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FDP Forum / The Chop Shop / Clam-a-rama

Contributing Member

Vero Beach FL

Tbird Greg
Oct 28th, 2018 10:19 AM   Edit   Profile  

When I see live performances by top guitarists, I amazed at how flawlessly the seem to play. In contrast, there's my playing, which seems hopelessly full of missed notes, clams, etc, even on songs I've played for years. I don't think I've ever had a mistake-free performance in my life. Didn't matter so much when I didn't play out a lot, but now I'm a band at "bottom-feeder" venues, I am practicing more than ever, but the clams keep on coming.

Ok, pity-party is over, I'l get back to practicing!


Tennessee, USA

Go forth and make a joyful noise.
Oct 28th, 2018 10:27 AM   Edit   Profile  

Chances are, unless they are really horrendous mistakes out of key, your audience is not even noticing. People tend to be their own worst critics. The key to making things flow effortlessly is to be playing all the time - which is what most of the top guitarists you reference are doing - and I bet when they hear playback of their own performance they pick up on things that sound bad to them that the rest of us do not hear.

Contributing Member


Oct 28th, 2018 03:13 PM   Edit   Profile  

Most of the time when other players in the band say they have made a mistake I haven't noticed it.

Also, most of the time they haven't noticed mine.

Sometimes I think we are really just a mutual appreciation society.


LA-la-land, CA

Insert clever comment here
Oct 29th, 2018 12:44 PM   Edit   Profile  

My guess is there hardly a player alive who thinks they made a perfect performance of a piece. The better you get, the more minute the mistakes (usually). Therefore, the possibility is less and less that someone other than yourself will notice them.


LA-la-land, CA

Insert clever comment here
Oct 29th, 2018 12:49 PM   Edit   Profile  

It took me a long time to believe that. Doesn't always keep me from beating myself up!

Contributing Member

So. Cal. USA

Oct 29th, 2018 02:09 PM   Edit   Profile  

Clapton has a huge clam recorded on one of his versions of Cocaine. I think it's on the One More Car, One More Rider DVD recorded live at the Honda Center inn Anaheim. I was at that show.

He's doing the main theme (EEDE-D) and plays an E when he should have slid down to the last D of the phrase. You can hear it and see it.

I've never felt bad about my mistakes since.

Contributing Member

U.S. - Virginia

Nov 1st, 2018 02:21 PM   Edit   Profile  

Yea, those mistakes are there on a minute level for them. Sometimes they have big clams. This is why I could never perform classical pieces. I make too big of clams. I actually have seen some music I swear is performed perfectly, and it seems as though perfection was given precedence over music certainly to it's detriment.

Contributing Member

A sore

for sighted eyes
Nov 1st, 2018 03:14 PM   Edit   Profile  

Energy and execution are related, but they do have a huge effect on the music experience.

I've discovered this over years of listening to live and recorded music, and it is readily apparent when I've listened later to a recording of a concert that I attended.

At a live show there's a whole lot more going on than sound in your ears. There are fog machines, blinky lights, lasers, hawt wimmerns, and lots of really expensive gear on display. And there's loud music. There's so much energy in the air, you can stand up a coffee spoon in it. If the drummer drags a bit here or there, or the guitar guy clams a note, it's no big deal. It's LIVE music, baby!

Sitting at home and listening to music at more moderate, neighbor-friendly levels is completely different. You're focused only on the execution, and anything that's out of place is like a phart in church. You'll hear it every time.

Contributing Member

U.S. - Virginia

Nov 1st, 2018 09:49 PM   Edit   Profile  

You know the other aspect of it is that the pros also don't even think twice about a mistake when it happens. It's like being the ultimate zen master. Some guy insults your mama and you don't even flinch.

Part of that is because mistakes become the exception and not the rule. So when it happens they probably think "huh, how about that" and it doesn't shake them.

When I make a mistake its "eye roll, ugh, again, here we go, why can't I play right. Im such a failure at life"

Learning to make mistakes is an interesting thing.

Contributing Member

Vero Beach FL

Tbird Greg
Nov 2nd, 2018 06:30 AM   Edit   Profile  

"When I make a mistake its "eye roll, ugh, again, here we go, why can't I play right. Im such a failure at life". Yep, that's me. And it is also true that after a performance where I felt I made lots of mistakes, nobody seemed to notice. Of course, they probably didn't notice the good stuff either. LOL!

Contributing Member


numb, yes...comfortable? Not so much
Nov 6th, 2018 09:06 PM   Edit   Profile  

And don't forget...this is your hobby. For the pros this is their job. They practice over and over and then practice some more. Like the old saying...if you want to be good, practice til you get it right. If you want to be great, practice til you can't get it wrong

Contributing Member

Ocala, Florida

I do my own stunts, but never on purpose
Nov 7th, 2018 05:09 AM   Edit   Profile  

Statistics show that for every guitarist laying awake at night "fretting" over their earlier clams, there are exactly zero audience members laying awake thinking "man, that dude sure had his share of mistakes".

Contributing Member

St. Louis

"Thumbpicks don't slide into soundholes"
Nov 17th, 2018 06:01 PM   Edit   Profile  

I start every gig by telling the audience “Hey ,if you can’t stand mistakes in your music now would be a good time to head home”.
Most of the mistakes we make are over so quick nobody notices much.
As long as it doesn’t bring the song to a stop you’re ok.

In most bars and events maybe 10 percent of the people are actually paying attention to the performers.

I’ve been more impressed with fellow performers as far as what they got right than if they blew a bad note past me.

Years ago I figured that I’m doing what I can and that’s going to be a much better listen clams and all .

Your buddies will help you through mistakes too.
We were playing Cold Shot a while back and the keyboard player was a temp. He right out of the gate started playing Moondance. It has a few differences but he just took it that way and everyone looked at me to make it better. I just kind of looked around and started singing Moondance and it was fabulous. We all were grinning at each other but the audience never knew.

FDP Forum / The Chop Shop / Clam-a-rama

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