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#452921 - 01/22/18 01:01 PM [Woodshedding - Learning to Play!] Playing Limitations
Bernier Offline
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Registered: 12/01/06
Posts: 479
Loc: Wisconsin
I'd like get peoples opinions on a concept I am contemplating.
I have been playing guitar for over 50 years. I've left it for long periods of time and then come back. The biggest thing I've noticed is that is have never seemed to have gotten any better.
It took me 10 years to realize this with golf. No matter how much time i put in, how much I played/practiced, I got to a certain level and could NOT progress any further. Has anyone found this to true with guitar?
Thanks for your input!
Bernie

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#452932 - 01/22/18 01:34 PM [Woodshedding - Learning to Play!] Re: Playing Limitations [Re: Bernier]
babarton Offline
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Registered: 12/26/06
Posts: 352
Loc: Oklahoma, USA
40+ years here, with long periods off... What's the concept you're contemplating? I'm a firm believer that you CAN always improve, but there is a catch: the better you become at a skill, the harder it becomes to improve that skill. So it is much easier for a beginner to improve at guitar than it is for you or I to improve. If a beginner practices 15 minutes three times a week, they will get better. If I practice 15 minutes three times a week, I'll probably lose ground... BUT that DOES NOT mean that you or I can't improve - just that we have to work harder at it! grin


Edited by babarton (01/22/18 01:34 PM)
Edit Reason: typo
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#452934 - 01/22/18 01:39 PM [Woodshedding - Learning to Play!] Re: Playing Limitations [Re: Bernier]
jford Offline
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Registered: 12/20/00
Posts: 10542
Loc: Pensacola, Florida
Reminds me of Pavarotti quoting the once a famous tenor, Aureliano Petile, who said, “If I go one day without singing, I realize it; if I go two days, my friends realize it; if I go three days, the audience realizes it.”

Substitute singing with practicing.
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#454443 - 01/29/18 12:23 PM [Woodshedding - Learning to Play!] Re: Playing Limitations [Re: Bernier]
Mikke - PG Music Offline
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Registered: 01/25/18
Posts: 27
Loc: British Columbia
Hey Bernie,

Thanks for posting. Questions like these are very important for beginners and veterans alike. I think anyone who has played any instrument can get into these funks. Although I have not played nearly as long as you, here are a couple things I have found to keep me inspired and playing.

A lot of this info boils down to one simple concept, break out of your box.

Try a completely new style. For years I restricted myself to styles I loved. As rewarding as this was, playing my favorite tunes, it became restrictive as the years went by. I started messing around with some blues and folk, I was surprised how it gave me new ideas for completely different genres.

Try a new instrument. The amazing thing about playing strings is it's super easy to branch into a new instrument. As a guitar player for years, I switched to ukulele for fun. The different strings and chord shapes kicked my brain into learning mode again. You could take this to the extreme and pick up something completely different. I found out I have a deep love for synth that I never knew I had.

Finally, have fun. Learning can be tideous, even if it's for something you love. Take a step back, enjoy the ride. Sometimes our practice regiments feel bossy, and take the joy out of it. Sometimes cruising YouTube you can find a new scale, or a new style. Make it a journey rather then a destination.

I'm sure you know most, if not all, of this already. There is power in taking things 'Back to Basics'. Alternatively, use Band-in-a-Box's huge array of styles to doodle to something new. Anything that gets those creative juices flowing.

Keep on the path, I'm sure a breakthrough is just around the corner.

Keep us updated!
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#454549 - 01/29/18 07:26 PM [Woodshedding - Learning to Play!] Re: Playing Limitations [Re: Bernier]
rockstar_not Offline
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Registered: 01/14/02
Posts: 7417
Loc: Colorado Springs, CO, USA
I never learn more until I'm pushed. Sometimes that's self-imposed.

Current person pushing me is our worship pastor. I can play pedestrian electric guitar and electric bass parts, but he is always pushing my abilities farther with harder parts.

Latest was Cissy Strut by the Meters. We always have some kind of snappy tune prior to the service. This is the song that made me realize an old injury on my pinky on my fretting hand needed looking into. The stretch I needed to perform to hit one of the notes in the riff was not possible with my "swans neck injury".

