Welcome to the forums!

WANTED!!! Your guitar regrets!!!

If you have a post about music or guitar that doesn't really fit anywhere else, put it here. This is strictly on topic, guitar or music related topics only. Please be civil and courteous here. This forum is moderated and respectful conversation is expected.

Moderator: The GN support team

Postby RobParis » August 4th, 2011, 1:58 am

Hello everyone,

I'm writing an ebook called 'My Biggest Guitar Regret' mainly coz I've made a
few and it's always helpful to learn from others.

Would anybody be prepared to share some of their mistakes from your early
days with the guitar. Maybe you are still in your early days and you have
made a few "errors" along the way that you'd be prepared to share?

I will gladly include your link in the ebook from any quote/anecdote you
can provide.

Thank you all very much

Rock it,

Check out my new guitar blogg! (click below)
Its only rock n roll but I like it!
User avatar
Posts: 37
Joined: May 19th, 2011, 5:03 am
Location: Sweden

Postby Alan Green » August 4th, 2011, 2:40 am

I really wish I'd taken it a lot more seriously in the early years.

These days I teach at ten schools, two specialist music schools, perform as a soloist at weddings and parties and stuff, play for a Swing Band and a Guitar Orchestra - Imagine how good I might have got if I'd taken it seriously from day 1.
"Be good at what you can do" - Fingerbanger
"I have always felt that it is better to do what is beautiful than what is 'right'" - Eliot Fisk

Wedding music and guitar lessons in Essex. Listen at: http://www.rollmopmusic.co.uk
User avatar
Alan Green
Guitari Lama
Posts: 7622
Joined: September 23rd, 2002, 1:35 am
Location: Little Cambridge, Essex, UK

Postby s1120 » August 4th, 2011, 5:11 am

I was about 16-17 when I got my first real guitar, and insted of taking the time, and learning, it sat there... I never learned to tune it, or play it, and never eaven got a amp... fast foward to about 5 years ago, I got another one.... but with jobs, young kids, and house chores, I dont get a lot of time to learn... I regret that I did not put the time in when I had time.
Paul B
User avatar
Senior Member
Posts: 826
Joined: May 19th, 2008, 10:42 am
Location: albany NY area

Postby NoteBoat » August 4th, 2011, 5:17 am

Does not having enough of them count? :)
Guitar teacher offering lessons in Plainfield IL
User avatar
Musically Insane
Posts: 5612
Joined: August 9th, 2003, 8:48 pm
Location: SW of Chicago

Postby kent_eh » August 4th, 2011, 6:23 am

Putting my guitar in the closet for about 20 years and not touching it.
Even stranger, at the time I was spending a lot of time working with (and hanging out with) a lot of musicians, and probably could have learned a lot from most of them.

But I didn't.

Oh well, I'm doin' it now, so no point on wasting time dwelling on the past. Onward!
I wrapped a newspaper ’round my head
So I looked like I was deep
User avatar
Guitarnoise Denizen
Posts: 1880
Joined: February 20th, 2006, 6:39 pm
Location: Winnipeg

Postby TRGuitar » August 4th, 2011, 7:08 am

I almost said not playing in bands when I was younger but rethought it. I was/am an awsome dad and think the time was better spent the way it was, with my family. That leaves one regret. Going cheap back in 1982 when I bought the Les Paul XR2 (experiment to cut cost prior to the Studio) instead of springing the extra $100 for the Standard. That is a regret. :( Price at the time? XR2 with case $650. Standard with no case $750.
"Work hard, rock hard, eat hard, sleep hard,
grow big, wear glasses if you need 'em."
-- The Webb Wilder Credo --
User avatar
Guitarnoise Addict
Posts: 3708
Joined: January 2nd, 2007, 10:31 pm
Location: Northern New York

Postby notes_norton » August 4th, 2011, 7:24 am

I have no regrets about being a career musician and a multi-instrumentalist.

I started on drums, but didn't spend too much time on them, to play melodies I moved to sax.

