Why I Love & Loathe Playing Guitar…

blueruins

Country Gent
May 28, 2013
4,443
Savannah, GA
Am I the only one who is constantly learning things that should have been obvious decades ago?

This one is really kind of ticking me off because I’ve literally been working on it for more than 20 years. Stumbling on the answer is wonderful but how could I have missed something so simple for so long.

What is it?

I’ve only recently discovered that small shift of the wrist by wrapping my thumb around the neck a little more is the secret to the sound of blues vibrato and bends.

The mechanics of the fulcrum apparently makes it impossible for the arc of the bend to develop at the same speed if your thumb is in the wrong orientation.

It’s like a universal joke how many hours I’ve spent on this. I’m pretty sure it’s thousands🫣

This happens from time to time and I think how can I be so stupid.

Does things like this happen to any of you?
 

blueruins

Country Gent
May 28, 2013
4,443
Savannah, GA
Yep and not just with instruments, had a lot of oh moments in martial arts, small shift of a foot on one direction or point a toe a slightly roll a shoulder etc. It’s the finer points that and details that really tune a person in.
Oh thank you @Bertotti! That honestly makes me feel better and never would have thought of it like that.
 

Emergence

Gretschie
May 25, 2022
437
New York
Am I the only one who is constantly learning things that should have been obvious decades ago?

Do things like this happen to any of you?
Let me shed some light on this. I retired from a long career in engineering a year and a half ago. My last position was Training and Compliance Manager. What I told PhD scientists struggling to master new material in an unfamiliar discipline was that no one was born knowing this stuff. Bioengineering didn't even exist as an engineering discipline decades ago. We learn from others. We read about what others have figured out and we figure out things for ourselves. It wasn't at all so obvious as it is now when we didn't know it. Should it have been? Maybe. Probably not.

I came back to guitar maybe 15 years ago after a decades long hiatus. There was a lot I had to relearn and a surprising amount I learned unconsciously while I was away. And there was a lot that came together as I started playing again. Maybe some of it should have been obvious back when, but it wasn't. It didn't become obvious until I learned more. In that way, playing guitar wasn't very different from engineering at all.

One more thing. You've wasted any day you haven't learned something new. It doesn't have to be music. It can be something about yourself. Open your mind and you'll be amazed what pours in. I learn a lot just in the time I spend on this forum. "Do things like this happen to any of you?" Things like this happen to all of us.
 

Bertotti

Friend of Fred
Jul 20, 2017
9,547
South Dakota
Let me shed some light on this. I retired from a long career in engineering a year and a half ago. My last position was Training and Compliance Manager. What I told PhD scientists struggling to master new material in an unfamiliar discipline was that no one was born knowing this stuff. Bioengineering didn't even exist as an engineering discipline decades ago. We learn from others. We read about what others have figured out and we figure out things for ourselves. It wasn't at all so obvious as it is now when we didn't know it. Should it have been? Maybe. Probably not.

I came back to guitar maybe 15 years ago after a decades long hiatus. There was a lot I had to relearn and a surprising amount I learned unconsciously while I was away. And there was a lot that came together as I started playing again. Maybe some of it should have been obvious back when, but it wasn't. It didn't become obvious until I learned more. In that way, playing guitar wasn't very different from engineering at all.

One more thing. You've wasted any day you haven't learned something new. It doesn't have to be music. It can be something about yourself. Open your mind and you'll be amazed what pours in. I learn a lot just in the time I spend on this forum. "Do things like this happen to any of you?" Things like this happen to all of us.
Nailed the most important part in one sentence.
”You've wasted any day you haven't learned something new.”
 

Zeek

Country Gent
May 29, 2016
1,696
Illinois USA
One more thing. You've wasted any day you haven't learned something new. It doesn't have to be music. It can be something about yourself.
Nailed the most important part in one sentence.
”You've wasted any day you haven't learned something new.”
I agree 100%.
Sadly not all people believe this
My Mom is 5 years older than her husband and needs a hand. I mentioned how important meals are as she is diabetic and to maintain her strength.
He said he is 77 and to old to learn to cook.
 

Bertotti

Friend of Fred
Jul 20, 2017
9,547
South Dakota
Learning to do new things, or old things better, is what keeps a lot of us interested in playi/ng.
After I had been playing for 5 years, I thought I knew it all. Now, 60 years later, I'm thinking I may have been wrong.
I still can’t play well at all. I noodle but I like to tweak build and tinker. So I’m always learning things I like. I should woodshed hard and actually learn something about playing better.
 