Do you have a way for someone better than you to push you further? Doesn't have to be a teacher, could be a band mate.

10 years ago I was in a band with a person who had a master's degree in guitar instruction from Indiana University.

I had 3 chords and the truth. Well, a million chords if you include barre chords.

Sig (the masters guy) eventually got frustrated with me and showed me the way of simpler chords and inversions and now I rarely barre at all.

I even wrote a blog article about that experience: https://worshipbandwingman.wordpress.com/2015/07/

So, who is pushing you?

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#454742 - 01/30/18 02:23 PM [Woodshedding - Learning to Play!] Re: Playing Limitations [Re: Bernier]
Matt Finley Offline
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Registered: 07/12/00
Posts: 17418
Loc: Hudson Valley & Lake George NY
I was pretty good as a child, playing professionally at age 12. I reached the point where I could play anything I needed to, technically, at 14. Since I could play what I think, the challenge became to think more interesting things.

After a long career mostly outside of music, I retired and decided at age 50 to learn a new instrument each year. The purpose was to be able to write for any instrument and understand its nuances better. I draw on over a dozen years of that experience (stopped about five years ago) as I write a great deal today. I learn something new each time I use BIAB, or read these forums, or pick up a horn. The possibilities are NOT limited, though the challenges are endless.
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#455185 - 02/01/18 04:08 PM [Woodshedding - Learning to Play!] Re: Playing Limitations [Re: Bernier]
Belladonna Offline
Apprentice

Registered: 09/09/17
Posts: 250
Loc: Virginia
I started out playing the piano with church music when I was a teenager. My parent's were poor and couldn't afford quality piano lessons for me, so my cousin who played in her church taught me to read piano music and play hymns. She was not good with timing, so even though I could read music my rhythm has always sucked and has haunted me to this day. But on the positive side, I decided to learn guitar at the young age of 59 to accompany me at open mic nights. Six years in I'm not a great guitar player or maybe even a good one. But, I know a lot of chords and can play many cover songs. I learned theory recently also and for the last six years I have been able to write and accompany my melodies using different key signatures and chord progressions. I have recently found my favorite "new genre" country blues and am now learning more about playing this from online lessons. It is harder to learn new things when you are older, my memory doesn't retain material as well. Also, I don't have as much time to practice every day and also am learning a lot of different things. Guitar technique, voice technique, lyric writing, composition and recording technology. So, I would say in my case, I am not a master of any of these subjects but I have learned a "hell of a lot" in my most recent years. I try to spend about an hour each day learning more about all of these and improving my writing skills. I don't care that I'll never be a virtuoso.


Edited by Belladonna (02/01/18 04:12 PM)

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#455237 - 02/02/18 04:17 AM [Woodshedding - Learning to Play!] Re: Playing Limitations [Re: Bernier]
BlueAttitude Offline
Expert

Registered: 11/30/07
Posts: 1556
Loc: Ontario, Canada
Originally Posted By: Bernier
I'd like get peoples opinions on a concept I am contemplating.
I have been playing guitar for over 50 years. I've left it for long periods of time and then come back. The biggest thing I've noticed is that is have never seemed to have gotten any better.
It took me 10 years to realize this with golf. No matter how much time i put in, how much I played/practiced, I got to a certain level and could NOT progress any further. Has anyone found this to true with guitar?
Thanks for your input!
Bernie


I've been playing for 40+ years. I would think that if you are spending a lot of time playing and practicing and you are not seeing any improvement, it would suggest that maybe you are not practicing the right thing? What aspect of your playing needs work?

In my case I don't practice very often anymore, and by "practice" I mean going over scales etc., however I do play a lot. I have a folder full of BIAB files that I use for this, different grooves, chord progressions, tempos, and keys. I'll bring up a track, highlight a section, then loop it and play over it. Doing this allows me to maintain my chops and sometimes come up with new licks. I do that almost every day, probably for an hour or so.

If I come up with a new lick that I can't play very well, I then go into practice mode. I use a metronome and set it to a slow tempo, a tempo where I can play the lick cleanly, and play it over and over again. Then, gradually over the course of maybe days, slowly increase the tempo on the metronome.

