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  Topic Review (Newest First)
12-01-2018 03:13 AM
abracadabra
Re: chops versus age

^hadn't heard of Erlend Krauser before but I'll definitely be checking out more of his stuff. really great.


Quote:
Originally Posted by BigBazz View Post
...... and a lot of players take their technique well beyond what they actually play on a day to day,

..........

this is a really good point and is really my drive to improve. I'll never be able to hit the heights of the truly great players, but my striving to do so, or to learn some of their songs, pulls up my abilities on what I normally play from above, if that makes sense.

on the other hand, it's sobering to think that in order to play, say, a Malmsteen song, well, you have to elevate your technique far above it!
11-30-2018 06:50 PM
stratoskier
Re: chops versus age

This thread got me thinking about older guys that are still cutting edge. There are a lot of them out there, but Jeff Beck always comes to mind. He is still taking risks and pushing boundaries, rather than just recapitulating what he did earlier in his career.

Another older guy, somewhat lesser known than Beck, that really impresses and moves me is Erlend Krauser, who I think is now 61. A true master, with a beautiful, innovative style that is instantly recognizable. This vid gives a pretty good idea of what he does. Watching him always reminds me that it's not all over once you hit 60+

11-30-2018 03:17 PM
BigBazz
Re: chops versus age

The bassist I play with is in his 50s, absolutely exceptionally skilled player and his fingers go like a freight train, the benefit is that he has been playing 3+ gigs a week since he was 14 years old. It's hard to tell if age has started to affect his playing, unless you're constantly pushing the physical limits of your body you're not gonna tell and a lot of players take their technique well beyond what they actually play on a day to day, I suspect he still has a good 15-20 years of playing at a level that would floor most younger players.

I'm still in my early 30s and my playing has only gotten better than in my teens/20s, through a more methodical and intelligent approach to practice + combined with constantly playing live. No signs of slowing down for me yet, I'm still on the up (albiet slowly).
11-30-2018 08:34 AM
abracadabra
Re: chops versus age

great post, stratoskier. inspirational.



Quote:
Originally Posted by sepulchrave View Post
I think you're absolutely right but that reduction in wasted motion can only come from focussed practice, you've obviously made a frank analysis of your technical weaknesses and addressed them through thousands of hours of dedicated and repetitive playing, there is no other way to build the necessary muscle memory and there are no short-cuts.
Autodidactic learners shoot for gratification early on and then have to go back and correct the faults this imprinted into their muscle memory, gifted players simply take less time to achieve similar results.

absolutely, but one thing that has inspired me a lot recently, is the realisation that there really isn't such a thing as 'talent'. 'gifted' players don't really exist. they have either acquired skills quickly because of hard practice or because of some related skill from some other walk of life.

I read an interesting book about this which really debunked a lot of the myths of 'talent' and it has proved incredibly inspirational. we are held back by believing that we are not talented, or less talented than others, when really all it is it a lot of dedication and hard work. focused dedication and hard work, mind. the quality of the practice is just as important as the amount of it, probably more so.


great to hear all these stories. keep them coming!
11-30-2018 08:12 AM
sepulchrave
Re: chops versus age

I think you're absolutely right but that reduction in wasted motion can only come from focussed practice, you've obviously made a frank analysis of your technical weaknesses and addressed them through thousands of hours of dedicated and repetitive playing, there is no other way to build the necessary muscle memory and there are no short-cuts.
Autodidactic learners shoot for gratification early on and then have to go back and correct the faults this imprinted into their muscle memory, gifted players simply take less time to achieve similar results.
11-30-2018 07:20 AM
stratoskier
Re: chops versus age

I'm late to weigh into this thread, but I may have a different perspective than most of what I've read above.

I've been playing my whole life (well, since I was 12). First inspired by the Ventures and the Beatles when they first appeared. Do the math on that. I did the cover band thing for many years starting in high school and later did small time regional tours with a few high spots opening for big acts. Then along came kids, grad school, more kids, career, and all of the usual stuff that sidetracks our musical dedication. Took long, long breaks during which I played very little.

BUT once they were all at least into the teen years, I redoubled my efforts with the guitar. I started getting up early every morning to get in 2-3 hours of practice before everyone else got up. Most importantly, I really tried to do a realistic assessment of what was holding me back technique and musicality wise. Kind of a do-over as far as guitar skills. The main things that I concluded were: 1) I was lacking any deep knowledge of theory so after all those years, I still didn't really know why some notes, chords, or harmony worked in context and 2) I had a lot of wasted hand motion, especially in my picking hand. I somehow got away with that in all the cover bands, but it was clearly holding me back if I intended to progress much further or to keep up my chops at all.

That 2nd item gets to the point of this thread. By concerted effort over some years (yeah, years), I reduced the excess motion in both hands to a small fraction of what it used to be. This has, and (i'm pretty sure) will continue to let me play fast, complicated passages that I absolutely would no longer be capable of if I was still trying to compensate with fast rather than efficient movements. The upshot is that I think I'm playing better now, well into my "eligible for Medicare" years, than I ever have. I'm able to pull off some Vai, Govan, and Johnson tunes and licks that I either couldn't play at all or played altogether half-arsed previously. PLUS, my fingers are no longer tight and sore after playing, and I need way less warm up time to start the tough passages.

