#1
Keep it simple, stupid! What are some of the things you often remind yourself of that can get lost in the fog of writing, playing, practicing or otherwise. It can be almost anything that triggers progress, keeps you grounded or helps in times of need.

For some reason i'm in this terrible spot where no matter what i record i just keep erasing it for one reason or another and i can't get anything accomplished... When i'm wanting to write i end up practicing... Go to practice and end up with solid parts to a song... My leads feel strong, but rhythm feels forced, my rhythm feels untouchable but leads aren't quite up to snuff... I can't decide what i hate most, playing good or playing bad...

I hate playing good because the next day i'm constantly telling myself that i won't be able to get back to that level and it seems useless... On the days i play bad i just want to sell my shvt and play Xbox. What seems like an amazing chord progression for this verse today seems forced and generic the next. Then it's the constant battle of keeping gear maintenance in check that nags at you for one reason or the other.

Some days i feel like a prodigy who can play on one string and write platinum albums if i only had the right verse but either just can't find it or cannot bring myself to even try to set in that motion.. Other days the words are pouring out, crying for the right riff and it's just nothing... It can even be something like how i feel i'm holding pick odd or left thumb placement or fretting finger string placement that nags at me...

I've been brushing up heavily on my theory and stuff for quite a while now and there's times when i'll go back to recordings made years ago that sound better and more unique.

I've taken long breaks that seem to help for a day or two and then it's back to the S.O.S.....I'm no stranger to things that take years of dedication and sacrifice to accomplish, i've tackled things like playing golf at a high level and many other very technical skills that i wont bore you with today. There's just something about guitar that dejects me like no other and leaves me almost scared to fail or hitting one bad note triggers me into a negative state of mind...

I don't want only "get out of a rut" advice... I want all of the little things that help you KISS no matter how unconventional it may be... Because, let's be honest, the Satriani's of the world are nice to listen to and aspire towards but for the majority of us it's the arena rock and simple riffs that move the soul and fuel our desires to play and create songs. Why is it so god damn difficult to do or even stay focused on doing, then?
Last edited by drop1337 at Oct 31, 2014,
#2
You are overthinking. Seems like you are too obsessed with perfection. When you write songs and get an idea for a song, don't erase it. Just keep working on it. You can keep the same idea but just change some parts of it. Erasing it is the worst thing to do. If the song turns out to sound generic or bad, who cares? You just wrote a generic song, so what? Not all songs need to be released. Not all songs are masterpieces. You can always change parts of your songs to make them sound better. I wouldn't erase a part of the song just because one day it sounded bad. Maybe the next day it could have sounded good to your ears again? Also, not all parts of a song need to sound perfect. Different parts may get their "true meaning" only after you have finished the song.

We all have good and bad days. The thing is, you will only get better at playing the guitar, even though some days it feels like you play a lot worse than before. Maybe record yourself playing regularly and listen to the old recordings and how much you sucked back then. I listened to some of my old recordings and they sounded terrible. I couldn't believe I was that bad a couple of years ago. You just can't see your progress because it is pretty slow. But your technique gets better all the time. You just can't notice it, unless you listen to some of your older recordings.
#3
Quote by drop1337
For some reason i'm in this terrible spot where no matter what i record i just keep erasing it for one reason or another and i can't get anything accomplished..


Stop being a perfectionist. Not everything you write needs to be good. Write a lot of filler shit, that's the only way you can really get better. By writing. Whether it's good or bad. Just keep writing. You don't have to publish the bad stuff!

You should also analyse a lot of songs.


What seems like an amazing chord progression for this verse today seems forced and generic the next.


Stop considering just the chords. Melody (in my opinion) should be your first priority and then harmony. When you have both of them down, think of countermelody opportunities. Chord progressions don't make songs.

Some days i feel like a prodigy who can play on one string and write platinum albums if i only had the right verse but either just can't find it or cannot bring myself to even try to set in that motion.. Other days the words are pouring out, crying for the right riff and it's just nothing...


It's not supposed to be fun all the time (nothing in life is). Sometimes you really have to force yourself to begin and it might take a long time of noodling around to get a grasp on an idea of some kind.

