Why I Love & Loathe Playing Guitar…

hogrider16

Gretschie
Oct 18, 2017
390
charles town wv
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.
Troy Grady has some videos I’ve watched that really helped to articulate what I realized. He has a method for sale. I haven’t purchased it, but someone on the Telecaster Forum said it was good.
 

LivingMyDream

Friend of Fred
May 4, 2016
6,719
Peculiar, Missouri
@blueruins it is often a series of things that get us to the destination that we desire. Each step along the way adds that little bit more to the skill set required, and then one day, totally out of the blue, the revelation comes (or all the little skills suddenly come together), and we suddenly have the "aha' moment that we needed.

However it came, good for you, and thank you for passing along your insight!
 

Emergence

Gretschie
May 25, 2022
437
New York
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.
Interesting. I began using hammer ons and pull offs unconsciously. But a real speed increase came with finger style. One day I noticed that there were things I can play finger style that I can’t manage with a pick. I know there are lightning fast shredders and cross pickers. I don’t have the speed or accuracy for that. I play faster and more accurately finger style. And FWIW, I taught myself guitar adding techniques as I needed them.
 
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AZBrahma

Synchromatic
Dec 18, 2020
565
Arizona
I'm sure everyone feels this was to some degree. My playing is weird. When I bend the G string, I bend toward the treble side of the neck. I only bend the B and E towards the bass side. When I finger pick - which like @Emergence I have become very adept at doing both fast and accurately - I rarely pluck with my index finger. It's thumb, skip the index finger and go right to the middle and ring fingers even on adjacent strings. So weird. When I bend, especially double stops, I wrap my thumb around. Unless I'm up past some point, maybe the 7th-ish fret, then it thumb on the back of the neck even for big bends. It's all as natural to me as breathing, but it is apparently very strange and somewhat confusing for others to watch. I just embrace it, it is part of my style I guess. Those are just a couple of the strange things I do.
 

RagnarHairybreeks

Electromatic
Aug 1, 2022
70
Gloucester England
If you are in a hurry to learn guitar, there is another way, besides all that practicing. I understand it is south of Clarksdale, MS on 49. Take a right at Sunflower River Road. Its at that first intersection. Be there after midnight. The guy you are looking for name is Legba. :eek:


One of my favourite movies of all time - and the thing that kindled my love for slide blues. Thank you.
 

RagnarHairybreeks

Electromatic
Aug 1, 2022
70
Gloucester England
I'm sure everyone feels this was to some degree. My playing is weird. When I bend the G string, I bend toward the treble side of the neck. I only bend the B and E towards the bass side. When I finger pick - which like @Emergence I have become very adept at doing both fast and accurately - I rarely pluck with my index finger. It's thumb, skip the index finger and go right to the middle and ring fingers even on adjacent strings. So weird. When I bend, especially double stops, I wrap my thumb around. Unless I'm up past some point, maybe the 7th-ish fret, then it thumb on the back of the neck even for big bends. It's all as natural to me as breathing, but it is apparently very strange and somewhat confusing for others to watch. I just embrace it, it is part of my style I guess. Those are just a couple of the strange things I do.
Weird. Much the same here. I never (well almost never) use a pick - I use the back of my middle finger salute nail.
 

Henry

I Bleed Orange
Apr 9, 2014
18,715
Petaluma
I don't know your history and don't mean to make any assumptions and judgments, but I think not having rigorous, formal guitar lessons for an extended period of time makes it much more likely for this to happen.

Many of us have spent thousands of hours playing, but much fewer formally learning.
 

Craig Encinitas

Gretschie
May 3, 2021
287
Encinitas, Ca
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?

