PlayJazzGuitar.com Forum Index PlayJazzGuitar.com Forum
Jazz Guitar Discussion
 
 FAQFAQ   SearchSearch   MemberlistMemberlist   UsergroupsUsergroups   RegisterRegister 
 ProfileProfile   Log in to check your private messagesLog in to check your private messages   Log inLog in 

Stuck in a Rut

 
Post new topic   Reply to topic    PlayJazzGuitar.com Forum Index -> The Jazz Guitar Forum
View previous topic :: View next topic  
Author Message
trotsky



Joined: 24 May 2007
Posts: 438
Location: Sarnia Ontario Canada

PostPosted: Sat Oct 08, 2011 11:48 am    Post subject: Stuck in a Rut Reply with quote

I have found myself in a guitar rut for about a month now and I can't seem to get out of it. Rolling Eyes
Everything I played sounds like garbage to my ear and I just can't seem to shake it.
My timing is gone and all is stale.
Normally I would just walk away from it for a while but I have a gig coming up in a few weeks and I am committed to it.
The way I feel right now I would rather not play it at all anyway...much less in front of people.

Anybody have any tricks for snapping out of the six string doldrums??

Must be hard being a pro and going through this when your rent/bread depends on it.
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
cjm



Joined: 16 Oct 2006
Posts: 369

PostPosted: Sat Oct 08, 2011 3:32 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I suspect what you are experiencing is evidence of something good.

As we progress, it is not a steady rate of progression. It is more a "stair step" path to improvement.

We practice, we gig, we get better. Then we hit a plateau. We interpret that plateau as getting worse, or a rut. But instead, it is a time of consolidation. We get tired of what we play because our ears and our minds are no longer satisfied with the level at which we are playing and we become ready to move on to another level.

And "the good that is happening " is that your playing isn't getting better at the moment, but you are becoming dissatisfied because you are becoming more sophisticated. What once satisfied has become passe (to you -- not necessarily to your audience), and you recognize the need for something better.

That's important. If you're satisfied you won't become better because you don't perceive a need to become better.

How do we move on? How broad is this plateau?

There is no magic answer. We just keep slogging away at it and we reach the next slope and begin to climb again.

But there's always another plateau above...and it will all be repeated.

It's just part of the game.
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
PaulD



Joined: 18 Sep 2004
Posts: 1129
Location: Chicago

PostPosted: Mon Oct 10, 2011 8:02 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Sometimes what has worked for me in getting out of a rut is changing styles or even just changing guitars. Lately I've switched to mostly acoustic and have been concentrating more on fingerstyle, which has given me lots of new ideas. This weekend I performed at my niece's wedding and played my ES335, which I had not played in a long time. Practicing with it gave me a whole new perspective.

Paul
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
stratocasturbator



Joined: 17 Jan 2007
Posts: 286
Location: South Orange, NJ

PostPosted: Tue Oct 11, 2011 2:24 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

one of the blessings/curses of jazz playing is that there is always so much to learn, that whenever I get frustrated.... well let me rephrase that--I'm always frustrated! but that's what keeps me coming back, the challenge of getting it right. but maybe I've got a few things together and it feels good and maybe then my brain tells me that it's bored or that I've hit a "plateau"... really? I just do a quick inventory at that point. pick an area--picking technique, arpeggios, modal playing, knowing standards in multiple keys, sense of time, chord/melody arrangements/arranging, sightreading, free playing, learning new tunes, etc. etc. etc. hey it's a beautiful mountain and I'm enjoying climbing it, but I doubt I'll ever get to the tippy-top. and that's ok. but if I ever feel like I'm running in sand, I can usually think of something to keep it fresh. I like the suggestion of switching up instruments too. going from steel to nylon, for instance... Cool
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message Visit poster's website AIM Address
Gorecki
Site Admin


Joined: 06 Oct 2005
Posts: 62518
Location: Davis, CA

PostPosted: Tue Oct 11, 2011 2:50 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

The thing I've found that keeps me in love with the instrument over the years is very simple. I just take a break! Done it before and I'm sure I'll do it again, hell I'm doing it right now!

So what do you do while taking a break? That's entirely up to you! You won't forget how to play, yes things may get a little soft but you'll love practicing again.

I like to diversify and learn things. So, I just take those energies into different directions....like


_________________

Forums Admin for PlayJazzGuitar.com.

Do you know where all of your F'n B flats are?
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message Visit poster's website
jazzerchick



Joined: 31 Oct 2006
Posts: 968
Location: SanAntonio , Tx

PostPosted: Wed Oct 12, 2011 7:50 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Just change things up, like the guys say, maybe your guitar, for a bit.
Or play with some recordings to find a cool new phrase or two, learn a
couple of new voicings, go to a jam session, or go hear some live music.

