Regaining Your Musical Passion

Some of us have been unlucky enough to lose our passion for guitar. This simple article offers solutions to getting it back and will hopefully help a few of you.

0
You're at a loss to explain what happened. Not long ago, playing guitar was a joy, something you could do for hours while ignoring the unimportant things in life like homework. But now playing guitar seems more like a chore. Every time you pick it up the world seems to lose its colour and gloss, and a few minutes of half hearted playing let you know that playing guitar just isn't the same anymore. How did this happen and how can we bring back the dazzling colour we used to enjoy when playing guitar? The causes of losing our interest can be wide ranging, but the most interesting thing about losing your passion for guitar is how hard it is to let go. In everyday life, if we become bored with a hobby, we simply walk away and find something else. Think of how many video games you go through. You get good at it, beat it, and are onto the next one. But with guitar, you've invested years of practice, countless hours and possibly quite a bit of money too. You feel it's a part of who you are, something that really makes you stand out from the crowd. You could walk away from the situation, but you just... can't. So the process begins of picking up the guitar, getting quickly bored and putting it down again. So you can't let it go but it's not fun anymore. The only logical option left is to rediscover your passion. Sounds easy right?! At this point you may expect me to tell you something new agey and deep, but no, instead I shall bore you with the story of how I lost my passion and offer some solutions that will help you get it back. I had moved across the country from my friends and family to study at an esteemed' music college. Unfortunately, I found the course material uninteresting and the instructors uninspiring. That was the beginning of the end for my 8 year love of guitar. Looking back, I can see now that I moved away from my friends who shared the same musical interests as I did, so I was hit doubly hard as the new material I was learning was uninspiring, and the old material I had enjoyed so much wasn't as fun without my friends. So how can we bring back the fun? There are different solutions for different people. But if you've read this far, you've probably been struggling with your guitar playing for a while and desperately want a solution. The best solution would be to find a guitar teacher near you who understands what you're going through and can offer solutions. Explain the situation, tell him or her what's been going on and that you need help (and you DO need help, because guitar is awesome and you don't like it anymore). A good teacher will work with you and give you the advice and support you've needed. I cannot stress enough that a teacher that genuinely cares about your progress and ability is the best solution to getting through the tough times ahead. But, if you're stubborn (like me), and want to do the next best thing (like I did), start going to open mics or go see bands in your local area. 99% of the reason we all started playing guitar was because we saw someone playing and thought "That will get me chicks!". Or got inspired. Whatever. The point is, it happened once and can happen again. Take a night off from sighing heavily and moping around your apartment while you think of the days when you had fun playing guitar. It's great to be in the audience and enjoy the show, seeing someone on stage looking nervous as hell and having fun playing their favourite songs. If you're looking for something you can do immediately and are open to trying something different, here is an exercise you can do right now. *CAUTION* New Agey Part Of The Article First, pick up your guitar and hold in your preferred playing position. Really give it your attention. Notice the contours and colours, the different nicks and scratches on it. Look at it like the first day you got it and remember how excited you were. Now think of your favourite riff or solo. Star playing it, but really give it all your attention. Notice how the strings tense and vibrate, how they feel under your fingers. Open your ears to all the different tones and octaves that come out. Give your guitar your full, complete attention and you might just start having fun playing it again.

31 comments sorted by best / new / date

comments policy
    hamtramckmike
    maximum rocker is RIGHT! whenever I run out of steam, and over 25 years I have a few times, I try another instrument: mandolin, keyboard, drums, and now pedal steel guitar. But another trick: try a whole new style: try bluegrass, cocktail jazz, church music, Broadway music. I mostly play country and rock now, one day I'll probably try metal again. Ah! Metal at 60 years of age!
    sophiebenjamin
    I had this happen to me when I went to study music at uni. I was burnt out and uninspired. I actually gave the whole music thing away for a few years and to be honest, that was actually a good thing to do. It took a bit of a break, getting gear I liked and growing up, but I'm passionate about playing guitar and music again.
    Guitarmaster94
    I've always played the acoustic part in Incubus' "Drive" to get me back into the groove. Nice article, man.
