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Author Topic:  Are you getting better or worse now ?
Fred Treece


From:
California, USA
Post Posted 1 May 2017 8:50 am     Reply with quote

Roger Rettig wrote:
I think I'm worse now. When I hear records I played on back in the '80s I think: 'Was that me?? I can't do that now!'

I think I know why. Back then pedal steel was a novel little adjunct to my guitar-playing and I just played notes and phrases that popped into my head. Since I moved here to the US I've become needlessly obsessed with form, posture and a dozen things I never used to ever think about.

When I began to take it seriously I started to slide backwards.

This is a little disconcerting. When taken seriously, your playing gets worse? Maybe I don't understand what you're trying to say. Being obsessed with technique may impede creativity, but I would think the net result is that you would sound better and be more comfortable while playing. The creativity will follow.
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Roger Rettig


From:
An Englishman in Naples, FL
Post Posted 1 May 2017 8:57 am     Reply with quote

I may indeed sound better at some level - after all, musicality and creativity are different from pure technique - but I feel that I once played with more freedom somehow. Trying to effect a more disciplined right-hand and posture has come at a price for me.

I still get the job done and I haven't been 'let go' yet so most of this is in my own head. Still....

There was an element of light-hearted banter in my original remarks but the thoughts are real enough.
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Emmons LG3 D-10, JCH SD-10, Zum Encore


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Jack Hargraves


From:
Missouri, USA
Post Posted 1 May 2017 1:08 pm     Reply with quote

I,m 70, and started playing lead guitar in bands when I was 16. Arthritus in my left hand caused me to quit playing lead guitar, so having played steel guitar in the past, I started playing pedal steel again 7 years ago. I've never been a speed picker, but all in all,my playing has improved a lot since I started again. Who says you can't teach an old dog new tricks.
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Andy De Paule


From:
Saigon, Viet Nam & Eugene, Oregon
Post Posted 2 May 2017 3:49 am     Yup, Getting worse with age Reply with quote

Sorry to say, Getting worse with age.
At 69 I can't play as well as I did just a few years ago.
I have had a neurological disorder for years that causes tremors in my hands.
Makes for great bar quiver in the left hand. Laughing
But really messes up my right hand picking, always did and is getting far worse the last couple of years.

I'm not a drinker or a druggy, but when I go to play a gig I'll have a shot of whisky or a valium about 30 minutes before I play and that helps a lot. Medicine???

I raised the armrest on my older steel so it's level with the strings and that helps to support and steady my hand.
On my new Mullen I had Mike make the arm rest also level with the strings and that guitar is a perfect fit. Pedals and knee levers just exactly where my body wants them. That is a definite help with my pickin' and grinning'..... Very Happy

Well like my dad used to say, "You know the golden years? They suck"
Well not entirely, but we do have to make adjustments as our bodies start to disintegrate. Rolling Eyes

I just hope I can get in a few more years of playing and enjoying my family.
I'm shooting for my 100th birthday and would like to play Mansion On The Hill to celebrate when I get there.

Not sure why, but my hair is still brown while my brother a year older has gone gray 10 years ago and now white like the KFC guy. Even my 9 years younger brother is gray now. So I guess thats a positive, but I'd rather have steady hands than brown hair.
_________________
Custom inlaid Star Guitar 2006 by Mark Giles. SD-10 4+5 in E9th.
Promat #11 2007, D-10 Blond & Mahogany with Gold Tuners. Killer Tone Monster.
1952 or 53? Fender Duel 8, Walnut.
Todd Clinesmith Joaquin Murphy style Aluminum 8 String Lap Steel.
New Mullen SD-10, G2 5&5 All Polished Aluminum including covering.
1960 Wright S-10 Cable PSG
Todd Clinesmith T-8 Consol Ordered.
Also now have a Korean D'Angelico EX-SS Electric Single Cutaway. Great guitar.


