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Old 06-06-2020, 04:35 PM
FoxHound4690 FoxHound4690 is offline
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Default Anyone else hit this "brick wall" ?

Hey guys, this question isn't just related to acoustic guitars but just guitar playing in general...

I'm sure you will have felt this way at some point of your guitar playing journey, but have you ever felt frustrated that you don't feel like your improving? I'm currently in that situation now, I just feel like i've completely hit a brick wall and my practice is all for nothing because I don't feel like my playing ability is actually improving... it's had me feeling a bit discouraged and even a little down lately.

What are some things I can do to overcome this train of thought? What were some things you guys all did to get past this and get back on the right path to improving? I don't want to come across as "Whiney" but I know there are much older and more experienced players on here that have been playing decades longer than I have. Keen to hear some opinions.

Thanks in advance.
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Old 06-06-2020, 04:53 PM
jklotz jklotz is offline
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I certainly have. If any player tells you they didn't go through that, they are either a) lying or b) haven't been playing very long. There is nothing wrong with taking a few days off if you think that will help. Also, try to find some new material to work on, something you really like.

When it's happened to me, I've just have to power through it. Fresh material helped me a lot. Just remember it's temporary, it'll pass.
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Old 06-06-2020, 04:56 PM
FoxHound4690 FoxHound4690 is offline
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Originally Posted by jklotz View Post
I certainly have. If any player tells you they didn't go through that, they are either a) lying or b) haven't been playing very long. There is nothing wrong with taking a few days off if you think that will help. Also, try to find some new material to work on, something you really like.

When it's happened to me, I've just have to power through it. Fresh material helped me a lot. Just remember it's temporary, it'll pass.
Yeah, I agree with searching for new material can be a huge benefit, just yesterday I started looking into the Dorian scale mode. interesting stuff and definitely worthwhile exploring. might just take my mind off the actual instrument for a little bit haha.
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Old 06-06-2020, 05:05 PM
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Brucebubs Brucebubs is offline
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This is where owning several guitars can come into play.

As well as different 6-string guitars I'm lucky to have a baritone, a couple of 12-strings, a dedicated 'Nashville' or 'High Strung' guitar and a bass.

They're all very different to each other and sometimes that 'change of scenery' can be just the thing to rekindle your inspiration.

Try some alternative tunings too, that can be a rewarding challenge sometimes.
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Old 06-06-2020, 05:12 PM
1neeto 1neeto is offline
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Default Anyone else hit this "brick wall" ?

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Originally Posted by Brucebubs View Post
This is where owning several guitars can come into play.

As well as different 6-string guitars I'm lucky to have a baritone, a couple of 12-strings, a dedicated 'Nashville' or 'High Strung' guitar and a bass.

They're all very different to each other and sometimes that 'change of scenery' can be just the thing to rekindle your inspiration.

Try some alternative tunings too, that can be a rewarding challenge sometimes.

The answer to anything guitar playing. Just buy more guitars! [emoji1787]
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Old 06-06-2020, 05:23 PM
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Bear Davis Bear Davis is offline
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Been there several times...

My general rule of thumb is that you should be "practicing" stuff that you can barely play or maybe can't really play at all. When it's time to relax and have fun play the things that you are comfortable with.
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Old 06-06-2020, 05:28 PM
L20A L20A is offline
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I hit the wall about 2 years ago. My health and ability have diminished to where I am getting worse every year.
Guess that is to be expected with age.

I now adjust my playing and chord shapes.
Can't play in the key of C so I capo up 5 and play in G position.
No longer able to use thumb to wrap around neck and hold the E string.

I still play every day and love it but I know that my best days have come and gone.
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Old 06-06-2020, 05:31 PM
Brooklyn Bob Brooklyn Bob is offline
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I've been playing almost 55 years and I've hit so many brick walls I should have brain damage. It's only temporary. New instruments can be motivating as well as new tunings. Find a different artist that inspires you. Read a good book. You'll be ok.
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Old 06-06-2020, 05:35 PM
donlyn donlyn is offline
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Anyone else hit this "brick wall" ?


To whom it may concern,

This doesn't apply just to guitar, but to most things you want to accomplish.

Sometimes you just have to figure out what's not right with you.
Tired? Some external problem eating at you? Real life worry taking over ?
Solving or taking care of whatever fills your mind might do the trick.

Personally, among things that have worked for me, simply taking a nap, or sleeping on it, can be a reset. Let your unconscious have a crack at it.

New material can work. Maybe a song you always liked? One that isn't too complicated, maybe full of basic cowboy chords and lyrics you already know. Good for a quick shot of confidence.

Got an easygoing music buddy local? Get a 2 person song circle going. Doesn't even matter what instrument(s) they play. Just play some old favorites. The goal is 'fun'.

Learning might be an issue, but you feel the need to get that one song or lick down. Try it once a day for a few days, and let your subconscious help with the learning. Don't frustrate yourself.

Blank out the mind and just start playing. See what song or piece comes out. Just have a little fun. There are usually some blues songs that are familiar and fun and can take you along for a nice ride. Personally some nice no-chord material in E pentatonic can start me off, maybe with an intro of "Green River" with that nice little slide thing. Use LaGrange in A for a break in this 'song in E. You'll feel when to make this move. Or not. All keys are key in life.

