First off, I amnot going to stop playing guitar. I’m not that good but i love it, but i do wonder where i am going with it. I read a story the other day about great guitarists slowing down as they get older and simplifying their playing. I understand this, but being well on the way to 60 i am slow already. I can learn slower solos, eventually, struggle with faster stuff. Its like i get to a point where my brain and my fingers disagree about what us going to happen and i can play the faster parts, but i can only play them slowly . I doubt if I’ll ever be in a band as i work a 10 hour nightshift, married with kids and grandkids so even finding time to practise is hard. I do love it, but i do wonder where i csn go with it
This is all that matters. Play as slow or as fast as makes you happy. Music is what keep people young and the grey matter working. Enjoy the ride.
Just keep enjoying it. Simple
The reason you aren’t going to stop is probably the same reason you started in the first place.
To yourself…that’s where you go, anytime you practice slowly and…ooohhh “I’m nailing this!” Enjoy and Love each note you play and you can find yourself in the best place you thought you could ever be!
(Un)fortunately, I don’t have these existential thoughts regarding guitar playing. I play it, because at the moment I still like it and I don’t find it boring. The moment when this is not the case, I will shelve guitar playing for some time and get back to it again after some time. I’m not aiming to be in a band or make money out of it; I just like the sound the instrument makes lol.
Only place I am going is into my living room… to pick up the guitar.
I’m 74 years old. I am well aware that my ceiling as a guitar player is much lower than it would have been had I started when I was young. I’m reminded of an interview I once saw with Eric Clapton. He had seen an old concert of his on TV. He said it made him sad, because he knew he’d never be that good again.
I play for a couple of hours every afternoon, just for myself. I’m never going to be good, and that’s okay. I’ve learned a lot about music that I wouldn’t have known otherwise.
There are many thoughts on that very question in
What’s the point?
So the way my brain works is:
Some things I do because I HAVE to.
Some things I do because I SHOULD do.
Some things I do because I desire the Result.
Some things I do because I WANT to…
Could go on & on really BUT -
Some things I do because I just enjoy the Hell out of whatever it is so much!!! This is why I play guitar - for the joy it brings me! It’s why I love my motorcycles (in spite of the crazy drivers who don’t see you) - there’s a feeling of freedom with no vehicle around you and the wind in your hair that nothing compares to! It’s why I love hot air ballooning… happiness in my heart to fly above the earth leaving all my troubles on the ground…
Play your guitar just for playing… just for enjoyment… just for a respite from the insanity out there… just for YOU!
Rock on peeps!!!
I think a lot of us eventually have these thoughts. Yeah, you’re probably not going to be a rock star. Sadly that realisation was why I quit music in my teens. Wouldn’t be a rock star, may as well give up.
Figuring out some goals can help with this. Learning a certain style of music? Performing for family or an OM? Mastering a song?
If you enjoy it, do it.
From practice and different technique exercises, I’m faster at 71 than I was at 68. I should be shredding by 75. Eventually I’ll plateau and start to slow down, but that’s when I know I’ve become a great guitarist
You’ve been playing what a year? Its not an age problem but an experience and technique one.
It takes years of practice to get speed going
I typed up a quote, and framed it, and it was up on a wall in our home for many years. It came from a Guitar World interview with Clapton. I don’t remember when I tossed it, but I no longer have the exact quote, just the essence. For me, it’s the point:
“It doesn’t matter how many strings it has, or how loud or softly you can play, or how fast. What matters is how it feels, and how it makes you feel when you play.”
So - exactly this!
The point is your point of view. Music does not have a point of view. What we come to think about it is the point. The value it returns is not monetary or necessarily related to what others think of our abilities. I find there is value in experiencing what it is like to be able to do something that demands some expertise. It’s got craftsman appeal for me, not unlike doing fine woodworking or building something from scratch. I do not think of it in terms of what I have to offer to the world. I already know the world’s point of view is going to be that I am not, or will not be, anything special. My taste in music is not something that would appeal to the masses. It’s a gift I give myself.
I always looked positively towards those who can play an instrument. At the age of 50 I decided that I wanted to feel what it would be like to be one who could play guitar. I played violin when I was younger. I’ve since understood that the business of learning something totally new is extremely beneficial to the brain which might otherwise just be withering away in passive consumption of media. It needs to be stimulated and used. It’s super easy to not keep pushing ahead with our learning.
I’m nit even sure I would ay I love music. I probably dislike more music than I like. lol.
