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Playing on Auto-Pilot

Discussion in 'Band Wagon' started by oceanman2, Jul 28, 2011.

  1. oceanman2

    oceanman2 Tele-Meister

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    Last weekend at a show, I was playing a lead I'd done 150 times or so, and I completely blank on the notes, the melody- NO clue what was coming next. I look down at my fingers and they just do what they're supposed to do. It sounded exactly like it always does. I couldn't have even told you what key I was in. Just no conscious awareness of my lead playing.

    Now, I space out sometimes at gigs, practice, while driving, while people talk, etc. But I've never lost concentration during a whole lead. Is this a sign of some impending guitar-induced dementia? Ever have this happen? Does it become the norm?
     
  2. jefrs

    jefrs Doctor of Teleocity

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    This is called "letting go of the sword" (Musashi, go rin no sho).

    You haven't lost concentration but are letting the body react automatically. It doesn't mean you have lost concious input, you should be able to play some pretty amazing stuff in that state. Enjoy.
     
  3. oceanman2

    oceanman2 Tele-Meister

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    Ah, domo arigato! I'll learn to embrace and not overthink.
     
  4. guitarbiker

    guitarbiker Tele-Holic

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    I'm not sure, but you just might be playing the same old stuff over and over again. It might be worth stepping out on a limb and trying to actually improvise something new. Take some guitar lessons from somebody....I've had students that keep playing the same licks over and over again for years......they sound good but really they keep saying the same thing. However if you are not talking about improvisation, I know the feeling from playing as a pit musician for theatre shows where I've done the show for the 70th time.......sometimes I'll wake up in the middle of it and think.......what the hell?, am I really here playing? Man! time to see the head doctor then......
     
  5. oceanman2

    oceanman2 Tele-Meister

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    Yeah, I could benefit from some improvising (& even lessons!). It's been a comfort thing- just locking leads to keep things consistent for the rest of the band.

    I do like to stir the pot occasionally though. Maybe this is just the stimulus that says it's time. I also kind like that zen thinking above, if it was combined with some new musical ideas.
     
  6. String Tree

    String Tree Doctor of Teleocity Ad Free Member

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    How much party liquor was involved?
     
  7. ac15

    ac15 Poster Extraordinaire Ad Free Member

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    It's common. It's called muscle memory.
     
  8. oceanman2

    oceanman2 Tele-Meister

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    Couple a PBR's. That's usually what makes my muscle memory forgetful and incites the war between my OCD and my rockstar delusions.
     
  9. RollingBender

    RollingBender Tele-Afflicted

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    Embrace it!!! It makes things go much more smoothly and it give you time to think about other things.

    It's happened to me many times... I'll come out of a lead and ready to go into the third verse and, like a deer in the headlights, I'm completely clueless on where in the song I am, what the words are or even what the song is that I'm playing. You just have to let the muscle memory go on for a bit more until you recognize the song and the bass player tells you what the next line of the lyrics are.
     
  10. brookdalebill

    brookdalebill Tele Axpert Ad Free Member

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    I'm guilty as charged on this one.
    Same venue, same players, same crowd, year after year.
    The regularity of "sit down" gig will make you an automaton, if you aren't careful.
    I break out of auto-pilot by YouTubing other player's arrangements.
    There are a lot of great players out there.
    I steal a little of this and that, mix em' up and see what happens.
    When I get real burned out, I take some lessons.
    I find learning chord melodies helps my soloing a lot.
     
  11. Old Cane

    Old Cane Poster Extraordinaire

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    I must be the lucky one. 40 years and never played the same thing twice. At least not intentionally.
     
  12. blargfromspace

    blargfromspace Tele-Afflicted

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    You beat me to it. 'Muscle memory' is phrase you hear from classical musicians quite a lot as they have to learn their parts note perfect. It's also the reason why the licks that you've bothered spending time on perfecting come out so much better.
     
  13. cband7

    cband7 Friend of Leo's

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    "You have to let art flow over you..." William Hurt, 'The Big Chill'.


    .
     
  14. scantron81

    scantron81 Tele-Afflicted

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    Yeah, that's happened to me before. It was due to a bottle of Seagrams vodka and a jug of Orange juice. I don't remember playing but some video was shot and I played the best solos of my life!
     
  15. Justinvs

    Justinvs Poster Extraordinaire

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    Okay, this is a weird story, but I promise it's true.

    I played bass in a band with a guy and his wife, both of them older and almost like second parents to me. The guy was an exceptional musician, but very much from a jazz background. He did things with a guitar that I had no idea how he did them. Sadly, he died, killed in a horseback riding accident. I was really shook up by it, and for several months didn't pick up a guitar.

    One night toward the end of summer, about two months after Rod had been killed, my brother-in-law asked me to sit in with his band at a street dance. Colder than hell, all of us crowded on a flatbed trailer, typical outdoor job in Montana. Someone gave me the nod and I took off on a solo, playing jazz licks like I'd been doing them all my life. My fingers just naturally found the places they were supposed to go without me even thinking about it. Happened two or three times that night, and each time it was almost like sleepwalking. I'd space out as the solo started then blink and come back once I was done. I have no idea how it happened, but I do know to this day I've never been able to play that way again.

    Justin
     
  16. TeleTim911

    TeleTim911 Friend of Leo's

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    Sounds to me like The Force has taken over. ;)
     
  17. Justinvs

    Justinvs Poster Extraordinaire

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    Yeah. Usually the only thing taking over is beer!
     
  18. TeleTim911

    TeleTim911 Friend of Leo's

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    So Justin, you've seen ME play huh? LOL!
     
  19. KCKC

    KCKC Tele-Afflicted

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    When I was in a giggin' band, many, many years ago, I remember thinking how the set list songs would start and always started stressing because I couldn't remember. But once we were on and the drummer counted off I never had a problem.

    KC
     
  20. Cubeoid

    Cubeoid TDPRI Member

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    Unless im sight reading (and even then) most of playing is completely auto pilot...

    People ask what i was thinking or doing when I did this or that... I honestly have no idea, what happened.. just happened..

    If Im aware of what Im doing during improv or really anything.. it usually just dont sound right...
     
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