I've been brushing up heavily on my theory and stuff for quite a while now and there's times when i'll go back to recordings made years ago that sound better and more unique.


Well, why are there some bands whose debut album is considered the best they have ever released, even though it was released 20 years before their most recent effort?


There's just something about guitar that dejects me like no other and leaves me almost scared to fail or hitting one bad note triggers me into a negative state of mind...

You can still do it in a "negative state of mind". Once you finally come up with something, you will be happy.

My advice is: just keep going no matter what. It's going to suck half of the time, but the progress you see will be your reward a little later down the road.
Last edited by Elintasokas at Nov 1, 2014,
#4
Thanks, guys. Exactly what i was looking for.

I realize i still have a long way to go but sometimes it's just insane how i can be playing so well and the next day it's like i'm holding a foreign object... And i even start BS like not wanting to plug up to PC or anything and just sit there playing unplugged. While that has it's merits it not really a great thing to do all of the time for players who need practice with aspects of playing fast, technical stuff with high saturation.
#6
When you get stuck, it's always good to check out what others have done in that area, be it song structure, phrasing, chord choice, melody choice, and adapt ideas from that.

There's a great saying ... "imitate, assimilate, innovate". It really does ring true.

cheers, Jerry
#7
Quote by drop1337
Thanks, guys. Exactly what i was looking for.

I realize i still have a long way to go but sometimes it's just insane how i can be playing so well and the next day it's like i'm holding a foreign object... And i even start BS like not wanting to plug up to PC or anything and just sit there playing unplugged. While that has it's merits it not really a great thing to do all of the time for players who need practice with aspects of playing fast, technical stuff with high saturation.

If you are having problems with fast parts, play slower. Your maximum comfortable speed may depend on the day. Just figure out what's causing the trouble. But yeah, practice it slower first (that also makes it easier to figure out the problem). You may notice that after a while you will be able to play it faster again.
#8
I'm similar in that regard. Some days, I feel like I'm making progress; others, I feel like I'm shit. That even went over into ear training. For the longest time, I ignored it before realizing that i could recognize different pitches. Now, I'm not the best at it, but I have been working with "Functional Ear Trainer" as much as I can, and that's going pretty well.

As of late, it's more of really getting back into it after roughly a 8 month hiatus. In that span, I did random noodling every now and then, but rarely practiced on a consistent basis. Now, I'm considering finding another teacher that'll help me get back into it and improve at playing.
#9
The thing that seems to help me the most with writing is to think about the other instruments. I have a tendency to get so caught up in what notes I'm using that I forget about the rhythm and groove. I'll sit there for 30 minutes figuring out chord voicings that lead together nicely, then using the notes of those chords to come up with a riff, etc. and then think I've got something cool, but then I actually listen to it and realize the whole thing is straight eighth notes with no real groove.

I have to make myself think about it from a drummer's perspective to get something that actually sounds good. Sometimes I can take the thing I wrote and just add and remove notes while thinking about what the drums would be doing and I can polish the turd I just wrote into something that I actually like.

With whatever you're writing it helps a lot to just think about the other instruments. What is the bass doing? What sort of melody will the vocalist be singing? What feel should the drums add?

And definitely don't throw things away. Save it for later, something cool might come out of it. It's nice to have a catalog of old ideas. There have been a lot of times where I was writing something and thought, "Hey, that little thing I wrote a while back would fit perfectly here". Then I just find the file on my computer, tweak it to fit, and it works beautifully.
#10
You should continue to practice through out bad playing days no matter how bad it's going. You might not be playing at your best that day, but the more you keep pushing through those bad days the more consistent your playing will get. I progress everyday sometimes I go a mile with my guitar playing, and sometimes I only go an inch. It doesn't really matter as long as you're progressing that's all that you should be focused on. It's how you look at it honestly it's just mere perception.


Maybe you should experiment with your playing through the bad days so you can get the gist of what i'm saying. You might notice that an area that you never really thought of is developing. Things tend to hide themselves in plain sight, and I've noticed that especially with the guitar. You might not notice how well you can play until you really struggle through those bad days.