Seriously, this post is completely me blowing off steam and frustration – fair warning. It’s also very stream of consciousness, and I’m intentionally writing blind (not looking at the computer screen, so that I’m not tempted to delete this whole post, as even the rants are an important part of the learning curve to look back on), so forgive me if there is a higher than average number of grammar errors or typos.
I decided tonight to pick up the electric guitar and Rocksmith for the first time in over a week. I’ve been trying to work with forming chords on the acoustic, but apparently that’s been completely pointless, as the second I pick up the electric again I go right back to old habits as if I haven’t spend a week trying to form chords properly. I’m not really sure what the point of working on my bad habits is if I’m apparently incapable of changing them when it matters. And, I know that’s hogwash, but it doesn’t feel like it tonight.
Tonight, I just feel frustrated. I feel like every time I pick up the guitar I get worse, not better. Every time Rocksmith tells me ‘good performance’ on one of these nights, I snap at it. I call it a liar. I know my performance was complete shit, so it feels insulting when Rocksmith doesn’t just say ‘That sucked. Were you even trying?’ because my inner voice tells me that’s what I deserve. On the bad nights, it tells me ‘You’re never going to get this. You suck. Stop trying.’ I’m not a quitter, generally, and this blog is helping me stick to it, but I have moments where trying to play guitar leaves my ego so battered that I won’t pretend there isn’t a voice that wants me to give up guitar entirely and just stick to the bass. Bass isn’t such a cruel mistress. But the second you add chords into the mix, there’s that inner voice that tells me that I’m crap, that I can’t do this, that I’ll never be able to.
That’s the hardest thing to overcome, and after a really, really frustrating 30 minutes of going backward and getting nowhere I just don’t have it in me. Every time I have such a major fail, every time my inner voice pulls me into the ring for a good beating, it just makes me hate my guitar even more. It’s SO easy to try and blame the guitar. Because, if it’s the guitar’s fault, then it doesn’t have to be mine. My lack of progress becomes something outside of my control. Of course, that’s nonsense. But, I’m struggling, and when we struggle, we look for a scapegoat so we can feel better about ourselves. And in this moment, immediately after another absolutely horrible short session with the guitar, there’s just not much I feel good about.
I know it’s the first time I’ve picked it up in a bit. I know every time I don’t touch it for a while I need to relearn the shape of it. I also know that knowing those things doesn’t make me feel any better about falling flat on my musical face, and it doesn’t make me any less frustrated that I spent over a week JUST working on my wrist position with basic chords, only to find that nothing’s changed. That I can’t play them properly when I’m trying to keep time, and it’s only 50/50 if I can play them properly when I’m not trying to. My acoustic time has really been no help. I’ve been getting a lot of fret buzz. That’s sure to be all me, but since I wasn’t getting it so much before, it means that correcting one thing has just made me fuck up a different thing. It’s one problem after another, and I still don’t know how to gain any guitar confidence when, 5 months since buying the guitar, I am still not capable of properly playing even one song. Granted, I have been focusing more on technique than songs, but I’ve been doing that because my technique is so bad that I need to, and because I might, possibly, be a bit of a perfectionist.
And, tomorrow will be another day, probably a better one, but tonight I just feel sick, and upset, and angry at myself for being completely incompetent.
These are not thoughts that come from a logical, objective place, but they’re legitimate thoughts that I have, and that, for my own benefit, I need to get out into open air to try and look at them objectively later, when I’m feeling less irate, and hammer through them, which is something I am just not going to be able to achieve tonight.
I hate chords. There-I said it. I. Hate. Chords. And I hate that after months and months I still can’t maneuver across 6 strings without CONSTANTLY stopping and hesitating over the lower 3 of them. I hate that switching to the lower strings isn’t natural yet even though I’ve been drilling that retarded, annoying, laggy POS string skipping saloon game every time I pick up the electric guitar. I hate that my guitar hurts my shoulder so much and that some days I’m sure it’s because it’s a very heavy guitar, and other days I’m sure it’s because I’m a shitty guitar player, and other days I haven’t got the foggiest idea about anything. I hate that, even though there are a few songs I’ve gotten to 50% completion or more on, that I’ve reached 100% completion on lessons I was sure I never would, I still can’t look at what I’m doing and feel like I’ve improved.
…and I hate that I blame my decision to buy a bass for this, because I love my bass. I love that I’m doing well with it in Rocksmith. I love the way it feels to hold and fiddle with. But, loving it doesn’t mean that I can ignore the fact that it’s only since I got the bass that I’ve become SO down on myself about the guitar. That my complete incompetence with the guitar is something I view in direct relation to my relative competence with the bass, and that I can’t mentally separate those two things, because SURELY if I am making progress on the legato lesson on bass, I SHOULD be getting somewhere with it on the guitar, even though it’s totally different, and faster, with more notes, and that I’m being unfair to myself when I compare the two.
I hate that it’s easier to tell ourselves we’re hopeless than it is to tell ourselves that nothing is hopeless.
And, I hate that I had to resort to spending 20 minutes whining on the internet instead of picking the guitar up again and fighting through it, just to restore some sanity.
Until Next Time, still fighting the uphill battle. Guitar: 1000000. Self-esteem: -8.