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  1. #1
    Sinner's Swing!
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    11.25.17 @ 09:06 AM
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    Default Guitar Brain Farts

    I would post this in Musicians Corner, but it can be a bit of a dead zone at times....Anyway, I could use some help. I've been under a shit load of pressure lately. Unstable work environment, tax issues, and a recent break-in to my studio, and a few other things that are kinda screwing with my focus as a guitar player, and I could use some tips from anyone who has had to trudge through something like this.
    Here's what's going on:
    Playing a song and I miss a cue, verse, etc.....Just kinda space out.
    At practice. Stuff I've worked on all week should be fresh in my head. Time to play with the guys and I'm like a shaken Etch a Sketch... Totally blank!!!!! WTF???
    It's really pissing me off. Short of seeing a shrink or something, I've gotta get my head back in the game. Anyone gone through a spell like this? I get the job done, don't get me wrong, but it's not enjoyable at all trying to battle and keep a clear head with all this other garbage seeping in, and it feels real mechanical...not like how I like, fluid and loose. it's like a golfer shanking his club!!!
    Any ideas or stories of this kinda thing and how you dealt with them might help.
    And yeahhh.....I'm ahead of you if you suggest "a few beers and relax". It just doesn't work at the moment.
    Thanks!!!!
    JJ
    Last edited by we die young; 06.17.11 at 03:15 PM.

  2. #2
    Atomic Punk
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    Default

    Well, I'm not a guitarist so I don't know how helpful I can be but I do write and paint and it sounds very like writers' / artists' block - the more you try and the more anxious you get, the worse the block!

    All you can do (in my experience) is just walk away from it for a bit and do other things. Get as far away from it as possible - a total change of scenery, if you are able. Others may recommend trying to work your way through it but I find that just makes it more mechanical and unpleasant which doesn't help! It's got to be enjoyable or what's the point?!

    Are you able to take a holiday at all and unwind? The more you think about the problem, the worse it will get. Perhaps some form of meditation or yoga might help? Even something like aromatherapy might be beneficial as it can put you in a certain mental state (and expertly recommended essential oils are portable so you can sneakily take them / it with you to the studio to help put you in the right frame of mind).

    Just some ideas that might be worth exploring further if you're getting desperate? Good luck!
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  3. #3
    Eruption nicholas_kudochop's Avatar
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    Default

    It sounds like you have more important things going on. Take a break. No magical rock star wisdom will help... take a break to clear your mind. Then just get back on the bike.

  4. #4
    Atomic Punk BREW CREW's Avatar
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    08.27.17 @ 09:39 AM
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    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by we die young View Post
    I've been under a shit load of pressure lately.
    That says it all right there. I've been there too, bro! Take a break, listen to a bunch of music and imagine playing it on guitar is one thing you can do to get out of the funk. I really do hope all turns out well for you and you can get back in to the groove.
    Just go for it!

  5. #5
    Eruption Webbed1's Avatar
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    As much as I love playing, sometimes I have to force myself to take a break... like a week, just to clear the 'ole mind out and come back fresh. You'll be amazed at what just doing that will do. Like others have said, the harder you try (to get out of that funk)the more frustrated you'll get and the worse it will get. Good luck to you, I know it can be tough, but you'll come through.... just take a break.
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  6. #6
    Hot For Teacher
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    I know eactly what you are going through and your best bet right now would be to take sometime off. Stress works in funny ways and with all that is going on in your life right now, when you are playing your mind is sub-conscientiously not as focused as you may think at the task at hand as you more than likely are thinking of the issues that are stressing you out briefly which will break your concentration. I have been going through a period like this myself in which I all of a sudden lately have been finding myself biting down on my teeth during a tough passage or run which never has happened in 30 years, so I got to the point where I just put it down for a few days.

  7. #7
    Good Enough vanzefflin's Avatar
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    Default

    Hell, just do like the rest of us and play the same 15 songs for the next 30 years.
    EDDIE IS THE ULTIMATE ROCK DOG!

  8. #8
    Emperor of VHLinks.com Brett's Avatar
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    12.12.17 @ 01:24 AM
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    Default

    I've been there many times with stress. In fact between work and home issues I'm completely stressed out myself right now. Just a lot on my mind. The same bullshit we all go through.

