I heard some recordings of myself done around a week ago in a guitar duo doing dinner music (mostly background jazz) and was amazed to discover I could literally predict where I was headed on almost all but 1 solos (the exception being a tune that I was sight reading and never heard before). And I NEVER listen to myself play

first off, i'm not touching guitar for about a week unless its a gig and resuming transcribing/analyzing various solos (i'll stick to piano which I can kind of sort of fake)

i also keep a healthy mixture of tons of music in rotation

i'm guessing i've just become stuck, which happens to all of us, but part of it might be who I'm playing with - most playing around I do in a duo with one other guy playing dinner music and he really isn't much of a jazz player and after a little while it really felt like he plays every song the same way all the time. I could go on at length about the conversational aspect of jazz (but thats another thread) and am also going to make an effort to play (casually jamming if need be) with more, different people. Already have a quartet gig next month but those are harder to come by and usually pay worse but I'm trying, dammit.

so how do you guys escape musical ruts? i'd like to be as far from formulaic as possible and figured this forum could get me a few good ideas
Last edited by smartguyreviews at Dec 28, 2013,
rest assured, i'm already doing other things.

that said, I believe there's a lot more to it that just playing a different note. I'm aware that that action could very well make me play something different, but considering improvisation is spontaneously adapting to a different situation (which is, when done well, effectively calling upon your experiences, sensibilities, preferences and cognitive process to create a different line of music) and i haven't changed as a person just from the act of forcing myself to play another note, and will ultimately be moving back towards the equilibrium of what i 'hear' rather than following that one sound on a journey, no matter what I tell myself the purpose of that note is.

In my humble and not necessarily correct opinion, changing notes during a solo but nothing about myself doesn't really develop me as a player, but strengthens the equilibrium i'm seeking to maintain - basically if i'm just trying to do something different its already too late. I'm not really worried about the notes, more about the music.

So i guess this thread title was kind of off, I'm really more looking to how each of us pave our own ways out of the box - or entrench ourselves further
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The way i escape musical ruts is learning/exploring genres i hadn't before. I am mostly a jazz and fusion musician, but i hardly only study those things. Last time i was in a rut i started looking at world music and learning some of it. Everything from Irish folk music to greek bouzouki music to turkish classical music.

I believe that if you look into all styles of music and pick something up from it, that's healthy. Versatility in playing and taste is important. Singing everything you play so you get a connection with it, most of the time i will comp myself and sing my solos, cause i don't want my fingers to play patterns, i want them to play the music i want to play. So learning to sing everything is great, developing that connection to the instrument.

I hope that was helpful in any way.
Best Regards
Fusion and jazz musician, a fan of most music.

Quote by Guthrie Govan
“If you steal from one person it's theft, and if you steal from lots of people it's research”

Quote by Chick Corea
"Only play what you hear. If you don't hear anything, don't play anything."
Quote by smartguyreviews
so how do you guys escape musical ruts? i'd like to be as far from formulaic as possible and figured this forum could get me a few good ideas

I'm all 'bout the chord voicings, especially if you're comping. There are many...

Experiment with rhythm as well.

That is all.
Last edited by mdc at Dec 29, 2013,
I don't think you're gonna tread any new guitar ground without playing the instrument. As long as you don't play it regularly, you're just going to resort to whatever is safe and easy.

The only way to broaden your vocabulary is to work out new chord voicings, resolution patterns, and melodies, and spend time applying them to the music you want to play.