How can you hear how bad you are?



  • DragonPLDragonPL Maryland✭✭ Dupont MD 50-XL (Favino), Michael Dunn Stardust, Castelluccia Tears, Yunzhi gypsy jazz guitar, Gitane DG-320, DG-250M and DG-250
    edited January 5 Posts: 175

    The thing one has to be careful about, that if you get to that level of over analysis, and "perfection", you'll never play anywhere.

    That happened to me for a period of time, where I got so held back on perfection, that I did not even want to play for my parents. My mother is a classically trained pianist, and I was fearful of criticism of minor mistakes. I didn't even want to play for non-musicians because it wasn't "perfect".

    Honesty, I think in this style there's a lot of leeway. All here, don't chastise me but when I listen to a lot of Jimmy for example, like the below, there's quite a bit of sloppiness there.

    But the level of intensity, character and feeling put into his playing, makes up for any buzzed-missed-sloppy notes.

    There are some GJ guitarists, who are focused on perfection, and even don't miss anything in their prepared YouTube videos, but they don't sound as authentic and intense as Jimmy.

    For me, I just stopped caring, especially when playing live, even for some recorded takes. It is what it is! And any noticeable mistakes, are just lessons learned and areas to focus on for next time.

  • ScoredogScoredog Santa Barbara, Ca✭✭✭✭
    edited January 6 Posts: 877

    On that note I love this quote "l'ennemi du bien est le bien" meaning basically the pursuit of perfection is the enemy of good.

    I was waiting to read the many posts I thought would come with this topic figuring eventually there would be nothing I could add but I think there is, though many of the most important points have been covered.

    I record myself often, almost daily, I need to hear if what I am working on is actually worth pursuing and the more I record the better I get at judging and picking the stuff I want to move forward with.

    I have found I generally have 3 approaches of recording on the spot (on albums I'll scrutinize, punch in etc just because it is what I have learned to do but that is not particularly useful in a on the spot improv solo or jam).

    Approach 1. You are working up new cannot be hard on is new and you are trying things out, it is often not going to sound good.

    Approach 2. Play simple but try to play perfect. Often I am surprised things are not as simple sounding as I thought they were when I played them in that way.

    Approach 3. Go for it, I find this usually is a mixture of 1 and 2 and often I am surprised how good it sounds and how bad it sounds (I like many other players often move onto a new idea before completing the last one).

  • wimwim ChicagoModerator Barault #503 replica
    Posts: 1,459

    It's le mieux est l'ennemi du bien.

  • billyshakesbillyshakes NoVA✭✭✭ Park Avance - Dupont Nomade - Dupont DM-50E
    Posts: 1,334

    We always said, "Perfect is the enemy of good."

  • Lango-DjangoLango-Django Niagara-On-The-Lake, ONModerator
    edited January 7 Posts: 1,858

    After many years of studying technique, now I just play for fun. And lately I've been playing more banjo than guitar, so I feel like I don't kinda belong here anymore, but what the hey, I love a lot of you guys.

    Anyway, when I was just a rookie, a wonderful Toronto ragtime/stride/jazz pianist named David Flowitt once divulged his secret way to practice.

    "Just start playing, with no idea where it's going. It should be like driving a car. Don't worry about where you're going, just relax and enjoy the scenery."

    And I've always had a hunch that that was pretty much the same way that Django practiced, lying on his mattress in some expensive hotel room, accompanied by his wife and his pet monkey and whatever relatives may have been visiting.


    So that's the way I play now, and I enjoy it.

    And at this point in life, why should I obsess about trying to make it perfect?

    It's never gonna be perfect.

    Why does it even have to be?

    Paul Cezanne: "I could paint for a thousand years without stopping and I would still feel as though I knew nothing."

    Edgar Degas: "Only when he no longer knows what he is doing does the painter do good things.... To draw, you must close your eyes and sing."

    Georges Braque: "In art there is only one thing that counts: the bit that can’t be explained."
  • BillDaCostaWilliamsBillDaCostaWilliams Barreiro, Portugal✭✭✭ Mateos, Altamira M01F, Huttl
    Posts: 640

    the same way that Django practiced, lying on his mattress in some expensive hotel room, accompanied by his wife and his pet monkey and whatever relatives may have been visiting.
    So that's the way I play now, and I enjoy it.

    Sounds like good clean fun, Will, but don't you get a lot of complaints from the hotel managers about your pet monkey?

  • kimmokimmo Helsinki, Finland✭✭✭✭
    Posts: 170

    I think the answer is right there in your post, and it was also suggested by Adrian earlier in this thread: if you want to hear how you sound, then record yourself and listen back. It's not only for revealing weaknesses, you'll also hear what's good and then you can replicate and elaborete on that as well. But it will also honestly show you the less good habits.

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