    Shawn1379
    I've definitely been going through this lately. I've finally figured out my problem, and I think this article will inspire me to do something about it. I get very discouraged because I don't feel I'm good enough to be in a band, and it's totally my fault for not practicing enough. I tell myself that I only want to play for fun, all while dreaming of being a rockstar. This causes me to practice very little, and then feel bad when I can't play something I want to play. Also, lately, I haven't been able to sing for shit, and singing is something I've always been at least average at. I think I'm going to get together with a friend of mine and see if he can help me out. Great article, by the way. Some of the comments are also really good and inspiring too.
    maximumrocker
    and other helpful way is to pick up another instrument i have picked up piano, and bass on my journey while playing guitar
    2_thumbs_up
    thanks for putting this up i lost my passion a while back... this helped me bring it back lots of people will benefit with these tips
    IBogdiI
    it's a good column !! i did it and realy works ! seriously, I play guitar like never. I'm playing guitar for 3 years (not much) but I lost my interest for the guitar and I give back it again. Another two things: 1. Sorry my english (i'm only 15 years old xD) 2. Thank you a lot !
    mattlovesdrums2
    Thank you so much for writing this. I've been playing drums for about almost 5 years now (I started in the middle of 8th grade, now I'm graduated from high school). When I first started, I just wanted to be Lars Ulrich more than anything in the world haha the passion that he conveyed enticed me like I had never been before. Growing up, I also had a fair share of personality problems that weren't ever really addressed. Long story short, I got my drum kit and as soon as I started playing it, my problems were either gone or they had minimized to a controllable level. I was completely happy, passionate, and loving life. I took lessons for a while, but my teacher moved away when I was in 11th grade. I flew solo from that point on just doing whatever I wanted. Now here I am and I find myself in a position where it's harder to pick up the sticks than I'd like to admit. Reading this article, I finally feel like I can get that fire back. I feel like I have the strength to, at least more strength now than in the past few months. Thank you so much for writing this article and for giving this advice. Myself, as well as other troubled musicians, thank you immensely.
    jguilfoyle
    well written...must be from the west of ire land or thereabouts...have utilized this site for the last 5 or 6 years, but what is time?..a man made concept ...erroneous at best...this is the first comment i have ever posted...simply felt it unworthy not to remark...thanks for reminding me that it is high time to boot my self in the arse..lol..peace 2 u picker of strings
    themuddman
    Thanks 4 the article, good to see im not alone with mi feelings toward mi guitar. Mi guitar playing slowed down after i graduated high school and left mi guitar buddies. Tabbing songs for UG and , ear-learning in general, helped me become closer to the bands that i liked cause i wasent just listening to them any more i was "becoming them" if that makes any sense haha and it made me enjoy playing alot more. Also seeing bands live definatly helps, i saw the BIG 4 last weekend ... talk about gettin inspired!!
    greedyguitar
    yeah i kinda flet like i was getting bored with guitar when my parents bitched about the stuff i played so i quit for a few weeks then, like he said, you just cant let go...went right back to playing inside the fire..
    thisguythereyea
    I like this article because first; its a good subject, secondly; there are no single stupid comments on here and it says that there hasnt been checked comments here. Kudos to that. Good luck with getting back to music people, try to find a style that is completely differen; if youre a rock person, go try fingerstyle or crazy jazz chords. Excercise, and smoke the herb. Worked for me atleast!
    theunforgivn
    Also try listening to a song with an epic guitar solo. One of my favorite "get into the rock mode solos" is the one is Black Label Societies live version of In This River on Youtube
    stokcton
    Dude KingHenrik, nice. Knights of cydonia is exactly what i play to get pumped on the guitar again, too.
    KingHenrik1967
    i just picked up Nastasha, my custom axe again after reading this, and belted out Knights of Cydonia as loud as my amp could handle... then the neghbours came in to complain, but i didnt answer til i had finished of course The Thunder is back my friend. Thank you for this article.
    jtwina
    I lose my oomph too, but I think my problem is that i don't have anyone to play with. I take private lessons which I love, but need a guitar buddy.. bass.. whatever. Hesitant about Craig's list, social networks etc, and have checked the local music stores for ads but no luck. Sometimes I just have to walk away. I'm not sure I'm ready for an open mic although my teacher says I am. JUST WANNA JAM!!!
