I feel disheartened at my own progress having watched Livestream #3

Appreciated and makes it easier to get to separate performances.

Overall I have to say they were entertainingly impressive but, for me. frustrating and slightly depressing. Some of the performers have been playing about the same or less time than me and were light years ahead of where I am at the moment, and (in some cases) don’t see me getting to that level.


Stuart, the whole issue of not comparing your progress to that of anyone else comes up as a regular discussion topic in the Community.
I’m sorry that you have succumbed to the devil’s own self-criticism that serves no positive purpose.
Remember, you are you and you learn what you learn.


It does and I generally don’t, which is why I don’t watch the AVOYP’s, but watching this just highlighted the issue!

True, but it makes me realise that I’m getting old and my body (read hands) can’t do what it could, which is the frustrating bit. I’ll go back to lurking now!

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Reading your posts actually made me sad. I understand all too well, where you are coming from and I know all too well where you are coming from. There is someone here in the community, who started at approximately the same time as I. Reading his Learning Log, I see that he seems to be progressing faster, he seems to be playing so much more smoothly in his videos and so on.

But you know, it’s just like that. I am happy for him - and I am sure I might be doing something else as well as him or better. Yet, it does not matter. People are different and excel at a very broad range of different small skills. I know it’s difficult not to compare ourselves to others. Still, the conclusion does not necessarily have to be negative. Just realize that everyone is different, practices different things for different lengths of time and so on.

I’m sure that there is something in your guitar playing that makes you happy. Something random, something small maybe. Something that just fills you with such a wonderfully sunny feeling of joy. Something small that will all of a sudden sound good. It doesn’t have to be anything special, it doesn’t have to be anything where you should be at in theory. Just look at what you are doing. You are being creative. You are making music. Isn’t that fantastic? You are able to do something that you have not been able to do some years ago. Try to look at it that way. And when you do doesn’t it make you smile? :slightly_smiling_face:


Remember, though, it isn’t how many years you have been playing. It is how many hours and how efficient those hours are, along with our vast variability in musical talents, and effort.

I knew I was no prodigy going into this. Rhythmically challenged, wrong handed, old, short and slow. I also have fairly little time to practice and am pretty mentally burnt at the end of the day so progress is slow.

But progress is there and I am having fun! Happy for those who excel and happy for me to fiddle in my own way. Yes, I want to play like the greats already, but probably won’t get there anyway, and don’t need to.

Yeah , I wish I could play as well after 2.5 years as some of our recent performers, but their journey is not mine and likely different in important was. Hopefully we can use that as inspiration.

(I once played on an ultimate frisbee team called “slobs” for “Slow, Lazy, Old, Broken, and Short”. I embrace that in my guitar journey as well;-)


Hi Stuart,

We’re a similar vintage and I see where you’re coming from. Whilst I enjoy and often am in awe of some of our members here it’s not fair to judge ourselves against them.

To me, I enjoy picking up the guitar playing something, making progress with something regardless of how small that step is and being able to sing along with myself. It brings a lot of pleasure as does my journey.

Be less tough on yourself and enjoy the moment, that’s what’s important. :grinning::+1:


Makes me sad as well when I realise that I am 40 years too late! A case of if only.

There is but at the moment (with the blues lessons) it’s all a bit of a drag.

I wouldn’t go that far!


@Stuartw - Hey Stuart, can I just add a little of my own experiences to what you’ve described about your own self assessment.

There’s a couple of members of the Community, who shall remain nameless :wink: , who I’ve always kind of compared myself to in terms of progress as I think we all started roughly the same time. Both of these folks have in many ways “blown me out of the water” with some of the paths they have gone down and pace of progress and whilst it didn’t discourage me, it did make me wonder why I wasn’t doing the same. But some exchanges on a couple of posts of mine, and what I’m sure they thought were simple comments, made me realise that there were parts of my playing and progress that was something they hadn’t got to where I was at.

It’s all swings and roundabouts, we all play and practice different things, comparing to peers isn’t necessarily bad but it has to be from a positive and productive standpoint, and don’t forget everyone always has someone “better” than them (unless your name is Hetfield, or Van Halen, or Hendrix, or…). Allow yourself to remember you have still progressed, it’s all that matters. Well that and having fun.


@Notter @Stuartw Very well said, Marc, I think we all have those companions we unconciously compare ourselves to and which seem to make so much more progress that we do. I could tell you about at least a handful of fellow students, that started at the same time or later than me, who seem to be so much more effective than I am. But it doesn’t demotivate me at all. My life is currently such a bumpy road concerning health issues, that it was mandatory to slow down. Yes, it frustrates me sometimes but it’s also a point of view. It’s just the decision to go by feet, while others took a rocket to the moon and back. Don’t get discouraged Stuart. Take into account, that performers that participate at the OM or post AVOP’s are a very small part of all students who follow Justin. I don’t know, if it’s useful to compare yourself only to this group of students here. Take your time and have fun, that’s the most important part of this whole journey!


Well having looked at your LL you are well ahead of me in terms of playing, (with 1 year less) and I don’t think there is anything I can do that you can’t!! See you have made the jump into AVOYP’s & OM’s which I haven’t and am not lilkey to.

Maybe from day 1 but I’ve been going backwards & forwards with Grade 2 for the last two years approx. and see very little real progress at this point. Yes I can mostly play the chords (but can’t change between quick enough) but generally don’t know or like the songs!

Not sure when I’ll get to the end! Not much fun at the moment to be honest. All a bit of a grind.

