How do you fight the urge to quit playing?

dogrocketp

I drank the PRS kool aid, and it was tasty!
Joined
Apr 28, 2013
Messages
4,332
Location
Washington, DC
I fell in love with guitar at 7. It was a constant battle with my father who would discipline me by taking away my guitar or guitar lessons every time I did something he didn’t like. In his mind, being a musician meant being a drug addict. It was always a battle for me to find practice time, even in music school. I had two jobs and bad ADD my whole life. Of course, after graduation marriage and kids meant 20 years without playing much, but I couldn’t sell them. Finally I realized I had to play to stand a chance of being happy. After divorce I realized it was a part of me. On the rare occasions I don’t feel like practicing, I clean the guitars, read a guitar magazine, watch YouTube videos or call a friend. Playing with others is very therapeutic, playing in front of people is even better. You get to do something to make them feel good. Find other players, go to open mikes, go listen to live bands and talk to them when the Covid mess abates. Go on forums and get positive energy from others. Music isn’t a contest, it’s a party we can all share.
 

Herr Squid

I was severely impressed
Joined
Aug 19, 2012
Messages
2,000
Time keeping is an essential part of playing an instrument. Being a decent drummer helps. It’s amazing how many good guitarists are also good drummers.

I had a buddy for a while that managed the local music store. He said all guitar players secretly wanted to be drummers. I couldn't tell him he was wrong (especially considering how many hours of plastic drums I played when the Rock Band video game was a thing).
 

Herr Squid

I was severely impressed
Joined
Aug 19, 2012
Messages
2,000
I've never thought of quitting for good, but there are certainly times when I don't feel like playing at all and I just don't. I'm a very (very!) undisciplined player so a regular practice routine or playing scales or actually like, y'know, learning new theory is something that I poke at for a few minutes and just get bored. I've also never bought into music as a competition. Regardless of the instrument or setting, there's always been somebody better than me, often in the same room. I play for me and play what I want (often the same damn thing over and over again, but it's nice to turn my brain off at times, y'know?).

So I've gone through some long plateaus where I don't get any better and usually that doesn't bother me to much. I find that what helps me break out of a rut is to work on a part (even just riff or lick) from a song that I love and practice it until I've gotten it down. It often doesn't matter how small. Case in point: I bumbled across a video of somebody teaching Van Halen's "I'm The One" and realized one of the licks was a lot simpler than I always thought, and I just started farting around with it to see if I could get it under my fingers and into muscle memory. Well, I did and just that one thing opened up a new level of fluidity and continuity in my lead playing. It wasn't a huge advance, but it was a noticeable one. So I got a little better at a lot of things I do from just that, and it unlocked a little more of a song that I've loved for a long time. Maybe I'll pick a new lick to work on this year.
 

Alnus Rubra

Loving nature’s wonders
Joined
Oct 17, 2017
Messages
19,985
Location
Scotland
I wanted to play drums when I went to High School. My Dad encouraged me to play trumpet, which opened doors for me musically, later on in life and I learnt guitar too.

Who knows what I might have done musically if I’d played drums, but man did I have fun, a lot of fun.

You can wonder, but I don’t regret a thing.

Thanks Dad.
 

helmi

single & satin
Joined
Apr 27, 2012
Messages
603
Location
cleveland
I will never be more then the $hit-stain guitarist that I am now, it has never come easy, and has always been a struggle. but I will never quit as long as I am physically able to play. never even enters my mind. It’s just a never ending love.
 

Alan Jurgens

New Member
Joined
Apr 11, 2020
Messages
250
I started at 54. This month will be my 2 year anniversary. I can’t offer advice on getting out of your rut but suggest you don’t get rid of gear yet. I play everyday and have 11 guitars now. Sometimes I pick one up and don’t like what I hear and grab another until I do find one I like the sound of. They change on the sound I want to hear regularly. Without this choice it would not be nearly as enjoyable. I aspire to be the player that you are considering walking away from.
 

ScottR

If nobody saw it, it didn't happen.
Joined
Aug 29, 2017
Messages
5,528
Location
Alabama
I wanted to play drums when I went to High School. My Dad encouraged me to play trumpet, which opened doors for me musically, later on in life and I learnt guitar too.

Who knows what I might have done musically if I’d played drums, but man did I have fun, a lot of fun.

You can wonder, but I don’t regret a thing.

Thanks Dad.

I wanted a guitar when I was a kid and my dad agreed as long as I took piano lessons first. I hated my witch of a teacher! So I made myself sick on her piano one afternoon. This ended my music career right outta the gate...Man I didn't wanna be Liberace, I wanted to be friggin Ace Freely DAMMIT!:mad:
 

PBGas

New Member
Joined
Nov 14, 2017
Messages
49
Joining a band or jamming with some friends is a great way to motivate yourself and find more enjoyment.

Also, pick up a Truefire membership and learn something new. Never stop being a student of the instrument.
New ideas keep the motivation up and creativity flowing.
 

Alnus Rubra

Loving nature’s wonders
Joined
Oct 17, 2017
Messages
19,985
Location
Scotland
I wanted a guitar when I was a kid and my dad agreed as long as I took piano lessons first. I hated my witch of a teacher! So I made myself sick on her piano one afternoon. This ended my music career right outta the gate...Man I didn't wanna be Liberace, I wanted to be friggin Ace Freely DAMMIT!:mad:

You could have been Edgar Winter!;)
 

CandidPicker

Tone Matters. Use It Wisely.
Joined
Jan 26, 2019
Messages
4,775
Location
NW Connecticut, USA
Hi I quit playing for over 10 years until recently,I was too self judgemental about my playing style, my Tone basically everything,sold all my Gear .I have no regrets but after playing for only a short while again I realised I wasn’t really that bad(subjective I know)but all I can say is I’m really enjoying playing guitar again everyday ,on a crappy acoustic and realise how much I had learnt way back,

im more relaxed now,not looking to be a superstar ,Got into Gospel and it’s really helped me enjoy my life and renewed my interest in playing

maybe you just need to take an objective view and not a comparable one,sit back relax and find the fun in your playing again

Hi, Spirit,

I can identify with what you're saying about being too self-judgmental. There are way too many times when I've second-guessed myself and felt like my practice was headed nowhere. Then I realized that I was focusing too much on what the world expected of me, though I was a student of music, there was really no set pattern of study I could strive for. No real guidance or direction. I felt like I was watching the world just kicking the can down the road.

After a brief stint of self-pity/loathing, it made sense to try to create a music playlist that strengthened and encouraged me to play better. Because people's viewpoints vary greatly about what they like and dislike, your music practice playlist is entirely a personal thing. When you find the songs that inspire you to play better, you'll practice those and discover how good you actually sound, despite much better players' opinions of you. Don't let the criticism get you down. It'll happen no matter what you try to do. You can either ignore it, or consider it a challenge you can overcome. And the amazing part is, once you reach a level that you're satisfied with, there will be others who might very well reach out to you and ask you to sit in with them for a session.

The way I was able to find my personal signature style was first practicing to LPs and CDs, just jamming along with them. There wasn't much progress occurring then. Once I learned a few songs and was able to jam with an open-mic house band, or belt out a couple improvs on acoustic as a solo artist, that's when my confidence increased and I felt like my practice was paying itself back.

There are many seasoned veterans on this forum who can help direct you in the manner in which way you should go. Once you find yourself "in the present," you'll focus more about how you can gain control of your own practice habits and harness them in a way that will work for you.

It's almost like eating a proper diet, exercising and making healthy choices. The way you think and act once you've gained control will be the way to a better life, both as a guitarist, but also as a person who appreciates what life is really about.
 
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