Guitar playing is supposed to be fun. At its best, it’s a never-ending journey of musical self-discovery and new found inspiration.
But, in truth, there are times when your inspiration wanes. You used to practice every day, but your once precious guitar is now gathering dust in the closet.
Whether you’re working on guitar basics, or a seasoned guitar professional, it’s possible, even inevitable, that you’ll hit a brick wall every once in a while. The trick is knowing how to respond to that brick wall so that guitar playing remains a constant in your life, rather than “that thing you used to do.”
If you’re stuck in a rut and lacking in inspiration, then follow this advice. It might be what you need to reignite your playing passion.
Remind yourself why you’re playing guitar
If your playing motivation is at an all time low, it might be because you’ve veered too far from the path you set out on.
Ask yourself why you wanted to play the guitar in the first place, and see if you’re still on track towards that goal. If you’re not, then it might be time for a course correct.
The thing with guitar playing is that there are plenty of people out there telling you what you should be learning.
Guitar playing is subjective, and very personal. Remind yourself what brought you to the instrument in the first place and make sure that your playing regimen is a product of that inspiration.
Re-evaluate your physical approach
Struggling with motivation and being unsure of your goals are emotional reasons for hitting a roadblock in our guitar playing. But there are physical factors that can restrict our progress as well.
If you feel like you’ve got a strong sense of what journey you want your guitar playing to take, but are still not getting there, it’s time to take a long, hard look at your technique and see if you’re doing things to hold yourself back.
Are you holding your pick too hard, for example? It’s a simple thing, but something that can really hold you back by creating excess tension, especially at high speeds. Perhaps your right hand technique needs re-evaluating, or you need to build up strength in your left hand. Maybe, your left and right hands are strong on their own, but coordinating the two is your downfall.
Getting down to the nitty gritty of your physical strengths and weaknesses as a guitar player will help you target your goals to maximize your improvement. It takes some self-evaluation, but it’s worth it for getting you over that playing hurdle.
Get outside of your box
Sometimes, even when you’ve got your goals in order and you’re working on the physical side of guitar playing, it’s possible to get stuck in a rut. Learning the guitar involves a lot of repetition, the building up of muscle memory, and it’s easy to fall into the trap of working on the same kinds of projects over and over to the point of mind numbing boredom.
There are loads of ways to change up your approach to learning the guitar that will inspire you to push yourself to the next level. Find some new musicians to jam with, go and watch some up-and-coming bands; explore new musical options and see what takes your fancy.
Oh, and of course, there’s the alternate tuning route, a surefire way to open up your fretboard and make you think differently about your guitar. Changing the tuning on a couple of those strings is a quick and easy way to bring some new sounds to you playing and get the creative juices flowing again (made even quicker with the use of Roadie 2, which will have you set up for even the most obscure alternate tunings in seconds).