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Well I got a woman mean as she can be. Sometimes I think she's almost mean as me - Roy Orbison, Mean Woman Blues, written by Claude Demetrius

Author Topic: OFF DAYS  (Read 548 times)

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Offline big joe weems

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OFF DAYS
« on: March 01, 2021, 04:48:44 PM »


I always get such great advice on this forum (thank you!)—so hoping to get your thoughts on this question:

I‘ll go several days playing a certain song great and picking it smoothly—then one day I will play the same song very clumsily! On those bad days, I wonder if it’s better to push through and keep practicing it, or hang it up until the following day? By pushing through am I forming bad habits? Anyone have experience with this?
« Last Edit: March 01, 2021, 09:33:48 PM by big joe weems »

Offline waxwing

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Re: OFF DAYS
« Reply #1 on: March 02, 2021, 05:32:16 PM »
I definitely have good days and bad days. For repertoire songs I don't think it matters much, so I generally just play through. It's a little different with songs I'm working up, kinda still in that range where the fingers are still training to the licks and it takes a lot more muscle work, if you know what I mean, doesn't just "flow"? I may focus on the parts that are still struggling, do repetitions of short bits. Sometimes that will even sorta get me out of the off day feeling.

Wax
"People who say it cannot be done should not interrupt those who are doing it."
George Bernard Shaw

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Offline blueshome

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Re: OFF DAYS
« Reply #2 on: March 03, 2021, 12:25:22 AM »
I think this is something we all suffer from. Sometimes I find a struggle to play even a familiar piece smoothly. First stop is to recheck my tuning, if this fails to help, try another guitar. Still no joy, try a slide or open tuning piece. Still no joy, I’ll leave it for a couple of hours.

Offline banjochris

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Re: OFF DAYS
« Reply #3 on: March 03, 2021, 01:53:05 PM »
Happens all the time, there are just days you aren't feeling it (literally, in your fingers!). Sometimes a break of a few hours or a day helps, or if you have a gig you just have to power through it.
Chris

Offline Rivers

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Re: OFF DAYS
« Reply #4 on: March 03, 2021, 04:41:00 PM »
I've been going through that 'off day' thing for the last few years, just too busy pretending to be a farmer, rather than pretending to be a musician.

I'm joking of course, but many a true word is spoken in jest, as they say.

Offline Johnm

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Re: OFF DAYS
« Reply #5 on: March 04, 2021, 09:13:23 AM »
On days where the guitar doesn't feel right to me, or I don't connect well with it, I try to shift my attention from myself and how crappy it's feeling to the song itself, and just try to focus on it and make it sound the way that I want to hear it, without even thinking about what's involved in the playing or how I'm doing what I'm doing. That almost invariably seems to help. Focus on one's self is seldom beneficial, at least for me--if I can get outside myself it tends to start to come together.
All best,
Johnm

Offline Stuart

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Re: OFF DAYS
« Reply #6 on: March 04, 2021, 01:49:34 PM »
Not all off days are the same and there are degrees of difference both between off days and within off days. Speaking for myself, sometimes I think it's purely physical, perhaps due to the lack of a good night's rest or being tired from other activities. At other times I think it's owing to having too much on my plate and hanging over my head and I'm just not sufficiently settled and focused for practice and playing to be relaxed and controlled, natural and spontaneous. Of course, learning something new is often--if not always--deliberate, conscious and difficult--that's the nature of the game. But there are times when for some unknown reason there is more regress than progress. Rather than powering through, I call time out and switch to something else. Switching gears seems to help and I can come back to whatever was giving me trouble somewhat refreshed. As I've written in the past, I'm a fan of identifying and isolating problem areas and figuring out exercises that "turn weakness into strength," as the old saying in sports goes.

And naturally there are days when nothing goes right and there doesn't seem to be a way to turn things around. That's when it's best to simply put things aside and come back to them the next day.

Just my two cents.

Offline harriet

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Re: OFF DAYS
« Reply #7 on: March 05, 2021, 04:34:53 AM »
Thanks for the comments from members, I share this as well, but thought it was less experienced by others.  I don't have much to add other than that.

Offline big joe weems

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Re: OFF DAYS
« Reply #8 on: March 06, 2021, 09:21:31 AM »
Such great comments! Thanks!

Offline Rivers

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Re: OFF DAYS
« Reply #9 on: March 06, 2021, 04:38:51 PM »
The last few years, particularly 2016 to 2020, sucked the life out of creative endeavors across the board, in my opinion. There was too much news, too much politics, good things I'd taken for granted getting trashed for no reason other than the personal aggrandizement of... you-know-who, I will not speak their wretched names.

I've been a lot better lately. It will take years to restore what was trashed in the realm of day-to-day creative endeavor by those worthless bozos.

Offline ThatGuy

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Re: OFF DAYS
« Reply #10 on: March 29, 2021, 01:38:42 AM »
Wow it's good to know I'm not the only one who suffers from this. I'm fairly early in my picking journey and those days suck the life out of me

I've recently tried to deal with them by spending those days learning something new. That way, whatever I'm working on doesn't need any flow or nuance - it's just putting the notes in the right places. And then hopefully I end up with something new to play on days where IT is there

I find it hard to work on new things on good days though, so maybe it actually works out for me?

Offline eric

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Re: OFF DAYS
« Reply #11 on: March 29, 2021, 08:22:08 AM »
Playing for just 10 minutes or so on a bad day is helpful, I think.  When I was playing a lot of clawhammer banjo, some days it seemed like every tune was a version of Johnson Boys.
--
Eric

Offline Rivers

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Re: OFF DAYS
« Reply #12 on: March 29, 2021, 06:42:10 PM »
On the up side, I took the biscuit cover / palm rest thing off my National El Trovador reissue yesterday after a couple of comeback-and-sit-down sessions with it. Sometimes being away from something for a while can inspire new angles and new ears. Now I can palm-mute the bass strings, which, I realize, suits my playing much better. I got the clue from watching a Mike Dowling video on YouTube.

It also gives me the option to let them ring by just lifting off. So I added more dynamic range just by taking the, er, whatever it's called, off. I know it's got various names, official and vernacular. It's a lovely guitar all round and I'm looking forward to playing it a lot more now. So a break from playing can be good, but you do have to work to get back to where you were.

Oh wait, we were mostly talking about short term off days, mine has been considerably longer. But anyway.
« Last Edit: March 29, 2021, 06:44:19 PM by Rivers »

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