What's been your sticking point in playing?


Senior Stratmaster
Nov 10, 2009
Peoria, AZ
Uhhhhh, skill, talent, practice time, study of music in general; the usual.

I could blame slow fingers, poor coordination or other issue, but I have found I was able to get past most of those with practice, if I spent enough time.


Feb 2, 2017
I really try to get better and I sure am progressing slowly, but reality is there is some kid just picking up a guitar who will be better than me in a year or 2. I am dive bar talent good and I know that's where it ends for me. I know its only rock and roll but I like it.


Jul 15, 2020
I always bend my half step notes when I improvise, it doesn’t feel natural to me to move that half step so unless I or someone else composed what I’m playing that little jazzy halfstep hammer on just doesn’t show it’s face. There are more difficult things I struggle with but that’s because they’re difficult, this is just a limiting habit I’ve not been able to break


Most Honored Senior Member
Dec 22, 2011
Ottawa, Canada
As it's been for the past couple of years, just making the time to sit down and play in the mancave for a half hour with serious effort, rather than a five minute half-hearted doodle on the couch acoustic. It's 100% my own fault. Plus it would be nice to seek out some playmates, but if it happened I would not be sure I could make the regular time for that. My priorities got messed up somewhere down the road

I can relate. This past 8 months I have been far more interested in hunting down and listening to new music than playing.

I think motivation has always been my problem. 90% of what skill I have I developed in 40+ years is really the result of many short periods of intense playing. You know, those months where you play 2-4+ hours a day? That's when I learned.

So, I've probably been stagnant or declining in skill for 30 of those years. Then I get in the zone, spend a few weeks getting back to where I was the last time I was in the zone, make some progress in something, drift off into other interests. Rinse, repeat.


Senior Stratmaster
Feb 2, 2012
Northwest US
I was a teenager with plenty of time to fail and eventually get it right to enjoy playing lol

One thing that definitely helped was to get a Japanese Fender (vs cheaper models), which helped me not get discouraged by a bad quality or setup.


Oct 31, 2020
Yeah, I know a poor workman blames his tools, but when I first started I bought a marlin sidewinder, passing thru Liverpool, first guitar, didn’t know anything at the time, and I really struggled to keep that damn thing in tune, or understood how uncomfortable it was to play until one day a few years later I bought a real fender.... and the world started to really open up... balanced, comfortable to hold, easy on the ear, stable tuning.... made playing so much more enjoyable... now I’m retired and have guitars strewn around the house... I rarely leave one alone for more than an hour... that helps...


Feb 27, 2021
Muskegon, Michigan
My laziness holds me back. That, and maybe even more, my attention deficit syndrome. But I accept that, and enjoy my playing. I doubt very much I would have enjoyed the life of a professional musician.


Strat-Talk Member
Aug 14, 2017
Sydney Australia
First it was a lack of time due to chasing skirt, now it is a lack of time chasing mortgage payments. LOL.

i too got stuck on the pentatonic thing. As mentioned earlier, modes are a great pathway out.


Dr. Stratster
Mar 7, 2013
Harlow, Essex, UK
Just curious to hear what people have found to be the hardest part of learning to play. Could be a technique, could be music theory, etc. For me, the hardest part was learning to bend strings well. I started with a '77 LP (still have it) and that was my exclusive guitar for many years. Much later I ended up with a Strat and realized the really low action I had on the LP had been holding me back from bending - had a lot of trouble getting "under" the string to be able to bend it with authority. I can easily bend a step-and-a-half now, still working on getting a reliable vibrato at the same time.

What is/was your difficulty? How'd you overcome it, if you did?

Scale ‘patterns’. Playing in a key in different areas of the neck and joining them up. Solos all start(ed) on G string and went in the general direction of the top E string. Making a conscious effort to find scales in other places but, in the heat of battle, when it matters, I tend to fall back on the same old same old.

Bob the builder

Dr. Stratster
May 2, 2016
Cranston, Rhode Island
Changing my thinking.
I learned most of the theory I know in high school. All based off a piano.
Put me in front of one or draw a keyboard and I can figure out most of what I need to but then I have to "translate" that to guitar.
I need to get the keyboard out of my thoughts


Apr 19, 2011
Biggest for me is the cellphone, beyond distracting, I have started to leave tablet and phone away, unless its being used to control the my pedal


Resident Pinball Enthusiast
May 26, 2013
West Seattle
Currently, the malaise of being shut down at home. I'm not real 'great now I can study new scales' kinda guy, and I don't have enough home equipment to record yet. I'm really motivated by playing with people, then the 'home work' starts to flow.



Sep 18, 2020
New Jersey USA
My limited knowledge and the overwhelming amount that I do not know, and should’ve learned.

I’m all cowboy/barre/power chords, and minor pentatonic soloing, thats about it.

I always found the mechanical part easy: picking, bending, vibrato, harmonics were intuitive to me.

Theory and chord construction reminds me of math, and I hate math, it takes the fun out of it but I know its necessary.

I wasted alot of time when I was young trying to emulate my heroes, and not learning and taking my own path and learning more. ( Figuring out songs by ear and not having a clue of the chord name and what key, it just sounded cool).

Also, took alot of time off from guitar, and now trying to play catch up with my limited time, but its still fun when I play.

I just need to build upon the stuff I already know in an orderly fashion, but I need direction ( lessons, or online lessons, an outline, etc) Seems alot is things away from the guitar ( theory, etc)


Mar 15, 2017
There’s a lot that I feel I need to work on, but the main thing is discipline.

I’ve only been playing for 4 years and I am tons better than I was, but I never really follow through on any one certain area. I hear something that I think is cool and practice it for awhile, and then some new shiny technique comes up and I leave the other to learn some of the new. I’m that way with songs too. I’ve only learned a handful all the way through because I learn some parts and then move on to something else.

I guess I chase a lot of squirrels and need the discipline not to do that.