Go read a book, especially one not involving music. Maybe the music might seem too much like work.

Meditate.

Got some song kicking around in you head? Take a whack at it. Do something else. Try it again. You might have made some progress.

Also I like what Bruce said about switching instruments. Might inspire something. Go play "Pretty Woman" on 12 string. Plug in and do "Stairway" on your nastiest electric (electrified 12 can be great if you have one). Change something up. Cars said it best - "Shake it up".

If all else truly fails, watch some TV, have meal and turn in for the night. Tomorrow's another day.

Don
.

Late edit > I like to make medleys of songs that may or may not logically fit. For example, start with Bobby Vee's "Love you more than I cay say". When you get to the chorus, maybe second time through, instead use the chorus from Sting/Police "I'll be watching you". Totally creeps things out. Great for Halloween-365 events.

One more. Choose a song. Change the tempo. Or change the tempo in mid-song. Peter Green doesn't hold a copyright on this, you know. Many songs have key changes mid-song too. Try one, typically by going up 2 steps in key.
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Last edited by donlyn; 06-06-2020 at 06:19 PM.
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  #10  
Old 06-06-2020, 05:37 PM
MThomson MThomson is offline
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Many, many times! Usually, I need a change and often u need to remind myself how far I've come. I sometimes revisit old songs and pieces that were hard at the time. They're usually much easier the second time around which reminds me that I'm progressing, even if I can't feel it sometimes
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Old 06-06-2020, 05:40 PM
zmf zmf is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jklotz View Post
Fresh material helped me a lot.
+1. That can rekindle enthusiasm.

Don't know where you are on the grand scale of making music come out of a guitar -- which isn't the easiest thing to do, but sometimes it's a good idea play what you're already comfortable with, but work on playing the notes as cleanly and expressively as possible.

Or take something you know, change the rhythm and generally take it around the bend. You never know what's going to come out the other side.
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Old 06-06-2020, 05:40 PM
Ceabeceabe Ceabeceabe is offline
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Happens to me in a variety of ways!

Sometimes I hit a brick wall in terms of motivation to play the guitar. It helps me to seek out a new genre of music to try, or refocus my interest from learning theory to learning by ear, say, as others have suggested.

Sometimes I get “music’d out” in general...nothing I listen to seems interesting...same old stuff, recycled. Often stepping awa from listening to music for a bit helps that. Usually when I am in one of these phases I still have interest in and play my guitar, which I find kind of odd.

Sometimes I hit a real brick wall learning a song.

I have been trying to learn a particular Bruce Cockburn song for about 5 years now. I start it, stop it, start it, stop it. 5 years of this. Resigned myself at some point to never being able to play it. Something about the fingering positions and chords just seemed impossible. A few months back I tried it again to take a break from a classical piece I was learning, and somehow the Bruce Cockburn song came together on the spot.

Have wanted to learn a few tunes in a Sylvius Leopold Weiss Suite in F major. Found the sheet music, but it was way too hard. I was able to learn one tune, but went on to something else after that, intending to find a book that had versions easier to play. About a year later I found a transcription of the tunes in D major and altered for “easy guitar” in a book on line. It was inexpensive enough so I bought it. Still not easy for me, but much easier than the F major version, and so I figured it out. Listening to a recorded lute version and following along with my easy guitar sheet music is a fascinating exercise in what the transcriber did to lower the difficulties.

:-)
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Old 06-06-2020, 05:52 PM
Russ C Russ C is offline
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Has anyone said “buy another guitar”?

More seriously, there are some guys who inspire growth because they’re just the right blend of accessibility and the music we want when we need it most. Tim Pierce in my case.

YouTube can be a wonderful thing. Good luck - you ain’t alone.
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Old 06-06-2020, 05:52 PM
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Mark Stone Mark Stone is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by FoxHound4690 View Post
Hey guys, this question isn't just related to acoustic guitars but just guitar playing in general...

I'm sure you will have felt this way at some point of your guitar playing journey, but have you ever felt frustrated that you don't feel like your improving? I'm currently in that situation now, I just feel like i've completely hit a brick wall and my practice is all for nothing because I don't feel like my playing ability is actually improving... it's had me feeling a bit discouraged and even a little down lately.

What are some things I can do to overcome this train of thought? What were some things you guys all did to get past this and get back on the right path to improving? I don't want to come across as "Whiney" but I know there are much older and more experienced players on here that have been playing decades longer than I have. Keen to hear some opinions.

Thanks in advance.
Are you actively gigging?

I think anyone who has played for any period of time has gone through what you're describing. When I was playing clubs, restaurants and bars it was a little more difficult,, but I discovered the feeling eventually resolved on its own.

When not actively playing for a living, I discovered, when not improving and hitting that wall, it did a world of good to simply take some time (a couple of weeks perhaps?) off. I always felt refreshed when I came back to the instrument.
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Old 06-06-2020, 06:00 PM
jrb715 jrb715 is offline
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To keep my self fresh, I dabble periodically in a new style or genre. And I do mean dabble--without the expectation I will become a professional quality player in the new style. When I come back to the material and style that is home for me, I discover I've become a better player, and can do more than when last I was struggling with something.
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