Seriously thinking of quiting for good - Need advice please :(

Discussion in 'Music Theory, Lessons & Techniques' started by eightsixboy, Oct 31, 2017.

  1. eightsixboy

    eightsixboy あなたのお母さんを犯さ

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    So to try and keep a long winded story somewhat short I try and summarise.

    Been playing on/off for around 15 years with a 4-5 year break in the middle whilst being a mechanic (don't recommend it) with the first 5 years super serious (did albums with bands and gigs etc) and the last 2-3 years somewhat serious about playing, trying different approaches etc etc.

    The issue is my accuracy at speed. I can have days where I can play erotomania for example at 90% basically perfect but then some days I can't even play it at 50% speed and struggle with sore wrists/fingers or generally stiffness.

    I have tried everything from changing how I sit, how I pick (3 fingers, upward/downward pick slanting) different forearm rotation types etc but I always end up what I feel is square one. It basically feels like I have this default setting for picking and legato at around 100-120 bpm that I can default to but I have to wait until a good day to play other stuff.

    I have tried being a legato only player, only to have the same problem, extreme differences between my on/off days, to the point where I quit for about 3 months last year. I could play along to Brett Garsed one day almost note for note on most passages to then feeling like a complete noob the next day and have that feeling for anywhere from a day to a week.

    Now the thing that pisses me off the most about all of this is, a mate came over a little while ago, hasn't touched a guitar in months, and within 10 mins of playing is seriously out shredding me in terms of picking ie Paul Gilbert syle licks etc. I'm just left thinking "how is this possible when I play mimimum 1-2 hours per day" everyday?

    Any advise? I don't want to quit obviously but at the moment I'm like why bother, if I'm not improving or if I can't play how I want to play. I think of all the time and $$$ invested and that makes me even more angry haha.
     
  2. Demiurge

    Demiurge Intrepid Jackass

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    As somebody who rarely plays and is often overcome by the grim feeling that one of these long breaks in playing will be permanent...

    I'm of two minds about it. On on side, playing guitar isn't like a job that you need to outright quit or a spouse to divorce- you can play whenever you want how much you want and there's nothing intrinsically wrong with whatever you do. On the other side, there's no value in keeping up doing something that you don't enjoy just because of what you've perceived as a prior investment. Maybe you'll enjoy it more with less pressure (to play a certain # of hours, to be at a certain level of proficiency) placed on yourself. Or you'll know that you're right to move on.
     
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  3. crankyrayhanky

    crankyrayhanky SS.org Regular

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    If your goal is to shred better than your buddy, than you may need to hang it up. There's always a better shredder on the block.
    If you try to enjoy it and be a better player than yourself everyday, then set some goals to keep moving (like writing a song, forming a band, etc)
     
  4. Lasik124

    Lasik124 SS.org Regular

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    My advice is it sounds like your thinking a bit to much.

    Do you enjoy playing? Your paragraphs make it seem like playing is a chore of upkeeping your chops.

    Perhaps try a step back and immersing yourself in music in a different manor. I gave up shredding a couple years ago due to feelings of it being to much upkeep. I now mostly play for feel with pentatonics and have in turn gotten a deeper understanding and enjoyment out of the instrument. At the same time I as well am better then I have ever been because I gave up expectations or impressions of what I should be playing, or worrying about what others are.

    One thing you bring up is consistency. I find consistency is one of the hardest things in life, think about your moods and how some days are more up then others, music can be the same way. Take it as you will, and don't feel guilty putting the guitar down for a day.

    TLDR: Stop Working. Start playing. Stop thinking, Start enjoying :2c:
     
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  5. USMarine75

    USMarine75 Doc McStuffins Contributor

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    What do you have for sale? ;)
     
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  6. Mathemagician

    Mathemagician SS.org Regular

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    If shredding is your only yardstick then you’ll need to practice hours everyday to a metronome.

    That’s the only way to be a great shredder. I just remind myself that when I used to practice 3 hours a day, there were people practicing 8.

    Aside from that don’t sell all your gear. Just reevaluate what it is you get out of playing.
     
