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Self-loathing Effects Pedals, Units & Accessories
Old 21st December 2010
Gear Addict


I've been having a terrible time this week...Been really down on myself. I'm 27 years old, have been playing music since I was 12 or so. I've been writing and playing music for the last 8 or 9 years. I started a small project studio this summer and have had a little bit of business; enough to keep me busy outside of my 9-5 day job.

This weekend I met a guy who lives in Seattle where he bounces between Seattle and Nashville producing, and actively tours when he's not producing. Basically; exactly what I want to be doing.

I compared some of my stuff (both original and work I've done for other bands) to this guy's...And I sound like an absolute amateur in comparison. On the one hand, I'm comforted knowing that he's a successful producer and has been at it full time for about 7 years now. On the other hand; I'm depressed because that's what I want to sound like and am nowhere close.

I love what I do, both writing, playing, recording, and producing...And I really want to make a career out of all of it; that's what I've always wanted to do. But I kinda feel like I'm 27 and not there yet; and if it hasn't happened now, it most likely won't.

Anyone else struggle with these feelings? For what it's worth, every band or musician I've ever worked with loved the quality of their music when I was done, and I'm not terrible at it by any means...But I'm just nowhere near as good as I want to be and I fear I never will be.
Old 21st December 2010
Lives for gear
Lute's Avatar

Got contact details for him? Get in touch and tell him you wanna do what he does and get him to point you in the right direction. Don't beat yourself up about it, there's no point. Just ask. If he tells you to feck off, at least you tried
Old 22nd December 2010
Lives for gear
skyshooter's Avatar
I feel for you. I had the same "Brick wall" moment when I realized that I would never play as good as my new guitar teacher, and he was struggling to make $20/hr giving lessons and going to college on a music degree.

I concentrated my efforts into the recording side of things, and it payed of in the long run, I even helped him make a record years later. I never became the awesome musician I had hoped to be, but I have fun doing it as a hobby. I took what I did know, then grew it into a career that lasted 25 years of doing things I like doing, and doing them well. By not focusing on what you can't do, focus on what you do, and be the best at it. It really is that simple.

Good luck!

Last edited by skyshooter; 22nd December 2010 at 08:58 AM.. Reason: cohesion
Old 22nd December 2010
I used to be self-loathing, but eventually I just decided I wasn't really worth the effort.

But, anyhoo, the fact that others are better than you at something better not be a source of massive depression, otherwise you are in for a serious ride. Someone will always be better than you at everything probably, that's just the vastly likely odds. The floor space gets tighter as you move towards the top.

Almost everyone is better than me, but I don't let that bother me. I have plenty of other things that I let bother me, so I'm booked up steady on that front. But, I'm just doing it because I enjoy doing it. And, if you enjoy doing it, then you'll do it enough that eventually you'll get a lot better. Despite my obvious lackings, I've made huge strides forward since I started just shy of four years ago now. Everything I've done in the past either completely or mostly sucked, but now I'm down to just semi-sucking.
Old 22nd December 2010
Lives for gear
Old Goat's Avatar

Oh, yeah, it's tough to find out you are not as good as you want to be. Only thing to do is keep working at it. Having a day job makes it even harder, but all you can do is hunker down and work at it. I'm 55--don't have near the time you do to get it right.
Old 22nd December 2010
Gear Addict
T.R.'s Avatar

Originally Posted by Dean Roddey View Post
I used to be self-loathing, but eventually I just decided I wasn't really worth the effort.
THIS is a beautiful and utterly true sentence. And to top it off, it is witty.
I would think about it for some minutes and then proceed to get better at your draft. Change that self- loathing into drive and you are on the right track for sure.

All the best!
Old 22nd December 2010
Lives for gear

"I love what I do, both writing, playing, recording, and producing...And I really want to make a career out of all of it"

Writing is different playing. Playing is different to recording. Recording is different to producing. It's hard enough to make a career out of any one of those things, but you "want to make a career out of all of it". On top of a day job.

Very few people are good at all of those. Most great engineers and producers just stuck to engineering and production.

Be ruthless in deciding what your'e good at and what you're not. If you can't work that out then:

Ask someone really good at writing what they think of your writing.
Ask someone really good at playing what they think of your playing.
Ask someone really good at recording what they think of your recording.
Ask someone really good at producing what they think of your producing.