I picked up the guitar many years ago, mostly to play rhythm (barre chords) in whatever band I was in whenever there wasn't a place for a saxophone (my main instrument).

I played bass a while during the psychedelic years when saxes were not in demand, and had a good time with that.

While I taught myself flute, keyboard synthesizer and wind synthesizer the guitar always stayed on the back burner. Since I picked up the guitar in the 1960s until a few years ago, I rarely played it and never progressed past those old barre chords.

About 3 years ago I decided to get serious on the guitar, and put some serious practice time into it, especially playing lead. I learned fast because my bass years taught me the last 4 guitar strings and I brought a lot of music theory baggage from the 6 other instruments that I play.

But my regret is that I didn't take the guitar more seriously 20 years ago. At least share the time with the other instruments I learned. I'm pretty good at it now, but I'd be a monster if I had put the time in sooner.

But along with the regret that I didn't start sooner is the anticipation of learning new things in the future.

Insights and incites by Notes ♫
Bob "Notes" Norton

Owner, Norton Music http://www.nortonmusic.com Add-on Styles for Band-in-a-Box and Microsoft SongSmith

The Sophisticats http://www.s-cats.com >^. .^< >^. .^<
User avatar
Guitarnoise Denizen
Posts: 1453
Joined: May 20th, 2008, 5:04 am
Location: Fort Pierce, Florida, USA

Postby Chris C » August 4th, 2011, 4:46 pm

Hi Rob,

Good luck with your ebook. I've had a good long think, but can't come up with single guitar regret. I'm not much of a one for regrets generally, being more of a "Fix what you can fix and accept what you can't" sort of person. But I thought there might be some small regret or disappointment with music, having left my run very late. But, no - as the songs says - "Non Je Ne Regrette Rien" - no regrets.

As Kent_eh put it:

kent_eh wrote: I'm doin' it now, so no point on wasting time dwelling on the past. Onward!

But it's much more than just not regretting starting earlier it's actually enjoying where I'm at right now. As Notes said, "the anticipation of learning new things in the future" is something that I value. I love the whole process of learning - digging up the information, sorting through it all and working out which bits matter most, solving the problems, and then enjoying every small improvement in ability.

There's something special about the early part of any journey. For instance, I've been driving for over half a century and, although I still enjoy it a lot, nothing will ever quite top those first couple of years learning to drive an old junker of a car round the paddocks. It's still a pleasure, but back then it was absolutely magical. So it's been a real joy to me to have left learning to play guitar (and other music related things) until what would normally be seen as W A Y too late. It's all fresh and new, and every discovery is a pleasure. I'm also old enough to know that there is no "there" to get to with music. There is no end point at which you know it all and can do it all. It's just too vast to cover in a whole row of lifetimes, let alone one.

What I've learned, at some stage over the past 5 years of plunking away at guitar, piano, etc is there's only one big mistake, and that's to get discouraged and stop (which is very common). I've also learned that the best way to avoid that is to truly understand the joy of the simple. To know how to make satisfying tunes on one string with half a dozen notes, or to be able to bring three chords to life. I can do more than that now, but it still doesn't need to be complex or fast to be fun. So I feel poised between the thrill of the early discoveries, the enjoyment of right now, and the anticipation of the future. It feels like the perfect place to be. And what's really good is that feeling moves along the track as I go. It always feels like the perfect place to be. :)

The only decent advice I can remember from school was "Strive to be child-like without being childish". In other words, try and keep that child-like sense of wonder alive. My inner child seems to be going great guns. I guess I'd regret it if I ever lost that, but it looks unlikely now.