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I do, a lot. Feel a bit of a fraud at this point as know that I should be further on after 3 years! If you asked me to I couldn’t play one song from memory!!

Overall not sure where to go from here.

I am certainly taking my time (see post above) and it’s not much fun!

Stuart, two ideas, well three actually :slightly_smiling_face:

  1. How about we outsource this discussion to a separate thread, since this one should - at least in my opinion - be reserved for discussing and celebrating the great performances of Saturday’s brave guitareros? :slightly_smiling_face:

  2. Not having fun seems to be a recurring issue. I think not liking the songs that you are practicing is a major issue. Maybe if you find songs that you actually like, things will look a bit brighter again? What style? Which genre? Maybe someone has an idea where you can find tabs etc.?

  3. Is there anything else how we could help? E.g. @Notter , @Helen0609 and I have tried, yet we all emphasized the fun aspect, which does not resonate with you at the moment… Maybe it could even be an idea that you would publish a video of you playing? :slightly_smiling_face: Perhaps that way you would get much needed positive feedback and things wouldn’t look that bad anymore? Sometimes such outside perspectives can really help :slightly_smiling_face:


@Stuartw I used to think like that some 20 years ago and that hold me back from practising for all these years.

I took guitar lessons for 2 months in uni. That was the early days of the internet and I quickly found out there were folks who were younger than me and were already better than I would ever be. So what was the point?

But then what’s the point in literally anything? There are people who drove much shorter than me yet better drivers than I’ll ever be. Should I stop driving now? I do not think so, it still gets me from point A to B and becoming a better driver allows me to do it even more safely so not only I will continue to drive, I will also continue to be a better driver.

I’ve been running all my life and there are 12-year-old children who can run faster than me. Should I stop running and trying to get better at it now? What’s the point? The point is - I still get health benefits from running, so I will continue.

You get the point - apply that to anything. Christone Kingfish Ingram is 20 years old, he was born after I picked up the guitar for the first time and he is better than I will ever be. Will I stop trying to improve at guitar now? I do not think so, because I still get enjoyment out of it and becoming a bit better adds to that enjoyment so will I. And that’s the whole point. I can still enjoy Ingram’s playing, still enjoy the folks playing here who are developing faster than me, yet I can continue my own journey and enjoy that too!

I used to get discouraged when I saw people who were better at something than me. I think becoming old/mature/whatever you call it taught me that being inspired is the way instead. Now I listen to Ingram and do not think “I won’t ever play like that” (well maybe I do a bit) but “That’s so awesome, what can I do to be a bit closer to that?”


I get this Stuart, I really do, I’ve had plenty of periods like this and those periods stick around for longer than they should do.

I might sound a little harsh in my response here, but to that I would ask you, “so what?”. What’s your ambition with your playing? None of us are in a contest here (I don’t think!) and maybe it’s worth setting 2 or 3 small goals, are there a couple of songs you’ve always wanted to play? Forget the more mundane practice of chord changes or scale work for a while and just go for that goal.

You may or may not have seen this section of the website, but if we can’t help you here perhaps our teacher can? - https://www.justinguitar.com/playground/rut-busters


Good suggestion, Nicole, this discussion gets a bit off topic now. Maybe one of the mods @Richard_close2u @DavidP could decide if this should be moved into another thread?


Agreed but happy to end the conversation now so that others can comment on the live show.

That my be the problem. Not much chance of me playing Suppers Ready, Fifth of Fifth, Shine On you Crazy Diamond, Tinto Brass, Shesmovedon, etc, although I do like a lot of other stuff, just not a lot from this grade.

Not sure, but thanks for the suggestion. As with the whole JG course it’s down to me at the end of the day.

As I have said previously probably not going to happen!

I’m in contest with this guy: Signed, Sealed, Delivered (Playthrough)

And I’m already better than him, ha! He is catching up though and keeping me on my toes!


Ah, your alter-ego, your “Mirtrotavele” to Justin’s Nitsuj :wink:


Then I have one idea still :slightly_smiling_face: How about you forget about these Grade labels for a moment? :slightly_smiling_face: I understand they are there for didactics’ sake and they surely serve a purpose, but simply forget about them for a moment. There are surely “simple beginner songs” that can be played with more complicated techniques etc. and there are surely more complicated songs that can be simplified :slightly_smiling_face:

In the end @elevatortrim is right, the only person with whom you should be in competition is you :slightly_smiling_face:


Stuart, it is hard not to compare yourself to others I understand. I have just been back and read through your learning log. Which you started by just doing Justin’s course and seeing where it takes you. Not everyone is able to come up with concrete goals of what you would like to do or achieve. You have stuck with this guitar journey for a long time even through frustrations, so it has an attraction for you. The bright spot in your LL was when you got into the blues improvisation. My suggestion would be to take some time and focus on that, if it still brings you joy. I assume you were playing to backing tracks, if not is that something you could try. That would help give your songs structure and timing without the need for singing. Maybe you can also find a way to play along to the recordings of the songs you like, even if you can’t play the whole thing. With a band you can stop playing and it is not as noticeable. Plus you get to listen to songs you like.

Also even if you don’t share, record yourself doing something this week, and don’t even listen to it. Practice the thing you recorded for a few weeks, then maybe in a month record it again. You will have improved a lot, that you could prove to yourself by listening to the recordings back to back.
I often feel I am trying to move along to fast and need to step back and consolidate what I know, before developing other skills. One thing I do know is that life is to short to continue doing things that are not enjoyable. That is called work and I am glad it is over. Hope you keep the faith and find those fun times again.