Last edited by Andy De Paule on 2 May 2017 1:48 pm; edited 1 time in total
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Billy Mostyn


From:
Queensland, Australia
Post Posted 2 May 2017 4:30 am     Reply with quote

My hands shake occasionally. I also have a neurological disorder. Mine is called essential tremors.If I play lead guitar on my old tele my hands dont shake but my right hand shakes now and again when picking lap steel. With me its the position of the hands that cause the shakes like my right hand hovering over lap steel, holding coffee cup or pen. However, I find my hands dont shake in morning prior to having coffee. Love coffee but reducing my intake reduces the shakes. Somedays I can play Sleepwalk fine and other days it sounds more like Nightmare Run Smile
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Andy De Paule


From:
Saigon, Viet Nam & Eugene, Oregon
Post Posted 2 May 2017 9:02 am     Hi Billy, Reply with quote

Hi Billy,
Yes that is the same "Essential Tremors" that they said I have.
Not sure why they think it's essential because I could do just fine without them! Laughing

Yes I know less caffeine helps a little and I do try to keep it under 12 cups of java each day... Whoa! Shocked

Your right that the hand position makes some measure of difference. That is why having the armrest at a certain height helps to relax my hand and steady my playing.
As for my lap steel, I can't play it on my lap but have to elevate it to table height.
Like any other disability, we have to learn to live with it.
Thanks for the message from down under.
Andy
_________________
Custom inlaid Star Guitar 2006 by Mark Giles. SD-10 4+5 in E9th.
Promat #11 2007, D-10 Blond & Mahogany with Gold Tuners. Killer Tone Monster.
1952 or 53? Fender Duel 8, Walnut.
Todd Clinesmith Joaquin Murphy style Aluminum 8 String Lap Steel.
New Mullen SD-10, G2 5&5 All Polished Aluminum including covering.
1960 Wright S-10 Cable PSG
Todd Clinesmith T-8 Consol Ordered.
Also now have a Korean D'Angelico EX-SS Electric Single Cutaway. Great guitar.


Last edited by Andy De Paule on 2 May 2017 1:52 pm; edited 1 time in total
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Mark van Allen


From:
Watkinsville, Ga. USA
Post Posted 2 May 2017 1:11 pm     Reply with quote

I have the same thing, although my doctor calls them "Intention tremors" because they occur when intentionally concentrating the muscles to pick up something, hold it, etc. They are certainly a speed bump to "becoming a better player", but I try to take it in stride. I am curious, you others who deal with these, are you taking statins? There seems to be some research showing statins cause or exacerbate tremors. I'm trying to sort it out.

Apart from that, I've found for some time now my speed has decreased, and (of more concern to me), I seem to take longer integrating new concepts into my "everyday playing" on stage. Getting older… meh.
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Andy De Paule


From:
Saigon, Viet Nam & Eugene, Oregon
Post Posted 2 May 2017 1:47 pm     "Intention tremors" & statins? Reply with quote

Hi Mark,
Glad you posted this.
Yes I have been taking statins since heart surgery 11 years ago.
I was concerned about the statins too so have cut them back to minimum amounts, but interested in getting away from them all together,
Had not heard of the suspected connection to tremors, but will follow up with some searches.

The name "Intention tremors" makes more sense as they do get worse when trying harder to do something, playing guitar, signing my name, using tools and so on.

Not sure how much aging has to do with it, but I'd bet it does it's share of damage too?

As I said, a shot of whisky or a valium seem to help.
I get mine when I'm overseas because it's such a hassle getting a doctor to prescribe them here.
I try to keep taking these drugs to as little as possible and not often. They can get to be a bad habit.
Thanks for the post.
_________________
Custom inlaid Star Guitar 2006 by Mark Giles. SD-10 4+5 in E9th.
Promat #11 2007, D-10 Blond & Mahogany with Gold Tuners. Killer Tone Monster.
1952 or 53? Fender Duel 8, Walnut.
Todd Clinesmith Joaquin Murphy style Aluminum 8 String Lap Steel.
New Mullen SD-10, G2 5&5 All Polished Aluminum including covering.
1960 Wright S-10 Cable PSG
Todd Clinesmith T-8 Consol Ordered.
Also now have a Korean D'Angelico EX-SS Electric Single Cutaway. Great guitar.
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Andy De Paule


