Ambition. It’s not so different from inspiration, which I find myself culminating less of lately. At least creatively, and on my own time. I have all the means I need to make any variety of music at this point. 4 channel mixer, AKAI MPC and keyboard controller, loop pedal, wah pedal, a library of cords, blah blah. The list goes on. However, most of my time is still spent in front of an X-Box, or more specifically put, an expensive black Netflix machine. I won’t call it writer’s block, because I’m not trying to write anything. But maybe that’s the problem.
I feel like a goal for most people in whatever endeavors they may choose is to become confident and comfortable in the way they play; and I say play in a primitive sort of way. Soccer players play just as guitar players play. One surely involves more kicking, but the mindset is not at all unlike. If I thought about playing my instrument as work and not play, I do not think I would be quite as interested. So pro-tip from me: don’t quit your day job. But, when you can reach a point where others are impressed by your playing and think, “But sweet Jesus, I messed that riff up so bad,” guess what? You’re on your way to confident playing techniques. And I’m on my way to meet you there.
The humble guitarist is one of the likes I’ve found I collaborate with best myself. A blissful mixture of humbleness and confidence in ones abilities are charming to most. But don’t rule out the cocky concoction of confidence some die-hards may go for; it is still easy to run into such a player.If you’re wondering where I’m headed with this, then head over instead to a guitar store. Where many mild mannered folks may dwell in such a store, a majority of my experience leaves me listening to complete strangers wailing away for all customers to hear. I understand completely how awesome it is to confidently play a guitar with a pricetag that pays my car three times over, but my heart goes out to the guitar store workers who undoubtedly hear forced versions of Led Zeppelin’s Stairway to Heaven every five minutes in their profession.
Perhaps I’m overconfident, which works for some people. But I’m not. I hear I’m pretty good but when my ears hear my own work my opinion melts into grey matter. I’ll almost always find something I could do better, or record the part of a song fifty times over before I take it as-is. Exhausting perfectionism. And I’m not even the worst there is. However, I’m excited by the fact that the confidence I’m saying I have in this hobby is seldom realized by myself. If I’m soloing in some wonky key I’m not familiar with and strike a note one half step high, my brain cringes. But nine times out of ten, my audience has no idea what that means, and so I think, “Well, I guess I’m playing a new scale for a moment.” Confidence for me means not beating yourself for making disastrous errors, but just row, row, rowing along after a happy little mistake. Gently down the stream. When I can stand by my own (happy little) mistakes and be sure of my ability to jam right through them, that’s when I smirk at my stringed confidant and proceed even more confidently; this is getting good!