We all go through those times.You're tuff, it'll pass.
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message Visit poster's website
randalljazz



Joined: 19 May 2009
Posts: 92

PostPosted: Wed Oct 12, 2011 8:56 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

narrow your focus. pick ONE phrase (or scale pattern, whatever). play it very slow, explore its nuances, play it with the metronome, play it in different positions, vary the feel (swing, samba, funk), play it through the cycle, play it high up the neck and answer it in the lower register...let it lead you...
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
mfads



Joined: 01 Oct 2011
Posts: 6

PostPosted: Wed Oct 12, 2011 8:57 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I defiantly agree with having some time out once in a while. I've also noticed that I have made fast progress by limiting myself to a certain task like working through one song or a certain concept. Pretty much one step at a time.

I find it really easy to get overstimulated by all the great method books, you tube vids and everything else out there. [/quote]
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message Send e-mail
trotsky



Joined: 24 May 2007
Posts: 438
Location: Sarnia Ontario Canada

PostPosted: Wed Oct 12, 2011 1:25 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thx for all the tips folks.
Its a comfort to know that it is something we all suffer from. I have been working a ton of hours with my real job and it could just be fatigue.
I have been jonesin for a new guitar lately and just may reward myself with some retail therapy....which could help?
The problem is that everything I try pales in comparison to guitar that I am playing....which is a good thing really ...but doesn't help with the fidgets.
I would love to take a break from it but can't really with the gig looming.....
As a matter of fact the rivers here in southwestern Ontario are starting to shape up and my Steelhead friends are calling to me.
I may just be distracted Wink
<><
Might be time to put the guitar away and reach for the fishing rod. I should have never agreed to a gig during the Steelhead run. Laughing

I have shifted my focus with the guitar to just rudimentary things and it seems to be helping. Mindless stuff... almost like crosstraining for the sport you play.

Gene
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
cjm



Joined: 16 Oct 2006
Posts: 369

PostPosted: Fri Oct 14, 2011 4:38 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quote:
Might be time to put the guitar away and reach for the fishing rod. I should have never agreed to a gig during the Steelhead run.


There's a good steelhead stream running through town here. From my driveway, it's less than 10 minutes to stringing up the fly rod at my favorite run.

And the fly rod is feeling neglected. 20 years ago we were still constant companions. Now it's been two years since it has left the house, and I only fished 15 minutes two years ago. Long enough to land one fin clipped hatchery fish which ended up in my "Little Chief" smoker.

Thing is, steelhead aren't so difficult to catch. After chemo and radiation, it's tougher to get up and down steep river banks than it is to hang a fish with a "Green Butt Skunk." Of course there's still that whole "haunted by water" thing going on...

You don't need to put away the guitar to indulge the other. I'd suggest carrying a priest though, because if you've ever blackened a finger nail on your left hand about two hours before a gig because in the gathering dusk and rain you tried to use a big slippery cobble...capeesh [sic]?
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
cjm



Joined: 16 Oct 2006
Posts: 369

PostPosted: Wed Oct 19, 2011 1:50 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

So anyhow, since there's not much discussion, and since it veered off toward steelhead, I couldn't shake the idea all weekend.

And I decide, what the hell is there to lose? I played a little gig on Friday and Saturday nights and mostly napped on Sunday to rest up.

On Monday morning I go to the local "friendly" Social Security office and pick up the necessary letter, with which I then trots over to Fish and Game to demand my cut rate disabled fishing license.

Go back home, have a little recliner time, then grab my fly rod and head out to the nearest run on the river. Nearly fall down the bluff getting to the river, and have to take a long break sitting on a boulder to catch my wind and then tie on a new tippet and fly. It's bright and sunny, and mid-afternoon, so I thinks to me self a great big Fall Favorite is the fly to start with. And after about four casts, said Fall Favorite, on a heavy wire salmon hook, whacks me solidly on the back of the head.

I think my timing may be off.

But it bounces off without making a hole in me, so I decide it's all good if I refrain from trying to double haul and limit myself to short casts and after about five minutes I actually have a fish on. For about ten seconds. Because, as I said, my timing must be off and I flubbed the hook set and didn't sweep the rod toward the bank...but I did get a good look at him...a very small A run fish no more than 24 inches and probably more like 22. But still, a steelhead.

By then I'm tired and I go home after crawling up the "trail" along the bluff mostly on my hands and knees and looking nothing like the fearless western flyfisherman type who scoffs at danger and walks on his legs like a mountain sheep. (Which I used to do too, before I was qualified for cut rate fishing licenses.)

The next day (yesterday) I decide to try it again for a little while, and I go back to the same spot, because despite the steep bluff you have to negotiate, it is a spot where you don't need to wade because the fish hold near the bank, and that's a good thing because I can't wade these days.

