What do you do to fall in love with guitar again?

  • Hiya,

    Been playing 24 years...in a band...and I do love guitar, more than life itself.

    You know when you are 'on it'.

    You dream about playing all day at work, you even find somewhere to hide a guitar at work BECAUSE GUITAR IS THAT IMPORTANT...you get home and play for 8 hours and think 'jeez...where did that time go?'

    And then sometimes, you only pick your axe up at rehearsal with the band...and not at all between.

    You can't be arsed even getting it out the case, or walking across the room to pick it up...

    What do you do to make it sexy again?? How do you break the 'cant be bothered cycle??'

    PRS Custom 22's - PRS 594 - Diezel VH4 - Carol Ann OD2 - Colin the Kemper - CLR Neo ii.

  • Having a collection of toys can really motivate you to pick up your instrument.

    I remember when I first got my Kemper, I must have been playing it every day for a year.

    But this morning before work, it was the seven string humbucker Mayones into a Triple Rec -> 4x12 for a while, then I swapped that amp for an Engl Savage till it was time to leave.

    But when I get back home, it's going to be the six-string SSS Sugi with a midi pickup attached into the Kemper, and driving my synthesizers.

    Tomorrow? The eight string? The #1 whammy bar Caparison guitar? Profile the Victory Kraken I'm selling? Try to learn Sky Full of Stars on the keyboard? Work on my double bass drumming?

    Of course, gear alone is only part of the motivation. Nine out of 10 people who buy an instrument never play it again after a while in my experience, that's why stores are full of beginners equipment, as they are the biggest group of people buying instruments.

    In that regard, it's good to have a goal like "learn a new song" or "record solos today".

  • We often spend most time on practicing vocabulary or technique in a certain idiom but when I record for other people, I find out that the ideas and concepts I come up with are often arguably more important and also often where individuality really comes through. Therefore, when I get sick of the usual guitar grinding routines like the ones we all go through, it tells me I have to re-focus towards music in a broader context. For example, I started recording with an artist this year who gave me more freedom than usual and I find myself digging into techniques and sounds that serve the music better (fuzz/slide/playing with feedback and other effects) that I had never really explored in depth before, as well as new recording techniques. I also record entire parts in my old way and often zoom out a little, like a producer would, only to find out that what I went for didn't necessarily serve the music at all in the first place. It could be genre dependent (might not apply to metal, etc) but at least in popular music, I feel in my lifetime the guitar has moved from a focus on quantity (heavy in the mix, solos, etc) to a focus on quality (subtle lines/chordal work, tasteful effects) and while "the love of guitar" as you put it is essential to reach a good command and understanding of the instrument, at the end of the day it's just one instrument in the mix and that mix is what people put their attention towards.

    An easy way to overcome this feeling of being stuck could be by finding and collaborating with a songwriter - they will immediately appreciate your guitar expertise and it will be fulfilling to apply your knowledge towards a greater purpose than just "getting good at guitar" on your own; connecting with your environment instead of separating. I am fortunate to get awesome work with great artists but when time allows, I still do the occasional open mic/writing session with songwriters where I try to come up with something to serve their music; you never know where those situation (sometimes very humbling) can take you - they are often the springboard for better ideas, connections and opportunities.

  • Joking about new Kempers aside, I've found that for me the best thing to do is simply embrace the lack of interest and let it be what it wants to be. During those periods (I suspect we all have them), I used to be concerned about letting the guitars just sit there, so I'd try to to break the "can't be bothered" cycle by brute force. The only thing that happened is that I successfully made myself pick up the guitar in order to enjoy it even less.

    At this point in life I've been playing for so long that it's simply a part of who I am, so I don't worry about it going away. So, when I hit periods where I don't feel like playing I just do something else, ignore it completely and don't worry about it. Sooner or later I start missing it, so when I do pick it up it's fun again, which is rather the point.

  • Resting from guitar playing and making music and doing other things, listen to songs I've never heard before and love,that makes me inspired once I pick up the guitar(s) again and create some new riffs and songs. It's always worth that time away from guitar.

