How did you break through and "get good"?

Discussion in 'MyMusic Forum' started by Silverman, Dec 7, 2020.

  1. Jasco

    Jasco Strat-Talker

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    Practice efficiently, intelligently, and consistently. In addition to practicing, you need to play live gigs and record. Also, try to hang with cats who are more experienced than you. And listen to every style of music you can.
     
  2. Katana

    Katana Strat-Talk Member

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    I AM THE GREATEST GUITAR PICKER IN THE WORLD...i pick it up for a little while, then I set it down. Got real good at it to.
     
  3. Seamus OReally

    Seamus OReally Mr. Serious Gold Supporting Member

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    My point is that you can practice til you turn blue, but all you will do is reach your personal maximum faster. When you get to the limits of your brain and hands, that’s it. Look at Clapton... practiced more, played more gigs and sessions than any 10 of us put together... and he never reached a level beyond Eric Clapton. Why didn’t all that practice and work with other musicians turn him into Larry Carlton or Guthrie Govan? Because you can only get so good.
     
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  4. 98springer

    98springer Strat-Talk Member

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    On the edge, baby!
    Great thread!
    First of all, I'm not very good which is weird because for a long time I was sure I was.

    Anyway, one thing that I've started doing lately is playing clean or even unplugged. I would never have considered doing that a couple of years ago and it helps me hear what I am actually playing. Playing in the dark is good too.
    Strats sound so good clean that I don't really miss the distortion that I've been hiding behind for all these years!

    There is also a podcast that I listened to in the car while commuting. It's called Guitar Music Theory and it's done by Desi Serna.
    The information would sink in pretty well even without having a guitar in hand and when I'd get home I'd grab the guitar first thing so I could visualize it.
    Then an hour of self loathing and off to bed!
     
  5. 0isez

    0isez New Member!

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    Having tinkered with guitar most of my life, about 15 years ago I decided to learn how to play the damn thing or sell it and forget it. I still had the hunger to play so I had to decide where to start. I realized I needed time to practice. When and where could I devote at least an hour? What time would I get to do this and at what sacrifice? Well, the place was easy, my den. When? Only time where nobody would bug me or I them? In the morning before work with headphones. I woke up at 4am every morning for 10 years to get my time in. I figured the job wants everything from me but their not getting my guitar playing too. 10 years later I can play without making myself sick. There's a lot more to the story. But if you love it, figure where to sacrifice. Mine was a couple hours of sleep, yours maybe different.
     
  6. Dadocaster

    Dadocaster Dr. Stratster

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    I am not sure this is true. The Clapton example omits one thing: Due to getting famous young, and being out making huge amounts of money, all Clapton was playing was........Clapton. Even if he was playing with other musicians and playing their music, there would have always been the pressure to "play something Clapton." So, it's not as if he was on a program to get less Clapton.

    Not sure that there is a personal maximum and honestly not convinced that anyone plays at their personal maximum. It just sounds like it to us. :D
     
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  7. Bob the builder

    Bob the builder Most Honored Senior Member

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    I don't want to play like you & you sure as hell don't want to sound like me.
    I think he just sounds like....him.
     
  8. Seamus OReally

    Seamus OReally Mr. Serious Gold Supporting Member

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    That's my point exactly.
     
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  9. SatinNeck81

    SatinNeck81 Strat-Talker

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    I think you learn really fast when you first start (if you have a good ear, etc.), and then it takes a few years before you hit a wall. I'm still against that wall, to an extent. I think learning all the notes on the fretboard and how intervals and chord structures work is a start. Then you have to learn CAGED, whether you call it that or not, things got a lot easier when my teacher taught me that at 17. But I still can't really play jazz, unless I know the song by heart I'll probably make some improvisational mistakes. I can't play lines like Rick Beato or any shredders. My knowledge of music theory just isn't vast enough. Maybe thats the secret sauce. Not reading music necessarily but understanding more about music theory.
     
  10. 0isez

    0isez New Member!

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    I concur. If I put the same time in as Eric, same environment, same music genre, he would still be better. Talent is a quantitative gift and is not given equally. Facing your limitations after all is said and done is important and is the first step to improving your guitar playing. But you won't know that until many hours of practice later.
     
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  11. holyjaguar

    holyjaguar Strat-Talk Member

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    Never stop learning;Stealing licks(and then finding ways to use them in different contexts)Practice,Practice,Practice;Realize that there is always going to be someone better than You,Always,Be Humble.You may have worked your @#$ off,but it IS a God Given Gift,if you Can Play at All,Thank the MAN/WOMAN/Higher power for your talent.
    Never look down on a new(er)player-critique with respect,not arrogance or distain.
    And when I get Good,I`ll shout it from the Rooftops(Not).Practice/Humble/Practice/Humble
     
  12. Janning

    Janning Strat-Talker

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    I think what the guy above said is true , more practice will only get you to “your max” faster. The first four weeks I picked up real fast. Seems like I’m stuck there and it’s been 9 months practicing 20 hours a week. Or I’m way better than I think I am? It’s odd he said that about Clapton, isn’t he one of “the greats “?
     
