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Never stop trying to improve.(r/Guitar)
Your personal journey into music is as organic as your own life and blood. There will always be an Ebb and Flow with where you are in your playing and how it will coincide with your current life situation. I would recommend not getting rid of all your guitars entirely, If you’ve found enjoyment in the past (enough to purchase 7 guitars worth) I’m sure there is still an inkling of your being that still yearns and relates to the instrument; even its just for personal reasons and beyond the dream of “making it big”. Also, its okay to stop playing for extended periods of time, and it’s very rare to find someone that hasn’t at one point or another taken a hiatus from the instrument (the obvious exception being the lucky few that are able to turn playing guitar into a professional career).
I’ll speak from my own personal experience; I first picked up the guitar when I was 12 and was immediately hooked, from ages 12-18 the guitar quickly became synonymous with my identifity. I did the bulk of my growth (as a player) during this period of time, and was even finding quasi-success within my local music scene; with opportunities to perform local shows with a couple bands, as well as the opportunity of opening for (semi)successful international acts at a few local festivals. However, once university came around, I had ultimately decided not to pursue a formal education in music (a very tough choice in its own right) and to pursue other interests of mine for potential career opportunities in the future.
Well beyond my first year of university I quickly found myself finding less and less time to dedicate to the guitar as the rest of life started to get in the way. And where I used to be able to pick up my guitar and play it for hours at a time each day, It quickly diminished to playing only a couple times a week, to once or twice a week, to a point where I had stopped playing all together for a period of about 10 months (somewhere between 2009-2010). Do I regret neglecting my guitar during that period of time? absolutely, but at the same time it was almost a necessity, in order for me to accomplish all the other things I’ve ever wanted to do in life outside of music. This was another developmental phase in my life and without that period, I would not be in the same financial or personal (relationship) situations I’m in now. Sure, perhaps my life would of been different, but I still think I’m a better and more well-rounded person because of the things I’ve been able to do and experience in those formative years of my life.
I’m now turning 25 in a month and have since graduated from Uni and gotten a job in the “real world”. Even though I graduated about a year and a half ago now, it actually wasn’t until about 6 months ago when I started picking up my guitars again (have had my 4 guitars laying mostly dormant in their cases prior to this), but now things are slightly different. My situation in life is now such that for the most part I have it “figured out” (Well I wouldn’t say figured out as in “set in stone”, as I’m still young and everything is still very much within the realm of possibility, but I somewhat have direction in my life). Now, I don’t have to worry so much about life getting in the way and I’m able to fully pursue my passion in music, completely unhindered. I’m still very much working on getting my playing chops back to where they use to be (I’ve noticed that my fingers don’t quite have that raw youthful spark and bounce they use too) but I’m getting there slowly, I’ve at least been able to grow and mature as a player in comparison to my youth-days.
But anyways, I just want to emphasize that learning guitar (as well as any other instrument) should be seen as a journey; and journeys don’t always have a linear movement, sometimes its necessarily to take a step to the side for a bit and stop to “take in the scenery”, or even to back track a little. The key is just to never give up on the journey, when it all comes down to it, you’ll definitely be glad to began that journey and stuck with it, rather than to never try at all.
If you’re looking for some more motivation or even just some stuff to read to get into a positive mindset about all of this I have to recommend you check out the books; Zen Guitar and The Music Lesson: A Spiritual Search for Growth Through Music.
I first read Zen Guitar when I was about 16 and still to this day I reflect on a lot of what I read in that book and try to apply it to my life as much as possible, its not really about playing guitar or learning guitar, rather Zen Guitar is about finding a harmony or balance in your own life, all the while using your guitar as a tool and metaphor for how to approach every facet of your life.
As for the second book, I’ve only just started to read it, but its written by Victor Wooten (bassist extraordinare), and is again more of a lesson in how to mentally prepare yourself to approach your instrument and life-long process of learning and fueling your creative processes.