Any Engineers or Engineering students on this board?

Discussion in 'Music Theory, Lessons & Techniques' started by OnTheEdge234, Jan 9, 2017.

  1. OnTheEdge234

    OnTheEdge234 SS.org Regular

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    I thought I would post this as this has been on my mind a lot in the past week or so.

    How do you guys balance your engineering careers with guitar playing?

    I kind of find it somewhat tricky, because I feel like its either be good at one or the other. I am one of those guys who would prefer to be really good at something than doing multiple things and being mediocre at all of them lol.

    I am considering working on engineering given the fact I am unemployed right now and have an engineering degree.
     
  2. CapnForsaggio

    CapnForsaggio Cap'n (general)

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    You have the right idea.

    Pay the bills as an engineer.

    10 years later, you can have any guitar collection you want, and the free time to play it. Just don't have any kids.
     
  3. OnTheEdge234

    OnTheEdge234 SS.org Regular

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    What do you mean I have the right idea? Can you explain?

    Yeah I don't plan on having kids....I am not patient for anything like that.

    Well I do want to be a great guitar player, I think I am close. I mainly just need to improve songwriting, improvisation, and then I am done.
     
  4. CapnForsaggio

    CapnForsaggio Cap'n (general)

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    This is what I mean by the right idea.

    If you are unemployed, and the choice is to:

    1) Play guitar, then profit OR
    2) Find work as an engineer, then profit

    I recommend #2.

    Many people play guitar, better than you. Better than me. Better than your buddy who has a band that almost made it.....
     
  5. OnTheEdge234

    OnTheEdge234 SS.org Regular

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    Well that's discouraging.
     
  6. TedEH

    TedEH Cromulent

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    When it comes to learning or playing an instrument, there's no such thing as "done". Same with engineering. Same with any skill. It's not about "being done", it's about experience and where else you can or want to take it.

    Obviously there's a point to be made that there's always going to be someone out there who is "better" but hasn't "made it" or someone who has experienced a lot of success without any real skill - but none of those things have any bearing on what you choose to do with your time/effort/money/life.

    Realistically, at the end of the day, playing guitar is not a job for 99% of people. Being the best guitar player in the world isn't going to make you a living unless you apply it in some way, as with any other skill that people monetize. Guitar teaching makes money. Audio engineering makes money. Being a good guitar player on it's own does not generate money.

    That's a self-imposed limitation. There's no reason you can't be good at two-or-more things.

    If you have to prioritize making a living, then a proper engineering career is the obvious/safe choice.
     
  7. bpprox22

    bpprox22 String Breaker

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    You describe something I've given some thought to before.

    It is all too common to see a well-off, financially sound, individual that is okay at playing and then see an absolute beast of a player that is a total s*** show of a person. Those are the extremes of the spectrum however... It is definitely possible to be an engineer and a great musician, you just have to be very good at time management. I work in IT as a developer and am constantly torn between getting better at guitar and getting better at my craft (programming) when I have free time.

    Both excite me but lets be honest, playing guitar well doesn't pay my bills -- also I can't even play well anyways :lol:

    Guitar, among other hobbies, is just something I do to have fun. Since there are endless skills to acquire with guitar, I have a lot to look forward to in terms of learning -- even if it's at a slower pace (because of my job).
     
  8. OnTheEdge234

    OnTheEdge234 SS.org Regular

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    Well its hard to understand what good is

    Allan holdsworth is great at fusion but I don't think he could do fingerstyle as well

    Tommy Emmanuel is great at fingerstyle but I don't think he could do metal as well

    Greg howe is an awesome at what he does, but I have never seen him do slap grooves, or fingerstyle.

    I guess its a matter of what I like a lot.
     
  9. fantom

    fantom Misses his 6 strings

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    100% agree. If you plan on working as an engineer, you should try to solve this problem. A lot of new graduates are extremely good at working on a single task, but when they have down-time, they are more or less paperweights (and, in some cases, even a distraction to other employees).

    Suppose you can multitask. You produce a diagram or proposal that needs senior approval, but the senior engineer is busy. Switch to a new task and work asynchronously.

    Oh, and you also won't get burned out!

    Why is it only career vs. guitar? Do you seriously have nothing else in your life? Take the scientific approach. Log how you spend your time for a week. I guarantee you will see what your priorities are vs. what you want them to be.

    In college, I could easily spend 12+ hours a week with a band (on top of school, extra-curricular, work, and ex-girlfriend). The main time sinks were the ex-girlfriend and video games.

    Now, if I stopped watching Netflix, stopped playing video games, or asked my girlfriend for more personal time, I would have more than enough time to do what I want to prioritize. But it is pretty clear to me that I want to prioritize those things because they help me relax and enjoy life.
     