Or you could just stick some of your recordings in the mix critique section of this forum. I don't know **** about anything, but for what it's worth I'd be happy to tell you honestly whether I think your strengths lie more in performance than recording.
Old 22nd December 2010
Lives for gear

I go thru that, especially when I have a delusion about my playing. The other day I learned Malmsteens Far Beyond The Sun, up until the guitar solo. I youtubed it to see a particular riff and some 20 year old japanese kid has it cleaner and way more precise. I'll probably never be that good. I can settle for not being the best. I know I dont suck, I'm actually pretty good and have something to say musically. seeing people who are better force me to sit down with a metronome and hammer out my weak points which never seem to go away, but they do diminish. Do the same. What is it about your production that is off? Identify it and tackle it. Loathing never sounded good to anyone.
Old 22nd December 2010
Gear Guru
henryrobinett's Avatar
Hm. I have ALWAYS used that kind of stuff for inspiration - jumping off point to working harder. There will always be people better than you. Always. I just go, "Damn. OK." I design some kind of practice program. Could be songwriting, production, guitar. DOING is the only thing that separates. Experience. Buy self loathing? Never. It's a waste of time.
Old 22nd December 2010
Gear Maniac

every great artist has to be somewhat unsatisfied with his current work. it is sort of a swell and lull of emotions. Up to the point of finishing where the process feels great and your expectations are high then the final product where despite being good, you felt it could of been better.

I have yet to do something I did not feel a slight feeling of disappointment after the fact. But when I look back lets say a few months after, I do feel quite good about what I did.
Old 24th December 2010
they say it's all downhill after 26
Old 28th December 2010
Here for the gear

Though there are some really great answers up above, I'll try to add a little something.

I think most of us suffer from these feelings once in a while. Especially if we meet someone who seem to have attained what we're searching for.
I'm turning thirty in 2011, in a few months, I have a few good nooks on my belt, but not where I want to be, and supposed to be, IMHO.
But I try to take every little step forward as a success.

The trick is, as mentioned before - turn it into a drive. Don't ignore the down you have. Let it run it's course. But when you're all the way to the floor, search for some resurrection. It can be from a past succes, it can be from your girlfriend, hell, it can be from your mom. But let someone help you see the right direction. It could even be from the guy who is doing what you want to. Get some pointers, try them out, see how they work for you. Make your opinion, is there something else, another approach that works better for you? Well, perhaps that's your thing, your sound. Work at it.

In my experience, it has also something to do with being stuck in a rut. Try something new - preferably, like a mentioned - a technique from someone you respect, and work out your own version of it. Often just learning something new can send you upwards again.

This is just what I have experienced - perhaps it will help you a little.

Happy new year!
Old 28th December 2010
Gear Addict

Thanks everyone. I appreciate all the words of wisdom...I have been checking back on this thread every couple days, and I really appreciate what you guys have to say, and I'm taking it to heart and putting it into action. My wife always tells my I'm my own worst critic. But I think ya'll are definitely right...I'm going to try and take this and turn it into motivation to grow and learn. I'll try and zero in on what I love most and do best instead of bumming that I'm not a musical rennesiance man.

Thanks a million ya'll!
Old 29th December 2010
Gear Guru
henryrobinett's Avatar

You could be a musical renaissance man. Probably not today. In our society people want things NOW, or if possible YESTERDAY. But anything great takes time to develop all kinds if inner workings and ability. I don't think ability EVER springs unaccounted for. You may not see the time and remarkable effort that someone puts into something to be great, and they may try to lead you to believe differently, but it's true. Extraordinary effort. If most people knew they'd fold up their tents and go home. People who are really good are an inspiration and should be acknowledged for their efforts and artistry, I think. it shouldn't be a competition. But that's easier said than done!
Old 29th December 2010
You sound like a dreamer, you want to have the dream music gig, but the practical reality for everyone is - you do whatever someone will pay you to do. Most of the world is naturally gifted at **** they hate doing, a few of us are lucky enough to be gifted enough at stuff that we can tolerate, and even fewer are naturally gifted in areas that they love, fewer still find that out and are found out. It's totally possible to go against the grain and be great, it just requires a bit more work and critical facility, to spot your own failings and fix them up.

If you really really want to get into music then it requires pretty heavy sacrifice. Like others have said contact the guy. You need to start making the contacts and getting the tuition and maybe even an internship somewhere, working probably pretty crappy hours for not much pay learning the chops you'll need to do what you want from those that are already doing what you want, and once you've learnt all you can then you need to move on to the next place, not get comfy feeling safe in any one location. Bottom line is you need to get out of your comfort zone.

I don't do music professionally because I know I could never make that kind of sacrifice to get halfway decent. But it's the same old rules for every industry. Practical application means a lot more than desire.
Old 29th December 2010
Here for the gear

Don't let things hold you down, if you wan't it bad enough and work yourself to attain it... then you will have what you want.

Skill has never been something your born with, it's something you create for yourself.
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