Highroller

Country Gent
Jun 11, 2015
2,030
Portland, OR
Well, there's never a day I loathe playing guitar, but I get your point. Sometimes you have that "duh" moment when you realize something new and think to yourself "why didn't I learn that years ago?!'

It happens. To all of us. But think of it this way: Better to learn something late than never learn it at all!

I congratulate you on your forward progress! Life is good! 👍
 

blueruins

Country Gent
May 28, 2013
4,443
Savannah, GA
After reflecting on this a little more and beating myself up a little more, something occurred to me. During summer of '95 I attended Musicians Institute for a 6 month program.
I recall asking my 'personal counselor' to help me with my bending vibrato technique and he was somewhat at a loss...jazzer dude. He said I should also ask another instructor and I did. He also didn't have too much concrete to offer. It was still the "shredder" era and this line of questioning was a bit out of fashion at the time.
Anyhow, I really did reach out and ask for guidance and have worked very hard on this for a long time. I think I earned a pretty decent vibrato previously but this last revelation gave me that sound I've been after. It also made it so much mechanically more comfortable that it is sort of ridiculous😆
I'll move on and just be grateful now.
Y'all really have been encouraging as well...that's pretty cool. This place is the best!
 

Zeek

Country Gent
May 29, 2016
1,696
Illinois USA
I recall asking my 'personal counselor' to help me with my bending vibrato technique and he was somewhat at a loss...jazzer dude
A great kid we have known since she was a baby stopped by and I was jammin, she has started playing guitar and she said to me, ..
Oh your a Bender, lol. I said yes I am.
If I play somethin clean without a bend or a blues vibrato I feel dirty, lol

I recall asking my 'personal counselor' to help me with my bending vibrato technique and he was somewhat at a loss...jazzer dude. He said I should also ask another instructor and I did. He also didn't have too much concrete to offer.

Some times it is just the way it comes across to you or being delivered.
Someone can explain somethin to me and I could look at them like I don't understand a word you said then someone else explain it and be like, oh ya
 

hogrider16

Gretschie
Oct 18, 2017
390
charles town wv
After reflecting on this a little more and beating myself up a little more, something occurred to me. During summer of '95 I attended Musicians Institute for a 6 month program.
I recall asking my 'personal counselor' to help me with my bending vibrato technique and he was somewhat at a loss...jazzer dude. He said I should also ask another instructor and I did. He also didn't have too much concrete to offer. It was still the "shredder" era and this line of questioning was a bit out of fashion at the time.
Anyhow, I really did reach out and ask for guidance and have worked very hard on this for a long time. I think I earned a pretty decent vibrato previously but this last revelation gave me that sound I've been after. It also made it so much mechanically more comfortable that it is sort of ridiculous😆
I'll move on and just be grateful now.
Y'all really have been encouraging as well...that's pretty cool. This place is the best!
People that do things intuitively are often lousy teachers. I never understood why I couldn’t play really fast so I looked at the mechanics of my playing. I saw what was wrong but didn’t know how to fix it. Unfortunately neither did my teacher. I kept batting my head against the “start slow and gradually get faster wall.” I finally figured out that you use a different technique for playing fast than playing slow. Too bad none of my teachers could articulate that concept.
 

Bertotti

Friend of Fred
Jul 20, 2017
9,547
South Dakota
People that do things intuitively are often lousy teachers. I never understood why I couldn’t play really fast so I looked at the mechanics of my playing. I saw what was wrong but didn’t know how to fix it. Unfortunately neither did my teacher. I kept batting my head against the “start slow and gradually get faster wall.” I finally figured out that you use a different technique for playing fast than playing slow. Too bad none of my teachers could articulate that concept.
If you can articulate that now there will probably be a dozen kids singing you praises. The only way I could go faster was to start incorporating hammer ons and pull offs. I’m sure there are probably better ways Than that because each of those techniques adds its own tonal flavor. I did notice if I was going faster I had less thumb on the neck.
 

GreTschocaster

Synchromatic
Feb 11, 2013
682
Canada
Well I had the thumb thing correct but I did my bends for years using only the ring finger. Then I was introduced to bending strings with both the ring and middle finger and wow what a difference. It also made bending much easier on my arthritic fingers.
 


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