Just haven't felt like playing my guitars lately

teletail

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Unless you play for a living, it should be fun, not an obligation. Either you get back to it or you don’t.

I can’t remember the last time I went musicless. Probably right after a motorcycle accident put me in the hospital for a month. First thing I do after breakfast 7 days a week is practice for an hour. Gets my day off to a great start.
 

Fiesta Red

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I am not joking:

Are you showing any other signs of depression or anxiety?

I went through a depressive episode (also had anxiety attacks and issues during that time), and it changed everything about what I liked and enjoyed.

I stopped reading for pleasure, and I wasn’t able to retain information from the (necessary/business) reading I was required to do.

I quit listening to music (there was still music in the house—wife and daughter—but it made no impression on me, and when I was alone I didn’t turn on any source of music).

Food became fuel, not an enjoyable experience.

One thing—I occasionally would pick up a guitar, but I didn’t play long (a couple of minutes at most); I would play a song or two upon demand or request, but it was perfunctory…it didn’t help me (mentally, emotionally) like it had before.

I quit writing music and lyrics. I had endured creative dry spells/plateaus before, where I didn’t write anything of consequence, but this was the first time (since I started writing music and lyrics) that I wrote absolutely nothing. When I started coming out of this, the first few things I did write were very angry and vitriolic.

This whole episode lasted for close to two years; I finally went to the doctor and got some good advice (and medication for the anxiety)…I also turned to a friend who’d had some similar experiences and he helped me quite a bit.

Look up the symptoms of depression and see if you have any of them.
 

brookdalebill

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Unless you play for a living, it should be fun, not an obligation. Either you get back to it or you don’t.

I can’t remember the last time I went musicless. Probably right after a motorcycle accident put me in the hospital for a month. First thing I do after breakfast 7 days a week is practice for an hour. Gets my day off to a great start.


I’m just putting in a small vote for having fun, and making a, ahem, living.
I am still managing to do both, after almost 50 years.
 

Festofish

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My skills plateau and I get bored. I’ll take a break and when I finally get back at it, something unlocks in my playing or thinking approach and I’m better for the breaks. As someone with no kids to play with…that should be enough to get you excited about it. Enjoy when you’re ready.
 

INFANT

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After my band of 25 yrs packed it in in 2000, I stopped playing for about 5 yrs. Put my stuff away and rarely touched it. Then one day, my old horn player asked if I wanted to join his band and we’ve been playing since up until everything shut down in Feb 2019. Back then, I put my stuff away for about 6 months and never played. Then I decided to leave a guitar out on a stand and I’ve found that I pick it up for at least 15 minutes every day when I’m in the room. There’s truth to the adage “out of sight, out of mind”. Just keep a guitar handy and you’ll find that you’ll play it.
 

jman72

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I think what you're going through is totally normal. 2019 was the best musical year of my life- my band was rockin' and we had the best run of great gigs ever. I couldn't get enough of playing-every day all I could think about was learning new songs and booking more gigs. We played a great little local "festival" in February 2020 and were at the top of our game- the "high water mark" of my guitar playing. Then, well, you know what happened after that.

Everything stopped in its tracks. I hardly picked up my guitar for a year. For me, getting together with my friends and playing was my main (only) outlet from a stressful life as a dad, Scoutmaster, professional, etc. Playing at home just seemed like such a waste of time.

Well, at the end of last summer, things finally seemed to be getting back to normal, our band finally got back together for a rehearsal. It was a great- we still rocked, and things were going to be fun again!

Then a couple of days later our lead singer/rhythm guitarist said he didn't have time for the band right now (or for the foreseeable future). I was crushed! All of the sudden my dreams of playing and gigging were gone. My other two bandmates and I tried to get something going and to find a new way to play as a three-piece, but without the whole band, it just seems futile and nobody has any focus or drive. Every week, somebody (never me) backs out of practice for some reason or another. Nobody is committed, and it really bums me out.

So, basically I'm stuck in musical purgatory. My band went from "on top" to "totally fallen apart", and I'm feeling a bit depressed about it. Nothing serious, but it definitely sucks. I literally have no desire to pick up my guitar right now. I spent my time thinking about building new amps/guitars/pedals, but really have no drive to play. I know that it'll come back some day- I just hope it is soon.
 

telemnemonics

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Yeah I've had times of not wanting to play and worse still not liking anything I play.
Recent times now and then I think maybe it's just not worth continuing since I'm not likely to be gigging and "being a musician", like providing music to anyone besides my wife and myself. Gear is $$ I could put into other needs.
But I try to force myself to play a bit every day, and on some days I get something of value out of it.
If at some point an opportunity presents itself, at least I will still have some callouses and muscle memory.

But I guess time off has some valid argument too, let it seem fresh and new again?
 

Rockinvet

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It's like getting started working out. You just have to jump in and do it. The first practice session is the hardest. I have not gone years not practicing but I know its hard to get started and maintain it when you're off for a while. I have really no reason to play now other than a personal goal I set for myself. There are no gigs for me. But I still practice.

