The pressure put on you to 'improve' your guitar playing

What's Hot
RockerRocker Frets: 5055
One common thought on YouTube and other videos about activities such as guitar playing, golf etc. is the pressure being brought to bear on you by the stated desire to improve your play.  In golf, it might be 'three ways to chip the ball' having been told that these techniques will bring down your handicap by several shots.  In practice they don't as there is much more to golf than chipping.  Likewise with guitar, learn these 'five essential licks' to improve your speed etc.  Again it seldom happens as promised quite often due to the licks not sounding musical to you or are from a genre of music that does not interest you.

What, if like me, you are generally happy with your current level of playing?  I will never be a champion golfer, the enjoyment I get from the game has almost nothing to do with my scorecard.  It is spending a few hours out in the open fields with a few friends.  If any of us hit a good shot, well great, but what matter if it ends up in the trees.  We go and search for it and play on.  I am a country/folk/singalong guitar player and I have no desire to play on stage again.  I did all of that as a young man.  I am as happy playing an open G chord as I can be.

But it is the pressure applied to get better that irks me.  I now watch very few instructional videos, preferring videos of performances.  Am I alone in thinking this way?
Insanity: doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results. [Albert Einstein]

Nil Satis Nisi Optimum

0reaction image LOL 0reaction image Wow! 5reaction image Wisdom
«1

Comments

  • vizviz Frets: 10788
    Nope :)
    Roland said: Scales are primarily a tool for categorising knowledge, not a rule for what can or cannot be played.
    Supportact said: [my style is] probably more an accumulation of limitations and bad habits than a 'style'.
    0reaction image LOL 0reaction image Wow! 2reaction image Wisdom
  • CarpeDiemCarpeDiem Frets: 300
    viz said:
    Nope :)
    I think @viz has summed it up perfectly!
    0reaction image LOL 0reaction image Wow! 1reaction image Wisdom
  • CaseOfAceCaseOfAce Frets: 1450
    edited March 28
    Every time I pick up the instrument I try and make some micro improvement to my playing - but I'm not affected these days by outside pressure or being the fastest gun in the west type thing. I certainly used to be but I've come round to thinking I've got my own style and way of playing and seek to improve on that.

    I certainly don't avoid instruction though - I just take what I think I can use from players I can relate to - I've got Robben Ford's Urban Blues Revolution book on the way to me this weekend which should keep me busy. 
    ...she's got Dickie Davies eyes...
    0reaction image LOL 0reaction image Wow! 0reaction image Wisdom
  • KurtisKurtis Frets: 911
    I don't really watch guitar related stuff or watch much on YouTube at all.

    I mainly just use it if and when I actually want to learn something. 
    0reaction image LOL 0reaction image Wow! 0reaction image Wisdom
  • Fingers657Fingers657 Frets: 658
    I’ve never felt pressure from anyone and especially not from YouTube to play better.
    I realised back in the 60s I wasn’t going to be an outstanding lead guitarist.
    Im proof Bert Weedon was taking the piss with his play in a day booklet.
    Im still using it.
    1reaction image LOL 0reaction image Wow! 1reaction image Wisdom
  • slackerslacker Frets: 2290
    I played bass shortly after learning acoustic. I immersed myself in it, took lessons from 3 Pro teachers over the years, learnt slap tap fretless multistrings etc and after 20 years got burnt out. I gave up bass started electric and I'm not sure where all the notes are and can't use a pick properly. I'm happy making a racket. 
    0reaction image LOL 0reaction image Wow! 0reaction image Wisdom
  • TanninTannin Frets: 5734
    Rocker said:

    What, if like me, you are generally happy with your current level of playing?  I will never be a champion golfer, the enjoyment I get from the game has almost nothing to do with my scorecard.  It is spending a few hours out in the open fields with a few friends.  If any of us hit a good shot, well great, but what matter if it ends up in the trees.  We go and search for it and play on.  I am a country/folk/singalong guitar player and I have no desire to play on stage again.  I did all of that as a young man.  I am as happy playing an open G chord as I can be.

    But it is the pressure applied to get better that irks me.  I now watch very few instructional videos, preferring videos of performances.  Am I alone in thinking this way?
    Absolutely not. 

    I am in a similar place, and very happy to be here. I do watch a lot of instructional videos but not with the intention of using them to turn myself into a rock star - like you, I did the stage thing as a young man and have no urge to repeat it. I have stopped doing the primary things I spent decades working on as a young man - writing songs and singing them - and now just play the guitar for pleasure.