  10. TedEH

    TedEH Cromulent

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    There's been a lot of threads on this forum focused on how people try to divide their time between their jobs, hobbies, side projects, family, travel, etc. etc., because we know that music and all the things that surround it can end up being a serious time investment.

    Another point to consider is that you don't have to do all the things at the same time. Focus on one thing right now, if that's how you want to do it, maybe in a year or so you will shift priorities and it's perfectly legit to plan to do so.

    I have a job, two bands (was three for while), a personal music project, as well as an indie game project all happening more-or-less at the same time. The bands have specific times scheduled out for them, and jobs obviously require a huge chunk of time out of the day, but everything else is on a when-I-feel-like-it basis. I've scheduled a weekend coming soon to do drum tracking for my solo music, and this week I've been in a programming kind of mood, so I've been doing the game dev thing after work. Throw on top of all of this that I'm working on my health, so things like food preparation, taking time aside to get exercise, etc. It sounds like a lot - because it is - but I'm single, live alone, and have decent time management skills, so it's a balance that works for me and feels productive. And I don't stress about it, because there's no point in stressing over that kind of thing. It's all just for my enjoyment/benefit, so it doesn't matter what I do, as long as I make a living somewhere in there. If I come home one day and feel like being a useless bum, I'll just sit and play video games all day, and that's fine. It's good for the brain to have a day or two off every once in a while to shut down and be useless.

    Anyway.... didn't mean to throw up a wall of text, but hopefully something in there is useful.
     
  11. donniekak

    donniekak SS.org Regular

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    Now you're catching on.....
     
  12. drgamble

    drgamble SS.org Regular

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    All of this is relative. Take Tom Scholz for example, he made a fortune in engineering and in music. Now, whether or not you think he is a great guitar player or like the products he makes is another thing.
     
  13. Descent

    Descent SS.org Regular

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    Ex-engineer (pro) and now part time musician...

    The guitar playing (originals) never paid the bills, it was a huge money pit. It is fun though...so I never stopped playing.

    The rock star / guitar gig is age related. You have up to about 27 year old to land it in that business so consider that.

    There are some engineers that went exactly that route, like Andy Sneap. Somewhat famous guitarist, once that he got older - he became a studio engineer.

    Did the engineering thing professionally for a few years -I recouped most of my losses from being a guitarist, but still didn't pay the bills as well as some of my other jobs.

    If you can hang with playing in cover bands and get a good circuit - guitar can pay better than being and engineer and can land you some hot tail.

    Being an engineer also lands you some hot tail, when the rock band brings in the groupies and it turns out that the slightly older guy that made a bunch of stoners sound good is actually cooler than said stoners...

    Probably best bet is to invest into a sound company and then recording so you can do live gigs and recordings. I tried to save my ears and didn't do live shows, thus the income stream was not as good as doing both...but TBH - I'd suggest getting another career, being a system engineer, coder, etc. pays much better than anything in music.

    Or become a teacher - decent salary, cushy job (unless you make a racial faux pas or touch a student you're pretty much set for life), and you have 3 months vacation during which you can be an engineer.
     
  14. donniekak

    donniekak SS.org Regular

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    I think the op is in the engineering field as an me, or ee type, not a recording engineer.
     
  15. TedEH

    TedEH Cromulent

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    ^ Re-reading the OP, I think you're right, but the points still stand. Any type of engineering job is going to be a more stable career/lifestyle than trying to turn guitar playing into money.
     
  16. donniekak

    donniekak SS.org Regular

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    I fully agree. When I learned that skill on the instrument wasn't directly related to success in the industry I bailed. I don't have the personality type to constantly be selling myself everywhere I go.

    There are plenty of jobs in the music industry beside rock star, but most have bad hours, travel, and crap pay. Luckily I enjoy music even more when I'm not trying to make it my main revenue stream.
     
  17. m107a1

    m107a1 SS.org Regular

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    Agree with others' comments on Engineering to pay the bills and later you can buy whatever you want - cars, guitars, vacations, homes, etc. My wife and I hate kids, so we're "living the life" now as DINKs. I've been an engineer 16 years and hopefully not much longer.
     
  18. glpg80

    glpg80 √εvil

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    I have two associates degrees in engineering technology, two bachelor's degrees in electrical and computer engineering, and currently a masters student in electrical engineering.

    Since becoming an engineer, I haven't touched a guitar in over 2 years. Most of my gear is for sale or already sold - my passion became engineering during my studies.
     
  19. Descent

    Descent SS.org Regular

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    Come on man, we need more EE to work on these tube goodies and other effect related stuff, don't give up the passion for guitar, make a career of it, like Jim Marshall and others.
     
  20. Given To Fly

    Given To Fly Contributor

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    There is actually quite a bit of truth in this. :coffee:
     

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