User avatar
Chris C
Guitarnoise Addict
Posts: 3528
Joined: July 30th, 2005, 5:33 pm
Location: West Australia

Postby fleaaaaaa » August 5th, 2011, 11:45 pm

I'll tell you one of my mistakes, when I first started I used to strum wrong - I made up ANY pattern but they didn't follow a regular pattern........... so it would never be consistant. I didn't learn this properly till I went to my first paid teacher a year or two down the line, the reason I couldn't play the songs I wanted to was because I was bad at this! However it has helped me spot people in my teaching and who are friends who also struggle with this and I am glad I made that mistake because I can get them to relate to me by saying "look, I know what it's like, I used to do that! It is hard to unlearn, but it must be done".
together we stand, divided we fall..........
Senior Member
Posts: 915
Joined: July 19th, 2003, 9:29 am
Location: England

Postby Blue Jay » August 6th, 2011, 7:34 am

My 'guitar regrets' are so strange, yet appropriate, and profound (IMO) that it is unbelievable.

The regret is doing my first performance with an internationally acclaimed band, on a stage before a large crowd at 15 without knowing how to play a lick, really I knew nothing.

It started when I was 5, and my mother made me a singer, for instance in church or with classical pianists, and my dad bought me a ukelele. Then, when I was 10 my friends started getting guitars (in 1965) and I was playing the Surfari's "Wipeout" on their instruments, as well as my ukelele. My dad wouldn't buy me a guitar then because he expected me to be an outdoorsman or a tough guy, and he had bought me a real motorcycle, not a minibike when I was 9... that was a bad idea, I drove it on the streets, stole his car when I was 12, bought my own larger motorcycle when I was 14, and cheated, driving bikes and cars, trucks and vans when I was 15. That's irrelevant, except it was a distraction from music, as were the girls that tagged along.

Now the music fiasco comes in when I was 15 and we had weekly parties, and occasional Coffee Houses where there were always guitars, I would sit in a small group of young 'hippies' and pick a few notes, and whine or howl or hum some bits of a song I had written, or just thought of, and not written, but nevertheless, a spontaneous original. It got to be popular, I didn't think I needed to learn to play just yet, if at all... there wasn't really time, I was in school, working lots of hours at a job, restoring classic cars and building my first race car. Music was just popular culture, it wasn't my hobby, certainly not till the 'incident'.

So, one night a big band came to town and my friends and I went, and stood in the sort of mosh pit, in the first row. My friends pushed me up on stage, and the band let me play? Umm... I remember it well, the band launched into one of their songs, and I just noodled like an idiot and they sure wondered what the hell I was doing. My style was like, I had no clue!!!

My friends liked it anyhow, and I got a sort of cult status thing going on, and we went to bars underaged, and the kids kept pushing me to go on stage and play with every band! I was never turned down. I knew I was cheating, and the bands knew instantly that I was a dummy. It got to be such a routine, that I had to buy a chord book and get a guitar - I learned to cover real songs in full length, was given my own coffee houses to perform, and was given a part in a big stage production, where ironically, I played "Woody" in Finian's Rainbow, acting as a cool drifter dude who carried a guitar to get the girls but couldn't play. I protested that I wouldn't do it, or wanted to play, because hey... I knew at least 5 chords already! BTW, the theatre part was heavy on singing, just no guitar, only as a prop, and it was my own guitar too. Then, a talent scout gave me a TV show for a year, no pay, public TV and for charities, or for businesses that promoted charities, and I continued w/coffee houses. I had a lot of connections, but knew that I was no good compared to the real acts, namely Hendrix, Clapton, Beck etc.

They SO outclassed even local bands (of course, they were guitar gods) that I saw no point in joining bands or in pursuing a career in music, unless I was willing to sit down, and learn, and nooo.... my whole life was about being in motion! I drove everything that had an engine, on pavement, 1/4 miles, dirt (bikes and trucks) and even on water, not to mention snow?

I took my interests in the tech area, and building things into guitars, building sound systems and then guitars themselves.

At the moment, after taking a 15 year hiatus from song writing, I think I want to make a CD or be a recording artist before I am too old. I still can't play guitar, or don't consider myself a player, after doing 40 years' improvising and just getting by.

