Okay, I won’t hide it, I am interested in people at a deeper level. No, this is not where we sit in a circle and breast feed kids till they are 15 type of thing, but what is making a human tick at that deep psychological and spiritual level. How does this relate to guitar playing? and what do you do when you don’t want to play guitar anymore?
Well a lot actually because music, I would argue often comes from within us, is a reflection or creation that can represent us and has ‘power’ to sooth, entice, make us ecstatic and be a great source of stress relief (unless you are trying to play stuff like Tool, or Cannibal Corpse then you just feel down…!). So music, slowly coming to my point can possibly be a hint at what is going on in your personal life, or your ‘inner child’ (okay I officially hate that term!).
The reason I write this at all is because in the last month or so, I actually felt like giving up guitar and not bothering anymore.
I couldn’t work it out, what happened as until recently I loved guitar, amps, pedals and that sort of stuff. But then, a creeping shadow (no I wasn’t listening to Morrissey or the Cure!!) seemed to suck the care out of me.
Looking back, now I have rekindled my passion for my sexy ass Tele and Peavey Delta Blues amp (thank-you brother Jeremy, the founder of this site for a great deal on the amp!!) I figured that several things had happened. Firstly I spent too much time on the peripherals of guitar, that is buying, selling, ‘researching’ guitar stuff, and not enough music playing.
Really that is like running into a vacuum shop, turning a vacuum on, but not cleaning with it. Buying and selling can be expensive, a great way to lose money as GAS is powerful and sucks energy out of you. This can go deeper (take a breath now..) as it reflects a wise man thousands of years ago who said, “The eyes of man are never satisfied… neither is the grave”…whoa!
If King Solomon noted it back then (before Strats, Teles or Les Pauls were invented) how much more are we ‘victims’ of a mega materialistic society and world order. Bottom line, if you have a nice amp, decent guitar or are using what you can afford, ACCEPT IT AND JUST PLAY RATHER THAN KEEP ON WANTING MORE STUFF!!
Lust for more and more actually will work in reverse bringing ‘death’ (not usually physical death unless you try to hump 100 Thai bar girls and die of a heart attack…) but the death or loss of interest (say..burnout?) in your original hobby such as guitar.
Another point is that we humans generally avoid discipline (such as a proper practice routine) and would rather do stuff relating to guitar but not actually play the darn thing!
This then leads to a slight deep down guilt as we know intrinsically what we should be doing! This can then be a vicious cycle where we punish ourselves by excess guilt and then still don’t practice properly. Procrastination has an almost ethereal quality about it, it starts off small but then, (like weeds in your garden etc) becomes rampant. If you don’t believe it, look at seriously addicted drug users, none of them started off wanting to be like that, but little by little, the lack of discipline and control, the problem spread.
A famous Jazz player once told a student who was busting his nut trying to become a Jazz great. The student was practicing day and night, and becoming very obsessed with Jazz. The Jazz pro asked him, “When was the last time you went out to watch a movie, or go to the beach to chill with friends? You won’t get great by only focusing on guitar but you need to get out to get new energy and inspiration!!”.
Weird isn’t it but moderation actually can be more efficient as you need time to sharpen the axe rather than blunten it with overuse.
So if that slump hits you, look at your life, are you tired? Is it like December and you have had a bad ass month at work or some hiccups in your personal life? Then accept it, chill out and maybe give the guitar a break for a few weeks, then slowly just learn to play something fun, or a song in a totally different style that you wouldn’t normally play.
The body, mind and spirit are miraculously connected, and signs like this (as I had) are little hints that the body is saying, “Chill bro..chill”. As you listen to your favorite guitarists and unwind, the love for music will slowly return! Don’t get up and just sell everything off as I was going to do!
Anyway, enough amateur psychology for now..so Happy New Year, and if your on holidays, spend some time with your loved ones, esp your wife and kids who need your love and support! Take time to actually look at nature, get some fresh air, have a laugh with friends or a good movie, exercise…blow the dust off your grandma’s bible (and get some answers to life!) or do a nudie run at a cricket game…well okay, maybe you shouldn’t do the last one…
God bless Andrew Hill!