    I don't have a driving need to improve. What I do have is a love of the process of improving. I am forever watching something on You-tube, seeing something I like - usually something very simple, just an unexpected chord in a progression or nice little lick - and hitting pause to try it out. One thing leads to another and 20 minutes later I've had a lot of fun playing around with that new chord progression and completely forgotten to watch the rest of the video.  Along the way I've added some very small new thing to the list of things that I can do. (Only about half of the videos I watch are guitar-based. I'm just as likely to watch piano things or string bass stuff, and get just as many fun ideas from those instruments.)

    Sure, little by little I become a better guitarist - but getting better is an accidental byproduct of the fun I have, not the purpose for it, and in any case it's merely improving my guitar skills where in the big picture of things, I've always been a songwriter first, a singer second, and only played enough guitar to enable the important stuff. This side of 60 I have no desire or intention to perform again, I'm very happy to be learning new things because that is what amuses me. 

    0reaction image LOL 0reaction image Wow! 0reaction image Wisdom
  • MagicPigDetectiveMagicPigDetective Frets: 3073
    edited March 28
    Agree there should be no pressure or need to improve and nothing wrong with that at all.... but for those that want to, all these resources are great.

    Myself, I enjoy learning, and I'm always trying to improve and feel like I'm progressing... I use books and youtube lessons. I don't feel pressure at all.... I get great personal satisfaction from learning and improving, even if no one else is listening to me.  Theory I find difficult but some of it it kind o sticks eventually, and I feel like I'm working towards something, though I'm not sure what that is. Recently been working on learning and improving blues licks and some basic jazz stuff. I'm under no impressions that I'm very good and will never be.. but  I'd like to be competent at least/ 

    Last week I played with other people for the first time in five years (first practice of a new jazz/funk band),  so it feels like an exciting time to finally put a lot of work and practice into something... looking forward to the next Bristol FB jam too. 

    Of course, I take a lot of enjoyment from just aimless noodling about too. 

    Whatever floats your boat I say. 
    0reaction image LOL 0reaction image Wow! 1reaction image Wisdom
  • guitarjack66guitarjack66 Frets: 2028
    As somebody who is quite early into their journey(ours played rather than time since I decided to take it up as a hobby) I try and pick and choose online. I still have a lesson every month or so with a teacher who has become more of a friend and watch lots of youtube instructional stuff as I am a visual learner more than books and diagrams,I just want to reach a level I personally see as 'competent.' I am nowhere near that yet but I am improving and that is,alongside enjoyment,my whole aim. I am not much of a gear head as I'd rather buy a guitar over pedals and gadgets but I tend to know what I want and I'm not far off that situation now. I am happy learning but I am a very pragmatic person and will generally know when I've become 'competent' but the journey there is just as much fun as the destination.
    0reaction image LOL 0reaction image Wow! 0reaction image Wisdom
  • LestratcasterLestratcaster Frets: 1142
    I'm reasonably happy with my playing, I'm not a super-technical-shreddy-tappy-sweep-picky-player but I can play most things well enough in time, with groove and musicality.

    I try not to pay much attention to the stuff online as everyone has their stregnths and weaknesses. I think having your own style and trying not to copy someone else is important and to play the guitar for yourself, if it makes you happy then who cares about what YouTube videos or Insta reels say. Of course we can always improve, its a life-long journey.

    Having said that I am a teacher and most learners are happy with their progress in being competent enough to hold a tune they chose, and have the ability to perform it to the best of their ability.
    0reaction image LOL 0reaction image Wow! 0reaction image Wisdom
  • soma1975soma1975 Frets: 7034
    I think the YouTube way is to encourage you to buy your way to improvement. Or at least to the promise of improvement. Like paying for a gym membership or buying loads of veg but not eating it. 
    My Trade Feedback Thread is here

    Been uploading old tracks I recorded ages ago and hopefully some new noodles here.
    0reaction image LOL 0reaction image Wow! 2reaction image Wisdom
  • tone1tone1 Frets: 5223
    Once I master Wind Cries Mary, I’ll move on to the next song….It doesn’t pay to rush things…. B)
    0reaction image LOL 0reaction image Wow! 0reaction image Wisdom
  • darthed1981darthed1981 Frets: 12765
    You certainly aren't alone.

    I've no interest in trying to become some kind of virtuoso, because...

