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learning to play-a losing battle?
Old 05-22-2009, 12:46 PM   #1
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learning to play-a losing battle?

I am not exactly a beginner at this. After more than 15 years I took up playing again. Always been a mediocre player, but I thought that the reason was not enough practice. Now i play on a daily basis but I feel that Ive reached my level of competence. Im almost 60. Should I resign myself to being a mediocre guitarist?
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Old 05-22-2009, 01:33 PM   #2
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I'd have to work at it to become mediocre. You're ahead of me. But I still enjoy to strum a few chords now and then, or pretend that it sounds good when I play a blues run.

But if you need a kick start to get better, I suppose lessons are the thing to do. Community colleges usually have group lessons cheap. Might be enough to inspire you, or get you over some bad habits that might be holding you back.

-ERD50
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Old 05-22-2009, 03:20 PM   #3
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Originally Posted by ERD50 View Post
Community colleges usually have group lessons cheap. Might be enough to inspire you, or get you over some bad habits that might be holding you back.

-ERD50
DH continues to take music classes at our community college...$39 for an eight week course.

He's been playing for almost 40 years and continues to learn something new. Bad habits are hard to break and need to be fixed.
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Old 05-22-2009, 05:50 PM   #4
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Question, Are you playing with other People, that is other musicians? This can make a major difference if you want to progress. Does the local music store have a weekly "Jam" night? Find it and attend. You'll find the experienced players will welcome you with open arms and you will improve dramatically playing with others. It's about rhythm, timing, and just having fun making music and songs. This skill set is difficult to learn on your own. My other suggestion would be to take individual lessons with a teacher you can relate to, one that can inspire and challenge you to be a better more well rounded player. Just some thoughts from another long timer (45 years playing guitar, hope to jam with friends Sat afternoon)
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Old 05-22-2009, 06:13 PM   #5
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Thank you all for your advice and tips. I forgot to tell you that I have two disadvantages: some sort of Carpal Tunnel Syndrome and very delicate finger skin that gets painful after half an hour of playing. I like to think that were it not for these factors I would play better.
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Old 05-22-2009, 08:22 PM   #6
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Thank you all for your advice and tips. I forgot to tell you that I have two disadvantages: some sort of Carpal Tunnel Syndrome and very delicate finger skin that gets painful after half an hour of playing. I like to think that were it not for these factors I would play better.
I always thought that regular practice developed callouses on the fingertips - is that not the case with you?

Carpel Tunnel, that's a tougher one - you need to talk to a doctor/therapist or at least other musicians to know how to deal with that issue.

-ERD50
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Old 05-22-2009, 11:28 PM   #7
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What about switching to a different instrument? I mean, really different. Sax or some other horn, piano, drums, whatever. It can be a stimulating challenge, and you should be able to find one more suited to your physical attributes. When I used to play guitar I'd end up jamming with 5 other guitar players. That's actually why I switched to bass all those years ago. And when I'm playing sax or recorder, I'm always welcome as a nice change of pace. Don't limit yourself. I've read articles saying that there are a lot of "older" people taking up a new (or long abandoned) instrument, and there are plenty of people offering them lessons.

On the down side of this suggestion, you usually end up being mediocre on multiple instruments, unless you really apply yourself. I'm planning to start applying myself soon.
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Old 05-23-2009, 04:24 PM   #8
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Originally Posted by ERD50 View Post
I always thought that regular practice developed callouses on the fingertips - is that not the case with you?

Carpel Tunnel, that's a tougher one - you need to talk to a doctor/therapist or at least other musicians to know how to deal with that issue.

-ERD50
After seeing a couple of doctors the conclusion is that there is little remedy. As I only hurt when I play the guitar for more than an hour, I am not going to undergo surgery. As fior the calluses...its precisely the calluses that press the underskin and cause the pain.
Ive got to put up with the damn thing. I console myself by thinking and admitting that I have little talent...and other hobbies. Like this forum!
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Old 05-23-2009, 04:27 PM   #9
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What about switching to a different instrument? I mean, really different. Sax or some other horn, piano, drums, whatever. It can be a stimulating challenge, and you should be able to find one more suited to your physical attributes. When I used to play guitar I'd end up jamming with 5 other guitar players. That's actually why I switched to bass all those years ago. And when I'm playing sax or recorder, I'm always welcome as a nice change of pace. Don't limit yourself. I've read articles saying that there are a lot of "older" people taking up a new (or long abandoned) instrument, and there are plenty of people offering them lessons.

On the down side of this suggestion, you usually end up being mediocre on multiple instruments, unless you really apply yourself. I'm planning to start applying myself soon.
Start with another instrument? You must be joking....Got more than enough with trying to be a reaonably mediocre guitarist, Ha Ha
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Old 05-23-2009, 06:24 PM   #10
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I don't have any idea what type or style music you like but thought I would point you to a young mans lesson site. This guy does a nice job of helping folks and has a great attitude. Most everything is free. Also thought I would mention the better quality guitar you own the easier they are on the fingers, which you probably already know.
Check the site out and also search for his lessons at youtube.

Try this link first, I found this where he is demonstrating a guitar: I thought it was a cool little jam.


Then check a sample lesson: Some lessons are much slower than this one and can help you a lot.


Free guitar lessons - justinguitar.com

Hope it helps or at least you enjoy the site.
Steve
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Old 05-26-2009, 07:03 AM   #11
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I don't have any idea what type or style music you like but thought I would point you to a young mans lesson site. This guy does a nice job of helping folks and has a great attitude. Most everything is free. Also thought I would mention the better quality guitar you own the easier they are on the fingers, which you probably already know.
Check the site out and also search for his lessons at youtube.