From:
Saigon, Viet Nam & Eugene, Oregon
Post Posted 2 May 2017 1:59 pm     A quick google search Reply with quote

A quick google search found this; http://articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive/2012/01/25/nerve-damage-with-cholesterol-meds.aspx

A new study found treatment with statin cholesterol-lowering drugs caused a clinically silent but still definite damage to peripheral nerves when taken for longer than 2 years
At least 88 other studies further link statin drugs to neurotoxicity (nerve damage), including 12 studies on statin-induced peripheral neuropathy

Much more worth reading here.
Andy
_________________
Custom inlaid Star Guitar 2006 by Mark Giles. SD-10 4+5 in E9th.
Promat #11 2007, D-10 Blond & Mahogany with Gold Tuners. Killer Tone Monster.
1952 or 53? Fender Duel 8, Walnut.
Todd Clinesmith Joaquin Murphy style Aluminum 8 String Lap Steel.
New Mullen SD-10, G2 5&5 All Polished Aluminum including covering.
1960 Wright S-10 Cable PSG
Todd Clinesmith T-8 Consol Ordered.
Also now have a Korean D'Angelico EX-SS Electric Single Cutaway. Great guitar.
View user's profile Send private message Send e-mail Visit poster's website Yahoo Messenger
Billy Mostyn


From:
Queensland, Australia
Post Posted 3 May 2017 3:05 am     Reply with quote

Hi Andy and Mark. I am not taking any medication for the shakes but I do take cholesterol meds. I was going to participate in a University study at the Griffith University here on the Gold Coast to see if Resistance Training using weights and resistance bands could minimise tremors. Unfortunately I couldn't attend due to my wife having some health problems at the time but apparently some good results came about for most of the participants. So I have started exercising with the bands. Has made a slight difference. I am even thinking of giving the guitarists finger strength exercisers a go.

It is interesting reading about Intentional tremors. I got so mad at myself recently for throwing a teaspoon of sugar about when I was putting it in my coffee that I said to my hand "Go on shake as much as you can you B.....d" and my shake stopped after a few seconds. I build guitars and lapsteels and have no problems using power tools etc but I have to get one of my sons to measure and draw straight lines for me as I shake holding a pencil
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Charlie McDonald


From:
out of the blue
Post Posted 3 May 2017 4:47 am     Reply with quote

Billy Mostyn wrote:
I got so mad at myself recently for throwing a teaspoon of sugar about when I was putting it in my coffee that I said to my hand "Go on shake as much as you can you B.....d" and my shake stopped after a few seconds.

That kind of sums up my thinking; whatever it is, I let it happen. Trying to stop it with one's conscious mind.. seems to exacerbate it.
Letting it go, letting it happen, it happens in a couple of seconds and is done.

I like the term 'intentional' rather than 'essential.'
In Oliver Sacks' terms, it is a focal dystonia. He discusses it in Musicophelia in the chapter on the one-armed pianist,
Leon Fleisher (was it his intent to play music, or perfect his playing?). I highly recommend the book for musicians.
Music is something the brain works well with if we don't fight it. The fight is on the inside, with ourselves, not the music.
Roger wrote:
Trying to effect a more disciplined right-hand and posture has come at a price for me.

It's possible that noticing these effects will reverse the condition. Fleisher now plays with both hands again.

I quote Roger because I'll be those things are of concern to many players. Meanwhile, I dig what he's saying.
My beginner brilliance was short-lived, but I doubt that I'm any worse for it.
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Billy Mostyn


From:
Queensland, Australia
Post Posted 3 May 2017 5:00 am     Reply with quote

Very interesting post Charlie. You've got me wanting to research more now Laughing
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Andy De Paule


From:
Saigon, Viet Nam & Eugene, Oregon
Post Posted 3 May 2017 5:59 am     For Billy Mostyn Reply with quote

For Billy Mostyn,
Thanks for that post.
I have been building guitars, violins and other stringed instruments including intricate inlay work since 1969.
My tremors started some time before that when I was quite young, in my teens.
However they have gotten much worse during the past few years.

