My Moral Dilemma
So my 13 yr old son is always asking questions when he sees me playing my guitar. The kid buzzes through Rock Band on the expert level like he's a pro. (I know it's not exactly like playing the guitar but man, its darn close.) About 2 years ago he said he was interested in learning so I bought him a cheap guitar and amp for the holidays.
One week later, he lost interest in it. (Sound familiar?)
He has a few friends that can play and he has been showing more interest in it lately. The other day he says, "I've played my friend's guitar and the strings are much closer to the neck. It's easier to play" (This kid has an Epi/LP and is very good, I've heard him play) My son states that if his guitar were like that, he might be inclined to learn. 8) So, naturally, my eyes light up. He then states that he may want to try the drums. :shock: and he's on the fence.
I know that he's probably feeling somewhat intimidated by his friend's playing. The kid is 13 and whips through leads like Steve Vai. With that in mind, my son said that his friend wants to start a band when they get to high school next fall, so, taking up the drums may not be a bad idea for him.
I would go out tomorrow and purchase a drum set for him if I thought he would stick with it. Even if he didn't, I wouldn't mind having a set in the house. :) On the other hand, I want to encourage him to follow what he really wants (assuming that's the guitar.) But, being 13, he may just say that I'm crazy, poo poo all over that idea and lean towards the drums just to prove me wrong.
I suggested that he start on the guitar now and if he wanted, pick up on the drums in the future. Thought that would be a good starting point.
What is a guitar playing, would love to jam with his kid, secretly wishes his son took up the guitar, loving dad to do? (I really wouldn't mind if he took up the drums)
Teamwork- A few harmless flakes working together can unleash an avalanche of destruction.
If it were only that easy! If only we could get the right answer from asking other people, wouldn't raising children be simple? I really wish I could give you a definitive answer, but after raising 4 of my own, I know it isn't possible. That's half the fun of being a parent. Would it be possible to rent a drum set for a reasonable price? Maybe the band director at the school could help you out with that. If he then loses interest, you could just return them and try something else. Good luck with whatever you decide.
My niece (she's 16 now) decided that she wanted to be a bass player a few years ago (when she was 13), so I went to Guitar Center and bought her a Fender Squier Bass and 15 watt Fender bass amp. She discovered that playing bass is hard on the fingertips and requires a lot of practice, so, after a few months she gave it up. (I've got the bass and amp now.)
Last year she decided that she really, really, really wants to be a drummer, so her mother (my sister) and I split the cost of a drumset and gave it to her last Christmas. The drums have been at my house now since about the middle of March.
I've decided that, after spending all that money twice now, if she decides tomorrow that she wants to learn another instrument, she's going to have to earn at least half of the money for it herself. I'm hoping that, if she has to spend her own money, it will mean more to her than having it handed to her time and time again and she may actually stick with it.
I've had a lot of fun with the bass, but drums really aren't my thing. They are kind of handy to have around the house, though, for those impromptu jams that pop up now and again, so I'm going to keep them (for a while, at least!) just to have them here for that purpose.
My advice for your dilemma? Encourage him, love him, teach him, but don't go broke trying to find out whether or not he's really interested in playing. You can rent drums, you know! Get a kit for a month and see how he gets along with it. If he's truly interested, then go shopping. If he's not, you're only out a month's rental.
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"Don't wanna ride no shootin' star. Just wanna play on the rhythm guitar." Emmylou Harris, "Rhythm Guitar" from "The Ballad of Sally Rose"
Why not have him do both? :P Get him the drum set on the condition that he takes guitar lessons. I did this with my son, who also wanted to play drums. I told him he would have to commit to piano lessons if he wants drums, and he's now playing both instruments.
Now there are several drawbacks to this plan. First, the cost--at a minimum you'd have to spring for the drum kit and the guitar lessons; and that's if you don't buy him the Epiphone, which doesn't seem necessary since the guitar part of the deal would be the payment for the drums.
Second, being thirteen, there is no guarantee that he will honor the deal. To be honest, I have to stand over my son and make sure he practices, and I've threatened to sell the drum kit many times, I assure you. :evil:
All in all, not easy, but workable if you've got the stamina to make sure he "pays" for the drums by practicing the guitar. The added benefit is that he will be more than a drummer (alright, my prejudices are showing here, but the best musicians--including drummers--are those who can play a second instrument).
It's so hard to know what to do, isn't it? I have a bass and amp too after my son, for whom (at 13) not getting the bass was going to be the end of his world, discovered girls after a few months of bass lessons (he didn't realise that the two things compliment each other :P ).
Now, his best friend (now 18) who is an excellent drummer and is in three bands was so keen he built a kit out of cardboard boxes. His parents had no problem knowing that buying a kit for him was not a mistake.
From my own experience, I had a few guitars lessons when I was 13 (I'm now 59 and the eternal guitar beginner) but found other things more interesting at the time. I only wish now I had had more sticking power then and my parents had exerted some pressure on me to continue with the lessons at least for, say, twelve months.
I know none of this answers your question(s) but I hope these anecdotes will help a little in making your decision.
