Thursday, May 05, 2011

Every Bunny Gets Drunk After Easter #9

We've had a semi-collapse this week, with David Gloier working on a piece about types of electric guitars that isn't quite finished, and my almost total lack of playtime (30 minutes on chords, not much to report there). John Harwood soldiered on, though, and we hope to do better next week.

Here's John's update:
I realized what my issue has been of late in not pushing myself with the Squier: I'm lazy. Coming from me of all people, that may not seem like a massive feat of self-realization, so bear with me.

I'm driven as hell to learn something new. I don't blink at dumping 5+ hours into something when it's fresh and exciting and challenging. So why am I no longer pushing myself 2+ hours a day hurting my fingers with no clue (or care) what I'm doing? I think it's because I can now get by. I can play bass on hard on anything that's moderate difficulty or less. That's quite a few very very satisfying songs, but in the back of my head I know that I'm not really progressing any more. I can't do chords reliably, but I find myself not really wanting to press and work at it. I can either frustrate myself and push for more and more, or I can take the easy road and play single string stuff and have fun.

I've noticed this tendency in myself in several other areas and I like to think of it as the Lazy Valley effect. If you were to graph my drive to achieve vs my skill and understanding, you hit a point where I'm headed up the curve and all of a sudden drive takes a complete nose dive when I hit a certain level of comfort and I stop pushing myself at all.  If I'm interested enough, I'll eventually pull out of the pit and start back up the curve, and the length of time spent in the valley is directly proportionate to how satisfying the activity is at that level of skill. That's the big problem I have with RB3 and the Squier at the moment: What I can do right now is very fun. But it's fun in a game-controller way, not in a playing-the-guitar way. Playing guitar for real is an incredibly compelling experience, so I think I'll pull out of this, unlike what happens to me in some computer games that I don't stick with.

Anyway, I'm beginning to climb out of the valley and this week spent about 3 hours going back to chords on Justin's site and... god help me... working on "The Hardest Button to Button" on expert guitar. You must by now understand what an effort of will that is. Have gotten to where I can play most of the song at about 85% speed in practice and I've noticed very definite improvement. I'm really "excited" to get to the point where I can "enjoy" playing along to that song on the amp and possibly even without the game going. So I think the worst of the laziness is behind me (damn you LOTRO and 3DS!) and I'm feeling motivated again.

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