    Demonwaffle
    I am in the same boat. I went to school to major in music. I am a trombone player. After six years of grinding away at music I did not like, classes that I did not need, and professors that were uninspiring (to say the least), my undying passion for my horn and music had faded away. Frustrated I sold my expensive horns and did not listen to any type of music for months. Finally, I picking up my guitar and started learning how to actually play it...fast. I practiced more and more, up to 4-5 hours a day. Slowly, ever so slowly... my passion grew back. I started a band. I am rocking, still learning. I miss my horn sometimes, but changing an instrument for awhile may be the answer for some of you out there. Keep rockin!
    guusw
    I've been in a bit of struggle lately with my passion, playing the guitar. I've tried to get back in the game in different ways, but I used the guitar teacher trick and went to some more local shows and that got me inspired again. Started writing some riffs and songs etc. Slowly I'm going in the right direction again. I really love the last part as well! Nice article
    guusw
    KingHenrik1967 wrote: i just picked up Nastasha, my custom axe again after reading this, and belted out Knights of Cydonia as loud as my amp could handle... then the neghbours came in to complain, but i didnt answer til i had finished of course The Thunder is back my friend. Thank you for this article.
    Haha so awesome, after reading this I bulged out a superawesome fuzz sound out of my telecaster and got all excited again. Wrote an entire song to the sound of it. oh and btw, knights of cydonia is a killer song, gets you real pumped up alright
    COBShredder
    my man, i loved your article, im going trough that exact same situation, although im 17 and i have 4 years of playing the ol' axe. this really helped. thanks!
    Iommianity
    I've been uninspired with guitar for a long time, but then I picked up a bass, and I discovered why I love playing music all over again. It's not the same as going back to the instrument I love, but I have that drive to get better, and if not better, to challenge myself and try things like it's the first time ever. Music has its magic again. Besides getting burned out on playing music, I think musicians are more likely to get burned out on listening to it. When it's all you think about, and it's involved in every aspect of your life, it becomes routine instead of magical. I think more people should take a break from their favourite music and preferred styles and see if they don't come back with more passion and creativity.
    Disturbed_EMG
    Been through this once or twice before, what got me interested in playing again was pretty much finding new styles of music to listen to. Once I got into -core I listened to and played that for about 2 years, then it got boring. I came across Post-Rock and really got into that stuff for about 6 months, but it just wasn't as exciting to play by yourself. I started playing -core again, and it was okay for a month or two, but then I got into Progressive stuff. Now, I'm still going strong. Good article, and good to know someone wrote about this.
    TheEmoStrangler
    great article im going through this same thing right now, nothing i learn to play is challenging or if it is its wayy too hard and i just don't have the desire to try to work through it. i think i am going to switch to bass for awhile and see how that goes, either that or buy a 7 string and see if i can rediscover the love.
    Xcutioner13
    This is one of the best articles I have read here on UG. I'm going through the same phase at the moment with guitar. You are 100% correct about the guitar teacher. My guitar teacher's support is one of the main reasons that I refuse to give up on my guitar.
    BurningTurkey
    Demonwaffle wrote: I am in the same boat. I went to school to major in music. I am a trombone player. After six years of grinding away at music I did not like, classes that I did not need, and professors that were uninspiring (to say the least), my undying passion for my horn and music had faded away. Frustrated I sold my expensive horns and did not listen to any type of music for months. Finally, I picking up my guitar and started learning how to actually play it...fast. I practiced more and more, up to 4-5 hours a day. Slowly, ever so slowly... my passion grew back. I started a band. I am rocking, still learning. I miss my horn sometimes, but changing an instrument for awhile may be the answer for some of you out there. Keep rockin!
    this. i picked up a violin and played it for a few weeks and i loved the change of pace.
    supersac
    this is a good article although i doubt id ever get bored of playing guitar but if i do i know thta just picking up a new toy always helps...i should go get me a new toy
    willem93
    When I read the title I already appreciated the fact that somebody wrote about this. I really like the fact that you started about losing a passion, which I think most of us can relate to. After reading the article, I must say that you've done a great job getting to the point and making a nice and good written article. Ofcourse, this is only your solution to the problem, but it sure is inspiring. Thanks man.