    1.  You don't need to be one to play the music I like.
    2.  I simply have neither the time or inclination.
    You are the dreamer, and the dream...
    0reaction image LOL 0reaction image Wow! 0reaction image Wisdom
  • hollywoodroxhollywoodrox Frets: 4368
    Rocker said:
    One common thought on YouTube and other videos about activities such as guitar playing, golf etc. is the pressure being brought to bear on you by the stated desire to improve your play.  In golf, it might be 'three ways to chip the ball' having been told that these techniques will bring down your handicap by several shots.  In practice they don't as there is much more to golf than chipping.  Likewise with guitar, learn these 'five essential licks' to improve your speed etc.  Again it seldom happens as promised quite often due to the licks not sounding musical to you or are from a genre of music that does not interest you.

    What, if like me, you are generally happy with your current level of playing?  I will never be a champion golfer, the enjoyment I get from the game has almost nothing to do with my scorecard.  It is spending a few hours out in the open fields with a few friends.  If any of us hit a good shot, well great, but what matter if it ends up in the trees.  We go and search for it and play on.  I am a country/folk/singalong guitar player and I have no desire to play on stage again.  I did all of that as a young man.  I am as happy playing an open G chord as I can be.

    But it is the pressure applied to get better that irks me.  I now watch very few instructional videos, preferring videos of performances.  Am I alone in thinking this way?
    I remember was it David Leadbetter who was Faldos Golf Coach did a video on upping your short game ?  Diet & Golfing must be two of the most popular subjects for books ,videos ,gadgets & fads etc 
    0reaction image LOL 0reaction image Wow! 0reaction image Wisdom
  • RolandRoland Frets: 8890
    Rocker said:

    … the pressure applied to get better that irks me. 
    A lot of it isn’t pressure to learn, it’s just click bait. “You’re doing it wrong”, “6 things you probably don’t know”, and “Secrets of xyz”. 

    Remember that most guitarists you’ve heard of haven’t got where they are today by watching those videos.
    Tree recycler, and guitarist with  https://www.undercoversband.com/.
    0reaction image LOL 0reaction image Wow! 4reaction image Wisdom
  • darthed1981darthed1981 Frets: 12765
    Remember Noel G's story...

    His daughter comes home, says to him

    "Dad, kid at school was playing Thunderstruck by AC/DC at school, can you play that?"

    "No love I can't"

    "Well he's grade six, what grade are you?"

    "About grade 67 million quid love"
    You are the dreamer, and the dream...
    2reaction image LOL 0reaction image Wow! 1reaction image Wisdom
  • TanninTannin Frets: 5734
    Roland said:
    A lot of it isn’t pressure to learn, it’s just click bait. “You’re doing it wrong”, “6 things you probably don’t know”, and “Secrets of xyz”. 

    Spot on! 

    And the sad reality is that you MUST do the clickbait thing if you want to survive on You-tube. Example: I often watch the truly excellent David Hamburger. Top-quality fingerstyle acoustic blues and jazz lessons, no bullshit, no tricks, no clickbait, but the good oil from start to finish. Result, You-tube pushes him down the algorithm and he's lucky to get 200 "likes" on a video, despite years of consistent high-quality content. Plenty of much-inferior teachers who don't give you a quarter as much but play the You-tube game and get thousands of upticks



    Roland said:

    Remember that most guitarists you’ve heard of haven’t got where they are today by watching those videos.
    Not really fair. Those already-established and famous guitarists grew up before You-tube came along. Very different for the next generation which is replacing them. You might as well ask how Django Reinhardt managed to make friends when he wasn't even on Facebook.
    0reaction image LOL 0reaction image Wow! 0reaction image Wisdom
  • mudslide73mudslide73 Frets: 3114
    I'm trying not to regress first. Maybe then I'll think about improving.
    "A city star won’t shine too far"


    0reaction image LOL 0reaction image Wow! 1reaction image Wisdom
  • HAL9000HAL9000 Frets: 9889
    The only person pressuring me to improve my playing is me.
    I play guitar because I enjoy it rather than because I’m any good at it
    0reaction image LOL 0reaction image Wow! 1reaction image Wisdom
  • BahHumbugBahHumbug Frets: 351
    I’m always looking to improve my guitar playing and my general musicianship, but the pressure comes from within.  The YouTube folks with the click bait titles are simply trying to sell themselves, but in many cases their videos are poor and overly waffly - and since click bait titles are everywhere, I find them to be a complete turn off.

    So, no.
    0reaction image LOL 0reaction image Wow! 0reaction image Wisdom
Sign In or Register to comment.