Was playing more fun when you first started or now?

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Thread: Was playing more fun when you first started or now?

  1. #1

    Join Date: Mar 2012
    Location: Chicago

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    Was playing more fun when you first started or now?

    I first started learning guitar in 5th grade. I had lessons once a week and learned the notes on the open strings + first 3 frets (naturals only, no sharps or flats), one string per week. Naturally the first lesson was kind of boring cuz how many songs can you really play with E, F, and G? lol.

    By the end of the second week I had doubled the amount of guitar notes I knew.

    By the end of the third week I also had A and G on the G string. A full octave, and I could play some real songs now out of my Ernie Ball lesson books:

    (mine were the older ones with the black cover but same thing I think)

    After that, I learned the open chords. And then the bottom 3 strings.

    Then I learned bar chords (the first form that everyone learns, R, 5, R, 3, 5 R). It was a struggle for my 5th grade hands to play them, but I did it. I was unstoppable and knew how to play any chord you could name (as long as it was a major, minor, 7th, or minor 7th; but I didn't know other chords existed yet so I felt like a boss).

    Then I learned the pentatonic scale.

    I felt like a boss at this point. Lessons were always fun.

    Eventually I started to realize just how much I didn't know. Lessons stopped being fun. Modes? Wtf are those? How come I don't sound like Joe Satriani? He can play that high fast stuff but I can just dick around on the blues scale. Power chords? Hey, cool, now I can play almost every Nirvana song. I got the black album book and could play all the rhythms and intros but never the solos. I couldn't sweep pick for the life of me. I tried for months and it just wasn't happening.

    I hit a plateau and it stopped being fun. My progress slowed to a crawl over the next 3 or 4 years.

    Eventually I stopped playing guitar, playing maybe once or twice a year for the next 10 years. Each time I did, it was just a reminder of how I had stalled and stopped getting better. Boo. Not fun.

    Like 6 or 7 months ago I went to a Sam Ash "just for fun." Whoops, the bug hit me again. Busted out my old guitar. Bought a new amp. Bought a new (used) guitar.

    I only play a few days a week now, but it's fun again, and I'm making progress now that I never made before. I'm starting to understand modes and how they fit together. I can sort of sweep pick sometimes once I'm warmed up now.

    Perhaps most importantly is the huge availability of backing tracks available online. HOLY COW THIS DID NOT EXIST BACK WHEN I USED TO PLAY GUITAR I'm not even kidding that I think this is probably at least 50% responsible for the improvements I've made in the last few months. And I think the other 50% is probably because I basically took a break for years and shed some of the bad habits and mental limitations I had before.

    I still have a lot to learn, and hopefully I didn't jinx my progress with this post, but I love playing guitar again.

    Fuck yeah.

  2. #2

    Join Date: Oct 2012
    Location: UK

    iTrader: 0

    I'm self taught. Which means, I learnt some Slayer riffs, stopped trying when they got to difficult (and never quite recovered... but that's another story) and started my own stuff. Started a band which was Slayery/Deathy thrash and had a blast. I started trying to learn more theory and I felt a few years later that I was always trying to fit riffs into scales and make music "right" and it actually killed my creativity and flow. I worried too much about it rather than just making it sound evil and joining riffs together which actually made for more interesting music, in hindsight.

    Still, I think I've found a happy medium ground now. Playing simple riffs is often more fun than sweating over something technical, and I'm still no master of theory anyway. If I push myself technically now it's just to give myself some more 'headroom', if you know what I mean. I still have fun otherwise I'd sell my gear.

  3. #3

    Join Date: Feb 2011
    Location: Stockholm, Sweden
    ME: Cort M520
    MA: Ibanez V320
    Rig: Pod X3 Live

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    Played on and off (mostly off) for 20 years from ages 12 to 32. Never got anywhere. Then I bought an electric and it all came together. So more fun now!

  4. #4

    Join Date: Oct 2010
    Location: Europe
    ME: Ibanez UV777PBK, K7
    MA: Aria AC-6
    Rig: Laney GH50L, GSP1101

    iTrader: 0

    I feel it's a lot more fun now.

    I went to music school when I started playing, meaning that for 4 years or so I only got to play lame stuff which had progress in mind. Almost no fun involved for that time.

