Old dog seeking for a new trick

Discussion in 'Lessons & Techniques' started by LPBR, Feb 19, 2015.

  1. LPBR

    LPBR Active Member

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    I will tell you my odd story. I am a 48 dude about to turn 49 within two months. I started self-taught guitar around 17 with my mom's old acoustic. Six months later I moved to electric and other 6 months later I joined my first (an only) band that played just own tunes. I played at this band till my 20 and I was not too bad as guitar player, but due to the fact that we played self tunes there was not improvisations and all leads were carefully rehearsed and repeated millions of times until to get acceptable.

    Due to College I ended quiting the band and over the next 29 years I came and go from guitar. If I summ up all the time I had a guitar at my hands it should totalize maybe a couple years of playing. I never played on a band again in the last three decades. I bought and sold my gear several times. I never EVER got serious lessons and the only scale I know is 'minor pentatonic' (14-13-13-13-14-14) that doesn't fit everything. Last year I recorded an album and it was kind of OK because I can work just fine on record sessions since I don't have too push too much. Since it was MY album I had complete control over everything, so...

    Anyway, my friends are constantly puzzled about me because they invite me for jam sessions all the time and I always decline, and the reason is because I don't know how to improvise so I don't want to feel embarrassed among them. The other day my wife nicely mentioned that never have seen me to play an entire song from start to finish.

    All in all the sad truth is that I am a fraud and I am really tired of it. However I am not entirely ready to abandon the guitar yet. I still love it. I still feel that excitement when I hear a blues solo and then there is that wish of be able to play something like that. Then I decided to give myself a very last chance until I turn 50, so I have 14 months to do something about and the deal is: if I cannot learn how to play at least barely decently enough to jam with friends and so, I am going to sell my gear one more time and quit guitar forever.

    I know that age is not an issue and I know that the timeframe I have is enough if I do it the right way. I can dedicate up 2 hours a day in this venture so I ask you. What is in your opinion the more straight method to achieve some positive result? Should I join a class? Ideas? Suggestions?

    Thanks!

    :)

    PS: I have a decent gear compounded by a LP, a strat and a 175 plus a nylon acoustic. My amp is a VOX VT-15.

    PS2: I have stayed before with such similar question (online stuff) but it seems not work for me.
     
  2. lineboat

    lineboat Well-Known Member

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    I think lessons are one of the best investments any musician can make, no matter how far you wanna take it. I took piano lessons as a kid, and became pretty good. My sister went as far as to turn down Julliard. Everything I play on the guitar, I learned on my own. (Well, 80%. A good friend has shown me a thing or 3.)
    I would suggest some lessons, or at least get with someone who can help you with basics, and tablature. I don't read or play scales and stuff like most people. I've learned to figure out rhythms of songs on my own, and improvise the rest. Most of the time it works out great. Don't get discouraged or think of yourself as a fraud; you're just stuck at a point where you need help. It all will come together. If you have two hours a day to put into it, you should be able to progress pretty quickly! Maybe my rambling will help, and good luck!
     
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  3. smitty_p

    smitty_p Well-Known Member

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    First, erase from your mind any idea of selling off your gear and quitting guitar. That sounds like a decision begging for later regret. Don't do it.

    Second, take lessons. Once you find a good instructor that can help you focus and introduce new challenges, you'll be excited to play again because you'll have fresh goals.
     
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  4. LPBR

    LPBR Active Member

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    Hi Lineboat and Smitty, seems that both of you agree that the better way to go is to get lessons. And I think you are right. Although I am a self-taugh guy for excelence it normally works for me just to learn the very basics and get on track, but as soon it happens I am too lazy to keep focused and praticing. I am a dude of a 'thousand instruments' meaning that I like to do a LOT of different stuff (beside guitar, there is also carpentry, luthierie, model kits, photography, composition and others) but at the end of the day I am just regular on everything (not really good on no one of those things). Probably having an instructor to set goals (as Smitty mentioned) is a way to obligate me to study and it will certainly push me forward. Last night I put a backtrack and play for a couple hours. It was fun and I could learn a couple new licks but I got a big bubble in m third finger. Well, that's it, next Monday I will go out and get me a guitar instructor. I already have someone in mind.