Try this link first, I found this where he is demonstrating a guitar: I thought it was a cool little jam.


Then check a sample lesson: Some lessons are much slower than this one and can help you a lot.


Free guitar lessons - justinguitar.com

Hope it helps or at least you enjoy the site.
Steve
Hey Steve Thanls for the info. Any other free online guitar course that would be useful? The songs that Im trying to learn are the oldie goldies...Big surprise, given my age!
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Old 05-26-2009, 11:35 AM   #12
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Try doing a search on youtube. Put guitar in the seach space. You will get all kinds of things so you need to go through them to pick out the good ones.
Another thing that works good is put in things like slide guitar. Or even performer names. Like Duane slide and see what comes up. There are all kinds of players that love to teach or show you how good or bad they are.
Enjoy, you can spend hours playing around on tha tube. I've found some fantastic guitar players on there. I guess this would apply to most any instrument.
Steve
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Old 05-26-2009, 11:51 AM   #13
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Try doing a search on youtube. Put guitar in the seach space. You will get all kinds of things so you need to go through them to pick out the good ones.
Another thing that works good is put in things like slide guitar. Or even performer names. Like Duane slide and see what comes up. There are all kinds of players that love to teach or show you how good or bad they are.
Enjoy, you can spend hours playing around on tha tube. I've found some fantastic guitar players on there. I guess this would apply to most any instrument.
Steve
I frequently do the Tube browsing and ususlly end up discouraged or dispirited. Except for the obvious clowns, any one of the guitar Tubers ring circles around me. Thanks.
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Old 05-26-2009, 12:05 PM   #14
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This guy (jun626) seems to be a really good player.
I'll try to think of the web site where he slows things down and gives people a chance to learn from him.
As far as I know he never shows his face but his age is around 47 I think. Just going by something I noticed in one of his post.
Check him out just for fun. He has a ton of songs on Tube.
Steve

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Old 05-26-2009, 12:05 PM   #15
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After a 20 year hiatus, I have started playing the flute again. While the basics came back pretty quickly, it took a while for my fingers to get used to playing again. I'll probably never be an excellent flutist, but it's OK, playing makes me happy and it really is all what matters to me. But daily practice has definitely improved my playing. I also have carpel tunnel, so I try to keep my practice sessions short but frequent.
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Old 05-26-2009, 12:51 PM   #16
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I'm no doctor, but raising the guitar to mid-upper chest level will reduce the "kink" in your wrist. I guess low-slung looks "cooler" or some such, but it limits your mobility/flexibility.
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Old 05-26-2009, 01:09 PM   #17
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Wow...I'm seeing an online video guitar lessons ad now.....
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Old 05-26-2009, 02:00 PM   #18
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I am not exactly a beginner at this. After more than 15 years I took up playing again. Always been a mediocre player, but I thought that the reason was not enough practice. Now i play on a daily basis but I feel that Ive reached my level of competence. Im almost 60. Should I resign myself to being a mediocre guitarist?
To me, the point of taking up a musical instrument again in retirement is for personal satisfaction. In other words, to me the more relevant question would be "Am I enjoying the time that I invest in playing the guitar?"

If you are enjoying the time you spend practicing on your guitar, then continue to play and you will find out soon enough whether or not you will progress beyond being a mediocre guitarist. But so what if you never progress beyond the mediocre? You are having fun, expressing yourself, and getting satisfaction out of your time with the guitar. (Just don't play in front of people! ha ha!) And if you do progress beyond the mediocre, playing for others would be a lot of fun - - icing on the cake.

If you are not enjoying the time you spend practicing on your guitar, then quit. If you don't enjoy the time you spend playing the guitar, then you are unlikely to become a wonderful guitarist (and even if you did, your time is precious and it isn't worth it IMO).

I guess this is a long-winded elaboration on "It's the journey, not the destination."
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Old 05-26-2009, 04:00 PM   #19
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To me, the point of taking up a musical instrument again in retirement is for personal satisfaction. In other words, to me the more relevant question would be "Am I enjoying the time that I invest in playing the guitar?"

If you are enjoying the time you spend practicing on your guitar, then continue to play and you will find out soon enough whether or not you will progress beyond being a mediocre guitarist. But so what if you never progress beyond the mediocre? You are having fun, expressing yourself, and getting satisfaction out of your time with the guitar. (Just don't play in front of people! ha ha!) And if you do progress beyond the mediocre, playing for others would be a lot of fun - - icing on the cake.

If you are not enjoying the time you spend practicing on your guitar, then quit. If you don't enjoy the time you spend playing the guitar, then you are unlikely to become a wonderful guitarist (and even if you did, your time is precious and it isn't worth it IMO).

I guess this is a long-winded elaboration on "It's the journey, not the destination."
Its not a windy elaboration. I think youve left out that there are people for whom progressing in their hobbies is part of their enjoying them. And dont forget that learning to play an instrument requires discipline and perseverance, and you expect some reward.
dont expect to be a virtuoso, not even a good player. Just a passable player.
Anyway thank you for your tacit and subtle encouragement.
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Old 05-27-2009, 08:29 AM   #20
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I finally stumbled across the site I was trying to remember.
I have not used it very much but I think these different sites could be very helpful if a person would put the necessary time in. You'll have to learn your way around any of these lesson sites to get the most out of them. If I ever make it to retirement I hope to spend more time getting better on guitar my self. On most of the listings you can put the video on slow motion to help you figure the lick out.

The site is : vanderbilly.com

Here's a couple examples: Free Guitar Lessons from Vanderbilly Mountain - Mississippi Queen (Part 1/2)

http://www.vanderbilly.com/Guitar-Le...o),8220,1.html

Hope it helps or entertains,
Steve
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