  7. Eden

    Eden SS.org Regular

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    Now I haven't been playing nearly as long as you, but I've gone through similar periods where I told myself I was just too busy or would never be good enough of a player to make myself happy.

    Let me tell you why that changed (for me, it might not be the same for you)

    I've spent so much time listening to wanky music a-la dream theater and btbam that I know I'll never play like those guys and I thought "well what's the point" but a while back my tastes developed differently, away from the wankery and more towards singer/songwriting based music, still inspired by those same extreme tendencies.

    Maybe what you're craving is a different muse. Your words make it sound like playing is a chore or a competition, when it should be about expression. I've accepted I'll never win awards but every now and then I'll write a riff or song that puts a smile on my face and that I want to show people. I say maybe trying to place yourself outside of your comfort zone musically, try a different genre or band just to approach things from a different perspective and if you appreciate it you might get some of that fire back
     
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  8. eightsixboy

    eightsixboy あなたのお母さんを犯さ

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    I feel like regardless of wanting to be at a certain level that with the amount I time I have invested my base level of playing should and would be higher or more consistent then it is.

    Funny thing is I do enjoy it when I write, or play other instruments, but when I want to learn something note for note on guitar then I get extremely frustrated.

    My point was more that someone can just play so well, even after not touching a guitar for ages ie: have a certain benchmark they can always have, that's still better then me on most days. I really don't care if someone is better or faster, just that why can't I have the same level of just pick up and go vs "have to wait for a good day" kind of thing like at the moment.

    Well that's what happened when I gave it up last year, I started playing again purely for the music and because I missed it and I also love gear and all that.

    As soon as I was thinking of teaching or maybe doing a youtube thing, even just for fun, I could feel the need to be at a certain level again. It doesn't help that some FB friends of mine are sponsored or somewhat known artists over here and they'll post a vid doing the whole "here's my warm up" and they are just stupidly talented, whilst I'm still struggling with Technical difficulties all day or something :(

    I don't think I'm a bad player or anything, but in my mind I just feel like I should be waaaay better on a consistency level then I am now. Very annoying how one night I feel like Petrucci's clone or something yet the next I feel like someone who has just started a few months ago lol.

    As of this morning everything haah. My mate convinced me to "chill the F**k out" and don't sell anything.

    Honestly I'm over the whole "shred" thing and the competitive aspect of it, in terms of trying to be the next Tosin or Jason Richardson or something. I know that, besides the time involved, I will never ever get there no matter what.

    If I just had a base level I was happy with I would be content. It feels like I hit my ceiling of ability as a teen after 4-5 years of playing and I have never gotten over that.

    Unfortunately I am coming to realise that been the player I want to be probably won't happen, so maybe I should just set my bar lower.
     
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  9. Edika

    Edika SS.org Regular

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    Some really good points from other people made already. A couple of things to keep in mind is that mood plays a really important role and sometimes repeat sessions of practicing will accentuate difficulties with playing.

    A few years back I had the same issue, I was practicing almost everyday for a couple of hours and some days where glorious and some sucked donkey balls. If I didn't play for a few days when I picked up the guitar it felt like I was playing better than playing every day. I thought about it and it all came down to my personal expectations. When I played everyday I had the expectation that I would constantly improve and be consistent everyday but if I noticed imperfections too much in my playing it would affect my psyche and play even worse the rest of the session.

    If I hadn't touched the guitar for a few days I would be so excited to play again that I was quite more relaxed and into the zone of playing that I would play a lot better. I was just enjoying playing again. If I played for a second day I might start noticing the same issues. In the long run though I saw that it did improve my playing significantly, playing everyday, even if I didn't see any progress at the time.

    One thing to keep in mind is that everybody has off days and that professional musicians will focus on the area that they have difficulties and work on that until they get it right. So if a specific passage is giving you trouble you have to focus on that for a few days and then try to fix another passage in a song and not try to correct everything at once. Bit you'll still have bad days. Everyone does.
     
  10. budda

    budda Guiterrorizer Contributor

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    Most people who "quit" come back to it eventually.

    If you own anything that's irreplaceable, don't sell it. Sell the rest. Sure you'll have to buy it again later but that can (and should) be fun.
     