Sorry to be long-winded, but I think about this stuff a lot. The moral of the story is this: I'm absolutely convinced that if you want to keep playing well, the single most important factor is to reduce finger motion to the absolute minimum necessary to positively engage the string. As Guthrie Govan said (in one his books, I think): when you watch really accomplished players, they're not moving faster, but rather they're moving less.
11-29-2018 07:19 PM
abitfunky
Re: chops versus age

It's a great excuse to LPs, Explorers, Vs (my personal favorite) and even Mustangs, Duo-Sonics, and Jaguars if you want to stay with Fender.
11-29-2018 07:09 AM
mike570
Re: chops versus age

Quote:
Originally Posted by abracadabra View Post

I currently play mostly 25.5in Fenders and Ibanezes, so basically what you're saying is, as I get older I will have an excuse to start buying Les Pauls? ;-)
When I started playing I was all about RG's with Wizard 1 / Super Wizard necks, 9's for strings, and trems.
I still play those but I'm a lot more about fixed bridge, using 10's, and thicker necks too. And I love the thicker necks on the AZ and Fireman. The Fireman neck is LP scale so I can see that kind of.
I guess tastes age too?
I still dig super shreddy neon RG's though.
11-29-2018 03:32 AM
abracadabra
Re: chops versus age

Quote:
Originally Posted by abitfunky View Post
I had a chance to meet Steve Vai a few years ago (a gift from my wonderful wife) and he said that he was finding new ways to perform parts of his songs as "my figures don't move the same as they did when I wrote them". He admitted openly to age and "mileage" playing a factor. I've noticed in my own playing that my reach isn't what it used to be and my fingers aren't as strong. I've been experimenting with scalloped fretboards (lighter touch to fret the notes) and shorter scale lengths (less space to span) which I feel really help me out. I'm also working on my right hand technique more to add the illusion of speed.

I currently play mostly 25.5in Fenders and Ibanezes, so basically what you're saying is, as I get older I will have an excuse to start buying Les Pauls? ;-)


That's interesting about Vai though. Thanks for posting. I assumed it would be the case, or would become one at some point. I think I'm still below my 'peak' potential so I feel there is still some room to improve, even as I get older, but I like the idea that there are ways to mitigate loss of performance later in life.
11-28-2018 11:57 PM
abitfunky
Re: chops versus age

I had a chance to meet Steve Vai a few years ago (a gift from my wonderful wife) and he said that he was finding new ways to perform parts of his songs as "my figures don't move the same as they did when I wrote them". He admitted openly to age and "mileage" playing a factor. I've noticed in my own playing that my reach isn't what it used to be and my fingers aren't as strong. I've been experimenting with scalloped fretboards (lighter touch to fret the notes) and shorter scale lengths (less space to span) which I feel really help me out. I'm also working on my right hand technique more to add the illusion of speed.
11-25-2018 11:54 AM
syndrone
Re: chops versus age

I am 31 and I have 24 years of guitar playing under my belt. I kinda feel like I lost a bit of speed, stamina and strength throughout the last 5 years but I guess that`s just because I do not play as much as I did 10 years ago.

That being said, I still feel like I am a way better guitar player than years ago because my musicality has increased in almost every genre and my chops are still on a pretty high level. I guess the decrease of guitar playing ability in general might kick in after 60 or even later (even for a very technical shredder). The physical and psychological state matters, so working out (focused on stamina rather than pure muscles) and psychological fitness helps a lot in this regard!
11-25-2018 11:07 AM
abracadabra
Re: chops versus age

I read somewhere a joke that touring musicians get paid to travel around in buses/stay in hotels and that in their spare time they get to play on stage in front of adoring fans (which they do for free).

I'm really glad to hear these responses. I had wondered if progress was slow(er) because of age, but I had forgotten about the practice-time element, even though I've been able to up my practice a lot recently.

would still be interested to hear if anyone's heard the pros (the older ones) being asked this question though. Paul Gilbert isn't going to play as fast at 90, surely! (still faster than me though ;-)
11-25-2018 10:04 AM
mike570
Re: chops versus age

I saw a clip on Facebook where Flavor Flav is playing a piano and the comments say "wow! Flav can play all these instruments! Who knew?" Really though is it a surprise? Making music is their main gig so they have a lot of time to devote to practice. I also follow Moby and, same thing, he plays a bunch of instruments well, especially the drums. But Moby isn't punching a 9-5 time clock either in a regular job and finding time to practice. He can practice for hours on end.
I could probably play as well as Paul Gilbert if I could play guitar ALL day. Okay, maybe not....
But still...
One thing though while it might seem cool to us all the traveling they do - I don't envy them for that. That's gotta be double tough with touring being such a necessity for these folks now and being away from their families for so long.
But I think it's definitely the time one gets to put in on the instrument. Look at Pat Martino. Dude had a stroke and forgot how to play and all about his career at 36, after being a well established jazz guitarist. Pat had to relearn to play and at 74 is still an astounding jazz player.
And Holdsworth was still Holdsworth even at the end.
11-25-2018 07:53 AM
abracadabra
Re: chops versus age

great replies guys. interesting to hear your experiences. keep them coming -thanks
11-24-2018 07:09 PM
mike570
Re: chops versus age

I too agree it's practice time more than age. I'm 44 and probably play the best I ever have. The last few years though have been about playing to maintain ability as I only get a few hours here and there to play. I've been trying to write new material lately but it's a tough slog. Sometimes I'll play for a few hours and won't be able to pick up a guitar again for 3-4 days.
And, yeah, I have young kids - and other big responsibilities.
I do have psoriasis though and dread the possibility of it becoming arthritic. I can feel it creeping into the pinky on my right hand; the finger I use least really. Maybe playing actually keeps that at bay. I hope.
I do notice I need to take longer to warm up. I can't really jump into anything uptempo cold, though my biggest problem there is the pick slipping out of my grip more than dexterity in my left hand.
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