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(@bluezoldy)
Reputable Member
Joined: 18 years ago
Posts: 330
 

Lars, mate, check out your own signature; you already know the answer ...

Cheers,
Ron

♪♫ Ron ♪♫

http://www.myspace.com/bluemountainsblues


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(@vic-lewis-vl)
Illustrious Member
Joined: 18 years ago
Posts: 10340
 

Lars, mate, check out your own signature; you already know the answer ...

Cheers,
Ron

Good one!

I understand where you are Lars - like a few others here, been there, done that. It doesn't matter how much better you get, there's always a niggling doubt at the back of your mind somewhere, telling you you're not as good as you think you are. These days, I just tell the voice to shut up and carry on playing, or singing, or singing AND playing and drown it out.

I'll never write songs as good as Lennon or Dylan.
I'll never play lead as good as Page or Clapton.
I'll never play rhythm as good as Keef.
I'll never sing as good as Lennon or Daltrey.
I'll never play slide as good as Ry Cooder or George Thorogood.
I'll never play bass as well as Jack Bruce or McCartney.

I realise all of the above are true; yet I still carry on, trying to get better at all aspects of music. Why? Well - first of all, I'm one of those people who, when told something can't be done, will automatically try and do it. That's just the bloody-minded streak in me - I don't believe in "can't!"

Secondly, I love music. I want to play music, I want to write music, I want to perform music. More importantly, I want to take satisfaction in, and be proud of, my music. I'm not there yet - but there are some things I'm pleased with. When I'm old and arthritic and can't play anymore, I don't want to look back and think, "if only....." - I want to be able to look back and think, "Well no-one can say I didn't try!"

Lars I've heard you play, and sing, and I've heard your songs - and you've got talent. You don't want to stifle that talent, do you? Let it go to waste? No, you want to use it. You've worked too hard on your music, your guitar playing, your singing etc, over the years to just throw it away.

So what if there are better players around? There's plenty of room in this world for every guitarist. Those guitarists you mentioned in your post - the good ones. You think they've never had moments of self-doubt, you think they've never felt the same way as you? Of course they have, we all have.

You've got the blues - go play some blues, get 'em out of your system. Or some loud rock'n'roll - take your frustrations out on your instrument. But don't give up, and don't give in to the blues. Keep playing, keep singing, keep writing - you love that music, don't let it slip away from you.

Above all, my friend, keep on keepin' on!!!

:D :D :D

Vic

"Sometimes the beauty of music can help us all find strength to deal with all the curves life can throw us." (D. Hodge.)


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(@sin-city-sid)
Honorable Member
Joined: 17 years ago
Posts: 737
 

Hey bud just stepped into the thread. Your story sounds just like mine, almost as if I written it myself. Then one of my good friends and player tells me. You're a great guitar player, you just do your own thing and I envy the fact you can just sit there with a drum machine and jam all night making up cool tunes, licks and riffs.

My friend, who cares what anybody thinks but you! You know what, you and I could sit around learning everyone else's stuff or we can make our own and be able to say "that is mine, I wrote that".

Well now to read all the other responses.


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(@rahul)
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Joined: 16 years ago
Posts: 2764
 

That's the exact reason I am yet to learn how to play.


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(@greybeard)
Illustrious Member
Joined: 20 years ago
Posts: 5899
 

Lars, it's just another day in the guitar player's world. It would be unnatural if you didn't have doubts, occasionally.

I started with nothing - and I've still got most of it left.
Did you know that the word "gullible" is not in any dictionary?
Greybeard's Pages
My Articles & Reviews on GN


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(@guitarhack)
Estimable Member
Joined: 16 years ago
Posts: 202
 

Lars, you've written songs and posted them on myspace for others to hear? I'm still trying to put together more than two decents riffs to write my first song. Right now, your skills and dedication are looking really good to me.

I'm with you on this, and I think a lot of musicians have this same problem...we're discouraged when we hear greatness, and inspired when we hear garbage. When I listen to Zeppelin or Hendrix (insert your favorite bands) i want to sell all my music gear because I get so bummed out. But the second I hear a Seether song (no offense to fans, insert your idea of garbage here) come on the radio I think "I can sound that crappy! Where's my guitar?!"

As far as how "good" you have to be on guitar to write great songs...well, you already know better than that. Some really influential artists couldn't play (or sing, by some people's standards) all that well. Dylan? Cobain? Did Iommi ever play anything all that difficult? These people all had to come to grips with the limits of their abilities, and instead of giving up, they played to their own strengths.

Do yourself a favor - turn on the radio and wait for a few songs by bands you consider horrible (shouldn't take long). Then go grab your guitar and prove you can suck at least that bad, maybe even a little better.

