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10 Things Only Guitarists Would Understand

10 Things Only Guitarists Would Understand

Passion is one of the more prominent and admirable human traits. Most times people talk about being in the zone, it usually means that they managed to tap into their passion for work, hobby, or some other activity they really adore. We instinctively associate music with passion. Guitar players, due to the nature of their instrument, have the most expressive presence. As soon as somebody mentions a guitar player, we get an image of a stage with a guitar player blasting a solo on it.

Similar to mastering any other art, learning the guitar (electric or acoustic) has its trials and tribulations. It isn’t pure expressionism all day long. Guitarists can come off as unreasonable from time to time. However, being that I consider myself to be one of them, I have a closer insight into the problems they can run into.

Here are the some things all guitarists can relate to.

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1. You understand pain is part of success

Most people who have never taken a serious shot at learning to play the guitar are not aware how painful the process can be. Your fingertips blister and chafe. Your wrists, forearms, and shoulders hurt and cramp up. Your back kills you. And yes, after a while, your head can even begin to ache. Still, as time goes by, you overcome the pain and reap new skills that allow you to shred like never before!

2. You understand the importance of security

Guitars and guitar equipment (amps, pedals and so on) are quite expensive. Sure, there are budget solutions out there, but let’s be honest, that gear doesn’t really give you a tone you are looking for. A quality guitar costs somewhere around $1,000, and up to even $5,000. Let’s not even mention the guitars that belonged to famous guitarists (they can go up to millions of dollars). Amps and other gear included can stack up to a pretty substantial sum in gear. This gear isn’t too hard to transport — and therefore steal. Guitarists are very emotional about their gear. They don’t view it as mere objects they paid money for. This is why they always keep their home very secure. Losing a favourite guitar to theft is something that happened to big stars like Zackk Wylde, BB King (God rest his soul), Satriani, and many others.

3. You are aware of the hardships of being in a band

My friend once said: “Being in a band is like being in relationship with 2-4 people at the same time”. And yes, a band break up is just that, a massive break-up where nobody gets spared of drama. (Ok, maybe the drummer). There is an awful lot of talking, bickering, compromising, trash talking, behind the back talking, and all out shouting matches throughout the course of a band’s life. Things get even crazier when money starts to go around. This is why experienced guitarists hone their people skills because they know they are going to need it.

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4. You know the pain of being asked to play one of the “classics”

“Smells Like Teen Spirit, anyone? How about, Smoke on the Water? Maybe Nothing Else Matters is a bit more up your ally? No? Well, unfortunately these are some of the most commonly requested songs when people learn that you are a guitar player. Personally, I always had an aversion towards learning these songs, not because I don’t like them but because they are clichés. I can play “Smells Like Teen Spirit” and have enough skill to play the others as well, but ultimately, what’s the point? A bravo from someone who never played a note on the guitar? That’s not why I started playing, no offence intended.

5. You know what cable hell means

If you have proper gear, you have miles of cables to go along with it. This is where proper “cable hygiene” needs to kick in or you are set on a course for disaster. Imaging playing a gig and losing 5-10 minutes on finding which damn cable stopped working! Now, that’s awkward.

6. You keep an eye on non-guitarists handling your equipment

Some guitarist twitch even when other guitarists mess with their gear — let alone people who never held a guitar. Many even forbid anyone from touching their baby. This is all quite understandable when you take into consideration that experienced guitarists have setup their instruments to fit them perfectly, and any minor adjustments might destroy that setup they spent years creating. Furthermore, clumsy guitar handling can lead to some nasty accidents that no amount of apologies can atone for.

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7. You are a hopeless tech geek

Guitarists are always waiting for that next big innovation the guitar industry is going to come up with. We love making predictions and fantasizing about that imaginary piece of gear that we dream of having. Sometimes, we hit the nail on the head with our predictions, sometimes we miss completely, but even greater minds have had partial success with their predictions. Some guitarists even go as far to modify their gear themselves. However, this requires tremendous knowledge and skill to do properly.

8. You notice when people can’t play in movies or videos

Lil Wayne is the freshest example of that — with an added bonus of having the audacity to let his “solo” really be heard live. We can debate about style until kingdom come, but the fact is that his skill isn’t even basic.He should definitely sit down and practice some more before the next live solo.

9. You see the irony in guitars used as ornaments

Anyone who struggles with gathering enough money for gear like I do will feel the pain of seeing a guitar hung on a wall with no intention of ever using it to play something. A guitar is not a decoration. There is absolutely no reason to leave it hanging on a wall. If you bought it, grab it sometime, and spend some quality time with it. It might become your new best friend.

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10, You understand what it means to get lost in the moment

A lot of people believe that guitar players practice their performance moves. And it is true for some. Still, the most authentic and emotion filled “moves” are actually natural reactions of the guitarist’s body to the emotion they feel while playing. Jimi Hendrix had it, Jack White has it, Josh Homm definitely has it. You can really see and feel that it is natural. The same thing happens to players who get lost playing while at home, sometimes even sitting down. There were thousands of moments when I sat at home playing for nobody but myself, yet at one moment I just had to get up and start moving. It is an instinctive reaction to being hyped up by your own playing, not a rehearsed performance.

I hope I managed to bring up some points most guitarists agree with, and that I managed to shed some light on what you get from playing this instrument. There are not the only universal points, of course. Please, feel free to point out those that I missed. Have fun playing — and may your string never break mid-performance!