    :smile:

    Oh, and by the way, I am not REALLY wishing to sell my gear. It is more like a menace to myself then I have an extra reason to learn to play decently. But if at the end of some time neither new lessons and nor the fear of lose my gear make me move it will be a sign that I don't desserve to own it anyway. I think (and hope) that such extreme measures won't be necessary.

    Thank you both. I will be back in a few weeks and will let you guys know how I am doing!

    :thumb:
     
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  5. Six String

    Six String Moderator Staff Member

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    Lessons are always good. Self motivation also plays an important part of going on or stopping. Maybe going on is an answer that only your heart can say. I too am one that has troubles with being motivated to the discipline of structured practice time, so I understand. If you take lessons, be sure you find a teacher that understands this situation... that will help you in the long run.

    As to "deserving to own it..." your equipment is your equipment and whether you can play it or not, it will always be your equipment.
     
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  6. eS.G.

    eS.G. Well-Known Member

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    I would echo what the others have said. Good luck and let us know how your getting along.
     
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  7. LPBR

    LPBR Active Member

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    Thank you Six String for such incentive shot!

    :smile:

    I have been on this swampy stuck spot for some time and it is like a curse. One of my main problem is that I like so many things, so it is not rare that I stick to an activity for weeks while I just put others aside, so it means that I may keep weeks without touch my guitars (and the other hobbies) so I really need to get proper motivation that stop me to keep doing that over and over.

    What I mean is that I need to discover some kind of trick that force me to pick the guitar daily even if I am more focused on something else and maybe an instructor can make this trick.

    I know that it may be hard to understand for whose has guitar as unique hobby that I keep a lot of time away from it. But trust me... to have several hobbies may be really overwhelming! Mostly of people I know has only one hobby and put all their power on it. Some fish, others play an instrument, others play carpentry or assemble model kits, others bike, others take pictures, others paint, others write... What if you suddenly figure out that you want to try the maximum of things in this narrow time we have called Life and it includes to do all of those things? Well, I am that guy.

    :facepalm:

    The meanest variable in this equation is that while I should try to eliminate some of those hobbies to get more time for the remaining ones, instead I am always 'finding' space to add a new one to the list. I think I am crazy. Actually I would like to do too much more things than I already do and I just don't do more because fortunatelly I have developed some reality sense that makes me see that I can NOT do that!!!

    :shock:
     
  8. LPBR

    LPBR Active Member

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    eS.G. I am definitively on this path. Although everything I have said before about several hobbies, guitar playing is one of the two first hobbies I developed in my life (together with assemble model kits) so I have a special link to this. Also, guitar playing is not only a hobby. It is also a channel that allowed me to express my musical soul along my whole life. Thanks to the guitar I could write songs through decades and I could also finally to record these songs last year and put them together in my first album (that was a dream of more than 30 years). Along my life I have abandoned forever some stuff that I started doing. I have even quit guitar a few times but I am always getting back to it, so this is a sign that I have to insist with that.

    A couple months ago I came here with a similar complain and nothing happened since then (I continue at the same spot). I thought that when I returned with a new thread with the same BS you guys would beat hard my head with some kind of "wait... what? again?" stuff. I am happy that the community get really concerned when someone seems to reach a desperation point like me. This time, though, I am commited to do something serious regarding to that, and really, get some external help from an instructor seems to be a very good idea, specially considering that it is one of the things I never have tried.

    I will be back to tell my progresses, and this is a promise. I should be going to talk to someone tomorrow (Monday).