Thank you for posting this, as I immediately began using this technique.
Thanks for saving me twenty years! 😉

In all seriousness though, not taking one actual real lesson since day one, I don’t know what I am doing wrong versus what I should be doing. The thumb over top does make my string bending sound more appropriate. 👍🏻
 

NJDevil

Country Gent
Jul 9, 2014
1,466
Commack, NY
@blueruins

I know exactly what you're talking. about........ My always asking "why" and "how" opens the door for "getting better" and learning new technique. I am having fun at with my approach to playing is that: Nothing "should be" or "has to be" and all that is important is that my technique allows me to create and have fun and provides the path for more.

It was that exact technique you just learned that made me ditch any more guitar lessons back in high school......it's not like there were a lot and maybe 10 in total. Why? I knew I loved music and wanted to be a part of it but intuitively knew that I wanted my learning of playing to be a creative process vs. "more schooling".

So I learned 2 things at once: 1) the knowledge of what was my acoustic playing, and; 2) the building of my learning and style-shaping of my electric.

For electric, that "big one" was when I refused to keep the thumb almost perpendicular to the back of the neck. I knew enough that the position was not going to physically allow me to do things I wanted . I studied "the flow" of the lead guitarists' hands in live shows at small venues my brother would take me to. I read interviews in magazines.

I wanted COMFORT! This was the gateway to free my fretting hand to get to the path that made learning and playing easier. I started playing live, mostly lead vocals at first, and learned from guitarists by watching them.....asking questions....and "why", "how", "outcome" started to mesh. I only use my pinky for chords and wrap my thumb around the top of the neck, much of my bends are down vs. bending up (greater muscle control in pulling vs. pushing.)

Now? I'm 49, love the process of practice, love learning new technique, and love playing guitar more than ever. I figure where I am at my playing is where I should be at this moment, with tomorrow and years down the road, being the promise for learning more.
 

Dansimpson

Electromatic
Jul 21, 2022
36
Dartmouth, Devon, UK
When I first started playing, well, trying to learn to play, 1972 I would guess, well, school got in the way of much serious guitar playing. Then I left school 1974, started work, so it became work, pubs, then girls.... Not much time fer guitars, jyst lurking a bit in the background.
Martied 1977, first child 1979, then second 1982. Work, wife, kids, still not much free time.
Kids left home, and I stupidly changed career to run a pub... 7 days a week, no time for serious guitars again.
And do it goes on..
My job at the moment, well if it ran smooth, should be 4 days a week, and I admit I do get to play a bit more, especially the last year.
I figure I'm 50 years, I've progressed about 3 years lol.
But hey, it's fun trying. I still strum some of the songs I learned back then, although I do forget the words, so today isn't just about learning new stuff, it's seriously trying not to forget what I did know.
ATB
Dan
 

Bertotti

Friend of Fred
Jul 20, 2017
9,547
South Dakota
When I first started playing, well, trying to learn to play, 1972 I would guess, well, school got in the way of much serious guitar playing. Then I left school 1974, started work, so it became work, pubs, then girls.... Not much time fer guitars, jyst lurking a bit in the background.
Martied 1977, first child 1979, then second 1982. Work, wife, kids, still not much free time.
Kids left home, and I stupidly changed career to run a pub... 7 days a week, no time for serious guitars again.
And do it goes on..
My job at the moment, well if it ran smooth, should be 4 days a week, and I admit I do get to play a bit more, especially the last year.
I figure I'm 50 years, I've progressed about 3 years lol.
But hey, it's fun trying. I still strum some of the songs I learned back then, although I do forget the words, so today isn't just about learning new stuff, it's seriously trying not to forget what I did know.
ATB
Dan
Started a bit later playing. I tired in elementary school but my teacher sat and talked as much as I did and my parents always dig in because they didn’t know the music so to them I made no progress. A sibling for I chipped my sisters tooth but of course it was her fault for trying to block her stoch with her face, and quitting lessons was my parent plea bargain for a lessend sentence. Started mandolin around 2002 guitar again around 2006 and I. That time mandolin I progressed at guitar maybe three years of progress out of 15 years of hacking around. Life happens.
 


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