    But my band is doing this CD and I'm recording my guitar parts right now, and am actually finding a lot of peace and a clear head just immersing myself in my guitar and getting my tracks down sitting in front of my computer. It's actually been rather cathartic. I think I'm almost NOT thinking about what I'm doing (as ridiculous as that sounds) which is probably why it is relaxing me and why it's coming together pretty easily.

    But sometimes man you gotta take a break, even from playing. For me though, I usually find if I sit and play alone it usually takes my mind off shit....but mindless playing, not where I'm TRYING to work something out.
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  9. #9
    Atomic Punk Lodewijk's Avatar
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    I know exactly what you need...


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  10. #10
    On Fire
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lodewijk View Post
    I know exactly what you need...


    Even though the OP has a serious issue and we should try to help him, this was FUNNY AS HELL!

  11. #11
    Sinner's Swing!
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    Default

    Wow! Thanks a lot guys! You've all got some great suggestions, and I didn't know it was such a recurring theme with many of you. Yeah...it totally sucks. i guess my biggest fear was that when i do take a break, then my playing REALLY suffers. Sometimes I'll pick up a bass instead, and for whatever reason, it makes me think music a bit more clearly and relax. Don't know why....It's just that as a guitar player, and being tasked with writing all the music (At all least our originals) and frankly, the covers the guys in the band have been picking, I find pretty lame to play, and they've been done to death. I just find I get extremely aggrevated when things aren't clicking along smoothly. On your suggestions, I think maybe an extended break may very well be the solution....Admittedly, I do feel a bit burned out, and my mind is just not in it as it was.
    Thanks guys! I really appreciate the input.
    Frustrating situation to be in though.

  12. #12
    Atomic Punk ziggysmalls's Avatar
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    Default

    Here is an alternate solution to the "take a break" recommendation which most likely is needed.

    Take your guitar and play it (I assume) left handed. Do this for about 15-30 minutes and try to play basic chords and maybe passages. This may help reset your brain cause you are approaching the guitar a different way. I have done this with trumpet, golf and baseball when I was younger and was developing bad habits. You concentrate on the the fundamentals much more and it somewhat helps enforce what you are doing the right way.

  13. #13
    Sinner's Swing!
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lodewijk View Post
    I know exactly what you need...


    Haha! That was awesome!
    I too once possessed the pick of destiny.....alas, I think it fell out of my pocket when trying to break change for a $20 at the Sizzler.

  14. #14
    Baluchitherium
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    like most others here i would say take some time out for a week or two, take time to just listen to music, rather than analyse it or make it...just enjoy it again. afteral, that's why you started playing in the first place...


    Quote Originally Posted by ziggysmalls View Post
    Here is an alternate solution to the "take a break" recommendation which most likely is needed.

    Take your guitar and play it (I assume) left handed. Do this for about 15-30 minutes and try to play basic chords and maybe passages. This may help reset your brain cause you are approaching the guitar a different way. I have done this with trumpet, golf and baseball when I was younger and was developing bad habits. You concentrate on the the fundamentals much more and it somewhat helps enforce what you are doing the right way.
    i tried this a few years ago...for about 2 months i only played southpaw. when a switched back it was like a breath of fresh air, plus there were things i could do with my right hand (when tapping) that i could never do before.
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  15. #15
    Eruption
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    12.11.17 @ 03:18 PM
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    I consider myself an intermediate guitarist. There are so many on this board I'm sure could play circles around me. During great spells, I consider myself "advanced intermediate". During stretches like you're going through, I consider myself a shade above awful.

    I recommend the "taking time off" advice others have given. If you don't want to go that route, I sometimes try another method that has helped me personally in the past.

    My ears aren't great but I try to learn a song or piece that's "above me" in terms of my technical ability. Recently, I learned Ritchie Blackmore's solo in Rainbow's "Death Alley Driver" and VH's solo in "On Fire" (both by printing the tab). I spent all of my guitar time on learning those 2 solos until I "learned them enough" play them somewhat adequately. By then I felt like I worked through my problems enough and went back refreshed (even though I by no means mastered those 2 solos". It's frustrating as hell trying to learn something difficult someone else composed but trying to learn the nuts and bolts of something difficult for me gets me out of my "usual grind". If you want to try to battle through this without putting the guitar down, it's an option.

 

 

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