When it doesn't fit anywhere else
 #14266  by amyjared
 Thu Mar 22, 2007 10:28 am
I assume most of you play guitar, and I've liked your answers to many questions thus far, so maybe you can help me.

I play guitar, usually acoustic solo, but I also play in an electric band. I play anywhere from an hour to 3 per day. I usually don't notice a lot of change in my playing and I am rather passionate about the instrument.

When I DO notice a difference is when I take a day off from playing. The next time I pick up a guitar, I seem to play better, hit the right notes, everything.

So I'm curious to know: Do I actually play better or do I just think I do because I missed it so much? Does this happen to anyone else? If it's real, should I only practice every other day? What if I take a whole week off? Will I be incredible?? If I stopped altogether, could I be the best? Any ideas/help?

 #14267  by tigerstrat
 Thu Mar 22, 2007 10:42 am
I do experience that to a degree, now that I take more days off than I used to.

Think of it as a painter stepping back from the canvas...

 #14268  by BlobWeird
 Thu Mar 22, 2007 10:56 am
Yeah I definitely notice the same thing. I think stoppin for a day brings a freshness to my playing. Its like my hands hit the refresh button and Im playin new licks. But its rare I go a day without playin sooo yeah i dont get that opportunity much.

 #14269  by Chief5959
 Thu Mar 22, 2007 10:59 am
Taking time off playing does make you play better when you go back because I think you temporarily lose the patterns you rely on when playing. I have no reason or understanding of why but when you do pick up your instrument again you seem to play with more fresh ideas.

 #14271  by squire758
 Thu Mar 22, 2007 12:25 pm
i totally agree with cheif. in our neverending pursuit of musical freedom we latch onto ideas that really work for us. after relying on those for so long one may become almost trapped in a way because you may have milked all your ideas from that 5 tone minor, or 7 tone diminished. when i go a day or two without playing i do miss it alot so i agree with what was said about how you just wanna get on it and let loose, but having those all too familiar ideas and shapes out of your head for a minute can definately give a new perspective. when i wrote "play a little diddy" i hadn't played in two days and it was damn near the first thing i played, it just came right out. but like someone else said, i rarely miss a day

 #14272  by groovemongrel
 Thu Mar 22, 2007 12:31 pm
Like with anything, familiarity breeds contempt. Try something new.

 #14273  by Jimkkc
 Thu Mar 22, 2007 12:37 pm
I wonder if the "freshness" also has to do with giving our ears a break. We should keep in mind that our ears are given a pretty strenuous workout when we play (especially at high volumes). Perhaps, a day off helps our ears relax and maybe when we come back we are actually "hearing" more or "hearing" better. Think about it - after a rehearsal or gig, our whole body is tired and our whole body includes our ears . . .

I also think that if we play too much we get in ruts where all notes and chords are routine and nothing is fresh - as great a song as Althea or Eyes of the World is, one can get "tired" of playing them.

 #14279  by caspersvapors
 Thu Mar 22, 2007 1:29 pm
I get better after taking 1 or 2 days off too. I have new ideas too

 #14280  by Billbbill
 Thu Mar 22, 2007 1:50 pm
All these ideas are right on. I find I've got a sort of creative gas tank that gets juiced after a short break.

I may also look at something a bit differently. Same goes for a song I haven't played in a while. New ideas I've come up with will spill over to a song I hadn't played in a while.

 #14281  by strumminsix
 Thu Mar 22, 2007 2:01 pm
I'd imagine mood plays a key role here like it does everywhere else in life. Likely if you haven't played in a few days you are either:
- busy and so happy to be back playing it all sounds right
- frustrated you are so busy and feel down that you've neglected your playing

Or maybe not 8)

 #14287  by hesgone95
 Thu Mar 22, 2007 3:26 pm
Just to be contrary, I've noticed the opposite, at least if I'm trying to learn/compose a new song. If I let it go for a day, I forget and spend a bit of time trying to remember what I was doing. Other than that, I've never really thought about/noticed it.

Where I really notice time off is singing. If I don't sing everyday, I feel like I really lose a bit and have trouble getting in key, etc. If that makes sense.

 #14304  by germfisk
 Fri Mar 23, 2007 5:37 am
I totally agree. With a day off, I definitely seem to get refreshed, though I don't like to skip a day. The singing definitely takes a hit if I skip a day...

 #14349  by groovemongrel
 Fri Mar 23, 2007 12:11 pm
Jimkkc wrote:I wonder if the "freshness" also has to do with giving our ears a break. We should keep in mind that our ears are given a pretty strenuous workout when we play (especially at high volumes). Perhaps, a day off helps our ears relax and maybe when we come back we are actually "hearing" more or "hearing" better. Think about it - after a rehearsal or gig, our whole body is tired and our whole body includes our ears . . .
.
Yeah, good point. I stank in front of my amp and the drum kit. We're all loud.

 #14358  by JONZILLA
 Fri Mar 23, 2007 12:44 pm
Don't all religions call for a day of rest?