, less time to play, etc., so my guitars mostly just sit around now and I've sold everything worth having. I don't have enough time - guitar playing, music stores and guitar shows gave way to competition shooting, gun shops and gun shows, then motorcycle riding, Harley dealers and bike shows, plus I rejoined the Army reserve in the mean time and spent a couple of years in Afghanistan.
So, anyhow, money and time got tighter.
There is a myth in our society that is perpetuated by media that anyone can pick up a guitar and be a rock star. Good looks are all you need to complete the package. Heck, I bet most of us fell for it to some degree or another when we got our first guitar - the myth has been going on as long as I've been alive, probably started with Elvis and such in the 50's. When I was 13 I wanted to be Ace Frehley with a smoking guitar, spit blood and fire and stuff, and offend people with my antics. Didn't have much to do with making music.
It's a sobering fact when you realize that no, it's an instrument, and if you want to play it well you're going to have to put in a lot of time and effort. I'm sure that most drop by the wayside at some point or another.
Number one reason I've heard is the painful beginnings. Building up callouses and the strength to play takes time and a lot of people don't find learning enjoyable enough to go through it. I don't blame them, I've always wondered if I must have a few screws loose to play till my fingers bleed.
People have said for years "Man, I wish I could play guitar"! I just tell them to get one and learn a few easy chords to sing songs to your girl.
It's the easiest instrument out there to learn just enough to do the above, and the most difficult one to really master. Being anywhere in between those points is just fine.
People give up for the same reason they give up anything: it just didn't mean enough to 'em to keep going. Such is life.
I believe I have tried to play guitar for all the right reasons. First, I love music. Second, I love listening to the great guitar players. So, I first started back in high school. But, I never really got proficient at it. So, I gave up. Then as an adult, I got back into it again. I bought what I thought was a great looking and sounding acoustic guitar. Acoustic for me is just so hard to play. It doesn't fit my body, my hands are small, and my fingers hurt. So I gave it up again. Then I got into electric guitars, which for me seem easier to play. So I fell in love with the Tele, bought a bunch of guitars, noodled around, took lessons. The teachers always tried to teach me to read music, circle of fifths, probably all the right stuff, but I wasn't in it for the education. I just loved picking around on the geet. Economy turned bad and I sold my collection to pay the bills. Now work is better, I don't want a million guitars, I just want one nice one, a nice amp and some pedals. I don't want to take any lessons. I'm going to teach myself. It's coming soon!! The overriding theme, for me, however, is that I'm just not very good at it, despite my best efforts.
I've got music welling up in my brain and it has got to be constituted and "proved up" and once I have something written down then I can relax and think about (the next song, usually).
The only way to stop that is to get someone else's song stuck in the brain instead. I have an Open Request to Eddie Brigati - I've heard "Choose, is it him or me?" enough times; time for the next song!!
In the end, I never cared about those audiences anyway. If I could've turned my back like Neil did I would've (except I was singing lead). Because the cold truth was, those girls that showed when we played, always seemed like the porky ones with the glasses. Shoot, why was that exactly?
Learning a musical instrument requires two completely independent skill sets-the physical manipulation of the instrument to create the sounds (and do it with a good meter), and the mental ability to put things together and understand how it all works. If you can't get one of those skills down, the other one becomes useless. Many people don't realize just how much is required because of this, and that leads to a good chunk of them giving up in frustration.
I think a lot of people try to play for the "glamour" of it and not because they want to make music. The ones that have music in them that has to have an outlet stick with it (or at least find another instrument). One of my granddaughters started on guitar, but almost never play it anymore, but has moved on to voice and keyboards.
About quitting after playing a long time:
I'm getting to a point in my life where I don't play out and don't play electric guitar out as much as I used to. It's part of getting older I guess. I don't look forward to long gigs of playing lead anymore.
Arthritis and Osteoporosis have something to do with that!
I do play a lot more steel and resonator (slide) than I used to and have changed to silk and steels on most of my acoustics.( tried lighter gauges but not fond of them. I used nothing but 13 flatwounds for years on electrics) My favorite guitar to play out is now a Cordoba (nylon).
That helps, but I've been limiting playing out to 2 times a week because my back isn't up to it anymore.
I can see a time in the future where I might not be able to play guitar ( or keyboards or violin or woodwinds )much due to arthritis.