  13. 64 Tele

    64 Tele Strat-O-Master

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    I joined a working country band that did two nights of four hour sets every weekend for three and a half years.
    By doing that you were forced to get better.
    Loved the rehearsing and playing, got really tired of drunks and smoky bars.
    Quit for twenty years till I picked it up again in 2012.
     
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  14. Esg877

    Esg877 Strat-Talker

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    Let's just say there was a crossroads, a red guy with horns, and some contract involved. I'll say no more because there is a confidentiality clause on the contract.
     
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  15. Supersonicuser

    Supersonicuser New Member!

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    Getting good is not how much you know. It's how you use what you know. the fact that you are wondering how to get good is a sign that you are probably at a point where you have confidence in what you play and how you hear yourself and you think you can do better. if you have ever played sports the way you get better is by playing against someone better than you, but in music, its not a competition so you have to play with people who are better than you to get better, but work together to make it sound great. It's also one of those things that if it feels good it is good. And if you think that other people are judging you, it's not about them liking your music, its about you liking your music, but if it happens that millions of other people like your music too then thats just an added bonus.
     
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  16. ulrichellison

    ulrichellison Strat-Talk Member

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    What a great story, Howard. It is awesome you found your voice. Still - I don't fully agree. Yes - don't compare yourself to others, embrace yourself..... BUT that doesn't mean that mimicking isn't and always will be the most powerful way to learn. Imagine no Mozart or Beethoven would exist, wouldn't they meticulously have studied Bach and the late masters of Italian opera. We build our own legacy on the shoulders of giants. All the greats covered, imitated - and through that found their own voice eventually. The faster you can embrace that you can truly become "the one that others want to sound like"!

    PS: It's also good to know what you don't want to sound like. Be opinionated with an open mind. Anyone can learn how to handle a guitar well, and effortlessly move your fingers across the neck with the right dedication and discipline - but to be "good" you need to have a story to tell, something deeper to express that is just your own. I'd love to check out your music, Howard!
     
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  17. Isca

    Isca Strat-Talker

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    Depends what your definition of ‘good’ is. It’s largely subjective. Some of the ‘best’ guitarists of all time play things that are technically rather simple, but with immense feel and emotion.

    Modern music has seen a shift towards ever more technical playing, and now we have teenagers in their bedrooms who have grown up on a diet of technical metal and thus can shred far better far younger, and play stuff than Clapton, Townsend etc would be technically incapable of because they never taught themselves those particular skills...

    ...the point I’m getting to is that first, you have to decide for yourself what good is before you try to get there. Is being good being able to play blistering leads? Writing a simple, powerful phrase that hooks the listener? Do you want to ‘take this guitar and learn how to make it talk’, to paraphrase the Boss?

    Most guitar heroes of the past did not grow up focussed on the technical side of music, many never learned to read music, they simply put in the hours jamming with their mates and felt their way into an innate understanding through thousands of hours of grind.

    Playing with other people and understanding the guitar’s place within the sonic context of a band is really important, and that’s something I think the beginner bedroom guitarist of today might be massively missing out on.
     
  18. Howard Emerson

    Howard Emerson Strat-Talk Member Gold Supporting Member

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    Hi Ulrich,
    As I said mimicking others/copying is a tool to help you hone your skills, but at some point if you don't have something new to say you won't stand out from the crowd, but given the oceans of cover bands that are 'usually' out there making a decent living, people are willing to accept it.

    It's the reason that Epcot & Disney world are so popular: People are willing to accept a reasonable 'facsimile thereof' a city or a country they'd never bother going to in real life.

    I certainly learned from the Giants who learned from the Originators, and very often I had NO idea about the sources that my 'Giants' learned from.

    My main guitar influences were Nokie Edwards (The Ventures), Chet Atkins, Ry Cooder, Lowell George. More than THAT, though, were the bassists & drummers that I hyper focused on, and that list is WAY longer than favorite guitarists. THAT is the reason I have much of the style that permeates what I do!

    In any case......I doth prattle......

    Regards,
    Howard Emerson
     
  19. Jasco

    Jasco Strat-Talker

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    I agree. Most players, famous or not, get to a point they can play proficiently and then kind of settle in a 'comfort zone' and don't continue to push themselves. Doesn't matter how many gigs/sessions you do if you do the same thing every day.
     
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  20. Jasco

    Jasco Strat-Talker

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    Gotta disagree with this statement. Most blue-collar working musicians play more gigs than most 'stars' because they have to to make a living. I'm 25 years younger than Clapton, but I've probably play more gigs than he has.

    As an example, Clapton's world tour 2019 had 17 dates. I've played 160-250 gigs per year for the past 25 years (not counting covid shutdown). And I'm just a typical blue-collar bar musician.


    Cocaine?