Dan


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 cnev
(@cnev)
Famed Member
Joined: 19 years ago
Posts: 4478
 

I don't want to pretend I know what Lars is going through because I don't but there are two things going on here. First off if you want to be a virtuoso guitar player, that may be difficult because there is no easy way and even practicing 24 hrs a day may never get you there.

Writing a great song i think anybody has the ability to do because great songs don't necessarily mean complicated or difficult, they are usually judged by how many people like them.

But Lars I think you've seen by the responses that everyone pretty much feels the same way, don't let it get to you, life's to short to stress about things like that, you play well and you write good songs go with the flow and have fun.

"It's all about stickin it to the man!"
It's a long way to the top if you want to rock n roll!


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(@ricochet)
Illustrious Member
Joined: 19 years ago
Posts: 7850
 

I think a lot of musicians have this same problem...we're discouraged when we hear greatness, and inspired when we hear garbage.
All right! I can be an inspiration to others!

"A cheerful heart is good medicine."


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(@wes-inman)
Illustrious Member
Joined: 19 years ago
Posts: 5599
 

Lars

Hmmm... I know what I want to say, but I am not sure how to put it into words. First of all, what you experienced can happen to even professional guitarists. If you walk into an audition with a band you are at a huge disadvantage. They have been practicing these songs for months. You may not have ever played these songs even once. Do you really think you are going to sound as good as them? It ain't going to happen. But that is what happened to you.

The only way to develop your chops in live situations is to play live. The more you do it, the better you get at it. Playing live is difficult because there is no room for error. You can't erase it and start over. But making errors is part of playing live. Experienced players know how to handle errors. You just keep smiling and act like it never happened. Sounds stupid, but that is what you do. Most of the time the listeners don't even know you made a mistake.

Playing live with a group is the very thing you need to do to advance as a guitarist. Get in a group, any group and practice, practice, practice. In short time you will become a very good guitarist.

And people have the wrong conception of what a professional guitarist is. You don't have to fly all over the fretboard like Yngwie Malmsteen. Some of the greatest guitarists play extremely simple music.

I want you to watch this video and pay close attention. Look how super simple all of this music is.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1f-dLh-yfLs

Did you watch that closely? It is simple. It really is. Quit psyching yourself out. You can be a great guitarist by learning to keep your music super simple. Amateur guitarists overplay. The pros keep it super simple.

I guarantee that with a little practice you could play every lick in that song. But that guy is a real pro travelling the world, making a good living playing music. He knows that it is really simple.

Now, not saying a hack can just go out there. You've got to get your chops down. You need to practice and get everything as perfect as possible. But it doesn't have to be complicated. It just has to be performed well.

Those other guitarists were probably familiar with the songs. They had practiced them and ironed out all the bugs. That is why they sounded so much better. But if you spend some time on those songs you will sound just as good, maybe much better.

So, quit believing that playing guitar is some mystical thing that only a few lucky individuals are born with the talent to play. Get in a group and practice playing live. Gig as much as possible. In a few years you will have great chops and others will be amazed by your playing.

If you know something better than Rock and Roll, I'd like to hear it - Jerry Lee Lewis


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(@diceman)
Reputable Member
Joined: 18 years ago
Posts: 408
 

A similar experience happened to me . I was in a music store that a friend of mine worked at and was looking at the guitars . Into the shop walks a 14 year old boy who proceeds to pick a guitar up and play things that I could not then and cannot now play (this happened 15 years ago) . I felt like giving up on it right then . I told my friend who was working that day about the boy and she told me that he played 5 or 6 hours every day . Now , I love playing the guitar but I also love other things and never had the discipline to spend that much time practicing on a daily basis. I'm not sure that I would ever want to . If that means I'll never reach my full potential , so be it . I did have some fun doing other things while I was a teenager . I play now in a band and enjoy it immensely and have other people who enjoy listening to us play . It is enough for me .

If I claim to be a wise man , it surely means that I don't know .


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(@tmarius)
Eminent Member
Joined: 14 years ago
Posts: 49
 

if you think you're not that good at guitar you can do two things:

1. Teach someone else to play. Watching them struggle with an F chord will make you giggle and feel better

2. Play left handed. You'll be so frustrated and realise just how skilled you really are

Tom


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(@rahul)
Famed Member
Joined: 16 years ago
Posts: 2764
 

Play left handed. You'll be so frustrated and realise just how skilled you really are

Tom

I play left-handed. 8)


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(@guitarhack)
Estimable Member
Joined: 16 years ago
Posts: 202
 

Play left handed. You'll be so frustrated and realise just how skilled you really are

Tom

I play left-handed. 8)

So do I...if you can call what I do "playing."

