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I have just started picking up my guitar again after not having touched one since April 2013. This time, I am doing things different. Instead of constantly buying and selling guitars in an attempt to find the "perfect" guitar, and spending more time switching back and force than actually playing during a practice session, I am down to just one guitar - a Blueridge BR-140A. I has the most comfortable nexk of all the guitars I have played.

And instead of trying to learn everything at once, from multiple instructional sources, I have to stick to a single source and work my way through Dan Miller's Essential Series.

And, I have given up the idea of building guitars and am selling all the tools, wood and other things that have been filling my basement,

It took me a while but I realized I had turned learning to flatpick into a second job, instead of letting it be a pleasurable and relaxing thing to do in my spare time. I am trying to return to what made playing guitar fun when I was younger.

Anyone else still out there?

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Makes perfect sense to me JS. On a parallel note i know a lot of woodworkers who love to find and restore vintage machinery. Eventually that is all they do and woodworking itself becomes a secondary pursuit.
You are taking a good focused route. Like they say...."keep it simple"

I'm right here with you on this Jim, I haven't really touched my guitars in years, and right now I don't even have an acoustic ( I'm in the market right now).  Other priorities and hobbies just crowded it out, I've decided to just sit down and really enjoy playing again and go through the essential series.

All of my music stuff is in disarray and I can't find book 1 of the essential series, so I may have to buy this again.

I have just started essentials book 1 again Jim so Im right here with you. Be great to have folks to chat about it to! 

I did not realize there were so many of us in the same boat. I am hoping this approach helps me recapture the joy!

Wow, this sounds very familiar to me. My problem, I think, is I have too many toys and not enough time to play with all of them. I have had several guitars for years, in addition to ukuleles and mandolins, so I lose focus going from one toy to another. I haven't had the determination to practice, I  mean really practice, so I just end up moving from one book or tune to another, without really learning anything well. I have so many book, CDs, online accounts, etc., that I am all over the place. In the end, I have become a jack of all trades, but master of none!!!! Another thing I have noticed is that I normally do better when I have someone else to play or practice with. I really get bored quickly when I am on my own. Finally, the other hobbies I have, amateur radio and photography, are both int the same shape. At my age of 62, I don't think I have to many more opportunities to start again! Good Luck Jim...Tony


It sounds as if you are in the same situation as me, minus the amateur radio hobby. At one point, I had 17 guitars, a mandolin and a keyboard. I had dozens of instructional DVDs and books for all three instruments. I am also interested in photography and do that as a part of a part time job covering drag racing. Plus, I have my regular job, websites going on and a lot of home improvement projects. At 57, I do not have enough time left to do everything so it is time to cut down. Good luck to you too, Tony.


I understand where your coming from Tony. I do the same kind of thing except with songs, scales, genres, songwriting etc. I go between them and don't feel I've learnt that much. I'm having fun doing it all, don't get me wrong, but would like to be a bit more committed  to learning more  guitar rhythms, lead and tightening up my timing and so on. I think going through Essentials book 1 is a good place to start for me. Sound like your having a great time with your hobbies Tony !!

Now, I just need to get rid of the band saw and jointer I bought to make guitars.

Good luck with that Jim! I'm going to start spending 20 mins per day on the Book 1. Have you started it yet?

Starting tomorrow. I bought the digital edition of the Essentials books. So, I am going to print out the first book at work tomorrow.

I can also relate, Jim.  I haven't put the guitar down, but I have spent too much time jumping from one guitar to another, one genre of music to another or one book to another to have had any meaningful and focused learning time.  I just recently made the decision to re-focus on flatpicking and using the Essentials Series as my roadmap.

Good luck to you and all others who have identified; and thanks for communicating!  Mike A

I totally agree that focus is key. When I was flatpicking, I found that having at least one weekly session with other musicians kept me focused and gave me the drive to keep improving. If you can find a buddy or two or three that will practice the same songs, you will make great progress, especially if you apply what the Essential Series teaches to the songs you are playing in your group.

I'm doing other things now that take too much time from my group music practice, so I've switched to fingerstyle and play solo. It takes a lot of discipline to not jump around from song to song, but I've committed to switch from wide/shallow (lots of songs played poorly) to narrow/deep (few songs but played well). I'm paralleling two instructional books, but I don't move past any exercise until I have it nearly mastered. Sometimes I'll spend a half-hour looping through just two measures.  My progress as been very satisfying. As a bonus, I'm learning how to make my guitar sing beautifully, whereas before I was simply trying to get the right notes in the right order.


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