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Author Topic:  Are you getting better or worse now ?
Richard Tipple

Ohio, USA
Post Posted 24 Feb 2017 5:24 pm     Reply with quote

Junior,,man I have always admired your playing & caught your playing a couple of times with Jeff Woolsey & his band.
Im pushing 67 this July & I can hear some sucking sounds here too Sad
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Dale Rottacker

Tacoma Washington, USA
Post Posted 24 Feb 2017 5:44 pm     Reply with quote

Having never put in the time I needed to, I’ve never become a great player... never developed any speed, probably because I never developed good enough technique to do so... that said, I think in a lot of ways I play better today at almost 61, than I did in my 20-30’s, when I was playing in more group/band settings... I feel as if I play with better emotion and complexity than back then as well... Today I play very little live and the mere thought of it gives me pause, where as when I was younger I never gave it a second thought... Through the magic of todays recording software, I’ve been able to turn out stuff that for me and at least my parents and those who love me Shocked is somewhat acceptable Embarassed ... I may pick a song I want to record and learn it well enough to do so and then forget it... I guess my retention isn’t what it once was either Sad Confused Oh Well
Dale Rottacker, Steelinatune

*1990 Jim Lindsey Special, Quad Original Bill Lawrence 705 PUP’s, 8x8 Gary Hogue Clone
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*Fender Twin/ *Peavey Session 400/ *Peavey Session 500/ *Peavey Session 400, BW w/Spiderweb
*SteelSeat/ *Li’l Izzy/ *Profex ll/ *Lexicon MPX1/ *Telonics Multi-Taper/ *Brad Sarno Revelation Tube Pre-Amp/*Rick Johnson Cabinets
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Dan Robinson

Colorado, USA
Post Posted 26 Feb 2017 2:40 pm     Reply with quote

Rick Barnhart wrote:
I don't think speed equals better. Taste and tone are most important to me...

I'm glad you said that. I have no speed-picking talent. I did not dedicate myself to it when I started playing at 21. I'm 64... that ship has sailed.

I stopped playing steel for 20 years, and starting again just a few years ago. Having said that, I'm a better player now that ever before.

Here are the reasons; if not due to my age, they are certainly related to maturity:


I have a better connection to the arrangement and what my band-mates are playing.

It's funny... though I'm not trying to impress anyone, I find myself playing things that really make me smile. Win/win.
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Bob Sykes

North Carolina
Post Posted 1 Mar 2017 4:23 pm     Better and Worst Reply with quote

My steel playing keeps getting better & better but I have only been at it for about 7 years. Plenty of room for improvement. I WAS good on 6-string, have started that around 50 years ago, playing pro or semi-pro continuously until the steel came along. These days, my gigs consist of mediocre PSG playing with maybe 3-4 shoulder guitar songs in a 3 set night. My musical sensibilities far exceed my PSG playing abilities which can be frustrating. I'll never be "good" but it is fun.
Carters Starter, D10 8+7, SD10
ISO Sustainus Ad Infinitum
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Edward Rhea

Medford Oklahoma, USA
Post Posted 1 Mar 2017 4:48 pm     Reply with quote

I think I'm improving...but what do I know, I've got teenagers
Sho~Bud 6139 3&5
BJS bars
Sho~Bud seat & volume pedal
George L's cables
''71 Fender Twin Reverb w/JBL D120F's
"70 Fender Deluxe Reverb w/JBL D120F
National np2 & blue Herco picks
Ricky Davis signature Jagwires
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David Mason

Cambridge, MD, USA
Post Posted 2 Mar 2017 12:35 am     Reply with quote

When I read this, my first thought was "that's a weird thing to think about when you sit down to play music." But SO many good pickers answered it's obviously prevalent. While my proclamations sound odd even to me, I BORROW some and stick 'em to music stands, the fridge etc. What you tell yourself matters.
Music exists to say things that cannot be said otherwise. - Mahavishnu John McLaughlin

The only old people who stay lively change up what they're doing - I do know that McLaughlin above & Jeff Beck & Carlos Santana and MILES DAVIS used to give their record companies fits because they were always warping off into different directions. Not all of them WORK equally well, but - what the hell, you know? Start a polka band.
Whatever technique you have on your instrument at any given time is always good enough to say something. If you can't find the thing to say, that's what you've got to work on. - David Torn

"Speak UP, I'm friggin' DEAF, OK?" - Ludwig-out Beethoven*

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Fred Treece

California, USA
Post Posted 4 Mar 2017 10:33 am     Reply with quote

Herb Steiner wrote:
I urge players to acquire, if possible, any recording by Jimmy Day, but especially CD by Bobby Black entitled "The Steel Guitar of Bobby Black." Bobby plays with such beautiful melodicism that I called my old friend to tell him that CD changed my whole approach to playing music. His response, typical of BB, was "oh, man... come on." Wink

I have had the privilege of sharing the stage with Bobby. I told him I was thinking about taking the PSG plunge at a gig a few years ago. The next time we played, he gave me two of his CDs. The time after that, I brought my Stringmaster D8 and asked him to play it, just so I could see that music could be made on the thing. Well duh... His Hawaiian playing is is just as amazing as his trad country.