Dan


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(@ignar-hillstrom)
Illustrious Member
Joined: 19 years ago
Posts: 5384
 

Hey Lars, I know you said you weren't looking for good advice so let me give you some mediocre insights. I think we're kinda in the same position: we've both recently decided that we wanted to take our music to the next level, wherever that may be.
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.

I think it's no secret that I'm a big advocate of people writing their own material. But I really do not like half-arsed attempts bloated with excuses. When you write songs I expect nothing less then that you yourself believe that you can create something musically and I expect you to keep working on the song until you're proud of it. You, as an artist, are not responsible for how the world responds to your work but you are responsible for your own mindset towards them. In short: if you don't care about your music why should I? You haven't been carried away, you are just taking yourself seriously. And music is one of those things were taking yourself seriously is a scary must.
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.

First of all: how would you feel if your favourite musician would tell you all his songs suck and he really wanted to be like [insert different act here]? Cheated, probably. Do yourself a favor and don't talk yourself down in public, there are hordes of people who'd be happy to do that for you. And when you do take the next step with your music that's exactly what'll happen, no matter how good you'll be.

Apart from that: your experience is the same as mine. I'm very happy with how my solo music is coming along but when put in a band I'm worthless. I have my own approach to music and I've become used to controlling every aspect of it. When playing in a band all of that changes: I'm forced to adjust myself and change my style to fit whatever the rest is doing. That is not my forte: I can play some block chords on the piano, or play a dull pentatonic lead on guitar, but it'll sound like a beginner putting out uninspired crap. And you know why? Because when it comes to playing outside my little world with strangers to unfamiliar music I simply am a beginner, and what I play is crap. I can easily imagine the same goes for you, no offense. But here's the deal: you are not being judged, nor should you judge yourself, on your ability to cope outside of what your main playing field is. Trust me, when I listened to your music (which I did enjoy, so if you talk your music down you're talking my taste down, and I don't lke that!) I never wondered how you'd sound in some bar with people whose music I neither know or care about.

I'm quite sure that everyone who seriously tries to write music will always cycle between two extremes: over-excited while being very creative and self-assured. With me these are the periods when I write three songs a day without doubting myself for a single second. After that it slowly slides to the other extreme: feeling crushed-down, total lack of creativity and just a general feeling of emberassment. I've become so used to it that I know use it as a tool: in my hyper period I just write as much as I can and in the down-and-out period I polish the ones I dislike least. This means not touching your instrument, don't bother re-playing parts when you're not feeling the strength of your own music. Instead work on production: play around with volume levels, stereo placement, effects and you name it. It's fairly 'mild' on your brain and low-key mucking about is what usually gets me back on track. (and if not there's always a good glass of Laphroig willing to help you out!)
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.

Let me sum it up:

1) Everyone who tries what you and me are trying will go through that.
2) No shame in falling on your face, it's in-evitable, but shame on the man who refuses to stand up again.

Preferring sincerity over kindness: stop being a wimp. Send your girl shoe-shopping for the day and sit back with a good drink and your music. Get a notepad, you're in your whiney-phase now so make the most of it before it passes. Take on song, put it on repeat and listen to it for a few times. Write down everything you've come to hate about the song. Sound, rythm, sloppy changes, boring developments, unwanted predictibleness or chaos, everything. Don't change the songs, just listen and write down everything you dislike about it. Don't be shy, I'm sure you can find atleast ten things for each song. When you've handles your five most favourite songs, take a break. Visit http://watchthesimpsonsonline.com/ and watch some episodes, nothing cleans my mind like the Simpsons. Continue until you've done all the songs you feel once had potential.

Now forget all about your music for a week. Then do the same, don't read your old comments but start all over. When you're done compare the two set of notes. 90% will be similar probably but a few things will be different. Re-listen to the songs and make up yoru mind which one is more correct. Now make a 'master list' that combines all the whining from both list that you still agree with. Great, almost there. Now think about how you'd change that. With dud notes, poor timing the solution is simple: practice that part for a week, 30-minutes every day. if it is more about composition or production, think about ways to change it. Right them all down.

This process will often be a real eye-opener, not just towards those songs but about how you work and compose in general. Think about which songs you feel like bringing along and which are really just best discarded. For my current album I ended up with working out 15 songs out of the 90+ I wrote for the album. If you can pick out one song you feel is worhtwhile for every 5 songs you write you're doing great. Now just get those songs, hang the master list on the wall and start working. Ten bucks say that once you're through with this you'll be feeling all self-assured again and ready to write new stuff. Just remember you'll crash down before too long so try to accept it in advance.


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(@rahul)
Famed Member
Joined: 16 years ago
Posts: 2764
 

Great post as always, Arjen. 8)

I am actually bookmarking this thread to refer whenever I feel high and dry.


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