You can do this if you decide that is what you want. I think that is the hardest part.
 

JamesAM

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It’s normal to cycle through hobbies, and it’s normal for interest in things to wax and wane. For me, I played very sparingly from 2012-2018; I started in 2000. I was focused on career, getting married, and other hobbies (namely fly fishing).

Two things got me back into music:

- I picked up my fiddle (my first instrument) and got reinvigorated with bluegrass music.

- I had my first kid, which meant that I had to make a shift to acoustic due to the volume of amplified guitar and constant sleeping baby upstairs.

I got whole hog into flatpicking and have never looked back. The added stress (joyous stress but stress nonetheless) of having a baby meant my wife and I needed non-parent hobbies of our own to decompress, and I went right for that guitar. It has been fantastic, and I’ve got something I can hopefully teach my kid when he’s old enough and if he has interest.

Tl;dr: pushing myself to try a new style with additional life constraints gave me the motivation to return to guitar, if that helps you.

Good luck and have fun out there, even if it isn’t with a guitar!
 

Danjabellza

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So, I’ve not had that exact experience, I’ve had issues though where life didn’t really allow for as much playing as I normally like for a long time. In fact, I barely touched a guitar for the last 7 weeks or so since we bought our house. And it can be weird and uncomfortable and discouraging getting back into it.

Is it guitar or music that you’re not too interested in any more? Do you listen to music the same as before? Less? Do you still get excited by great songs? Regardless of whether or not it’s guitar or music in general, maybe try to find some new bands or genres of music; just to listen to for now. Maybe it will spark a renewed interest.
 

Flaneur

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My motivation, to play simply for pleasure, has always been up and down. There have been no gigs, for the last couple of months and that tends to take away my focus, regarding rehearsal and practice.
Sometimes, these dry spells lead to a renewed interest in song writing- but not always. A long drive is the opportunity to listen to a lot of music, which can spark creativity- but there have been no opportunities for a road trip, since the autumn.

I don't worry about this stuff, although the rust sometimes takes a great effort, to knock off. If you are worried- and especially, if you're worried about some aspects of your life/suffering with low moods.....take some positive, restorative action. Ideally, today. :)
 

Skub

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It has been a few years since I really -wanted- to play my guitars.

These days my guitars mostly just collect dust, sadly, I guess. I take my acoustic with me when I go camping, but I usually don't break it out much.

This too shall pass right? I'm not sure what its going to take to get me enthusiastic about playing my guitars again.

I have a good friend who invites me over to jam but I can't seem to muster the gumption and head over. My older son is a wonderful bass guitarist and he's always looking to play music with dad (we had a nice band for 7 years), but I think I've been letting him down for awhile now.

Not sure whats up. Have ya'll had periods in life where the muse just wasn't there, then it all returned? What brought you back to playing music again? What were the inspirations?

Looking for stories of being away for awhile then finding ways to play enjoyable music again. Not sure which directions I should go.

Life is good tho.. take care..

Playing guitar/music is a string to your bow. It's one of the things that make you what you are,but it isn't necessary to play all the time,everything ebbs and flows in life.

I've had a couple of periods in my life where my priorities changed,treat it as a natural occurrence and don't fret about losing something.

The last couple of years have been a rough/stressful ride for me with family members sick and dying,so music has very much been on the shelf,but I knew it was there when inevitably life settles down. Trying to force it to fit will be counterproductive.

The fact you say life is good,means you have the right attitude and someday the spark will return,until then enjoy other things.:cool:
 

roeg

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Ok. After reading just a little,i guess i am a lifer. You'll know it when you get there,you won't have to ask.
I'm sorry op, but time changes everything,so don't close the door. That's all.
 
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StoneH

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I took 40 years off after performing for 9+ years.

I started playing again as physical therapy after dislocating some fingers. I tried using my phone to video myself playing a song, but the audio was horrific.

While checking out websites (Sweetwater), I learned about home studio recording. Now I am having fun recording, using midi, drum plug-ins. etc. (and I still haven't recorded a full video).
 

fleezinator

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As a few others have mentioned, just because you've temporarily cooled down for guitar doesn't mean you can't still be creative and get musical in other ways.

I recently got on board with Native Instruments & their Komplete line of software instruments. It's been really fun painting with different brushes & discovering new sonic textures. I'm really hooked on their cinematic offerings like Arkhis. I'd recommend trying their free Komplete Start bundle out. Then go to Spitfire Audio's Lab page and grab all their free virtual instruments. Grab Cakewalk for free as well if you don't already have a DAW.

Little ruts like this may mean your mind needs a challenge & I think putting yourself in a slightly unknown waters is a great way to grow & explore your way out.
 

String Tree

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It has been a few years since I really -wanted- to play my guitars.

These days my guitars mostly just collect dust, sadly, I guess. I take my acoustic with me when I go camping, but I usually don't break it out much.

This too shall pass right? I'm not sure what its going to take to get me enthusiastic about playing my guitars again.