But it seems that over the past 15 or 20 years, my "secret spot" has been found out and there were hardware fishermen camped there.

So I drive up river. For twenty miles. Every run, and not just the ones where I knew I could fish without wading had somebody right in the middle of it. Either a jet boat, or a drift boat, or wading flyfishermen who were wading out past all the fish and casting a big two handed rod into the middle of the river where there are no steelhead to catch anyway.

What is it with all these people? It was Tuesday afternoon. It was not a holiday. Doesn't anyone have a job they have to go to any more?

So, I decide to return home and have a nap. Along the way, I look across the river and see a run where twenty years ago I used to take a few fish, but then there was a flood and the bottom changed and it didn't amount to much after that...bu there is no one in it. I decide, what the hell, I'll give it ten minutes, and I drive across the bridge. There's no steep bank to deal with but there is a jungle of sumac, blackberry canes and poison oak to push through, and I get to thinking: "Damn! This is a lot more work than it used to be."

There are two pockets there, that according to all the books you might ever read, would never hold a steelhead, but for some reason always did before it was scoured during the flood I mentioned before.

Either by my own dumb luck, or because the river bottom was restored through natural processes over the past decade and a half, there was a steelhead holding in the first pocket I hit and mostly by dumb luck I did manage to hook him properly through the corner of the jaw. Didn't have a clipped adipose fin (although he sure looked like a hatchery B run fish to me) so, of course I released him. Pretty typical male -- stayed down -- no jumping but ran most of the flyline without getting into the backing. Taped 29 inches, which is typical of a "two ocean" B run fish on the Clearwater..."two ocean" (which I think is a stupid term) B run fish almost always tape at 28~29 inches, "three ocean" are usually 32~34 inches, and the occasional "four ocean: fish are 36 inches and up to about forty inches.

But I digress. I was tired after I released him, and I went home. I didn't get a nap because some friends came by, but that was okay.

Doesn't have a damned thing to do with guitar playing, but that's my fish story and I'm sticking to it.

Maybe I'll go out again in a few days and see if I can find one with a clipped adipose fin for my smoker.
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
trotsky



Joined: 24 May 2007
Posts: 438
Location: Sarnia Ontario Canada

PostPosted: Thu Oct 20, 2011 3:11 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Great little fish tale CJM.
Got out on the river myself yesterday and we just hammered them!
Rivers are all blown here now due to the heavy rain... Crying or Very sad
On my way to Ottawa tomorrow to fight the good fight for our Union.
There just happens to be a guitar store in town that carries Collings I35s and Soco's...
Can't wait to give them a test run Wink
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
JakeJew



Joined: 30 Jul 2005
Posts: 2190
Location: Boston, MA

PostPosted: Thu Oct 20, 2011 3:08 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

My perspective is that there's no such thing as a rut. If you're playing and practicing, you're always moving forward even when you might think you're moving backward.
_________________
"Inspiration may be a form of superconsciousness, or perhaps of subconciousness - I wouldn't know. But I am sure that it is the antithesis of self-consciousness." - Aaron Copland
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message AIM Address
Henryrobinett



Joined: 01 May 2010
Posts: 180
Location: Sacramento, Ca

PostPosted: Wed Nov 23, 2011 6:06 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I rarely get in ruts. But when I do or when my students do, I know it's time to practice harder or on new and different things. I'm not one for fixing the problem by taking a break, although I know it may work for some. If you're in a rut, for me, that's an indication something is wrong. Playing the same thing over and over can be a rut. It's kind of the definition.

And working on something new might not directly relate to improv. Working on reading CAN be a real booster, especially working out of the Parker Omni book or reading Coltrane solos, etc. Doing transcriptions, learning new songs in new ways, practicing tempos with a metronome, changing up your routine drastically. If you do a lot of scale and arpeggio practice, don't for a while. If you haven't practiced scales, arpeggios/exercise do it for a while. If you're doing nothing but chord melody stuff, stop it and do something else. Try a different style. Pull out a distortion pedal for yuks.

OR -- it could be that you've been avoiding the kind of practice you know you SHOULD be doing. This lowers your own self esteem and tends to lesson your enjoyment because, maybe, in your own mind you've been slacking.

I think ruts are symptomatic. Of what only you can determine.
_________________
All the best,

Henry Robinett
www.henryrobinett.com
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message Visit poster's website
Display posts from previous:   
Post new topic   Reply to topic    PlayJazzGuitar.com Forum Index -> The Jazz Guitar Forum All times are GMT
Page 1 of 1

 
Jump to:  
You cannot post new topics in this forum
You cannot reply to topics in this forum
You cannot edit your posts in this forum
You cannot delete your posts in this forum
You cannot vote in polls in this forum


Powered by phpBB © 2001, 2005 phpBB Group