But, as babarton said: "the better you become at a skill, the harder it becomes to improve that skill", and this is very true.

For me I'm happy with the way I play, I'm not interested in being the best guitarist out there. Playing wise I just want maintain what I have and to keep it fresh so I'm not playing the same licks all the time.
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#459588 - 02/28/18 08:24 AM [Woodshedding - Learning to Play!] Re: Playing Limitations [Re: Bernier]
Deryk - PG Music Offline
PG Music Staff

Registered: 02/15/17
Posts: 1359
I've always made a point, that when I seem to hit my cap on something, instead of moving up go sideways. For example, if you are a rock guitarist and seem to be showing little progress, perhaps instead of continuing trying to progress in rock, venture into playing in a jazz styling. Oftentimes, I find this will help me progress further than I would have otherwise. And it can also allow some inspiration, dabbling in styles you are as knowledgeable about.
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#459631 - 02/28/18 12:33 PM [Woodshedding - Learning to Play!] Re: Playing Limitations [Re: Deryk - PG Music]
MarioD Offline
Veteran

Registered: 12/27/03
Posts: 11209
Loc: Hamlin NY
Originally Posted By: Deryk - PG Music
I've always made a point, that when I seem to hit my cap on something, instead of moving up go sideways. For example, if you are a rock guitarist and seem to be showing little progress, perhaps instead of continuing trying to progress in rock, venture into playing in a jazz styling. Oftentimes, I find this will help me progress further than I would have otherwise. And it can also allow some inspiration, dabbling in styles you are as knowledgeable about.


Same here. I will add that BiaB is an excellent teacher and backing band for learning different genres of music.
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#459695 - 02/28/18 08:01 PM [Woodshedding - Learning to Play!] Re: Playing Limitations [Re: Bernier]
rockstar_not Offline
Veteran

Registered: 01/14/02
Posts: 7417
Loc: Colorado Springs, CO, USA
Playing with other people that are better musicians; no matter what instrument they play; has always helped me past plateaus

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#459769 - 03/01/18 07:08 AM [Woodshedding - Learning to Play!] Re: Playing Limitations [Re: Bernier]
jcland Offline
Journeyman

Registered: 01/15/01
Posts: 309
Loc: Springfield, MO
I believe the key is to involve yourself in music to the point that you eagerly look forward to the next day in anticipation of learning something new you did not know when you went to bed last night.

About 6 months ago I started to get into a funk since I was playing mostly bluegrass music on the banjo and guitar. I turned 70 two weeks ago. One morning got my bass out, which I could play but only the simple 1-4-5 progressions for bluegrass and some memorized blues lines. That day I decided to learn something new I never could do before and that was to read music. Now I can actually play some blues, jazz and rock by reading the actual music notation out of the book I am using to study out of, not using tab. You cannot imagine how happy I was to accomplish that. Granted it is after playing the piece of music starting at 60 BPM and working up to 100 and after playing the piece perhaps 20 times in a row, BUT I am doing it.

Not getting better is like eating the same thing for breakfast each day for 50 years. It's not going to get any better until you change your diet.

Mikke is right about breaking out of your box. BlueAttitude hit it on the mark when he said to load up some different styles you have never used before in BIAB and start playing with them.

We all have our stories about our ‘funk’ dilemmas but the one thing we all musicians have in common is that when we get outside our comfort zone and strive to make it a reachable goal, our built-in music abilities get just a little then they were the day before.

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#459922 - 03/02/18 03:33 AM [Woodshedding - Learning to Play!] Re: Playing Limitations [Re: Bernier]
musiclover Offline
Expert

Registered: 08/13/09
Posts: 1499
Trying new software like Riffstation has helped me.

Its nice to load a song into it, see all the chord changes take shape, (Chords are not always right, but probably as good if not better than Biab ACW)

Riffstation has the ability to loop music etc, can be done in other software as well, but for some reason I have really taken to Riffstation for learning new stuff, and I feel this has reflected in my playing ability, which I totally neglected for decades on end.



Edited by musiclover (03/02/18 03:34 AM)
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