If I'm lucky I'll kick the bucket before that happens,( I've been playing some instrument since I was 5 and not sure what it would be like to not play music) but my Grandma lived to 99 and my mom is 85 so who knows. Judging by my mom and grandma I still have about 20 or so years that I can still play some.
I've been playing so long, and seen so many take it up, and later quit, that I've quit thinking about why others do anything. The guitar is very easy to learn a few chords on, even sing a bit, with a capo you can get by, entertain yourself and your friends. If they don't slink off after a tune or two, you're not terrible.
The real pain begins when you realize the kind of guitar playing I've just described isn't what you want to do. Then to get even a little better you have to work an awful lot harder. The harder you work, the more you learn, the more you realize this is a ball of yarn that gets bigger the longer you handle it, and you are probably never going to get where you want to be.
Anyone who makes it past that realization will probably play for the rest of their life. Then again, they may just quit. Most likely they won't get there in time to return their guitar to G.C. in thirty days. Most likely it will show up on Craigslist as one of the "ones hardly played." Maybe even an Esteban!
I think those who stick with it have a real deep, abiding love of music. Guitars are fun and cool and we love them, but they're just a vehicle to get into music afterall.
Without out that deep sense of music and the desire to make it, i think the novelty probably wears off for people after a while so they give it up.
Whereas the truly musical cant really help themselves. They're hooked!
I Think a lot of people learning guitar give up because they go to the music shop and buy a cheap guitar with an action so high you can park your car under it, and find its just too hard.
Happened to me, young lad next door (12yo) comes over and asks me to tune his new guitar as he is learning guitar. After 15 mins I had it in some sort of tuning. But I couldn't play the thing at all.
How a kid could learn on it is beyond me. Told his mother to return it to the music shop and i would go with them to get something half decent......He's still persevering, good on him.
I've given it up twice so far, for a number of years each time. I've been playing essentially all my life. I can remember my mother showing me the chords on acoustic guitar before my hands were big enough to make them. I played seriously through my teens and early twenties. Then I got deeply into my studies in college and graduate school, didn't have time to play with bands. My creative energies were going in other directions. A few years later, I found myself craving it again. I was writing my dissertation and wanted the release of playing music. At that point I didn't even have a playable guitar in the house. My wife gave me a nice Strat and I was back into it in a big way. I still didn't have time to play in bands, but this was the 90s and the home recording revolution had happened. I realized I could compose and record all the part myself and was having a blast writing and recording songs. That went on a few years. Then the pressures of getting tenure at my university kicked in and again my creative energies were channeled elsewhere. I stopped playing much. I knew eventually I would get back into it, so I was smart enough to hang on to my best gear this time. Then about three years ago all the equipment came out of the basement and my study became a studio again. One thing that really re-ignited my interest was taking up bass. I decided I would learn the instrument properly, and not in the way that guitarists often do when they pick up the bass. It did wonders for my sense of timing and overall musicianship. I'm having a great time and I'll keep at it as long as I do. I'm 51 so who knows? It all might come full circle again.
Learning to play a musical instrument requires years of dedicated effort. Guitar is not the easiest of instruments. Consider how few ways there are to play an E chord on the piano.
I've been playing nearly five years. I play and practice daily. I know SO MUCH more than when I started. I hardly know anything, yet.
It's the old journey vs destination confusion. If you enjoy playing, practicing, learning, then you may be one of those who couldn't imagine not playing. That's me. I started late, but it bit hard.
If you wish you could fast forward all the learning process, and just want to 'get good' like your favorite celeb, I give it six months.
Because there's more gigs available for bassists
But really, it's just that some people don't have the drive to master something.
Same with machining. Lots of people drop out of the field because they just don't have the drive to master it. Actually, there's a lot of musicians that are fantastic machinists because of that drive to master something.
I'm far from mastering anything, but I'm good enough at a lot of stuff to impress people. But there's a lot more people out there that aren't good enough at anything to impress anyone haha.
I have friends who I learned from 30 yrs ago..and admire as friends/guitar players.....
yet, these days now that I have a house full of guitars and amps..I can't get them interested in playing again?...
Guys who have sons at school learning instruments.... though never jammed with them?..
I DON'T GET IT!!!???....sigh...
The guitar is an easy instrument to play poorly and a difficult instrument to play well. Regardless of ability, a player either loves to play or does not.
Some say you can only get out of a guitar what you put into it. But for those who love to play, the guitar gives more.
That says it best and says it all!