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How do you tell someone--gently--that his playing sucks?


DeepEnd
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You said "Making someone feel bad to fulfill your need is crummy;" That's not really that far removed from saying my motivations are sick and sadistic. I don't really care whether he thinks my playing is "better" or not. I wanted him to see if he could tell whether it was different. As for affirmation, I can't give it honestly until there's something to affirm, healthy or not. "Oh, you've been playing. Good for you." is about all I can say.

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Actually, I do think it's far from saying "sick and sadistic" -- I wrote that I think you have some good motivations, just also selfish ones you're denying. I am not into a huge flame war, what I'm trying to say is that given the details you shared, criticism isn't going to help. Saying "I see you've been playing" is about all that's welcome.

 

I do think leading by example here is the only possibility. Why don't you ask him if there's a song he'd like to figure out, and show him how you do it? That (cough, cough) might lead to a light bulb moment.

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I agree with saying nothing at this point in time.

He’ll keep playing, and he’ll keep thinking he’s good the whole time,

but in the process he will improve.

If/when he tries to get into a project with other musicians, that’s when he’ll be put in his place, whatever that may be at the time.

 

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Don't worry. It's been pointed out that any comments I might make would be selfishly motivated so I won't say anything even if his playing causes me physical pain at some point or if he specifically asks for feedback. I'll simply make an excuse not to listen any more.

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Kidding aside...I think sometimes it takes a little bit of guidance to point someone in the right direction. If you don't give a crap about this player, just tell him...that sucks. If he's/she's a big boy- you can say the same thing and they will get it.

 

If this person is a bit fragile (even if they act tough), and you truly care- you can lead them along without them actually knowing it. SHow them a few things, jam togethe, steer them towards some easier pieces until they get the hang of it. If someone said "record it", that was spot on as there is nothing more brutal and honest than listening back- it's not person telling you you suck- it's the recording.

 

So it just depends. I say use good judgement and compassion. You can always ramp up nastiness if need be.

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. . . If someone said "record it", that was spot on as there is nothing more brutal and honest than listening back- it's not person telling you you suck- it's the recording. . . .

Yeah, that's one of the reasons I hate listening to recordings of my own singing. A number of people I respect have told me over the years that I have a nice voice but when I actually listen to myself I can hardly stand it. Anyway, the guy has apparently lost interest so I won't say anything at all unless he asks and even then I'll try to be gentle.

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let the public voice the desirability of his efforts, that should let him know if he can cut it or not....

 

You sir are a real sadist.

 

Politely and gently inform him of his talents in private by a trusted acquaintance?

 

Or let the public do it in public?

 

You are a BAD MAN!

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So, I guess pulling out his power chord on the amp is out...?

 

Seriously though, yes, he is a beginner, we all were at one point. but even beginners need to be "guided" into giving what they are doing a serious listen. The idea that Knotty suggested, the 2 track recording is a good one. (Never thought I would ever say a sentence that said that! :)) Be constructive, but be brutal.

 

Being brutal is not good , it could discourage the person.

It would be almost as bad as having sex with a wife or girlfriend and saying while having sex ..... "You better lose weight. because I feel like I'm with a Blue Ribbon Hog" ..... SAMETHING !!!!

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A kid at a local open mic got up and ran through a few rusted root tunes... The tunes he picked, I wouldn't have, and his style and approach was unique and self taught... His vocal stylings were different than the usual and most turned away politely... But within all the " wrong way" was this raw passion, a pain that went beyond his rough edges and bastardized arrangements, and an ability to open up and give from his heart... His first time performing was fairly brutal with polite applause... I caught him before he escaped from the parking lot with his head down... Hey man, rusted root is a tough sell in there... I have to say what you were doing isn't really my cup of tea, but how you deliver it caught my attention. You have an ability to share your passion and let others feel what you're feeling... In a year he's come a long way, wider base of material and developing his stage presence has given him the confidence to go out and book a few gigs... Where and if it goes anywhere is all up to him and a roll of the dice... just a reminder that honesty isnt destructive or positive in and of itself, just as in music, it's all in the delivery and timing... Ymmv...

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Too much negativity in this world already to contribute by telling anyone that they suck at whatever. I play with a guy (my best friend) every couple of weeks and my wife says why waste your time? To me it's not a waste at all, we have a couple of beers, shoot the {censored} and play some relatively simple tunes. I have some other friends I jam with (including a drummer and bass player) when we want to get a bit more serious with it. No jealousies or any other nonsense, my friend knows where he stands music-wise, he just doesn't choose to practice that much to get significantly better. Really enough discouraging {censored} out there, friends should always be there for encouragement IMO.

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You sir are a real sadist.

 

Politely and gently inform him of his talents in private by a trusted acquaintance?

 

Or let the public do it in public?

 

You are a BAD MAN!

TRUE.

I learned the hard way, playing for free.

Dont need to get paid, just wanna get laid, who else sees the trade as a total charade?

Me and millions of others, No Doubt. Hi Gwen you sexy thang...

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Too much negativity in this world already to contribute by telling anyone that they suck at whatever. I play with a guy (my best friend) every couple of weeks and my wife says why waste your time? To me it's not a waste at all, we have a couple of beers, shoot the **************** and play some relatively simple tunes. I have some other friends I jam with (including a drummer and bass player) when we want to get a bit more serious with it. No jealousies or any other nonsense, my friend knows where he stands music-wise, he just doesn't choose to practice that much to get significantly better. Really enough discouraging **************** out there, friends should always be there for encouragement IMO.

 

 

 

I know most of us are decent chaps...plus, I'm sure despite some tough guy antics- we'd like to show our human compassion here- however there is a difference between the thread subject matter and yourself. You just meet up with buds and have fun. This guy drags people to his shed and trying to prove how awesome he is. BIG difference. He's almost like from the videos about how to not be a "good" guitarist".

 

And really- if I were a true friend, and I saw an...opportunity- I would try to steer my FRIEND in the right direction.

 

If it were some dude acquaintance that dragged me up to his place and bragged about hist crappy playing- I'd be inclined to lay out there. Tell him straight up. Politely, professionally, firmly- but honestly too.

 

Your situations are different than this one.

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