How I Break a Playing Rut

Do you ever find yourself in a playing rut? You know..playing the same licks over and over not even knowing that your playing is getting a little stale? Then one day you either hear a recording of yourself from a gig or rehearsal and it dawns on you that your playing sounds pretty much the same as it did a few months ago.

I know that this happens to me every so often. Instead of going into a panic I have a few things that work for me when trying to get out of a playing rut. I’ll share some of them here with you.

The first thing I do is start listening to other players and very often I listen to every other instrument except for guitar players. Listen to pianists, horn players, harmonica…anything but guitar oriented music. I’ll even throw on some classical….Bach baby..!!

Another thing I do avoid listening to the typical styles of music that are your favorites. I really like blues, country and rockabilly so I’d steer clear of those styles for a little while.

Sometimes taking a break helps. It not only clears your head from guitar playing it gives your hands (tendons, ligaments, etc) a break as well. I know after taking a short break from playing (a week or two) I find myself feeling fresh again with new ideas.

Some more suggestions….

Try doing something completely different from guitar playing. Workout, take walks, read a book or two try cooking something new. Anything you feel that is unrelated to guitar playing.

And after the break, listening to other instruments, working out and reading a book or two you may want to get back to your playing with some lessons. Find a great teacher in your area and let him/her challenge you. If you cannot find a teacher you want to study with you can go online and look for some good and challenging instructional DVD’s. I know that True Fire has some interesting looking titles. As a matter of fact Robbie Calvo has a new one coming out called “Sweet Notes” soon.

So those are my few suggestions for breaking a playing rut. Please leave your comments here with the things that you do to break out of your rut. Keep rockin’!!