At any rate, since I finally got a pedal steel, my playing has gone from absolute suck to still sorta suck. With inspiration from those CDs, I intend to get way beyond suck in the very near future.
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Darvin Willhoite

Liberty Hill, Tx. USA
Post Posted 4 Mar 2017 7:42 pm     Reply with quote

I'll be 65 in a couple of weeks, and I only play steel out two or three times a year, I play guitar about twice that. I thought my steel playing had pretty much held it's own until I ran across an old cassette tape I had recorded about 15 years ago and forgot about. I was amazed at some of the stuff I did that I didn't remember. I was playing steel in a church band every week back then, two or three services on Sunday morning, Wednesday night, and rehearsal on Thursday night. I pretty much quit playing about 5 years ago, burnout I guess. My steel playing has definitely hit the skids. Guess I'll lean more toward re-building them than playing them.
Darvin Willhoite
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Richard Nelson

Drogheda, Louth, Ireland
Post Posted 5 Mar 2017 9:23 am     Reply with quote

Yeah Worse
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John De Maille

On a Mountain in Upstate Halcottsville, N.Y.
Post Posted 5 Mar 2017 6:51 pm     Reply with quote

I'm holding my own, even though I'm not as fast ( does it really matter? ) as I was and as experimental as I was way back when I was playing up to 5-6 nights a week. But, I think I'm a smoother, more expressionable player now. At 68, I'm doing between 40-50 gigs a year, maybe less. I feel , that, I'm lucky to do so, too. So, I'm not worse, I've just gone in a little different direction.
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Northern California
Post Posted 5 Mar 2017 8:25 pm     Reply with quote

I'm getting better. Thinking about ergonomics and getting a guitar that fits my body has helped a lot. I used to play guitars that were too big for me, or had stiff action, or forced me into uncomfortable playing positions. Scaling down to a single neck with short legs (I'm a small person) and moving pedals and levers more towards the center of the guitar made a world of difference to me. At my age, I don't feel like fighting guitars into submission anymore. They need to be a comfortable extension of my legs and feet, and feel right under my hands.

Also, playing a variety of styles of music in several bands keeps the brain sharp. Music is infinite. The more you learn, the better you'll play.
Bobby Lee, a.k.a. -b0b- (SGF Admin) 🎼 "Music is not so fragile that knowledge breaks it." -Gerbergler ♪
Rice & Bean on Sierra Laptop ♪ Wine Country Swing on Desert Rose S-8 ♪ Carter D-10 ♪ Stella ♪ Höfner bass
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Ron Shalita

California, USA
Post Posted 13 Mar 2017 3:02 pm     I think I am better Reply with quote

I have been at it since 1978, and after years of relying on a pocketful of licks I decided to actually retire from playing out, and do some serious wood shedding.. I learn new stuff everyday, and wonder why? But it feels good so why nor, right?
Been playing all of my life, Lead Guitar, and Pedal Steel, sing Lead and Harmony.. play other Instruments also but I hate to admit to it..
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Ben Elder

La Crescenta, California, USA
Post Posted 13 Mar 2017 8:41 pm     I used to be amused, but now I'm just disgusted Reply with quote

I used to be endlessly and rapturously mesmerized by any simplistic I-IV-V loop I'd bash out on the 6-5-4-3 strings of a Maverick. Despite subtle improvement (and instruments far above my proficiency level), I'm now annoyed by and despondent over virtually anything I play. Consequently my playing sessions (it would be a little grandiose to call them practice) are much shorter and infrequent.
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Gordy Rex

Kernersville NC.
Post Posted 15 Mar 2017 8:14 am     Reply with quote

turning 66 this year... the hands and fingers just don't work like they use to, numb, needles and pins ... but my mind is still sharp... If I could execute what I know I would feel great about my playing.. however some nights I want to pack up and go home.... Smile
Gordy Rex
Current guitars, Zumsteel 9 X 8, '78 Rosewood Emmons PP 8 X 6
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Jack Hanson

San Luis Valley, USA
Post Posted 15 Mar 2017 9:29 am     Reply with quote

Donny Hinson wrote:
...nowadays, many players seem more interested in changing/modifying their gear than they are in just learning how to use what they already have to play good music.

Man, ain't that the truth. Today, it would seem it's all about how many gadgets you can attach or have dangling from the body and legs of your instrument. And lets not even get started about all the stuff sitting on the floor...
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