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For a few times in my "playing years" I have put the guitar down for a few months, only to pick it up and enjoy playing more than when I put it down. Anything I may have forgotten I quickly relearned, and actually with a bit more reinforcement.

I would be interested to know what experiences others have had by taking a rest from playing? Is it a good thing, or are you wasting good playing and learning time?
 

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I take shorter breaks but yes, 2-5 days without playing and I'm usually fresher picking it up again, especially if I've been playing or learning new tunes a lot recently.
 

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it's a known thing that if you are learning something particularly difficult, stepping away from it for a few days can show good results. i would guess that there is a point of diminishing return on this though.
 

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I suppose it would partly depend on how thick your callouses are, and whether one does something in the interim that would maintain them. Trying to play what you used to with fingertips too soft for the task is not particularly inspiring.
 

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I’ve been playing for a real long time so there’s been periods where I was backed off for a bit and I noticed that when I came back I kinda had a new creative edge to it or direction.

These days though I’m pretty settled into what I do so it’s mainly a matter of maintaining practice, working out new riffs and finding new songs to do although I am actually kind of backlogged on that because I’ve found about 10 more songs that would work for me so I need to get going on them.
 

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I find if I stop playing even for just a few days it's detrimental to my playing. The longer I stay away from playing the harder it is for me to regain my focus. The mechanics of playing come back quickly but the focus and other mental aspects take a lot more work to bring back.
 

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I didn’t play as much or as intensely when my kids were small, no bands, but still played a few times a week. I did notice a degradation in my reading skills and speed, but nothing I didn’t get back as soon as I started gigging again.

Since I’ve been teaching private music lessons, about 20 years, I’ve had two unavoidable cessations in playing, both medically necessary. I became weak and with huge abdominal wounds I couldn’t hold an instrument well for weeks. I tried to keep up with hand exercises but lost a lot of strength, callus, and speed. Once I could sit up and hold an instrument I worked as hard as I could to get back what I lost.

Frankly, I don’t see any benefit from taking more than a couple of days off. Even if I have a heavy lesson week with additional recording time and gig fatigue, I’ll still only take a day, maybe two, off from playing.

Ymmv, of course, but my OCD doesn’t really accommodate anything else.
 

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I’d say it depends on the source of the motivation for a break. Years a go I was at a jam and wasn’t feeling it. Going through the motions. Just a few weeks later I was on fire with a new bassist and drummer and it was game on.

More than 7-14 days and the break from Playing is not going to help much more imo.
 

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I took a 30 year break. After eight years back into it I am nowhere near as good as I was before but I have way more fun now. Before I was playing to be the best. It was a lot of work. Now I play for enjoyment.
 

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I took a two week break from playing last summer - my longest break in quite some time. My musical workload had increased dramtically 10 months previously, so it was good to step back for a bit and catch my breath. Took no time at all to get my chops back and my head was in a better space. This year, I have pretty much the same workload and maybe even a bit more, but my confidence is stronger and I seem to have adapted to the "new normal", so a break might not be as necessary next summer.
 

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For a few times in my "playing years" I have put the guitar down for a few months, only to pick it up and enjoy playing more than when I put it down. Anything I may have forgotten I quickly relearned, and actually with a bit more reinforcement.

I would be interested to know what experiences others have had by taking a rest from playing? Is it a good thing, or are you wasting good playing and learning time?
For me, a break is when I'm at the office. I can't wait to pick up the guitar when I get home again. A lot of it is useless noodling in front of the TV though so it's more about relaxing than learning. I've got a few songs nailed down with the band and working on four more. So, I try to get the muscle memory set for those tunes too.
 

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I dont think i could not play for a long period just because of my fingers would get pretty rusty. I noticed a bit of arthritis in last few years and if i dont keep my fingers moving it will only get worst.
 

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Several times over my life time and always found that I was even more motivated then I was prior to those breaks some times it became work and that wasn't any fun now its not a choice but forced playing retirement if you can't feel the strings you can go off course real quick.
 

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I picked up a guitar last night for the first time in a couple of months (work and a young puppy leave me exhausted at the end of the day and too tired to play) and I couldn't do squat. It felt like starting over. And I was so tired last night that I briefly fell asleep sitting on the couch with the guitar in my lap.
 

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IME, there's some benefit and some detriment.

I've experienced a benefit in inspiration/improvisation (mental stuff) but a detriment in the physical aspects, like speed and stamina. I find playing lots keeps me in 'game shape' to play full multiple sets well, but it can get stale without some thoughtful time away from that 40 square inches of hell.
 

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It can help with your frame of mind.
 
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