  11. CerealKiller

    CerealKiller SS.org Regular

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    If you struggle with sore wrists and fingers, maybe you just need more rest between your 'sessions'. Make sure you are warmed up as well.

    I used to have the same problems with inconsistency, but on the 'off' days I would then just practice something entirely different, like some rhythm and timing stuff, and give the wrist a rest. I think this really helped on my playing.
    Also, when you have a good day and everything clicks, try to put your technique under the microscope, make note of everything your hands do, how you hold the pick, angle of the pick on the string, where your hand rests, etc.. This should make it easier for you to replicate it, or at least practice the same way, on the bad days.
     
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  12. bostjan

    bostjan MicroMetal Contributor

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    What do you hope to get out of your guitar? Are you wanting to break new grounds for the instrument on the technical side? If not, who cares about how fast you can play the solo from Erotomania?

    Man, when I was 21 years old, I was so proud of myself that I could pretty much nail that entire song, after working for about a year on it without any break. Not only that, but I worked with a drummer who could do it some justice, too. Then we decided to pull it out at a gig. People thought the "shredding" was impressive, but otherwise, we could have been playing random nonsense and it would have left the same impression. That is to say, no one really cared. It was a card trick and nothing more. On the other hand, we could have played "Breaking the Law" or "Run to the Hills" at the same gig and left a much more positive impression with that particular audience. Or we could have played "Brown Eyed Girl" or "Jail House Rock" to a different, much bigger audience, and left an even bigger better impression yet... Or I could have sat at home and learned "Mosquito Brain Surgery" note for note and been much more impressed with myself, and nothing else. Or...I could have instead directed all of that energy into writing my own cool new song and had something I could enjoy for years that I was even more proud of accomplishing.

    It's all what you make of it. I mean, in a hundred years, we'll all be dead anyway, and not a single note I ever played on the guitar will be remembered by anybody by then. The only things that will matter then are all things far beyond my control. But, forget about that, because this is now, and what matters now is more important that what mattered then or what will come to matter at some nebulous point in the future. So ask yourself what you want to do now. If you want to pick up yer geetar and pluck out some notes, then do it, because why the hell not? If you don't want to play guitar, then don't. :shrug: I'm sure there are other things you could do that are just as important. Maybe you could learn a new language, or master a new branch of mathematics, or stick with music and learn the saxophone.
     
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  13. Mathemagician

    Mathemagician SS.org Regular

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    I’ll say this. I suck at down-pick only style riffing. But I keep trying for my own amusement to downpick various things I would have alternate picked in the past. And little by little I’m improving, primarily by staying relaxed. I don’t have a “goal” speed, and I only do it about 20 minutes or so. But since I play like maybe once or twice a week tops, I notice a definite little bump up every time I try it again.

    I sure as hell don’t play more than twice a week anymore. It’s all for my own amusement now.
     
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  14. billinder33

    billinder33 SS.org Regular

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    I totally agree with this.

    Dedicating the majority of your time trying to fluently execute 32nd notes at 140BPM (for example), IMO is an empty pursuit for most people. These are just not practical goals if you have to work a regular job to feed yourself.

    IMO, if you are feeling dejected and discouraged, you should add more variety to your practice diet. The great thing about music is the speed is not the only trick in the book. How's your chordal knowledge? Worked on any jazz lately? Can you rip out funky chicken-pickin' licks over uptempo backing tracks? Do you know 7-8 good musical-sounding whammy bar techniques that you can pull out at any time during improv? Can you flash a Gmaj7 arpeggio over a Em7 chord on demand? Can you sing and play at the same time?

    Try spending more time with these kinds of things and dial back your focused speed practice to 1-2 times per week. And when you do work on speed, spend it on exercises or riffs that are applicable to multiple things - various types of improv, building better left hand or right hand technique, getting better general arpeggio knowledge, etc. Try to forgo practicing on speed riffs that require high levels of complex pattern memorization, because unless you're practicing several hours every day, you're going to forget all those complex patterns when you hit a patch where you can't pick up the guitar for a several days in a row. Or if you move on to new complex patterns, you will inevitably forget the old ones... meaning hours of wasted practice. Focus on practicing riffs and techniques that will stay useful to you forever.