I had the same experience that I could and still do use most tools well, even able to carve with both left or right hand. Still don't know why I can do that but have trouble signing my name sometimes and could never do the speed picking stuff.

On the steel I tune the 2nd and 9th string to C# in case I hit them by mistake so it won't sound so bad. Bring them up by knee lever.
Glad this thread is going this way. Maybe we'll learn something useful?

I never have done any lap steels but plan to in the near future.
Here are a few of my instruments from years gone by as I'm semi retired now.






_________________
Custom inlaid Star Guitar 2006 by Mark Giles. SD-10 4+5 in E9th.
Promat #11 2007, D-10 Blond & Mahogany with Gold Tuners. Killer Tone Monster.
1952 or 53? Fender Duel 8, Walnut.
Todd Clinesmith Joaquin Murphy style Aluminum 8 String Lap Steel.
New Mullen SD-10, G2 5&5 All Polished Aluminum including covering.
1960 Wright S-10 Cable PSG
Todd Clinesmith T-8 Consol Ordered.
Also now have a Korean D'Angelico EX-SS Electric Single Cutaway. Great guitar.
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Fred Treece


From:
California, USA
Post Posted 3 May 2017 7:41 am     Reply with quote

Beautiful instruments, Andy. That pic of the arch tops belongs in the Guitar Porn section of the forum Very Happy
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Andy De Paule


From:
Saigon, Viet Nam & Eugene, Oregon
Post Posted 3 May 2017 8:01 am     Thanks Fred Reply with quote

Thanks Fred,
Guess I missed the Guitar Porn section of the forum Shocked
Will have to look a little harder, no pun intended.
Best wishes,
Andy
_________________
Custom inlaid Star Guitar 2006 by Mark Giles. SD-10 4+5 in E9th.
Promat #11 2007, D-10 Blond & Mahogany with Gold Tuners. Killer Tone Monster.
1952 or 53? Fender Duel 8, Walnut.
Todd Clinesmith Joaquin Murphy style Aluminum 8 String Lap Steel.
New Mullen SD-10, G2 5&5 All Polished Aluminum including covering.
1960 Wright S-10 Cable PSG
Todd Clinesmith T-8 Consol Ordered.
Also now have a Korean D'Angelico EX-SS Electric Single Cutaway. Great guitar.
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Roger Rettig


From:
An Englishman in Naples, FL
Post Posted 3 May 2017 11:47 am     Reply with quote

Charlie:

I'm still not sure I've expressed exactly what I think is wrong. When I started I was already a professional guitarist and I was lucky enough to be working at a high level. When I was drawn to pedal steel (thanks to Emmons on Ray Charles' 'Wichita Lineman') I actually said to myself: "How hard can this be?"

Really! That's what I thought. So I'd figure out where the notes were and simply go for it. Yes, I missed a bunch of them but I had a confidence in myself that I could pull it off. But the more I learned the less I knew and here I am today and almost afraid to go for anything that hasn't been routined to the point where I can be reasonably sure I won't be shown to be a complete fumbler.

I like your 'beginner brilliance' phrase. It rings very true.
_________________
RR
Emmons LG3 D-10, JCH SD-10, Zum Encore


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Kevin Fix


From:
Michigan, USA
Post Posted 3 May 2017 6:21 pm     Playing Now Reply with quote

I will be 64 this year. I am still progressing some what. Not able to play as fast as I used to say 20 years ago. Vision is getting worse. Can't drive anymore. Lost most of my 3D vision. My wife is my driver now. Doing County Fairs and festivals. I'm satisfied.
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Billy Mostyn


From:
Queensland, Australia
Post Posted 3 May 2017 11:17 pm     Reply with quote

Beautiful instruments Andy
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Craig A Davidson


