There comes a point in every guitarist’s life when we feel that we are fed up with the instrument. There can be many reasons why we might feel this way – perhaps we are stuck in a rut and got tired of playing our pet lick for the umpteenth time or our brain is actually in constant overload and might demand a break from the instrument.
Whatever the reason, here are a few steps you can take to re-kindle your passion for your guitar.
Go on a guitar diet
Decide to not touch the instrument or anything guitar related for one week. Don’t visit guitar sites, don’t watch guitar videos – avoid anything to do with guitar, go cold turkey and be strict with this. As the days go by, you will probably notice a strong pull to grab your instrument and noodle a bit – don’t do it. Stay focused and complete the week of abstinence. See how you feel when the week is over. Are you eager to jump back into it again or have you actually not missed it that much? If you haven’t missed it, add a few days. If you have missed it, grab it and have fun.
Visit a guitar store
One of the things that almost always fires me up again is visiting a guitar store. I just love the smell of the amps and guitars in the morning! Once I’m in I quickly get lost in trying out various guitars, effect pedals, amps and often can’t wait to get back home to play – often with a new guitar to add to my arsenal. If visiting a guitar store does nothing for you, you should start with a weeklong guitar diet.
Buy a guitar program
If you’ve been practicing in a very disciplined way for quite a while, you might have driven your brain into constant overload mode.
A good way to give it a break and get you excited again could be to purchase a new guitar program by your favourite player or about a certain playing technique you have not yet explored. I don’t like to watch YouTube Videos for the simple reason that they are mostly piecemeal and not a real course, explaining something in full detail in a step by step fashion. I prefer buying a program about a certain style or technique instead that brings some fresh air into my practice.
Watch your favourite players
I often watch videos of my favourite players to keep me inspired when I feel burnt out and had planned many times to take a week off from playing in the past. I then decided to just have a coffee and watch some videos of my idols. After the second cup, I usually got very itchy and had a hard time sticking to my plan to take a break. Another half hour later and I would start to noodle, play a few lines and before I knew it, I was back into my practice.
See some live music
When was the last time that you’ve seen a band play live? If it has been a while, this is a good way to get your juices flowing again, because live music has that certain energy to it, that you just don’t get any other way. It’s a good reminder of how much music really affects us as human beings and this feeling can easily get you excited again. Let’s see if you cannot touch the guitar when you come back home 🙂
Revisit your reasons
What made you pick up the guitar when you started out? Why did you want to learn it? Did you want to impress the girls or the guys? Did you think it is cool to play guitar?
Whatever it was, the real reason you started to play will be an emotional one. Find that reason! How do you feel about it now? Can you bring up the same emotion that fuelled you back then? Make a list of the reasons that come to mind and revisit all the artists, albums and songs in your mind that really got you on fire and go back to that list in times of frustration or when you’re bored by your practice.
Switch to a different instrument for a while
It’s been a great source of inspiration for me to switch instruments once in a while and see music from a different perspective. I have taken piano and drum lessons in the past, so those are good options for me. I also often open my recording program to experiment with synthesizers and all kinds of electronic sounds and loops while taking a break from guitar playing and practice. When I get back to the guitar after while, it feels like a fresh start. Don’t pressure yourself by thinking that you have to learn a new instrument proficiently – the goal is simply to learn enough to have fun. So just try it out!
About the author:
Derk Stiepelmann loves playing and teaching guitar and is the founder of the Songwriter’s Shed guitar school. If you are looking for guitar lessons in Dortmund, Germany, you can contact him by clicking the link.