    Also, when you start out, playing guitar feels so alien. You would try to play something and for hours and hours seemingly nothing would happen except for cramps and the realization that human bodies were not meant to do this and that Steve Vai must be an alien.

    In my teens I hooked up with some guys from the local scene and we would have large blues jamsessions about every day ( just 5 guys and their acoustics) which taught me pentatonics and the fact that you don't have to be as good as Vai to create cool stuff. Start slow and work up. Around that time I switched to electrics and heavy metal bands.

    I love that I am now at the point where I can listen to a lot of stuff and when I decide I want to learn it, I know that I can and what will be needed to actually play it. In the past I would see learning new songs as insurmountable obstacles because I had no idea what was possible for me and that caused me to give up on learning new things. Now I know what can be done and I can make an educated guess about the time and effort involved and choose to learn it or not and that is really great. Once I finally got to this point I spent a lot of time learning all the songs I used to like and it's been a blast.

    That kind of confidence is just priceless.

    And because I am a child of the nineties:
    backing tracks are so cool, and not to mention stuff like guitar pro. I used to have to learn songs from Guitar World tabs and spend hours trying to learn something. Now you just run guitar pro and it's easy.

    Song is in the wrong key? No problem, just transpose and ahead you go. Need a backing track? Just export the MIDI to a DAW and make your backing track with midi instruments.
    When I first started recording I would hook up tapedecks to create multitrack recordings. After I saved I was even able to buy an actual 4 track recorder and a roland drum computer for a lot of money. And it would take a lot of time to get anything useful recorded with those.

    Now you load up your DAW and have all the tracks you need, MIDI editing is a breeze and there are seemingly endless options to process recordings.

  5. #5

    Join Date: Dec 2008
    Location: Pennsyl-tucky
    ME: 87 Ibanez RG550
    MA: Wasburn D12 6
    Rig: ADA MP1 / Spider II

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    I am basically self taught but I did take a few lessons (to learn modes)

    When i started playing the only place you could get tabs was like guitar player magazine (and back then they didn't really have a lot of tabs) or a few mel bay books with songs nobody every wanted to learn or play We didn't have backing tracks - if you wanted to learn leads you jammed along with a cassette.

    I used to play a lot, like 4+ hours every day. (did this for years) but I don't play much anymore - maybe an hour or two a week is it really. My skill level sucks ass compared to where it was about 15 years ago but I could get back up to speed easily enough if I put in the time.

    Basically I would say that it was more fun when I started

  6. #6

    Join Date: Apr 2009
    Location: Ireland
    ME: Jackson Sl2H
    Rig: Engl/Marshall rack

    iTrader: 0

    I've always had fun playing, though maybe more so now than before. I am self taught so my progress was a bit all over the place but I'm happy with how I learned and am able to play in a band and jam and get along playing fine now. I started teaching a beginner recently and it really has reminded me how slow and hard and frustrating things were in the beginning when everything seemed impossible! I had really forgotten what that was like!
    My band Shardborne - Prog metal Free E.P Download here

  7. #7

    Join Date: Aug 2010
    Location: No Boat Back
    ME: Strypoverse
    MA: Ovation Electric
    Rig: Axe-FX II

    iTrader: 4 (100%)

    Quote Originally Posted by Vegetta View Post
    I am basically self taught but I did take a few lessons (to learn modes)...............My skill level sucks ass compared to where it was about 15 years ago but I could get back up to speed easily enough if I put in the time. Basically I would say that it was more fun when I started
    Same here. When I was in high school every waking free minute was spent practicing. If I wasn't at school I had a guitar in my hand. I was obsessed. Constantly jamming in basement with my drummer exploring all sorts of different musical directions.

    These days my biggest struggle is working too much. I'm almost always at work so when I go home and try working on sweep arpeggios for instance it just feels like more work. My schedule will slow down here soon and the bug to play more has already started but my hands are fried from processing tons of paperwork. Guitar playing more than anything has become a tool for stress relief as opposed to a goal I'm working towards.

  8. #8

    Join Date: Sep 2008
    Location: Black Swamp, OH
    ME: Rich Mahogany
    MA: Godin A6 Ultra
    MB: SR500
    Rig: Massive/Boobies

    iTrader: 16 (100%)

    It's more fun now.

    Learning a few Metallica riffs was fun, playing them (~17 years later) in front of a moshing crowd was BAD FUCKING ASS

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