I barely play my guitars now.

Kevin PeatKevin Peat Posts: 3,143Member
edited August 2016 in Personal Diaries
I barely play my guitars now. In fact I can't bring myself to look at them. After 34 years I've finally chucked it in, I think. Each new scale, technique or bit of theory was to herald that breakthrough that would lead to local fame. Of course it never happens. If it is to happen it comes pretty early in a person's musical career. I s'pose I could be happy playing quietly to myself at home but this was never my ambition, so I am frustrated and resentful playing guitar. I think the problem is that I actually find learning difficult, and so my playing is too serious and I cannot convey any sense of fun or coolness when I'm doing it. I am one of those who I'd rather wasn't making music (most 'musicians' in my uncharitable view.) It's nice that people have a hobby (and I'd say encouraging things) but at an open mic there are only ever one or two who blow the room away and I haven't done thirty odd years of hard graft just to make up numbers. Performing at open mic sessions only makes me depressed so I don't do it. And at home there is absolutely no context in which me playing guitar works. There is a collective groan when I get one out and lots of ribbing while I'm playing and the people I want to impress most are the ones who are least impressed. This last happened at Christmas after dinner and I think that's what triggered my epiphany - I haven't practised since. The good news: - I have a lovely dawgie and spend most of the time out walking or sitting with him. - I have taken on a new role at work which took a year of extra training and which I find a challenge and interesting. - The twins have had their university offers and they couldn't be better. My retirement is going to have to be put back because they are both five year courses, which makes it all the more important that I'm doing a job I enjoy.- Some of my political commenting appears to have made an impact, not particularly left or right wing - just me. One of my latest ideas is on the steel industry and the Tories' reluctance to nationalise it, "Even if the industry goes, you'll still end up nationalising the region - as happened with the coal industries. You may as well subsidise them making steel rather than not making steel."  I hope this helps to save jobs. I'm stimulated in other ways but I do regret learning guitar, the amount of time and money I invested in it and the amount of time I wasted dreaming and sitting in the classical posture - which in itself, I think, puts the mind in a depressed posture too. My advice to anyone starting out ? Seek out that which delivers maximum return for the least of your efforts and then become the best at it that you can. That way you find out what you excel at and then you can work towards brilliance. What did I excel at ?Sex, if I'm honest !I had lots of cracking girlfriends before I got married and never got chucked once - the guy in the room next to me at the Section House complained that I never stopped and asked to be moved.Wifey and I are on our 22nd year of marriage. So not all bad then. Stupid really. I didn't even need a guitar nor need to aspire to be a pop star to get my end away.     


  • LesterLester Posts: 1,658Member, Moderator

    That's not what I expected to read but there is something cathartic about being able to vent your spleen on a public forum.

    I wonder whether you are being overly hard on yourself as pleasing the family at Christmas is hardly the route to success. As for open mic nights, I think are great for singer/songwriters types but less so for band members on their own.

    Maybe a few months break will do you wonders and bring you back refreshed. We will have to wait to see how it works out for you, Kevin.

  • ESBlondeESBlonde Posts: 912Member

    I have an empathy with your situation. on more than one occasion I have taken breaks when things just didn't seem worth it. Eventually I got back into playing again having not sold my gear. There came I time which felt right to restart, usually following an outside influence if I'm honest.

    Being more of a solo performer you're not likely to get the call from an old friend or associate to dep in a band. I recomend you keep an eye on the join my band site (and others) once in a while, it's not all pub rock and occasionally something that might suit you will pop up. Playing with and for others is a great joy although the idea of getting rich from it is less likely.

    Don't beat yourself up in the meantime, let things take their own course.

  • Kevin PeatKevin Peat Posts: 3,143Member

    Thanks for the tips, chaps. My post was a bit more poignant than I'd intended. 

  • Derek_RDerek_R Posts: 1,697Member

    Nothing stays the same in this old world and you're not the first person I know who's reached (roughly) the same age and decided enough's enough when it comes to the guitar. If it stops being enjoyable then stop doing it - simples! Which is what you've done. So fair play to you.

    You may get the urge again, and if so great - a friend of mine sold everything a couple of years ago, tore down his recording studio, sold all that too (and he was bloody good at the producing / engineering thing, too), and swore he was done. A month or two back he got the urge again and now he's in three bands.

    But if that doesn't happen, so what? Maybe politics, at some level, will call you?

    Reading between the lines I guess the goals you set yourself with the guitar or with music were pretty tough ones to achieve (once you take pure luck out of the equation), and that non-achievement possible adds to the frustration and sense of disappointment and even resentment you've now got with the instrument. I know your standards were very high, and to achieve such standards and still not achieve one's goals must be disheartening.

    Anyway, I'm glad work has worked out well. That's an important one. With that and the dog and all that sex who needs a guitar?

    All the best!


