I felt like sharing this. Not for sympathy or good advice or anything - just because somebody might have felt the same way and because it's good hearing myself saying it.
I have been a little carried away lately. I have played guitar on and off for 20 years. Suddenly this summer I wrote a few small tunes. I have actually been thinking that maybe, just maybe I can create something musically, maybe I can do something with my music. I have lulled myself into this, have had songs on myspace for everyone to hear, and I have almost been a bit - just a bit - proud, or at least satisfied.
yesterday I went to this jam in the neighbourhood. When I entered there was only bass, piano and drums playing with a female vocalist. For a while I was actually thinking... "hmm, maybe I can step up and join in for a few songs later". However, After a while one guitarist after the other entered. And they were playing damn good.
Something hit me then - I was waking up from this stupid daydream I have been having for the last months. I realised that there is an incedible difference between what I am noodling around with and what real musicians are doing. Technically, musically and everything it's a totally different animal. It is.
And there I was at the table with a lot of musicians, and I had actually been telling one of them that I played the guitar.
I listened to a few songs, went home, felt stupid and silly, Erased all my myspace stuff. Had I had a few more beers, I think I had actually cut of all the strings of all my guitars and stacked them in the closet. As it were I was only thinking about it.
For a while, also in here, I might have been bragging a little about the songs I write and what I am gonna do with them. As I said - I have been carried away. That is the only apology I can offer. Maybe they are not rubbish the songs - but they are certainly not anything particular - besides maybe some theraphy for me. And my playing sucks - I've always known that, but I had forgot really how much I suck. I think I have reached my peak when it comes to playing. I don't have the discipline, maybe not even the talent to go any further.
Ok - as I said - I'm not really writing this for sympathy or anything. And I think I know the various different potential answers in advance - 'I doesn't matter how good you are as long as you have fun', 'For me it doesn't matter how good I am, I just have to play', 'start practicing regulalry and you will improve', 'I have heard you play and I think it is decent', 'just join in and you will be amazed how much fun it is' ... etc. etc.
I don't know. Just felt like sharing. And I feel kinda stupid doing that too - but maybe someone has been there and think - hey I'm not the only one - or something.
Think I'll take a good long break from GN too. At least a couple of days...
Thanks for letting me vent
...only thing I know how to do is to keep on keepin' on...
LARS kolberg http://www.facebook.com/sangerersomfolk
Take a moment to step back, and then realize that this is only a sanity check. You still love to play guitar, and you like to write songs. You're just not as good as you'd like to be - yet! I'm not either, but I love to play.
And as has been mentioned 1000 times here at GN - get out and play with others. Not only will it give you a better reference for your own abilities, but you'll also discover that there are people who are just starting out, with less skill than yourself, but with the same passion for music. Plus you may find that you learn best by doing.
Don't give up.
i sympathies Lars, and i know that's not what you're looking for(or that you're looking for anything)
but i grok what you are saying, I'm sure we all go through the same thing from time to time on one level or another.
take some time off, look for inspiration somewhere, come back renewed.
Lars. I understand you completely. been there and back. it is very easy to be a 'real player' in the bedroom and on computer forums. the support on the forums, particualarly this one, is so positive. it goes right to one's head.
then, as you experienced, the real three dimensional world is vastly different and un feeling.
yeah, I thought I could play pretty well. then when the lights go on ...nothing but two note licks and mind blocked songs that trail off because I didn't know the lyrics.
we all should look at this differently. stop comparing. we're all indivdual. each of us has something to contribute.
one thing that I like about this shock awakening business is that it is a big wake up call to pay attention. playing guitar is not a passive activity. it takes time and belief.
once I realized I sucked I got busy and practiced; paying attention the whole time. eventually things started to stick. I consider myself mediocre. I am ok with that.
I think you are a perfectly acceptable player. I think you have talent for song writing and guitar playing.
it is ok to feel sorry sometimes. I have enormous low point cycles. the highs don't last as long. darn it.
yet, 42 or 43 years on I still grab my guitar.
Just because you don't have the technical chops of another musician doesn't mean you can't make wonderful music. Skill sets vary widely in any discipline. Don't be discouraged by the FACT that others play better than you. Hell, I doubt seriously that ANYONE plays worse than me.
Some of my favorite music is not particularly technically challenging. That doesn't make it any less artful and enjoyable. Please don't hang up your axe, at least not for this reason.
I've gone through similar times of discouragement. I've come to terms with the idea that I'm never going to be able to play lots of things, but I can play some stuff I like. The key word is "play."
"A cheerful heart is good medicine."
Yea lars, I'm with you. I think the only difference is that I haven't diluted myself into thinking that I'd every be much other than a guitar hack, but it's fun. I know I'm not a "real" musician but hey so what. Someone along time ago told me if you don't have expectations you'll never be disappointed...I know that's not a great motto to live by but there is some truth to it.
I understand where your coming from on the comments about practicing will make you better, and it will to a point until you reach whatever plateau you were destined to reach.
This is a great forum and very positive place (maybe too positive) but it's far from reality it's more like Alice In Wonderland world where everything everyone posts is great and never a disparaging word is said, reality is that 99.9999% of the people aren't ever going to be great no matter how much they practice it just ain't in their genes.
That's where this natural talent or whatever you want to call it comes in, everyone has a limitation on how good they are ever going to get no matter what they do. Heck if it was just about practicing then I should be able to practice my basketball skills and someday I'll play better than Micheal Jordan...guess what if I practiced for 2000 years I'd still never be better than he is it's just they way it is.