    If you do this, you should still see marginal improvements in speed, but you pick up a whole lot of new things along the way, and hopefully be a happier player in the process.

    Good luck!!!!
     
  15. Maniacal

    Maniacal SS.org Regular

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    Unless your hands get seriously fatigued from work, I imagine the problem has more to do with inconsistent technique. Get a good teacher to take a look at your technique.
     
  16. eightsixboy

    eightsixboy あなたのお母さんを犯さ

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    Well the funny thing is I have almost stopped listening to DT or bands that I used to as I find it a bit boring now anyway. Jazz or Fusion stuff gets me more interested now, stuff like Gambale playing with Chick Korea, Greg howe or just rock, especially the new Deep Purple stuff, which is great.

    Honestly I have noticed this as well. I was pretty damn excited to play last night as I picked up a TC G Major for cheap and was busy getting reacquainted to the unit, next thing you know I basically played 3-4 hours straight with a decent metronome session at the end and felt perfectly fine. Maybe if I'm feeling tired or sense I'm going to be a bit crap I should do theory or song writing instead of the usual technique based playing and see how that goes.

    Sadly I have already had this happen last year. Sold my J Custom which I really regret now as it was insanely nice guitar, I also got it stupidly cheap, which was why I sold it as I thought "oh, easy way to make money", sold it within a few days but instantly regretted it.

    I think age + mechanic has taken its toll to some degree. Being a teen wasn't that long ago, I'm only early 30's but I've noticed a huge difference in terms of recovery times and general speed of my left hand that's for sure.

    That's a good point about having a good day, I'll start recording myself more on good and bad days and try and suss out what the issue is, it might even be something as simply as posture.

    You know what, you are 100% right about this. I think for me, in my mind, I just want to feel like I can do what you described, even if it doesn't impress anyone other then myself, I guess that's the level I would like to be at. At least then I can say, well if I never use it then it doesn't matter but at least I know I have the ability to fall back on, or something along those lines.

    Looking at guitar and music in general, yeah, no one besides guitarists really give a crap about technique or what's hard to play, no random is going to know the difference between playing the glass prison arp's the "cheat" way or the "real" way lol. That's kind of depressing in a sense, because its not just technique, but also theory and really all music in general. Unless you are at a Jazz club or in front of teacher or something the normal listener wont have the slightest clue if you played a min7 arp over a Sus chord or if you just bluffed your way over a change or something etc. I could literally play a Jazz passage on guitar in front of my wife and then play a basic blues lick and she wouldn't be able to tell the difference tonally.

    I know personally, I wouldn't be happy to play just once or twice week, I have to feel like I'm improving or working on something otherwise it seems a bit pointless. But I'm like that with everything. When I started playing golf I was practicing almost daily, just to get to where I felt good enough to feel like I had a standard I could rely on. Maybe I'm to competitive or to much of a perfectionist haha.

    Maybe people just have different standards that drive them to play and want to keep playing?
     
  17. eightsixboy

    eightsixboy あなたのお母さんを犯さ

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    Honestly I try and cover all bases as well, in terms of theory, genres etc. I also try and play other instruments like keyboards, drums etc etc. I see your point and it's something I will start doing more of that's for sure. I'll start focusing less on technique all the time and probably focus more on theory and improv.
     
  18. eightsixboy

    eightsixboy あなたのお母さんを犯さ

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    I'm a pencil pusher now, but I still have days where my hands feel real stiff and just don't want to move, I also have what is probably minor arthritis in a few fingers, my middle ringer on my picking hand actually looks way thicker when compared to the left at the joints, the thing aches really bad some days. Probably just getting old lol.

    I have recently changed my picking technique completely, basically doing it Steve Morse style as its the only was that feels comfy now. I used to be an aggressive upward pick slanter back in my metal days and I think that completely ruined my picking technique whilst holding the pick in a traditional way. I have tried for a few years now to do downward pick slanting, or basically just rotated my forearm the other way, but it doesn't feel accurate for me. Speed is there but it feels less stable compared to my current 3 finger approach. I can see why Steve played like this and its advantages, alt. picked arps are easy in comparison to holding you pick with 2 fingers. The only downside is outright speed, but I can still get it to 150bpm 16th note patterns on a good day.
     
