The reason I'll never be a great guitar player

I agree 100% with @Eddie_09 in as much as it’s all about enjoying the guitar. I spend endless time just doodling away making a little progress and ultimately loving it. To be honest I really need to work on a more structured practice regime and that’s something I’m going to try and do in the new year. I’m working on finger style just now and want to further that.


I am pretty sure that had I done everything in life, down to the smallest detail, that Michael Jordan did, I would still never have been close to the basketball player he is. My body just isn’t made that way.

Some of that may apply to these virtuoso musicians. They are a bit different, whether in their drive, which must be far greater than mine or I would not have spent 100+ hours a week for 7 years studying medicine, I would have been playing guitar.

Or their physical/ learning abilities, like the difference between me and Jordan, which is likely true for some, not all.

Also, when I was a teenager running around chasing girls, doing stupid human tricks and whatever the heck I was doing, they were playing guitar.


They hung out with other musicians.
Jimmy Page was a session player at 16 years old.
Duane Allman slept in a tent on the front lawn of Muscle Shoals studio until they gave him a shot at a job.
SRV followed Albert King around like a puppy for months until Albert agreed to mentor him.
Jimi Hendrix followed the Chitlin Circuit and filled in as guitar player with as many bands as he could, one of them being Little Richard’s band.
Justin Sandercoe played in a band with much older players when he was 12.
So putting in as much time as you can playing with others is the key.


From what I gather, many of the guitar greats got around to this after they became great :slight_smile:

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Yes, because they spent all the prior years in the basement playing guitar.

Yep Joshua.
A very good point. And i think there is were the talent, physical ability and so on is.
There is only a very very few that can reach Jordans level, or Messi for thats sake. But i am pretty sure all the other NBA players in that era. Started out as young as Jordan, and did put down just as much training as he did, some were insane good, others avrage in the NBA standard point of view… but even the role player with the least minutes played in a season is still an extremly good basketball player… you chose to study medicine for approx 30000 hours…. (Good choise by the way :grin:)
Im 99,9% sure :grin: if you spent that amount of time on the guitar that you would be awsome on the guitar…
my take on it is… if you really really want it, and you put down the job required… well, then you can do pretty much what you want.
But my god the mental strenght needed to do that…. :grin:

This sums up my feelings entirely - deep down, if I’m honest, then I don’t want it enough to put in the real hard graft … If I spent as much time playing as I do watching youtube or reading forums I might have a chance :rofl:


I agree, but I doubt I have the make up to be one of the greats, no matter how much I try (never can be sure, I suppose) and becoming a physician had a near guarantee of making a good living. Not so much for playing guitar unless you are special or lucky. I wouldn’t like those odds.


So was it not a vocation for you? I always thought that anyone who put hours and hours and hours into something did it because they felt that was their calling in life and the rest of us just did whatever it was we fell in to.

Would you though if money was no object and you didn’t have to work for a living?

Now I’m of a more mature age, I think I could put the hours in if earning money didn’t keep getting in my way.

Well that’s actually a rather timely question, as I am semi-retiring next year, so I’ll find out! What I really need is that elusive combination of lots of time and endless enthusiasm.

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The way I see it ?

I’m the 2,227,438th greatest guitar player on the planet, havin’ alot of fun, while slowly workin’ my way up the list.

The best thing though is… today, I’m still on the list. And that’s all that really matters.

Cheers, Shane


I think what you are asking is if it always a “calling” for me. It is my vocation.

The answer is not so simple. I went to medical school later than average, at about 30yo. I was and am driven enough and interested enough to have put the time and effort in, but more thought went into it and I would not consider it a “calling”.

I suppose I would also not consider guitar a “calling” or that is what I would have done. I love it though, have lots of reasonably thought out reasons to be learning it and it keeps me off the streets.

I would like to think that if I retired and had lots of free time, I would spend most of it playing guitar. Certainly, at the moment, it is life (work, family, etc.) that impede my guitar journey. However, I don’t know and won’t find out any time soon…:cry:

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Nice topic to think about. . . .My take on this is that the people we recognise as our heroes or “great” guitar players were born to do it.