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Aleksandar Ilic

Blogger, Social Media Butterfly, Guitarist

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Last Updated on July 10, 2020

How to Take Control of Your Life with Better Boundaries

How to Take Control of Your Life with Better Boundaries

We all have them—those hurtful, frustrating, offensive, manipulative people in our lives. No matter how hard we try to surround ourselves with positive and kind people, there will always be those who will disrespect, insult, berate, and misuse you if we allow them to.

We may, for a variety of reasons, not be able to avoid them, but we can determine how we interact with them and how we allow them to interact with us.

So, how to take control of your life and stop being pushed around?

Learning to set clear firm boundaries with the people in our lives at work and in our personal lives is the best way to protect ourselves from the negative effects of this kind of behavior.

What Boundaries Are (And What They’re Not)

Boundaries are limits

—they are not threats or ultimatums. Boundaries inform or teach. They are not a form of punishment.

Boundaries are firm lines—determined by you—which cannot be crossed by those around you. They are guidelines for how you will allow others to treat you and what kind of behaviors you will expect.

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Healthy personal boundaries help protect you from physical or emotional pain. You may also need to set firm boundaries at work to ensure you and your time are not disrespected. Don’t allow others to take advantage of your kindness and generosity.

Clear boundaries communicate to others that you demand respect and consideration—that you are willing to stand up for yourself and that you will not be a doormat for anyone. They are a “no trespassing” sign that makes it very clear when a line has been crossed and that there will be consequences for doing so.

Boundaries are not set with the intention of changing other people. They may change how people interact with you, but they are more about enforcing your needs than attempting to change the general behavior and attitude of others.

How to Establish Boundaries and Take Control of Your Life

Here are some ways that you can establish boundaries and take control of your life.

1. Self-Awareness Comes First

Before you can establish boundaries with others, you first need to understand what your needs are.

You are entitled to respect. You have the right to protect yourself from inappropriate or offensive behavior. Setting boundaries is a way of honoring your needs.

To set appropriate boundaries, you need to be clear about what healthy behaviors look like—what healthy relationships look like.

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You first have to become more aware of your feelings and honest with yourself about your expectations and what you feel is appropriate behavior:

  • Where do you need to establish better boundaries?
  • When do you feel disrespected?
  • When do you feel violated, frustrated, or angered by the behavior of others?
  • In what situations do you feel you are being mistreated or taken advantage of?
  • When do you want to be alone?
  • How much space do you need?

You need to honor your own needs and boundaries before you can expect others to honor them. This allows you to take control of your life.

2. Clear Communication Is Essential

Inform others clearly and directly what your expectations are. It is essential to have clear communication if you want others to respect your boundaries. Explain in an honest and respectful tone what you find offensive or unacceptable.

Many people simply aren’t aware that they are behaving inappropriately. They may never have been taught proper manners or consideration for others.

3. Be Specific but Don’t Blame

Taking a blaming or punishing attitude automatically puts people on the defensive. People will not listen when they feel attacked. It’s part of human nature.

That said, you do not need to overexplain or defend yourself. Boundaries are not open to compromise.

Sample language:

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  • “You may not…yell or raise your voice to me…”
  • “I need…to be treated with respect…”
  • “It’s not okay when…you take things from my desk without asking…”
  • “I won’t…do your work…cover for you anymore…”
  • “It’s not acceptable when…you ridicule or insult me…”
  • “I am uncomfortable when…you use offensive language”
  • “I will no longer be able to…lend you money…”

Being able to communicate these without sounding accusatory is essential if you want others to respect your boundaries so you can take control of your life.

4. Consequences Are Often Necessary

Determine what the appropriate consequences will be when boundaries are crossed. If it’s appropriate, be clear about those consequences upfront when communicating those boundaries to others.

Follow through. People won’t respect your boundaries if you don’t enforce them.

Standing our ground and forcing consequences doesn’t come easily to us. We want to be nice. We want people to like us, but we shouldn’t have to trade our self-respect to gain friends or to achieve success.

We may be tempted to let minor disrespect slide to avoid conflict, but as the familiar saying goes, “if you give people an inch, they’ll take a mile.”

It’s much easier to address offensive or inappropriate behavior now than to wait until that behavior has gotten completely out of hand.

It’s also important to remember that positive reinforcement is even more powerful than negative consequences. When people do alter the way they treat you, acknowledge it. Let people know that you notice and appreciate their efforts.

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Final Thoughts

Respect is always a valid reason for setting a boundary. Don’t defend yourself or your needs. Boundaries are often necessary to protect your time, your space, and your feelings. And these are essential if you want to take control of your life.

Start with the easiest boundaries first. Setting boundaries is a skill that needs to be practiced. Enlist support from others if necessary. Inform people immediately when they have crossed the line.

Don’t wait. Communicate politely and directly. Be clear about the consequences and follow them through.

The better you become at setting your own boundaries, the better you become at recognizing and respecting the boundaries of others.

Remember that establishing boundaries is your right. You are entitled to respect. You can’t control how other people behave, but you do have control over the way you allow people to treat you.

Learning to set boundaries is not always easy, but with time, it will become more comfortable. You may eventually find that boundaries become automatic and you no longer need to consciously set them.

They will simply become a natural extension of your self-respect.

Featured photo credit: Thomas Kelley via unsplash.com

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