I’m playing around on my acoustic six string this morning, and have thoughts about improv that I think reverberate and echo widely into game and life.
When I was 16 I’d goof around haphazardly on the family stand up piano in the basement. Being of mild cluster C tentencies (anorexia, obsessive compulsive, struggling against neurotic thoughts) I liked to do a lot of tricky finger excersices. My thinking was that this would naturally lead into musical ability.
Later I wandered into the high school music classroom, during a free period, when all students could structure their own time. One guy was doing some simple chord progressions, with some non-technical melody in the right hand, using a slow tempo. It was a life changeing eye opener that I’ve never forgotten. I tell this story often. He put emotion into his music, and that was far more important than a universe of technical ability. It drew people in, drew him in, drew me in. It was an ability from another universe. I had no idea how he did that.
It would take me many decades of life and feeling and being open to emotions of every kind to be able to have something to bring to and pull out of the piano. The piano now is a completely different thing to me, because I’m a different thing.
We create our realities, within biological and physical and social constraints. But those constraints are bigger than any of us can comprehend. Music itself has been evolving over the centuries, and faster and faster. Social structures are also opening to more and more options. There is tremendous room within the facts to CREATE facts. Technology is the perfect example of this. We not only live within a bounded reality, but we use what we are given to paint and sculpt and compose and dance and sing and write and fuck our way into new worlds, that we create as we discover them.
You can make more beautiful and simply better music, using one string played emotionally, than 6 or 8 played with virtuosity. Guitar teachers, in fact any teacher, will tell you to try to avoid starting with bad habits.
Some teachers will tell you to never play even one note that doesn’t sound sweet. Focus on the sound, not the melody.
It’s similar with seduction and maintaining passionate romance. Technical game ability can get in the way of the moment – it’s not about your routine, or even quite so much about what you say. Or even do. It’s about emotion and what you are mutually creating into and out of your instrument. With seduction and charisma, your instrument is the other person. You are dancing emotions with her, feeding your emotions in and pulling her emotions out. Is the note sweet? Start with the note, and if you move on to melodies and beats, always pay attention to the note.
The guitar string can convey emotion just out of one note, depending on how you play it, and of course single string melodies can bring out more emotions. Add more strings and you can incorporate more elements of music, such as a repeating base line, or even a harmonic melodic base line. You can slide one string while plucking an open one. You can use double entendre and nuance, and convey several emotions at once; longing, sadness, joy, bitter sweet struggle, devotion.
Charisma and game is exactly like that.
You need to be able to first make one sweet note, then expand out, never losing the feel for what music fundamentally is embedded in, which is emotion.
Ultimately music is about creating and playing our own compositions. Mussorgsky changed the nature of music in his lifetime, it has been said, BECAUSE he was unschooled. He din’t know any better than to make something new. If you learn some musical patterns, or game patterns, these can not only open up possibilities, but they will also usually limit your view of what are your options. You’ll stick to the script, stick to what you believe that the pattern is supposed to be.
But that’s not how you write music, or how you interact with another person. You are always listening to that guitar string, playing with what it is giving to you. Listening to what emotions and sounds and chord progressions and melodies are coming out of the piano.
I’ve been very extreme in my musical development and focus on improv. I’ve learned a few difficult pieces, and these have greately expanded what my improv can be, and I want to learn more and more of other peoples music, but piano or guitar, for me, always comes back to improv. I say piano instead of music, because piano is a person that I interact with – it’s not an abstraction. The guitar is a different person, and brings out very different music.
When you free form improv, either with a woman or guitar, you might use some fundamental structures, but you have to more than merely bend those structures or add a few dissonant notes. You have to be listening to the instrument. Your own moods will come out of it, and yet often surprise you. You’ll be constantly micro-adjusting, or sometimes wildly diverting, based on what you hear. Different parts of your own mind are talking to each other, through your hands, the instrument, and the sound. They could not converse without this medium.
I’ve switched to playing my acoustic in the laptop position. It suits my interests and abilities better. My left hand is damaged and so I can’t play important bar chords used in a strumming style, and learned to prefer a single (or multiple) string finger or plectrum picking style. It’s easier for me to hammer on and off and slide and move around the fretboard with it on my lap. I also use an open tuning, so that I can also strum chords by simply holding all strings down to one fret.
I’ve seen guys use this style of playing on stage. The body language conveys a more contemplative mood, and their music is always far from the heavy metal that must only come from a different guitar posture. The body language suits the music I prefer to make.
This also has a corresponding analogue in charm. I needn’t explain it; I think if you use your imagination you’ll picture it clearer than if I give you the image.
Or maybe you’ll picture something very different than what I have in mind.
Which will prove my point. Game and charisma and music will be altered by your history, perspective, and interests.
This is not something to fight, but to lean into. You’re going to be leaning into the unknown, over and over, and often living well outside of your comfort zone. That’s what music and social interaction does; it expands what you used to think of were your options. That often comes with some emotional strain.
As a teenager I was once invited by two of the most handsome and cool guys in the school to join their clique, and hang around with them. That was too far outside of my comfort zone at the time. I rationalized this discomfort by looking down on them a bit, in my mind. It was a missed opportunity, that I passed up because I was safe in my smaller world.
Game is most often taught as a way to make you happy within a small world – game usually is taught in a way that keeps you safe.
But charisma won’t be what other people teach you, and it won’t be safe. You’ll be learning things that others don’t and can’t possibly know, things unique to you.
And you’ll be opening to new women and their worlds.
In order to gain positive reference experiences, it helps to be a social climber. If you are young, you’ll get good feedback from older women. As you become more worldly you may find your girlfriends and lovers getting younger and younger.
When I was 28 I had a 48 year old lover. At 50 I had a 16 year old one. Plus a 17 year old one plus a 24 year old one, plus a 23 year old one, plus a distant 17 year old one who was considering leaving her fiance for me.
People find it too much an insult to their ego to believe that I am a real guy, telling the truth about his life. It’s too much narcissistic injury. This is one reason I write so many diary type posts; to humanize my dating philosophy and ground it in real life experience, so you can see this as part of the human condition.
Many people will dissimulate like mad to claim that my personal currently lived life and my past experiences can’t possibly relate to what are their own possibilities, if they are even true at all. They don’t much care which option to choose – either it’s fake or irrelevent – all they want is a quick way out of personal responsibility to change their own world. This is a defence mechanism, and nearly always comes from people deliberately keeping their options and world narrow, because it’s far more comfortable that way to them.