Now, I am not saying that they were somehow “genetically gifted” or “superior” in some way, don’t get me wrong there (although some definitely have amazing natural talent). Whatever their “innate talents” they either recognised that they were meant to play the guitar and fell in love with it early (think SRV, first guitar at age 7, playing in clubs by age 14, illegally) and just lived the instrument and music through it. There were the right combination of circumstances at the right time. . .
Some did it out of pure love of the art and others might have been driven to be “great” and ambitious as hell. . .who knows. . .at the end of the day what really matters more than any other factor (at least to me) is THE MUSIC they make/made. . . this is the ultimate gift of being great. . . the music you can “channel” through you. . .

In my opinion, if you want to be truly great at anything you have to give yourself over to it completely, 100% of the time, for some significant period of your life. . .if not, it’s unlikley that greatness is going to “strike”. . .most of us want more balanced lives or at least don’t feel so passionate about a given thing to exclude everything else from our lives to focus only on that thing. . .so, yeah, “greatness” (whatever THAT is, or rather, however you choose to define it) is a hard won prize and not, in my opinion for those wanting a well balanced lifestyle. . . anyway, it’s a good thing to think about. . .you know, how much time am I willing to put into guitar and to what end. . .for those of us who are in the “vintage” category, priorities often lay elsewhere or are complicated by intensive guitar study time. . .

Anyway, I love playing the thing and someday I might just get to “channel music” in my own mediocre way. . .even if I have ONE experience of that kind of connection to music; then, any and all hours spent on learning the instrument will have been wiorth it for me. . .


I’m glad it’s not only me then.
I’m over double figures for the amount of guitar’s that I own. Yet I can hardly play anything. Still on level 2 and need to pull my finger out.


Not necessarily. I retired at 60, I’m divorced, and my children are all grown up and independent, I have nothing whatsoever to stop me doing anything I want to, and I still only manage 30-60 minutes a day guitar practice (plus 30-40 minutes piano)


@Richard_close2u posted this in his Vintage Club notes…seems appropriate.

I’ll never be great either, but thanks to Justin, I’m slowly but surely becoming less mediocre…and I’m happy with that!


Be a great storyteller. You can do that by being mediocre at everything on a technical level. If you achieve that, you are working towards the true genius; the optimal application of what you CAN work with.

Yes, do improve but deliver with what you have and become better at delivering.
You only get better by doing.

Jup, the art is in the meta game. Technical skills are a means to an end, not a goal.


I agree with this. And there’s far from a guarantee of success. There are lots of absolutely fantastic players.

Some time ago - probably around 18 months - I was in a guitar shop, trying out guitars. This other guy was wandering around. Unassuming looking Aussie tradie type, hi-vis work shirt, a bit on the heavy side. Not what you would imagine a hardcore musician to look like. He picked up a little Yamaha parlour guitar and started playing.

OMG. He was SRV incarnate. He was playing SRV style blues on this little Yamaha, bends, slides, hands going all over the place. The quality of it sounded like a record. He asked me about the guitar I was trying, gave me some tips on picking a good guitar - I’d basically already decided anyway, it was my first Maton. Turns out he gigs a few times a week, still has a day job. He was in the store to drop off his guitar for a repair.

When I was checking out, I was talking to the music shop guy about this other guy in the shop (I forget his name, let’s say it was Steve): he says, “Oh yeah, that’s Steve - he’s one of those guys that didn’t make it. Absolutely amazing player”.

One of those guys that didn’t make it. There are so many amazing players out there, so many amazing musicians.

IMHO the greats we know also had some kind of x factor … and a huge dose of luck going their way to make their popularity what it was.

I’ll never be a great player either, I’ll settle for good, one day…


The true beauty of music is in the community and in the home. Tribal music, part of life.

A big concert is a fantastic event yet only an exhibition of the marvel of amazing performers.

The heart of music is you all, playing because music moves you, and you love it.