The other day he says, "I've played my friend's guitar and the strings are much closer to the neck. It's easier to play" (This kid has an Epi/LP and is very good, I've heard him play) My son states that if his guitar were like that, he might be inclined to learn.
First things first - get the guitar set up for lower action. Even a cheapo can be made much more playable, as long as the neck isn't warped.
"Everybody got to elevate from the norm."
If you have to force the kid to practice, maybe it's not for him. I never had to be told to go practice. I'd pick up my guitar and play every chance I got when I was thirteen, and I was playing this total piece of crap Yamaha Junior with a warped neck.
Self indulging BS out of the way :P , get him to earn the money for the kit himself. If you see that he's really trying and saving up for the drumkit, get it for him for christmas or something. That's always what my parents have always done, at least. :roll:
Ewan McGregor: I said, "Eve, I want you to look after my wedding ring while I'm away," and she started to cry and I said, "Eve. Eve, I can't wear my ring or I won't get laid on the trip!"
Good advice from Slej there - mine would be, if the kid's so intimidated and overawed by someone his age who's really good, get him to try bass. It's a good basic grounding for guitar playing, if he wants to come back to it in the future - but stress to him, it doesn't matter how good the lead player is, he could be Jimi or SRV or Jimmy or EVH or (Insert guitar deity of choice here.....) but he's still going to sound topless and bottomless without a bass player and a drummer. The guitarist is just the icing on the cake - doesn't matter how sweet it is, the real flavour comes from the mudane ingredients, the eggs, flour, sugar and so on. You have to blend everything together in the right proportions to get the right mixture. The icing on its own means nothing without the cake. Encourage him to play guitar by all means, but try and get through to him the value of having a second skill to fall back on.
:D :D :D
"Sometimes the beauty of music can help us all find strength to deal with all the curves life can throw us." (D. Hodge.)
My son is nearly 16 , we started at the same time , he plays a billion times better than me now , but I have found it takes me longer because I take my time and learn the everything I can slowly , he rushes in wham bam thank you mam attitude ...
Kids learn quicker , we have a ball on Saturday nights jamming with each other , he is teaching me "Brown Eyed Girl " which is so cool learning from your kid .
Enjoy the little moments in life I say
Here is to you as good as you are
And here is to me as bad as I am
As good as you are and as bad as I am
I'm as good as you are as bad as I am
Something my parents did with me when I first started showing interest in guitar (can be used for any instrument) was that they wouldn't buy me one until I learned how to play it first. So I borrowed my grandfather's guitar and my grandmother told me not to bring it back until I learned how to play it. Do you see a trend here?
I think renting drums would be a great idea. . . .
edit: Oh yeah, and +1 on lowering the action on the guitar he already has.
My son is nearly 16 ... we have a ball on Saturday nights jamming with each other ...
Enjoy the little moments in life I say
Oh, Trev, I'm envious of you. My son and I started at the same time too and what you're experiencing is what I had hoped for. And again when my daughter starting learning last year but gave it away after six months or so.
I wish one of them had continued so we could jam together if I had had to learn death metal or rap!
When my son was young, too young I boungt him a guitar and amp. He was like maybe 10 or 11. He was like, cool, but didn't really want to learn to play the thing. I took it over. Years later, I get a bass guitar for recording. He is 15 and says to me, I'd like to try playing that. I give the wink, yeah, sure and humor him. A second bass falls into my lap for free and I decide to give one to him til he tires of it. Two months later he is in the school jazz band. A couple months after that he makes the Valley League jazz band and the next year he is in the pit playing bass at All County. I appoligize as I have told this story before. Now he is 21, has 7 bass guitars and we are partners in a budding classic rock cover band. (More on that later) My dream came true, but it took time. He had to be ready. Yes, it is a dilema ..... does he really want to play drums? Maybe not. I had pictured a guitarist but got a bassist. He can play guitar but chooses not too. He says the strings are too small. :lol: I know drums aren't cheap, but my advise is that all you can give him is oppertunities and the rest is up to him. I taught my son some, his music teacher taught him as well, but ultimately he taught himself. I didn't really give an answer did I? :roll:
"Work hard, rock hard, eat hard, sleep hard,
grow big, wear glasses if you need 'em."
-- The Webb Wilder Credo --
He's still pretty young. Making firm decisions about what you'll stick at playing doesn't come until later. I'm now 61, and I'm pretty sure that it starts to cut at about 65. :wink:
In the meantime, buy him only things that you'd fancy yourself. I'm currently starting drum lessons, using the kit that I bought for my son a couple of years ago, and that he bashed around on for a few months before losing interest. Excellent fun. :mrgreen:
I recently added longer legs to our bed (really) so that I could store some of the surplus gear that I have bought with the very best of intentions, but haven't quite got around to mastering yet. It's all good, and I'll get there eventually...
.... some of the surplus gear that I have bought with the very best of intentions, but haven't quite got around to mastering yet. It's all good, and I'll get there eventually...
Glad to know I'm not the only one, Chris! :lol:
If he picked up the guitar he would have both you and his friend to learn from and jam. He'd stand a better chance of both becoming good and enjoying it...My view anyway
Besides, you can't turn the volume down on a damn drum kit. And you don't make music with drums...lol : :wink: