Have you ever taken a break?

Discussion in 'Bad Dog Cafe' started by BluesGuitarMart, Feb 27, 2020.

  1. tah1962

    tah1962 Tele-Afflicted

    Jan 27, 2020
    Heart of Illinois
    I started playing drums at 11, guitar at 13, and keyboards at 18. I started playing in my first (paying gig band, 3-4 nights a week) when I was a sophomore in high school.

    I wouldn’t say that I have ever taken an extended break, but I definitely slowed down when my wife and I decided to start a family. I wasn’t playing in bands from 1988-2005. During this time, I was doing a lot of recording with different musicians.

    I got back in the band scene from 2005-2015. Now I’m just playing drums and guitar in my church’s worship team. I also have a home studio so I’m getting back into recording.
  2. imwjl

    imwjl Poster Extraordinaire

    Mar 21, 2007
    My mom's basement.
    I've barely played this winter. We've had two parents with health issues, I had an injury, some travel, and age advancing along with injury recovery put an emphasis on more fitness in my spare time.

    The weather forecast and spring melt season are saying this will turn around within the next week.

    Full disclosure. My playing has always been chronic mediocre. I love making the effort, the sounds, the efforts but I'm not particularly quick at music theory, nor particularly good or quick if a jam or group is far outside of my I, IV, V or similar jail. I get two chord jams too and minors and minor 7th R&B style.

    Parents might get this but another kid got his license yesterday and that will mean guitar time for me. That guy's super busy with school, extracurricular stuff, and activities. Effective today he'll just take the 21 year old Camry.
  3. trapdoor2

    trapdoor2 Tele-Afflicted Gold Supporter

    Feb 23, 2018
    Sauth Carolina
    We bought a second home (a foreclosure to renovate) back in 2014...now living in it and selling the old one. At the same time Miz Diane's mom took the downhill run thru Alzheimers.

    Although I've played occasionally, I've really been away from it since then...only keeping a hand in vicariously thru online forums.
  4. brookdalebill

    brookdalebill Tele Axpert Ad Free Member

    Nov 15, 2009
    Austin, Tx
    I haven’t gone more than three days without playing in almost 53 years.
    I helped a friend move from eastern Oklahoma back to Texas about 10 years ago.
    No room, or time for playing.
    I survived, but just barely!;)
    I’m an addict, I LOVE to play.
    G-52, OldDude2 and StrangerNY like this.
  5. Engine Swap

    Engine Swap Tele-Meister

    Nov 28, 2014
    1986-1997 = on (college/post college - lots of time, little responsibility)

    1997-2009 = off (first real job, tons of work)

    2009-2015 = on (new job, in the music industry, coworkers and culture all musicians-inspired to play)

    2015-2019 = off (promoted to management, tons of work)

    2019-present = on (same job, better work/life balance - hoping to crank for a while)

    Work and family seem to be common themes here.

    Even in the down times, I never sold gear, because I knew I'd come back to it.

    Interestingly, my style has evolved, even without playing. After a long layoff, I have to relearn a lot of things, which leads me in new directions.
  6. Lonn

    Lonn Friend of Leo's

    Dec 13, 2007
    I didn't start until I was 39 and getting ready to retire fro the military. I've never played a lot to begin with but always tinkered. Right now I've been without a guitar since Jan 10 and that's the longest time. I don't see one in the near future but you need know.
  7. Chiogtr4x

    Chiogtr4x Poster Extraordinaire

    Mar 29, 2007
    Manassas Park, VA
    The closest I ever came to taking a break ( but not really) would be the first 8-9 years I was married, say 1980-1989.

    By break I mean this is the ONLY period in 45 years when I wasn't playing GIGS, but was always playing/learning how to play.

    I learned how to play in a boarding HS in 1975, joined Folk Group there and learned how to play guitar and play in front of people at the same time.
    Continued in College, playing first in acoustic groups, then R&R bands.
    But from 1980-89, just worked my tail off, trying to raise family- learned how to play blues well, jammed with buddies but just a few real gigs.

    Then in 1989 ( kids are older), decided I REALLY wanted to gig, my confidence as a player and performer grew and I just needed to play! Even if part-time, I felt I had some kind of gift that needed to be pursued and shared.
    61 now, play more than ever- go figure!

    ' Till death do us part' - I hope!
    Can't even process NOT playing or taking a break
  8. Marc Morfei

    Marc Morfei Tele-Afflicted

    Feb 6, 2018
    Philadelphia, PA
    Yup. 20 year break. Was surprisingly easy to get back into it. Well, after the first couple months of building up callouses.
  9. tfarny

    tfarny Friend of Leo's

    Sep 4, 2008
    Hudson Valley, NY
    yeah, a few times. Last time was when I put all non-essentials on hold for almost three years to renovate my house from top to bottom.
    If you are feeling musically uninspired, maybe it's time to find some people to play music with? At this point in my own evolution as a player, I can say that without the social aspect of playing with others and the rush of being onstage, I wouldn't have the energy or motivation to continue to improve.
    But if that doesn't work for you or it's not impossible, there is no shame in taking a break from it all. I"d recommend keeping at least your favorite guitar and amp, though. You never know when inspiration might strike again.
  10. Stringbanger

    Stringbanger Telefied Ad Free Member

    Jan 18, 2013
    West O' Philly, PA
    I’ve been playing for 42 years, and the longest period of not playing was never more than 2 months. These periods of not playing happened because of life’s distractions, and not because I didn’t want to play.
  11. bftfender

    bftfender Friend of Leo's

    Dec 21, 2017
    York PA
    Just Went to Miami for a week...no nothing...no music...came back..3 new ones in Reaper...scrapped the 5 that i just spent a month on

    I like to get out of the sameness that starts to develop...do 2) 10 song Albums a year & need some space..one tends to be heavy and other tends to be more open..multiple genre sounds. Must be mad in the winter lol..all the heavies come..then spring approaches nicer music & lyrics flow

    each 1 week break in Feb & August always leads to massive creativity..amp & guitar changes & mood changes to reflect in the songs
  12. Telecaster88

    Telecaster88 Tele-Holic

    May 9, 2019
    Midwest USA
    I developed hyperacusis in 1995 and had to quit music for 25 years, aside from playing a bit of acoustic once or twice a year. A few years ago my ears were healed up enough to start playing electric again (at modest volume and with earplugs in). This was also the perfect timing for my mid life crisis!

    It was frustrating to have lost my playing dexterity, but it didn't take long for it to come back.
  13. Si G X

    Si G X Tele-Holic

    Dec 8, 2019
    Yeah I stopped playing for 10 years when my band fell apart, I wasn't enjoying playing on my own and I felt that without that band I had no real reason to. I figured at the time, my 'band thing' was over and it was time to do something else, especially as I wasn't getting any younger. I got back into it when I started building effects and doing guitar maintenance for other people. I can't say it's exactly like riding a bike, but it didn't really feel much different picking it up again.
  14. Telecastoff1

    Telecastoff1 Tele-Holic

    Apr 28, 2009
    I started playing the bars when I was 11. Some of those places we played were discreetly serving us alcohol when I was 13-14 years old. By the time I was 27, I had had enough of playing, drinking and using. So, I quit all those things.Cold turkey. I was approached to play again a year later and have been playing pretty much full-time ever since. I never did go back to alcohol and the other stuff.
  15. catdaddy

    catdaddy Tele-Afflicted

    Jun 3, 2013
    backroads of Florida
    I stopped playing for 5 years as a result of chronic fatigue from an undiagnosed illness. After having surgery to correct the problem in 1983, I've been thankful for every day I've been well enough to pick up a guitar.
  16. teletail

    teletail Tele-Meister

    Aug 25, 2019
    West By God Virginia
    Twice - in my mid twenties I had tendinitis so bad in both wrists that I couldn’t even play for a minute without pain. I took a couple years off and was eventually able to play again.

    13 years ago I was in a really bad motorcycle accident, got a divorce and moved. Between the pain, physical therapy, drugs, divorce and move, I took a year or so off.

    Other than that I’ve been playing steadily for almost 50 years.
  17. Skydog1010

    Skydog1010 Tele-Afflicted Platinum Supporter

    Apr 20, 2019
    North Carolina
    Played 1964 - 1972 often
    Played 1972 - 1983 seldom
    Stopped, for life circumstances
    Started back in 2014, haven't hardly missed a day since my wife gave my first Stratocaster September 12, 2014. :)
  18. Hatfield92

    Hatfield92 Tele-Holic Silver Supporter

    Jan 24, 2019
    Largo, Florida, USA
    I spent a solid decade basically not playing at all. Didn’t even own a guitar most of those years. I got back in gradually, and it honestly took me nearly another decade to return to the skill level I’d been at when I stopped.
  19. EsquireBoy

    EsquireBoy Tele-Afflicted

    Jun 21, 2019
    Paris, France
    Started playing guitar at 11, and turning 40 this year, so nearly 30 years of guitar in my life.
    Never completely stopped playing, but when in my twenties I concentrated on home recording for friends because I was really attracted by the whole studio thing.
    I realized that it was the guitar that made me happy, and I started playing everyday again while waiting for the birth of my son. I hope there’ll be no more break!
  20. Fiesta Red

    Fiesta Red Friend of Leo's

    Nov 15, 2010
    Four times—

    From 1994-1995 I barely touched a harmonica (the instrument I’m actually better at playing) because I was being hard-headed and proving a point about my guitar-playing and vocals having merit.

    From summer 2006-spring 2007 (10+ months) I could barely stand up, much less play a guitar, due to two discs in my neck rupturing and the resulting surgery fusing C5/C6/C7.

    My daughter (aged 5 at the time) was ecstatic that I was home all summer and winter, but because of the pain (and pain medication), there’s a lot of gaps in my mind from that time...but she remembers it and was so happy she got to be my assistant/secretary, bringing me food and drink and books, etc, as well as snuggling on the couch and watching cartoons, and says that was a great summer from her childhood. She also used that time to learn how to write songs and work on that craft—and some of them were pretty good...my band (later) performed some of them off and on, when they fit the show.

    From winter 2007-early 2008 I had to stop playing because of another surgery—bone spurs, torn labrum and rotator cuff in right shoulder (related to neck injury mentioned above). I still can’t throw a baseball straight after that one. :(

    From mid-2008 to mid-2009, I didn’t play much; I still played here and there but rarely performed because of an illness my wife was suffering and two surgeries she was dealing with. She was so sick, she almost died and got down to 79 pounds before she refused to step on a scale any more...thankfully, she survived but has ongoing problems that will be with her for life...that was another Daddy/Daughter-intensive summer, because my wife was almost an invalid, but the kid doesn’t have fond memories because of the near-death timing.
    Last edited: Feb 27, 2020
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