I have a good friend who invites me over to jam but I can't seem to muster the gumption and head over. My older son is a wonderful bass guitarist and he's always looking to play music with dad (we had a nice band for 7 years), but I think I've been letting him down for awhile now.

Not sure whats up. Have ya'll had periods in life where the muse just wasn't there, then it all returned? What brought you back to playing music again? What were the inspirations?

Looking for stories of being away for awhile then finding ways to play enjoyable music again. Not sure which directions I should go.

Life is good tho.. take care..

Speaking personally, Having to play when I don't Want to Play is a Stressor.
For me, I have to be inspired by something or, somebody.

Do what you Want to do.
See if the Muse returns.
 

Cosmic Cowboy

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It has been a few years since I really -wanted- to play my guitars.

These days my guitars mostly just collect dust, sadly, I guess. I take my acoustic with me when I go camping, but I usually don't break it out much.



This too shall pass right? I'm not sure what its going to take to get me enthusiastic about playing my guitars again.

I have a good friend who invites me over to jam but I can't seem to muster the gumption and head over. My older son is a wonderful bass guitarist and he's always looking to play music with dad (we had a nice band for 7 years), but I think I've been letting him down for awhile now.

Not sure whats up. Have ya'll had periods in life where the muse just wasn't there, then it all returned? What brought you back to playing music again? What were the inspirations?

Looking for stories of being away for awhile then finding ways to play enjoyable music again. Not sure which directions I should go.

Life is good tho.. take care..
 

johnny k

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I am not joking:

Are you showing any other signs of depression or anxiety?

I went through a depressive episode (also had anxiety attacks and issues during that time), and it changed everything about what I liked and enjoyed.

I stopped reading for pleasure, and I wasn’t able to retain information from the (necessary/business) reading I was required to do.

I quit listening to music (there was still music in the house—wife and daughter—but it made no impression on me, and when I was alone I didn’t turn on any source of music).

Food became fuel, not an enjoyable experience.

One thing—I occasionally would pick up a guitar, but I didn’t play long (a couple of minutes at most); I would play a song or two upon demand or request, but it was perfunctory…it didn’t help me (mentally, emotionally) like it had before.

I quit writing music and lyrics. I had endured creative dry spells/plateaus before, where I didn’t write anything of consequence, but this was the first time (since I started writing music and lyrics) that I wrote absolutely nothing. When I started coming out of this, the first few things I did write were very angry and vitriolic.

This whole episode lasted for close to two years; I finally went to the doctor and got some good advice (and medication for the anxiety)…I also turned to a friend who’d had some similar experiences and he helped me quite a bit.

Look up the symptoms of depression and see if you have any of them.
Exactly what is happening to me. Sound, i am not talking about volume, sound feels like an agression. And not just music. People talking too. It sucks. I used to play a lot and read a lot, i am not doing much of these nowadays. I still like being a couch potato and watching cartoons.
 

Lockback

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There's a 40-year gap from when I first picked up a guitar (a horrible, cheap acoustic with a terrible action) until I bought my first electric about 5 years ago. I was close to retirement and owning/playing an electric was on my bucket list so I spent a modest amount on a Yamaha/Fender amp pair up and I've been hooked every since.
Except ... well ... not always.
Granted, I haven't taken a 6-year-break. But I've taken a 6-day break now and then.
When I got back into playing guitar (I did play keyboards for several years in the interim), I told my wife, "If this becomes work, something I dread, yet another task like so many others we have in life that we feel obligated to do, I'll give it up. I need something in my life I want to do."
But like everything else, we all have periods where we're just uninspired.
If I were you, I wouldn't kick myself too hard. If it's not there, it's not there. It is what it is. Or isn't, in this case. And you know what? That's okay too.
 

Happy Enchilada

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Been there several times. Played in high school and had a ball. College was my first taste of gigging in bars and coffeehouses and restaurants. Then grad school and too many other things pushed it off my radar. Marriage ditto. Always had a guitar around, but never really did anything with it, until I went to a jam night and found a new friend with whom I enjoyed hanging out and gigging. Then moved away and back in the case it went. Then divorce came and it got sold down the river to pay rent. Then life stabilized and I got back into it some. Then marriage again and too busy with younguns, back in the case. Then ended up playing worship music for 12 years, working more than most show bands in Vegas (and for no $$$). Then stopped to be Scout leader for my boys and shepherd them through to being Eagle Scouts, which took another 9 years or so. Now they're both out of high school and one is off working a great job while the other gets his compass adjusted ... and I'm once again looking for someone to partner up with and gig or whatever once more, or perhaps a church band again.

So, OP, don't feel like the Lone Ranger. We all go through stuff in life that makes the music take a backseat for a while. But if life gives you the time and space to get back in the saddle, it's OK to do it on your own timetable. I have other hobbies that have been put on hold - like fly tying and reloading rifle ammo. But I still have the gear and if I decide to focus on that again someday, I will. But as Fiesta Red said, please make sure you're not suffering from clinical depression - another thing a lot of us have had trouble with since That Whose Name We Dare Not Utter was thrust upon us. It's OK to talk to your doc and get help if needed.
 




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