  19. Nicki

    Nicki SS.org Regular

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    Based on your post, there's a few things I'd like to address.

    As others have mentioned, you make it sound as if practice is a chore and that causes the first loss of enjoyment in playing an instrument. Why do you feel this way? Is your expectation that you can learn a scale, then just be able to rip it every which way 'til Sunday, but end up disappointed that this doesn't happen? Exit this mindset and start using your practice times for learning. If you enjoy learning something new, you'll enjoy practice a hell of a lot more.

    I then wonder, how do you practice? Do you just pick up an play something? It sounds to me that what you need is to first set a realistic goal and expectation. You then need to come up with a structured plan that by reaching the end of that plan, you'll have achieved your first goal. The plan can include learning a scale in a mode inside and out. Not just going from ascending to descending, but also everything in between. Things such as using phrasing within scales is vitally important. Don't just run the scale, but use the scale to create a dozen different phrases. If you can find a backing track online that's using a chord progression you can use to try out your phrases (or better yet, create your own), it'll be a massive leap forward in getting you where you want to go.

    Next, I ask, what are you currently playing? Metal, Jazz, Blues? Shredding spans multiple genres and the skills are transferable. Maybe you need to learn a blues scale and learn how to apply it to Metal using the same tricks and tips I mentioned.

    I would now follow up with the question, what are you currently learning? Is what you're currently learning within your skill range, or are there other skills you first need to learn in order to learn what you want? Does what you're currently learning build a solid foundation for which your end-goal can rest on? If not, you can learn songs with solos that will build that foundation for your to draw inspiration from.

    Lastly, do you need help? If you're truly struggling with learning these skills on your own, you should try finding a teacher who you connect with, who understands and enjoys the things you want to play. You can learn from their experience and begin to understand where you've taken a wrong turn. There is absolutely NO SHAME in taking lessons as an adult.

    The reason your buddy can play circles around you is because he has that solid foundation for which to draw from for his skills. He's built the muscle memory (which by the way, never goes away. "It's like riding a bike"...). It's just as simple as that.

    Finally, does the guitar you're playing feel like it was built FOR YOU. Does it fit you? Does the scale length feel natural? Does your pick hand rest comfortably? Basically, ask yourself, "does my guitar feel like I'm wearing my most comfortable clothing?" If not, start hunting for that guitar. I have found that I'll know if I'll get along with a guitar if the connection is instantaneous. If it doesn't happen the moment you start playing the guitar, it won't ever feel that way. Put it back, try something else. The guitar needs to feel like a natural extension of your body. You should never, EVER, have to fight with the instrument.
     
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  20. ite89

    ite89 SS.org Regular

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    efficient practice and consistency is key, 1-2 hours of targeted and purposeful practice is better than 8 hours of metronome work. A lot of what makes a good guitar player does not lean that heavily on the physical/technique. Creativity and a good understanding of music/music theory are the factors that i personally think make a good guitar player. At this point, you will have to realize that there is always ALWAYS going to be a 13 year old kid who is better than you. Once you are comfortable with that fact, you can focus on developing your own style and making your own music. I hope I don't sound high and mighty here as I also struggle with my feelings of inadequacy when it comes to technique. I do understand! But at the end of the day as long is I still enjoy playing guitar I won't just quit because I don't see improvement in my own playing. I think as guitar players we all have days where we just wanna quit because of the frustration of not being good enough vs others or a standard that we've set for ourselves. But that should not take away from the actual joy of playing the instrument. I mean, I don't play guitar for a living! so every chance I get to play the guitar I try to really enjoy playing the instrument and try to work at exercises that I enjoy. I used to practice mindlessly to a metronome and I realized that in those moments really felt like guitar playing was such a chore rather than an activity that I am thankful to be able to do. I do hope that you continue your journey! We're all on this journey with you!
     

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