I’ve tried to learn the guitar five times in my life. I love rock music and I’d love to be able to play along to my favourite tracks and express myself on the instrument. I also love the way they look and could happily abandon myself to the fetishistic obsession of guitar collection: the horned Rickenbackers, the flame maple of a Les Paul, the beautiful sound holes in a hollow-body.
I usually start out well. With so many attempts behind me I can finger chord shapes well and keep time reasonably. Teachers are often impressed. Then I hit The Hump. The Hump is the period of grind required to lock in the core skills in something, burn them into a new set of circuits in the brain, so that it feels ‘natural’ and then one can just enjoy expressing oneself and having fun. Each time I try to learn the guitar I rapidly reacquire the basic skills I’ve forgotten and then get close enough to The Hump to recognize it. I can see before me year or two of four times a week, three hours at a time, slaving away doing the frustrating groundwork required. Then I decide it’s a calculation which does not add up, so I stop. Then I forget.
The Hump is particulary steep in daygame, and as the turn taking in the perpetual arms race game between daygamers and women grows ever more rapid the Hump is getting steeper and steeper with rapidity. My first 50 sets were a thrill. The next 400 were an abject grind. I hated them. They were an exhausting emotional battle and often left me burned out for months at a time. The next 300 were a chore.
No wonder stories about superheroes or prodigies are so appealing to us; they all boil down to one thing: having exceptional skill without having to work at it.
I’ve done around 800 sets now and am virtually over The Hump. At times it feels like a real grind but crucially I have had success, much success really given my experience level. Daygame now seems to be much harder than it was two years ago when I started. There are reams more chodes on the streets, burning out thousands of sets. Rarely anymore does the stop and compliment itself engender the reaction it did a couple of years ago when I started. A lot more girls know about game. A lots more girls seem suspicious. It’s harder for sure, and each time I go out I thank God that I’m already almost over The Hump because if I was starting out now I don’t think I could make it: conditions are too tough.
I was talking to Johnny Wisdom last week and telling him that “the window is closing”. The time remaining to get over The Hump before daygame gets so tough that nobody new can get over The Hump is rapidly dwindling. I feel like I’ve just squeezed through, myself. In my opinion unless you’re exceptional or have already done well over five hundred sets then you may have missed the window.