You just have to do what makes you feel good without worrying about where everyone else is, you can't control that and beating yourself up about your own abilities only hurts you...so cut it out and start jamming again!!
"It's all about stickin it to the man!"
It's a long way to the top if you want to rock n roll!
Thanks for the topic, Lars.
That was not exactly a rant but more of just opening up and sharing your thoughts . . . . which took some guts since the thoughts are personal and on a subject that means a lot to you.
I can not identify with what you are saying because I just picked up a guitar less than a year ago and to me it's still a strange device in my hands. First of all, the guitar doesn't have buttons which makes it all the stranger. (Maybe if it had buttons I would be more comfortable with it.)
Anyway, I did have a thought which is why I am posting (although not having a thought has not kept me from posting).
If I look at the best guitarists in the world and what they played, and then compare it to what I'd like to do, it's not the same. Hardly do I hum a tune by SRV or Jimi Hendrix or Eric Clapton or any other Guitar Rocker. I'm here in the Smoky Mountains and the music here is Bluegrass and/or Country/Western or Folk. Just driving through the mountains I was humming Dueling Banjos as a joke but that would be a song at the top of my list to learn simply because it has more meaning to my life(style) and would bring a laugh to my friends and family. It has more relevance to what I want to do with a guitar.
I suppose it would be cool to become good enough with the guitar to become famous but I'm pretty sure I don't want to become famous. I like anonymity. There's less responsibility, stress, and expectations from me.
Well, that's my thought.
I'm going to go out on the deck now and sit in my rocking chair and play my guitar now and all will be well with the world.
It's the rock that gives the stream its music . . . and the stream that gives the rock its roll.
Lars, I know exactly how you feel. Except, I go through that every time I watch a band on TV or listen to music. I can't tell you how many times I've finished a jam session with my friends and felt miserable. The realization that I am not as good as they are was crushing at times. Sure, I'd parcatice in my house and feel like I was really improving and was a very good guitarist. It is that isolation that kept me from seeing what others are doing and the hieghts that are possible. Certainly did not feel good at all to realize that I had a long way to go. Especialy when setting my own expectations so high!
Feeling as if you've reached that goal of being a good guitarist and then realizing that you may have set the bar either too high or that you have artifically reached a goal can hurt.
You are not alone. I think this is something that all musicians feel. I can begin to imagine how other guitarist felt after watching Jimi or SRV play. Its very difficult NOT to compare yourself with others.
But the good news is that you are making music for you. It is what is inside of you. And that should not be compared to anything if it makes you happy. Stay with it. It is these things that drive us to become better!!!
Teamwork- A few harmless flakes working together can unleash an avalanche of destruction.
When you're in my neck of the woods, come over and we'll play. I'll bet serious money that I suck worse than you. On a bad day, or after a drink or two, I suck worse than anybody.
Sure is fun, though.
One piece of advice I have- don't let the guitar dreams occupy all your life. I wanna get better, and I am getting better. But don't let your happiness depend just on the guitar. I suck at guitar. I'm an alright teacher, though. (Not music) Not a bad boyfriend. And an excellent cook. Not a bad mountain climber.
You need some balance- of being happy depends on how you play the guitar, well, you'll always find somebody better to make you feel bad. But if you're happy playing it, well or badly...then it starts to work in your life!
Lars, I don't know if you know I'm a runner, specifically a long distance runner. Not a pro, just I like to go out and run between the trees. I know I'm not able to run as Bolt or Bekele but I love feel the wind in my face, the sun on my shoulders or the rain on my head. And I love very much to run every year a marathon almost in twice the time the pros need.
You give us a some good songs recently. I listened them and I like them. You spoke about the radio as well. I think it is a very good goal. I don't know in Norway but here it is difficult although some radio stations emits some songs recorded by people as us. Not the big commercial radios, they are very busy with Madonna and Metallica.
Perhaps you should consider this race as a long distance one. They aren't easier than the 100 meters but you have much more fun (and pain) in a 42 kilometers and 195 meters race.
PS. I hope you have a backup copy of your songs because if not I am able to go running to Oslo and recover them by hand! :evil:
KR2, just be prepared to break into "Free Bird" anytime on request and you'll be fine.
"A cheerful heart is good medicine."
I think you'll find that most of us have felt the same feelings you are at one point or another, (or maybe more!), in our musical journies. I myself like your songs, and think that your lead playing is excellent. I think you probably enjoyed yourself when you wrote your songs, and isn't that really what music should be about - to enjoy ourselves and share that joy with others? Yes, we all want to be better, and that takes work. Not all of us can lock ourselves away & practice guitar for 10 hours a day. I myself know I'll never be the next Jimmy Page, but hey, we already have a Jimmy Page, I should just be the best me I can be! :wink: The same goes for you. And remember, we can all be our own worst critics.
"The only way I know that guarantees no mistakes is not to play and that's simply not an option". David Hodge
There is one thing to rememebr since you had said you wanted to get radio time as a goal. You absolutely do not have to be a great guitar player to write a great song.
Alot of it is chance and having everything align at the same time but some of the best songs are some of the simplest. Of course that doesn't help when you go to a jam and all the guitar players are playing like Ygnwie or whoever you spell his name but you know what I mean.
"It's all about stickin it to the man!"
It's a long way to the top if you want to rock n roll!
Been there, done that, got over it, did it again, got over it again. It's even worse when someone else looks up to you for advice and you realize you suck and who the heck are you to offer any advice.
We all have our moments of doubt and pain. Go write a song about it. Those damn strings probably needed changing anyway.
I really thought "Another Rainy Day" was quite good. If you aren't using it can I pretend I wrote it?