  • Try profiles of amps you never thought you would try and see if they spark new ways of playing.

    Break out of ruts by trying new tunings. You end up creating new sounds even when you follow your old habits around chord shapes and voicings.

    These two tips really work for me.

    What I sometimes do is browse through the effects in the Kemper and choose a random one I do not use regularly. I got amazing new soloing ideas by engaging a simple Vibe effect for instance. Also maybe try out some ambient delay/reverb effects. It will force you to come up with new ways to play which feels very "rewarding".

  • Start a guitar club :-) I had one going for a while where we had blues guys, jazz guys, country guys, metal guys and classic rockers. We’d meet up once a fortnight and set different challenges in between each meet, such as ‘write a country solo over this backing track to perform and discuss next time’. I hate country, but it was challenging and refreshing - and the licks, ideas, techniques and mindsets you were able to learn from other guitar nerds fed the fire to practice more. Everyone in the group said the same thing, that they had progressed faster than ever before and that in turn fed their motivation to play.

    It was great... until I started working continental shifts and organising a get together became increasingly difficult. But... it’s an idea!

  • More often than not, playing can become a routine. I'm a day and night pro, so music is all I do.

    I vary my warm up methods, reverse chord changes, play minor in major/ major in minor etc.. whatever I have to do to keep myself interested and excited. 3 days out of the week, I set aside 20 mins and just all 48 standard scales. Major, Nat minor, Harmonic minor, and melodic. Sometimes I do the circle of fourths, then the fifths, go Melodic Minor to Major, what have you to keep the mind going. Modes are another great way to get excited again. Find whatever works for you my man!!

  • Try learning another instrument alongside guitar.

    I’m attempting to learn drums and trying to get better at bass. I’m again having a go at keys but I am so far finding that challenge to be on the wrong side of frustrating so it’s pain as opposed to pleasure right now.

    An unexpected benefit of focusing on music from other perspectives is that I’m seeing the guitar from a different direction in a good way. I think that the act of looking at a song’s parts and how it’s built can be helpful and a better understanding of the other components might help me to understand why the guitar is actually there and when it shouldn’t be.

  • 1. Profile a sound not really sounding like a guitar

    2. Put some whacky fx in the rig

    3. Try to get as many sounds out of it as possible and definitely don't play the guitar like you ordinary would.

    This has done wonders for my relationship not only with guitar but with music in general.


    Mats N

  • Well, duh, buy a NEW guitar!! haha

    But these helps: break from guitar playing to do something else (a sport, a hobby like Ancestry, etc), listen to new music outside your usual comfort zone, new gear (pedals), write new songs, change the strings, alternate tuning, go slide if you normally don't, go finger style if you normally pick, pick if you... etc.

    Create a project song where you showcase every guitar you have somewhere in it. One for intro, one for outro, dual harmony on chorus, one for answering on early verses, others for later verses or for building up the song dynamics as it goes. I did that and it really helped me see what guitars I liked for recording and which ones I could put on the chopping block. It also gave me a new respect for some guitars committed sounds vs the ones I preferred to pick off the wall.

  • Couple of comments:

    1) Its part of the journey, a cyclic change so don;t fight it too hard/get overly concerned - it hits everyone.

    2) teach someone how to play...to me sharing what I've learnt sparks interest

    3) Find new songs that you'd love to play - that's what got me started and then obsessed - that solo you've never quite mastered. Mine was "play with me" by Extreme..

    4) Force your band to learn too many new songs - that way you put yourself under pressure to pick the guitar up as you have a deadline or join a new band. Finding yourself learning 30+ new songs gets you back into it.

    In most cases I lose passion for 2 main reasons:

    No challenge - so nothing new I want to learn. Hence find stuff to re-ignite...new band, new songs, writing original stuff

    I'm feeling down about my ability, having watched Tosin Abasi and realising I am pond weed in comparison - learning something hard can make you feel better if its attainable.