From:
Wisconsin Rapids, Wisconsin USA
Post Posted 4 May 2017 5:29 am     Statins Reply with quote

For you guys on statins get off them. My father-in-law was on them and they slowly took him from us. First he shook, then he got so unsteady he couldn't even walk, also lost his vision and his ability to speak. They have been offered to my wife and she told them where to put them. If there is a choice of taking them or dying from clogged arteries I will take the later.
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Charlie McDonald


From:
out of the blue
Post Posted 4 May 2017 5:33 am     Reply with quote

I think I see, Roger. Certainly nothing to do with focal dystonia.
There's a track laid out somewhere here for Wichita Lineman. Couldn't be that hard!

I get a steel with no expectations and I'm brilliant. The more we know, the more expectations we develop.
I think the more you play at the level that you do, the more expectations of others matters and you want to get it right.
There are aspects of playing professionally that are hard. (No, violin is hard, Earnest said recently.)
To paraphrase Kermit the frog, it isn't easy being green when you're not green any more. Neutral
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Roger Rettig


From:
An Englishman in Naples, FL
Post Posted 4 May 2017 7:45 am     Reply with quote

Thanks, Charlie. It sounds like golf but it's more important than that.

It's difficult now to imagine getting significantly better at my age (74) yet I still search for that imaginary doorway to the next realm.

Got to pull myself together, though. On the Monday week I'm off to ND for my regular sixteen week contract, a job on which - up to now - I've managed to pull the wool over their eyes.

Onward and upward.
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RR
Emmons LG3 D-10, JCH SD-10, Zum Encore


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Roger Rettig


From:
An Englishman in Naples, FL
Post Posted 4 May 2017 7:51 am     Reply with quote

Earnest was right. Violin? That's a whole 'nuther animal!
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RR
Emmons LG3 D-10, JCH SD-10, Zum Encore


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Charlie McDonald


From:
out of the blue
Post Posted 4 May 2017 9:04 am     Reply with quote

I also recall him saying in a post 'do you play sax as well as steel?'--'I don't play sax as well as steel.'

Yeah, it's more like golf. 'Green side up!' Keep pulling the wool. You can fool a lot of people a lot of the time. I'd rather be lucky than good. Etc.
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Alan Brookes


From:
Brummy living in the San Francisco Bay Area
Post Posted 4 May 2017 9:14 am     Reply with quote

Gosh, I never heard of that problem with statins before. I've been taking them for about ten years, every day. In fact, I just took my tablets a few minutes before reading these posts. Yes, I've experience muscle weakness at times and put it down to old age and not getting enough exercise, but I'll cut them out straight away. Shocked

Some of the things that I used to play as a youngster demanded a lot of physical effort, not so much on steel but on rhythm guitar, especially when playing a 12-string. If you listen to people like Buddy Holly, they produced their rhythm entirely by downward strokes, which takes twice as much hand movement as when strumming up and down,and is very energetic. That takes it out of you as you get older. Embarassed

That's about the size of it. At 71 I can play a lot better than at 18 but I'm not so energetic. I guess that's a reason to stick to the steel, with the long, whiney notes. If my hand shakes it adds to the tone. Winking
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Alan Brookes


From:
Brummy living in the San Francisco Bay Area
Post Posted 5 May 2017 6:59 pm     Reply with quote

I emailed my doctor about statins, and this is his response"

"Dear Mr. Brookes,

That's a great question. And, thanks for sending the photo. Steel Guitars sound beautiful!

Statins can indeed affect the muscles. The most typical side effect is muscle aches called myalgias. It can also cause some inflammation in the muscle or spasms. Muscle weakness is much less common but can also occur. These side effects occur in less than 10% of people and are most often reversible once you stop the medication. Very few cases have any serious, long lasting effects.

If you've not had any issues with it yet, it's very unlikely any serious problems will arise. But, if knowing that, you'd like to stop taking it, you are more than welcome to.

Keep up the good work,
Jordan Yoder, MD"


I have a doctor who loves steel guitar. Cool Very Happy
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