The thing about me and my music, if there is a thing, is that it has just been a no fear attitude, not quality, just "facing it" - I could only describe as perhaps the attitude of a competitor or a racer where you know you are taking chances, but do it for the rush and enjoyment anyhow and in my case I have worked 40 out of 55 years for charity and that's my way of giving.
Like a bird on the wire,
like a drunk in a midnight choir
I have tried in my way to be free.
User avatar
Blue Jay
Guitarnoise Denizen
Posts: 1649
Joined: July 7th, 2009, 7:23 am
Location: Ontario, CANADA

Postby fleaaaaaa » August 6th, 2011, 9:39 pm

Again, great post BlueJay, really great read! :) Seems like you and your son have had fascinating lives when it comes to guitar.
together we stand, divided we fall..........
Senior Member
Posts: 915
Joined: July 19th, 2003, 9:29 am
Location: England

Postby RobParis » August 7th, 2011, 11:53 am

Hey Guys!

This is just great and a whole lot of fun!!

@ NoteBoat - Its an absolutely valid one :D

@ Alan Green - wahh, 20 years is a loooong time, but your right, ONWARDS!!! :)

@ notes_norton you had been a monster now for sure! again, 20 years is a long time! :) but bass during those psychedelic times must have been great! I would be up for that any time of the day! haha

@ Chris C - I have nothing more to say, That is just PERFECT!!! Thats exactly what its all about !! I will proudly put this in the book!!!

@ Blue Jay - A agree with "fleaaaaaa" Really great read!!

Just keep it coming, you will all be in the book!!

Thank you so very much so far!!

ROCK'N'ROLL :twisted:
Check out my new guitar blogg! (click below)
Its only rock n roll but I like it!
User avatar
Posts: 37
Joined: May 19th, 2011, 5:03 am
Location: Sweden

Postby Vic Lewis VL » August 7th, 2011, 6:14 pm

My one regret dates back to when I was six years old (1963) and the Beatles......happened. I knew there and then (about the time of "Please Please Me" and "She Loves You" that all I ever wanted from life was to play guitar and sing like John and Paul. My parents bought me a cheap plastic four-string guitar, but it didn't sound a BIT like the Beatles! I should have nagged and nagged and nagged, and then nagged some more, till they bought me a proper guitar - I had friends who took piano lessons, I really wanted to learn how to play guitar and I would have taken lessons. But....my parents couldn't afford lessons, so (as they saw it) there was no point in buying me a guitar. Took me till 1974...my 17th birthday...to get a guitar. A cheap classical guitar with no rock'n'roll in it whatsoever!

Took me till 2004 - when I found Guitarnoise - to take it seriously. That was when I decided I was going to start from scratch and learn PROPERLY....

How I regret those wasted years. If I had my time again, I'd have started playing guitar back in '63 - I might have been pretty good by now, instead of pretty average!

:D :D :D

"Sometimes the beauty of music can help us all find strength to deal with all the curves life can throw us." (D. Hodge.)
User avatar
Vic Lewis VL
Albus Dumblechord
Posts: 10846
Joined: April 28th, 2004, 2:54 pm
Location: Newton-le-Willows, England

Postby fleaaaaaa » August 7th, 2011, 10:52 pm

Vic, it is amazing though because the beatles are stil getting people to pick up a guitar and Hendrix even more so and that is music from 40 years ago! I remember the first time I saw this young lad around 16/17 (and I was around that age too) play voodo child (slight return), note for note and I was so in awe of him.
together we stand, divided we fall..........
Senior Member
Posts: 915
Joined: July 19th, 2003, 9:29 am
Location: England

Postby Legendaryk4 » August 9th, 2011, 4:44 pm

My biggest REGRET is when I first got my guitar I didnt take the time to learn how to play. Starting at a younger age is always better because your mind is like a sponge and you suck everything in that teaches you how to play and you will never forget it. Therefor when I was in highschool filled with other struggling musicians, I could've easily started a band. Now im 21 and have never been in a band regretfully. Now that I am getting MUCH better I cant seem to find anybody.

The other REGRETS I have are when it comes to buying equipment. I have baught so much that I now realise "wtf was I thinking, now Im stuck with it". If I knew as much as I did now I would be perfectly happy with what I currently have.
Junior Member
Posts: 57
Joined: July 16th, 2011, 8:58 pm