  • Kevin PeatKevin Peat Posts: 3,143Member

    Oh no, no. The sex was a while ago. 

    I think I may have tried too many styles of guitar at once. I bought the electric, then the guitar for altered tuning, and another for another tuning... and then practice time became too daunting because of all the work to do each time !

    Plus - in the end I thought, who's listening anyway ???

    It's partly to do with the job. I rarely get time off when other people get time off. It can be very isolating and is not conducive to any sort of regular group activity. I have to do at least another five years to help the boys through uni. 

    It's also to do with my family. I am the only remotely musical one in it. 

  • Mark PMark P Posts: 2,314Member

    It was sad to read your initial post Kevin - it sounded rather despondent. But at least your later posts sounded less so.

    Seeing some of the phrases .....
    "herald that breakthrough"
    "local fame"
    "people I want to impress the most"

    ... seems to me to give a good understanding of why you feel as you do.

    The pluses that you list in other areas of your life should mean that the absence of guitar or it taking very much a back-seat role, should have not too much of an impact.

    The fact that you have a job that you enjoy and find a challenge and is interesting should sweeten the pill. I would dread feeling the way you do about guitar as I have none of those feelings about work (quite the reverse) and the guitar is my medicine / therapy. But then I have the luxury that I'm not really playing with any view to getting people to like it - as long as I like it then it's OK. I'm easily pleased which helps.

    Certainly there's no point in continuing to do something if you can't stand it - other than if it's something that puts food on the table and puts a roof over your dependant families heads! Needs must when the devil ...

    I think I agree with Derek saying you've set yourself tough goals to achieve. I've found I'm much happier in the music making department since I opted a good time ago instead of having goals to employ the maxim that it's the journey that is to be enjoyed and not the destination. In my (too quickly) advancing years I've gone right off the idea of having a system where any targets and goals blight my life - like the ones that have been foisted on me since day 1 in life.

    I know what you mean about time with the dawgie being so good - if I could trade having my wee canine pal with me through my retirement in exchange for giving up guitar I would .... but unfortunately that's not going to be on offer. Probably will no longer be with us when I retire which is a depressing thought I wish I hadn't had. image

    But there's no saying you can't go back to guitar sometime if your feelings change. Just enjoy what you want to do when you can - we only go round once! image

  • Kevin PeatKevin Peat Posts: 3,143Member

    Thanks, Mark. 

    I'm just thinking "Where's the fun in this ?"

    The fact is that I've been missing the point all these years. 

    I kind of dove into the theory, technical stuff years ago having never really got out and had fun - always thinking that fun would come at the next stage of learning, and the next... and on - to stupid levels. I find it extremely hard to learn things and hold on to the knowledge. The concentration must show in my face when - for it to be entertaining - it must look effortless. 

    For a little while I was in a duo which did well. He was a good front man and (most importantly) a good vocalist. Then his former band came to watch us and, kind of, poached him back !  After various attempts I never found a singer like that again - they were either not very good or too good, somehow. 

    That was twenty years ago. 

    I conclude that I was not meant to be a musician.  I see (and enjoy seeing) people out there having a right laugh and enjoying good audience reaction without much ability. They just have a way about them. A face that fits.  

    A similar thing happened with my karate. I reached black belt and helped instruct, but again, missed the point. I always did badly in competitions and public performance. 

    I'm now taking a back seat in life. My boys are doing spectacularly well and I hope to have some very big news to bring about both of them in the coming months. 




  • Derek_RDerek_R Posts: 1,697Member

    Mark's post touches a chord with me. This:

    >>>> I would dread feeling the way you do about guitar as I have none of those feelings about work (quite the reverse) and the guitar is my medicine / therapy.

    Guitar playing is one of my therapies against a tough work situation, too. Can't imagine coping without an outlet like it to be honest.

    I do still have goals - and in the past have been like Kevin  with a whole load of targets around electric / acoustic / altered tunings / different styles (swing, flatpicking, gypsy jazz, jazz, bluegrass, rock'n'roll, blues...) - and it was all too much. I've massively simplified what I do and what I aspire to do. My goals now are all in one area - thumb-picking an acoustic. That's it. That's pretty much all I practice.

    That said, tonight I was out with the band. And we just have a ball - set up, soundcheck, go and get some food, have a beer, have a natter, and then play a cracking gig. Luckily 35 years of playing in bands means I can still pluck an electric well enough to do such things. The way I look at the electric is that I've done the work and now I just have fun with it. And it's such a blessed relief not to aspire to anything beyond simple Chuck Berry solos and having fun.

    By the way, anyone want to buy some jazz guitar books? :-)

  • MegiMegi Posts: 7,153Member

    Can I say I do feel for you Kevin, and I think understand, at least a little. I know in my own case, that much of my enthusiasm for playing the guitar comes from interacting with other musicians, working in bands . It can be irritating sometimes when they don't play something the way I'd like (and they will certainly sometimes feel the same about me) but I'm kind of reliant on them really, to function musically.