Well, I’ve wanted to learn since I was a kid, and at the ripe old age of 64 I’m hoping learning a fun new skill that I love will help keep dementia at bay. (It runs in the family. )
Hi Ross, your post is probably similar to many hobby players. I’m 70 and maybe my little story might have some thoughts for you to ponder. Over the years, always wanted to be able play well, but family/work etc just never got more than a few chords and a few sing-songs. After losing my wife to cancer a few years ago, I focused on my guitar, joined a monthly Jam (Bluegrass acoustic) get together, they said they would play slow, but they were still super fast. A lot of the time I was muting the strings, faking strumming and smiling - lol - but I had fun. I practiced, I explored other genre, a bit of jazz etc, I did get a bit better, and over time, found that I was happy just playing by myself for fun, and making up songs for the grandkids. And over the last year or so, I’ve accepted that I’m just comfortable with playing solo acoustic guitar for fun, I do go out busking now and again (busking is not like standing on a stage, much easier I think, people walk past, or pause for a while, and you don’t know them) for local charities, I just do it for fun. I’ve accepted I’m not going to play cool lead solo’s or amazing guitar, I’m just happy knowing what key suits my voice, being able to transpose and play reasonable rhythm for my solo busking and play/sing songs that people know, nothing too complicated, but I can make them sound okay. Don’t know if that helps, but sometimes it’s not about playing with others, or being in a band, sometimes it’s just enjoying playing songs you like and if you go out busking and it brings a smile to someone’s day as they pass you, then you may have brightened up their day, and hopefully get a few tips to donate to charities. You’ll find your groove Ross, all the best, Mike
If you enjoy what you are doing then carry on from what you say no one is judging or expecting you to become a guitar playing hero, would be great if you did achieve that status.
I’m now 77, bought my first guitar when I was 15, never made any great progress or playing ability and gave up trying. After having been bought a cheap ukulele some 10 years ago, watched some videos, joined a ukulele teacher based in the USA, progressed well to become an average player.
A year ago I picked up my guitar and I haven’t looked back since, found Justin’s web site and went for it. I now go and jam with friends, my son and grandsons, I strive to become better, yes progress is slow but I play everyday and enjoy every minute, even the practice routines.
Carry on doing what you’re doing if you enjoy it, you never know what you’ll achieve.
Good luck, Peter.
An appropriate essay by Allen Matthews of Classical Guitar Shed:
“Our modern era doesn’t have a monopoly on contentious elections.
In 1800, Thomas Jefferson ran against Aaron Burr to become the third president of the United States. And it was hot.
Never before had the fledgling country seen such mudslinging, such animosity! Nasty, dark dealings by actors on all sides.
And this was not Jefferson’s style.
Jefferson was soft-spoken, elegant, and thoughtful. He was not one for grandstanding or making spittle-spray soapbox rants.
So this turbulent election caused him massive stress and discomfort. It saddened and confused him.
And when he had a few moments to himself, how did he unwind? How did he find the solace to melt the cold stone in his belly?
Jefferson loved music. And this, he said, was the most nourishing and favorite passion for his soul.
When times got tough, he sought out a private moment to play his violin.
What is it about playing music that does so much good for the body, mind, and soul? Why does it work?
Perhaps “getting into your hands” helps get troubles off the mind.
Perhaps active listening quiets the inner voices that compete for space.
Perhaps doing something for the pure sake of doing it is a welcome respite from the duties of the day.
Whatever mechanism is at work, music is a powerful solvent to wash away the grime of life.
And the beauty of it is that the playing doesn’t even have to be “good.” The positive effects are not reserved for advanced virtuosos.
Anyone who makes the time can warm by its fire. It’s there when we want it.
And this stays true, even if we don’t engage for months or years between sessions.
Few activities add as much meaning and rejuvenation as regular music practice.
It helps us move beyond the physical world and honor our deeper nature and humanity.
Maybe this is why Jefferson played whenever he found the time.
At no point was music his main pursuit. But in a supporting role, it helped him show up and be a better man.
All the best,
What a great post.
For me, this is a large reason I try to learn things which are challenging: guitar, bell ringing, etc.
The fact that they require, to one degree or another, a degree of focus and concentration means you can’t think about other things whilst doing them.
This, itself, is a balm: however frustrating it might be, it’s not the same (for me) as the stresses of work and life in general. It takes me away from all of that.
There’s a lot of repetition but, at the same time, you still have to be tuned into what you are doing to a degree: let your attention lapse and things can go wrong quickly (less of an issue with guitar than bell-ringing).