    :thumb:
     
  9. frankd

    frankd Well-Known Member

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    Its never to late. I quit playing for over 20 years and just started back for a couple years now. I have progressed quite well
    even though I work long hrs and also have another hobby dogs. Guys like master that riff guitar Joeles and a few others on you tube have helped me. But I am surrounded by guitars and amps and I play almost daily well daily except ever 6 months or so I take a 5-7
    day break and then im right back at it.Sounds like you are going to have to make this a top priority and get down to some serious pushin
    yourself time.
    goodluck frankd
     
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  10. LPBR

    LPBR Active Member

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    Thank you for your kind words and extra incentive shot, Frank! I really appreciate that! I think that THIS is the time for me to do that. Unfortunately I couldn't play this weekend because I played TOO MUCH on Friday and developed a huge water bubble in my third finger and I was afraid that it could blow and expose the flesh stopping me to play for several days. Today the water is gone and the skin has flattened. Time to start playing again and turn the former bubble onto a nice callus. :thumb:
     
  11. frankd

    frankd Well-Known Member

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    Buy some new but cheap pedals etc whatever it take to give yourself the incentive to play. Try liquid bandaid or
    superglue on your finger I keep both around burns at first but let it dry a day and then your good.
    don't stop pushing and you will eventually bust out of the rut and surprise yourself.
    frankd
     
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  12. LPBR

    LPBR Active Member

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    Frank, thank you for the superglue idea, I didn't know this! I will try it! :)

    Question: do you apply it over the bubble or you peal it off and apply it directly on the flesh as it would a new artifitial skin?
     
  13. Westernrider

    Westernrider Active Member

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    Lots of good encouragement, keep it coming.

    Next up, stay off the , "I'm gonna sell my stuff!" You'll regret it later.

    Best news, youtube can be your friend. There are some really good blues lessons out there. But, an instructor that you can work with is friggin priceless. Now the best part of all, there is one more item to address.

    If you know the
    blues pentatonic, you also know the major pentatonic. Really.

    Check out this site.


    http://12bar.de/php/scale_generator.php

    Step one.
    select a c blues scale. Roots will be in red by default.
    And then hit select.
    Look at the 8th fret on the 6th string. There is the start of your C blues.
    Under the neck drawing, there is a little box marked save or compare or something. Click it.
    Now, start over and pick the c blues major pentatonic scale then select it again.


    The scale just dropped three frets. Now your 1st finger is starting on the 5th fret - A. And your little finger [or your 3rd finger depending upon your playing style] is on the 8th fret - C.
    Same pattern and fingering, just a lower place. You can now switch from sad sound to a happy, sunny morning sound.

    There is a whole skill set that you can develop for morphing between the scales, and I'm just getting you something new to work on.

    Don't mind me, I like colors and the comic sans font.



     
  14. LPBR

    LPBR Active Member

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    Thank you for all the encouragement Westernrider!

    :thumb:

    For all of you, I would like to say that I picked a guitar instructor! Yesterday I had my second class and it is getting great. Not too much progresses so far (obviously) but I already can see some. The best part is that it is forcing me to practice every day. Although I don't practice a lot of time (something between a half hour to an hour depending on my availability) it is too much more than I was used to. My instructor gave to me a few postural exercises right in the first class. Yesterday, in the second class, he teached me all the five shapes of minor pentatonic (I only knew one shape with the tonic note at the E string) and the best of all: he showed me the rules to find every shape depending on what string is the tonic note, so actually I don't need to look at a sheet of paper to remember the shapes. Now I just have to memorize them. Also he gave to me a jazzy backing track that goes changing the tone all the time, so my exercise is explore the scale shapes on it. I am more excited than ever now!

    :smile:
     
  15. gball

    gball Well-Known Member

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    LPBR, you're on the right track man. Keep going with the instructor and keep doing things that motivate you!