    All this band stuff started for me about 8 years ago - before that, there is a period of maybe 15 years, when I only played the guitar for my own benefit. And I did still play the guitar - mainly some very average classical, and somehow I kept my interest in jazz going, and noodled around on the instrument re that. But with hindsight, I can see that I lacked an effective outlet for my musical side - for me, there is an important element of communication in music, as I suppose in any form of art, and that wasn't there... I'm not sure what the answer is, especially as you're more of a solo guitarist than me (something I do respect) but I feel someone of your talents does need some kind of interaction with other musical people, be they an audience, or other musicians.

    I hope you're not really done with the guitar though - having heard your playing, you are just too good, and I think anyone who has that musical spark inside them is only kidding themselves if they think they can switch it off and do without.

    Apologies - this post  perhaps seeming a bit overly serious also! It's all a bit like sex really - that needs an outlet too, and better if it involves interaction with other people... image (sorry). What are those jazz guitar books, may I ask Derek? image

  • Kevin PeatKevin Peat Posts: 3,143Member

    Image result for plymouth train crash

    Just feeling very fortunate to not have been involved in this. Mine left about ten minutes before, so "Nuffink to do wiv me, boss !"

    I cannot overstate how seriously this is going to be treated. The most senior staff will have been called out to attend, no matter what they had planned. Those seeing the news will have turned out anyway. The rail industry is obsessive about safety so this is a rare sight these days, thankfully.

    I do hope everyone makes a full and speedy recovery. 

  • JockoJocko Posts: 7,043Member, Moderator

    Honest, guv. He reversed into me.

  • MegiMegi Posts: 7,153Member

    Found the report on the BBC website, out of interest:


    I lived in Plymouth for a fair few years, so this, though unfortunate, got me reminiscing a bit - a nice bit of the world. I would usually travel down there via Brum and Bristol, but did once go via London due to the delay from a (thankfully fake) bomb scare at Sheffield station. I remember not feeling entirely safe as I connected across the London stations late at night via the tube. Possibly unfair of me - just a memory is all though, and that must be twenty-something years ago now... - I'm rambling as usual. image

  • Kevin PeatKevin Peat Posts: 3,143Member

    Obviously I can't comment on details but the data recorder and forward facing camera should reveal all to the accident investigators. 

    The platforms at Plymouth are what we call 'permissive' allowing more than one train to be driven into a section at a time but at extreme caution, being prepared to stop short of any obstruction. 

    I don't much like the centre of Plymouth - regenerated after the war - but the outlying areas (and houses) are lovely. I wouldn't move any further West though as transport links wither to virtually nothing. There are also big social problems in some parts of the West country - London is now positively booming by comparison. 

    From what I can see the unit (a 150/2) is going to be more expensive to repair than the HST on the right of the picture - most of the HST parts are in stock on the depot as they are used to dealing with animal strikes etc; I've never seen a spare gangway door lying around though !

    The primary concern is the passengers. Hurting people is something we all have nightmares about. 

  • JockoJocko Posts: 7,043Member, Moderator
    Kevin Peat posted:

    The primary concern is the passengers. Hurting people is something we all have nightmares about. 

    That takes me back to my brief spell as a bus driver. Apart from anything else, the paperwork is a nightmare.

  • RomanMRomanM Posts: 474Member
    Megi posted:

    ...not feeling entirely safe as I connected across the London stations late at night via the tube.

    some brave people take scary london tube every day twice

  • Reg SoxReg Sox Posts: 3,121Member
  • MegiMegi Posts: 7,153Member
    RomanM posted:
    Megi posted:

    ...not feeling entirely safe as I connected across the London stations late at night via the tube.

    some brave people take scary london tube every day twice

    I know Roman -  forgive me, I was still young back then, and just not used to the big city I suppose. It was after midnight, and I did feel a bit vulnerable, rightly or wrongly. I think the worst bit was hanging around for half an hour at Paddington station waiting until I could board the night train to Plymouth - there weren't many people there at all, but of the few that were, there did seem to be a few less than pleasant characters about to be honest. But probably best to put it down to a young chap not used to big city life, and I'm not wishing to have a go at London in general.

  • Reg SoxReg Sox Posts: 3,121Member
  • MegiMegi Posts: 7,153Member
  • Reg SoxReg Sox Posts: 3,121Member

    Megi, I have never ever been on a last train home that moves as fast as the rhythm in that instrumental suggests, and I've been on a hell of a lot of them image

  • MegiMegi Posts: 7,153Member

    True Reg - sounds to be doing about 400 mph, although I still think the music captures that late night "going home" mood well. Artistic license though I guess, and just a bit of music that came into my head when I saw your previous post. It's music I used to be into a lot in my younger days as well, perhaps about the same time as my remembered journey.

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