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Thread: I've got this weird "problem" !!!!!!!!!!!!

  1. #1
    Registered User
    Join Date
    Jul 2003

    I've got this weird "problem" !!!!!!!!!!!!


    I'm in a cover band, and I'm an average guitarist. Not great, and my lead work sucks. I'm the only guitarist in the band. I put myself in this position because it would force me to be better, because I would be the only one playing leads and rhythm.

    My "problem" is this. We play typical modern rock stuff, nothing to complicated, which is good because I couldn't play Black Star or Satch Boogie. I put on a pretty good show. I don't make mistakes, the songs are played by the band and I almost perfect compared to the original, and the crowd is happy and entertained. By all accounts everything seems fine.

    However, in my mind I'm always thinking "You SUCK, you are playing the same stupid pentatonic BOX leads, too much pick noise on the strings, oh you didn't mute that right, your thumb shouldn't be there, the guitar strap is too long, whats the finger noise between chord changes (when you switch from one chord to the next and hear a little squeaking sound", oh you really f'd that up, etc.

    Basically, I can't play the guitar either live or by myself without MENTALLY CRITICIZING EVERYTHINGGGGGGGG I MEAN EVERYTHING, THAT I DO!!!!

    I've been playing for 5-6 years and most people think I'm good, but I've got a really low self image of my playing. It's like I'm just waiting for something bad to happen just so I can criticize it. I see friends of mine who aren't that good play, but they just play with reckless abandon. When I play I feel so technical that if I hit a wrong note (or one out of key) that someone is holding a loaded gun to my head ready to shoot me!

    Is there anything I can do?


  2. #2
    Modbod UKRuss's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2004
    Funky Munky World
    Remain calm.

    It's a confidence thing. Nothing wrong with being self critical as long as you continue to enjoy what you're doing.

    Try to focus on your strengths when playing live and practice on your weaknesses when your alone.

    Even if you are "stuck" (which I'm not sure I really understand, why are you "stuck, why is it a bad thing?) in the pentatonic box just make sure you do it to the best of your ability. I'd be surprised if you've exhausted all the pent possibilities.

    Spend some time before a gig hyping yourself up, you're the man!! kind of stuff, believe in your self, work on some charisma on stage and relax and enjoy!! The crowd are liking your stuff and they'll have even more fun if they see you are too!

    You'll be less likely to notice a missed mute if you're having fun with the audience (babes) in the front row rather than staring at your strings all night.

    See what I'm saying?

  3. #3
    Registered User Malcolm's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2004
    Deep East Texas Piney Woods
    Sounds like a personality trait. Are you a perfectionist in other things? If so that is just you. I'm sure, in your other every day activities you have learned how to live with it. Just apply that to your music.

    If you are not a perfectionist, relax....................

  4. #4
    Modally Challenged!!!! mattblack850's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2004
    At the bottom of another Bottle of Brown Ale.
    Sounds to me like you're being very slightly over critical, I used to be the same, every time I played I wanted to hear everything note perfect, no mutes/fingernoise etc in the wrong place, but after a while i realised that that is what playing live is all about, mistakes happen, it's how you deal with them that shows your musicianship!!!!

    As for being 'stuck' in the pent box, there's plenty of info on here to help you break out of that, but as Russ says, there's also plenty of stuff inside the box that can still excite the best players!!!

    Oh yeah, and as for the loaded gun thing, RELAX, I'll leave it at home next time!!!!

  5. #5
    Latin Wedding Band Los Boleros's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2004
    San Francisco Bay Area
    No matter how good a guitarist gets to be, it seems that he will always be capable of critisising his playing with, "I keep doing the same thing over and over". I play with some serious Jazz heads and have learned that in the world of Jazz, Playing anything twice, other than the head, is just not allowed. All that aside, think about this:

    When we get up there to perform, we are usually playing stuff that we have practiced thousands of times. (Or at least, this is what we should be playing).The Crowd is hearing it for the first time tonight! If it sounds good, or if it's one of your signature licks, Play it again. They will love you for it. Although it seems in our mind that it is too much, we are being alittle toOo critical since it is not fresh to our ears.
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  6. #6
    iBreatheMusic Modthor phantom's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2003
    Following the changes
    everything is fine but i suck..... mhmm,

    little squeaking sounds... yes.. ,

    stupid pentatonic... aha....,,

    ok mr. 6string, i'll prescribe you this thread !

    dr. ment.git. phantom

  7. #7
    Registered User ashc's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2004
    I have a similar syndrome, but I do think one needs to be very much self critical as long as it's not self destructive - no mistakes?, only niggles? you're doing great!!