    May I also humbly suggest that you spend some time with a trusted friend or two, just playing together without agenda. It doesn't have to be a "jam session" or an organized event with a full complement of instruments and players. One guy you know won't put any pressure on you will do.
    I believe you will find that spitballing/woodshedding/BS'ing with another person is the most inspirational and rewarding thing that you can do to build confidence and get your chops ready for taking it to a larger format. You don't have to play songs at all, just make up a few chord progressions and take it from there. No better learning experience than playing with other people.
     
  16. LPBR

    LPBR Active Member

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    GBall it seems to be an excellent idea. There is this lady that became our friend and that lives near to us (the next street, can go walking to her house). Happens that she is a guitarist. Also she does classes with the same instructor (actually was she that referred him to me) and she plays a nice rock. Funny is that if you see her on the street you wouldn't imagine that she rocks! Anyway, she is always asking me to go to play together with her. To make the thing even more exciting, a couple weeks ago she told me that discovered that the neighbor that has helped her with her ceramics is a drummer (and she has one of those electronic drums alike Simmons) and that they are starting to have some fun together. Maybe it is time to slip among them...

    :D

    Oh, and there is more... I just discovered that the new groundkeeper of my neighbor is a drummer too! The other day I started to hear someone beating a drum (I never had heard it before here in 6 years) and then I started to find from where it was coming. So a couple days ago I met the guy and asked if it was him. So he asked "Oh, am I disturbing you?" and I answered "No, LoL, go ahed, you are doing great!". Then he told that he started to take lessons and that just bought this new drums! Maybe this is a sign????

    :thumb:
     
  17. SJR

    SJR New Member

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    My story is somewhat similar to yours. Had a great time playing with my friends in bands mostly covers when I was young. Then the guitar took a back seat to carreer and family...but in the last 4 years I got back into guitar by being persuaded to play in an acoustic band learning maybe 50 songs that I had never played before. Acuostic playing was mostly strumming and rythm, it was just the ticket to get back into the guitar full force. Don't shy away from an invitaion by friends to jam. Rythm guitar is need for the jams. Its not allways soloing. That will come as you experience others just going it. The other piece of advice I can give you is to use the internet to learn. There is a wealth of information and lessons out there. I wish it was available when I was young. It's never to late. My soloing skills have increased dramatically to the point that my friends are impressed at jam sessions. Most of all have fun!
     
  18. LPBR

    LPBR Active Member

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    SJR and all! I am having my classes for one month now. Not a LOT of progress but I definitively have seen some. One of them is that I have learn all the five pentatonics shapes -- I only knew the one which tonic is in the E string :rolleyes:. I still have to somewhat 'locate' them in the neck so it is not automatic yet, but I feel that this knowledge has unleashed my neck usage. I am absolutely sure that I have moved one step forward and that I NEVER will come back to the previous lavel again.

    While it may sound weird that after one month of classes it be the 'only' achievement I have gotten and some may think 'Well, the pentatonics shapes are not a big deal and you don't need an instructor the this...'. The case is that he didn't simply draw the shapes on a paper and gave it to me. Instead he explained all the theory behind the pentatonics construction, so even if I stopped to play guitar for 10 years and totally forgot the shapes I still could recover them because now I know why they are as they are!

    I am really excited. I just wish I dedicate more time to guitar practicing. Beside a ton of other things I like to do I am not a good student. At least I can say that the classes and the progresses has wiped off of my head the idea of get rid of my gear. And even with such a little improvement I am feeling myself more confident to play with others. The other day the lady that is always inviting me asked me again for a jam, and, for the first time I didn't say 'no'; instead I said 'Yeah, we will, let's organize this!'.

    :D
     
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  19. Tazz3

    Tazz3 Active Member

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    Find a good teacher, iam sure u will go though a few before u find the right one,
    My friend started playing guiatr when he was a teen he was good he was in a band
    Then he stopped playing for about ten years, he started playing again he said it was like
    Stating over,
     
  20. LPBR

    LPBR Active Member

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    I think you are a bit late, Tazz3! LoL! :D
     

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