#1
Hey guys,

Over the past few months, I've been having trouble getting back my guitar playing ability for no reason. It started early April, I just finished my second term in uni and went back home, plugged my guitar in to play a few notes, only to feel like my hands have never tried to play the lick I nearly always play before. I tried playing songs that I'm comfortable with, and I even struggled to just hit the right notes.

What felt completely second nature literally the day before in the practice room with my band mates, felt alien within a matter of 24 hours.

Has any body else had this sort of sudden lack of ability before? I started to get it back once I went back to uni and did my final performance which I managed to be about 75% for, and now that I'm back home again, it feels like my creativity has died as well as my ability to play.

Any ideas?


For reference, I've been playing 6 years coming on 7 this October, and in the last year, managed to get a few Gary Moore style fast pentatonic licks under my belt... I'd hate to lose that.

Thanks!
#2
Sounds a bit strange mate. I've gone for lengthy periods of time, sometimes six months and have still been able to pick up my guitar and do a bit of a solo and some complex riffing.

Like riding a bike kind of thing.

Serious question, are you feeling well? Noticed any other problems in hand eye co-ordination recently?
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#3
Did you use the same guitar? If you really feel like you lost the ability to play within 24 hours, it could be that the second guitar was set up really bad.

And I've sometimes felt a bit awkward after breaks, but after 15 minutes of warmup it has always gone away. Any other details you remember?
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#4
rich.bendall Thankyou for your reply!

In terms of hand eye co-ordination, nothing else has changed in that department, I can still do normal day to day stuff, it's just when I try to play my guitar my hands just go a bit crazy.

I'm wondering if my technique has just went a bit out of control, and I just need to tame it or bring it back? I've noticed certain exercises I could do this time last year which I can't do as well any more. I'm trying to practice them again, but maintaining the motivation to stick by them after what happened is pretty hard..
#5
Kevätuhri Hello!

Yes I was using the same guitar at the time, one I'd been playing since I started, which I am/was really comfortable with.

But I just remember my right hand just picking strings that I wasn't trying to hit, my fretting hand tensing up out of no where... and just not being able to pick the notes I wanted to hit ya know. That's still happening now as well.
Last edited by SpazzyDemons at Jul 4, 2016,
#6
Seems pretty odd to lose ability in 24 hours.

Maybe you suddenly started noticing mistakes more than before? I know over the years I've had different times when I realized I was paying attention to smaller and smaller details and feeling as though I messed up on something when a previous me wouldn't have noticed, or at least not given it conscious thought because it was overshadowed by bigger mistakes.

Do you have any recordings to listen to to see if you're actually worse than before? I've thought at times that I'd stopped improving or gotten worse and then listened to an old recording and realized I was completely wrong.
#7
The4thHorsemen Thinking back to practices before and listening back to some recordings from a year ago, there were some things that didn't sound as clean as I initially thought, yet at the same time there are things I did back just 3-4 months ago that I can't do as well, like fast pentatonic runs or scale runs...

I do think you're right though, and that thought has crossed my mind, I listened back to an old recording of a chromatic exercise from this time a year ago, and it definitely didn't sound as clean now listening back to it.

I'm starting to think it's a mixture of, not practicing exercises enough (which to be honest, I didn't do regularly at uni when I was playing well before all this, so it doesn't make sense) , hearing mistakes more overtime like you said, and also my hands just going weird. The chromatic run i mentioned previously I managed to get clean earlier this year (weirdly enough it was during the first week when this problem started in April) at 170bpm in 16th notes... Now I can't manage it at 130bpm.

I guess I've just got to take it slowly and build back up again.To add salt to the wound, my shoulder starts to ache on my picking arm now, not having much luck at the moment.
#8
Have you lost speed, or is it you now can accurately finger each note at slower speed? If you've lost speed, that's no big deal to get back. If you can't locate your fingers accurately at slower speeds, then try playing extremely slowly, and see if your fingers behave themselves. If they don't, then you may have an injury affecting your nerves somewhere from your neck to your hand, or you may have RSI (sounds unlikely), or ??? Regardless, if your fingers are misbehaving at very slow speeds, then go get yourself checked out.
#9
SpazzyDemons The comment about the shoulder pain makes me think you may have some underlying bad habits regarding muscle tension while playing that could lead to repetitive strain injury and difficulty practicing. Here are a couple of nice articles on the subject that helped me a lot. Corny titles, but great advice in them.

https://www.ultimate-guitar.com/lessons/correct_practice/discover_your_discomfort.html
https://www.ultimate-guitar.com/lessons/correct_practice/finding_the_incredible_lightness.html
#10
jerrykramskoy Hello!

Yeah that's part of it, my left hand fingers sometimes just miss the fret and string all together and don't always press down hard enough on the string, causing that kind of deadened note sound followed by a bit of note if you get me. When I play through an exercise slowly it's definitely more comfortable, more I do that more I start to make mistakes, so I'll speed it up a bit and it would then get more comfortable.

My right hand as well when I play slow has more time to make mistakes, so usually playing slow then increasing not long after actually helps a bit! Thankyou for your insight though, I have a friend with RSI and I know I definitely don't have that, I think it's just a coordination thing I need to regain again

The4thHorsemen That is some great help thankyou, I'll definitely read them when I get a chance tomorrow/today (it's late night now!) I definitely feel like I am tensing up more when I play, probably because of the stress of what has been happening, so I'll check them links out ASAP.


Thankyou for your responses by the way everyone, I really appreciate the support of other guitarists a ton. This is my first forum post too and I'm really thankful for the nice community response. I had a quick check up with my old guitar tutor who reassured me about sometimes there being dry spells with playing the guitar. I'm also going to the doctor tomorrow about my eyes, I won't go into detail about that, but it also has an affect on my playing and other day to day things, but hopefully this will pass soon and it'll all be fine!