    To cheer yourself up go out and get yourself a led zeppelin live bootleg, Mr Page certainly wasnt afraid of making mistakes. I heard one where it took him an hour to get going, there was some magic mixed in, but some really nasty parts too... still I guess your not using smack ;-)
    Last edited by ashc; 01-06-2005 at 04:42 PM. Reason: gobbeldly gook

  8. #8
    Drunken Stage Monkey frenzy1971's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2004
    amarillo, tx
    I play rythym guitar and I'm fair, so I can't help you as far as technique, but as a singer and keyboard player who has played with many guitarists, several incredible ones, I can tell you that out of all of them, maybe 15 or so, only 2 of them did not think that they sucked. And those 2 that didn't think they sucked did! The same with bass players, drummers, keyboard players and singers. This is a performance biz, and to get the gigs, the cash, and the audience you have to sound good. (most of the time). Alomost every musician I meet is VERY critical of themselves and worried that they are gonna screw it up for the whole band, beating themselves up over little mistakes that the audience doesn't usually even notice. You might try jamming at a party or for some people who have never heard you play that might be friends of friends who aren't musicians and get feedback from them. You might find that how other people percieve your talent is FAR different from how you see it. Maybe even record something and pick it apart on paper with what you think is wrong with it. (make it something poeple will know) Then get a friend to critisize it and look at the differences.
    "I love you all. I love you more than life itself, but you're all fu**ing mad." - Ozzy Osbourne

  9. #9
    Groovemastah DanF's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2003
    Reno, NV
    The problem sounds like laziness. If it drives you crazy then why haven't you fixed it already? Many people that suck do so because they can't hear that what they are playing is bad. If you can hear it, you can fix it. The solution to most of those (other than boring pentatonic solos) is just to slow down and focus on playing cleanly (pick attack, string noises, etc). If your guitar strap is to long why not just tighten it up?

    "In improvised music you easily can tell who is a guitar player and who is a musician." - Maarten (fellow IBMer)

  10. #10
    Registered User IdViscous's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2004
    Nova Scotia, Canada
    seperate being stressed out from self improvement

  11. #11
    Shred Apprentice Bande's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2004
    Criticizing yourself is not a bad thing as long as you turn it to your advantage.
    For me, criticizing myself means: "Oh, man why for god's sake can't you play that feckin scale correctly? Why can't you use this and that technique correctly? Why did that note sound that bad?" -- And saying these to myself all the time makes me sit down on my chair, and not get up till I practiced enough that I can say "Ok, you still can't do that perfectly, but you're a better player than 2 hours ago" The main thing is:

    Criticizing yourself and seeking mistakes in your playing makes you develop faster, cause you will feel an urge to "eliminate" that mistake.

    at least that's the way it's working for me.

    Of course, if you say instead:"Oh, man why for God's sake can't ye do this and that", and instead of grabbing your axe and start practicing it makes you do: "Ok, it's useless. I'll never learn these, I'm a suckah" - and then you smash your guitar on the wall and put it on fire. THAT'S THE WRONG WAY!!!!!!

    Try to exploit this (I mean always seeking for sh*t in your playing)
    and try to turn it to your advantage, and get it to make you a better player...

  12. #12
    Wordgirl: Jaded Musician jade_bodhi's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2005
    Southern USA

    Listen to others as much as self

    Quote Originally Posted by 6StringShredder

    Basically, I can't play the guitar either live or by myself without MENTALLY CRITICIZING EVERYTHINGGGGGGGG I MEAN EVERYTHING, THAT I DO!!!!

    I've been playing for 5-6 years and most people think I'm good, but I've got a really low self image of my playing. It's like I'm just waiting for something bad to happen just so I can criticize it. I see friends of mine who aren't that good play, but they just play with reckless abandon. When I play I feel so technical that if I hit a wrong note (or one out of key) that someone is holding a loaded gun to my head ready to shoot me!
    I can relate to this kind feeling, although it does not bother me to the degree it bothers you. And as someone else in the thread has said, many, if not most, musicians are hyper-self-critical. It comes with the territory.

    One thing that helps me is NOT to listen to myself so much; I try to listen to the others in the group. Doing so, makes me slow down a little, and I find I leave more spaces between my notes while soloing. Slowing down and discovering the silent spaces in the solos have been an important lesson for me.


  13. #13
    Registered User Lynxo's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2005
    I have about the same problem, slightly different though...

    When I sit at home and practise my licks, I feel like I'm becoming better all the time, it feels like I always learn something new and is constantly improving. I can sit with my guitar and either jam my *** off, or practise like hell to learn a certain song.

    However, when I'm in a band enviroment (rehearsing or gigging) I feel like it just isn't enough. It really brings me back to my feet, and I feel like I'm never going to be as good as I want to be.

    And then when I come home again, it all starts over...have NO idea why that is...

    Btw, this is my first post, so hi everyone!

  14. #14
    Join Date
    Jun 2004
    I'm weird, I think I suck all the time. I know I do, it's undisputable because i can hear it on recordings. But what's weird is that it never stops me. I don't really care. I'm gonna do it all regardless because i want to get better and i won't if i let the fact that i suck get stop me. Occasionally I get really depressed about it, but only about once every couple of years. I'm fairly optimistic about the fact that i suck. People think i go through periods of pessimism when my view of myself changes, but it doesn't. I always think i suck it's just that most of the time i don't mind that.

  15. #15
    Mad Scientist forgottenking2's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2003
    Houston, TX
    Well "sucking" is a subjective term, if you think "Ok, I can't play like Joe Pass so I suck and I will until I can" they you WILL suck for a LONG time budy. And if you are like me and tend to be an "all or nothing" kinda person it's very easy to fall into that sort of thinking. Try to balance things out. Short term goals are the way. Instead of thinking "I'll suck until I'll play like Joe Pass" try "I need to expand my chord vocabulary" that way you can work towards a more specific goals, and you will be able to point out "I've learned 5 new chords this week, at this rate I'll know 200 in 5 months!!" And then focus on your goals with the same intensity. If you put so much effort into telling yourself that you suck then you will have the discipline to stick to something like that.
    "If God had wanted us to play the piano he would've given us 88 fingers"

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