In a rut: What do you do to break out?

JJ119

Senior Stratmaster
Jul 15, 2020
1,644
Mid West
As a student taking lessons, I find something that I like to learn that is beyond my abilities, and go for it.

Steve Vai -- For The Love Of God
Gary Moore -- The Loner
[ As examples of what I am pressing myself to completely learn. ]

Way out of my abilities. But it's fun, and I learn new things.

If it's fun and challenging, you may find a new appreciation for what you get out of it. And what you are absolutely capable of.

You guys are awesome players, and Fantastic coaches // critics.

I admire you guys and some day hope to participate in the SoundCloud things posted.

YMMV
 

dogletnoir

V----V
Nov 1, 2013
14,251
northeastern us
Play something totally different from what you usually would.
As someone who generally does jazzy stuff like this

or spacey stuff like this:

was both a challenge and an interesting change of pace:
working on this:

was both a challenge and an interesting change of pace....
J.S. Bach on an electric bass.
 
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myredstrat

Senior Stratmaster
Feb 3, 2020
3,904
close to the edge
take what ever it is that you know, ie: a minor pentatonic riff in box1 and find other positions to play it in. learn to play it backwards, then limit yourself to 1 or 2 strings. Do what ever it takes to break you out of your comfort zone
I also enjoy watching Chris Buck Play (just thought I'd throw that in)
 

wooders

Senior Stratmaster
Silver Member
Nov 19, 2021
2,051
Kent
I have this problem. I personally think it's a combo of things but mostly not enough practice invested in both technique and theory. I've been doing a lot of experiments with additional notes and chord progressions to break out of that A minor pentatonic comfort blanket and it's doing ok. I've probably improved mostly by finding a simple chord progression with minor, major and 7 chords. Just 3 or 4 is enough. I've ventured into chorus and verse territory but am still wrapping my head around bridging. I play a chord, experiment with a short solo/riff type thing, next chord and so on. I look at the notes in these chords to see where I can play different notes in the little solo/riff (we're talking 3-8 notes). I seem to be unable to not bend notes a lot, so have been trying sliding notes too.
Sometimes I hit something that sounds great to me and develope and repeat.
I'm very much an amateur but find I've been a lot less frustrated using this method.
Best advise over and above anything else is to stick with it. These hurdles are pretty normal but definitely not permanent.
Have fun. That's all I try to achieve now.
 

Papa Che

Strat-O-Master
Mar 25, 2017
651
Denmark
Go after a melody and a groove. Start with one note and try to groove it. Dam, dam, da, tap, tap, dam, dam, ta-daaa, dam, dam, da, tap, snap, …

Do not engage in a blues scale!!! Forget blues scales! Melody and Groove! This is your new religion! :D then add a scale in the solo part!
 

jball85

Strat-O-Master
Mar 16, 2014
786
East Texas
I'm learning blues, and I feel like I'm the Okayest blues player in town. But...I also feel like I'm in a rut. Trying new backing tracks and working with a relative who helps me learn new stuff, but still feel like I'm not making progress. Does this happen to you? What do you do to break out of a rut?

If this is not the correct forum for this question, please advise and I will post elsewhere.

Thanks
Study Classical, Folk, and Blue Grass.

If those aren't your thing, then just stick to the 3 Kings.

BB, Freddie, and Albert.
 

dspellman

Senior Stratmaster
Mar 24, 2013
1,400
Los Angeles
I'm learning blues, and I feel like I'm the Okayest blues player in town. But...I also feel like I'm in a rut. Trying new backing tracks and working with a relative who helps me learn new stuff, but still feel like I'm not making progress. Does this happen to you? What do you do to break out of a rut?
I play or learn a completely different kind of music for a while.
 

CountryStrat

Strat-Talk Member
Oct 31, 2022
12
Fort Worth
Things I do if I feel like I'm in a rut:

Get a different overdrive out of the drawer and make it sound a little different.

Play slide guitar - change it way up

Ask myself if I'm playing musical things and not just grabbing the same licks that come easily to the fingers.

Try and sing what I play more, tap into what I feel like playing.

Slow down a bit and don't try and cram as many notes into my phrases - play like I would if I was playing on someone's album.

Record myself - listen back and decide what I need to work on. What is out of time? What could I add into my playing that would make me enjoy it more? Can I make it more rhythmically interesting? I look for idiosyncracies in my playing: Am I always beginning phrases the same way? Too much pentatonics?

If I feel like I'm in a rut I'll just accept that I'm human and I'm just not playing my best today and I'll continue practicing and I give myself the mental "attaboy" for continuing to do the work required that will make me sound lucky on days when I'm not playing in a rut.

It's a muscle, gotta keep after it and make yourself lucky on the days that are inspiring.

The worst thing to do is just give up (take a long break) in my opinion
 

Alex_C

Strat-Talker
Apr 19, 2021
417
Florida
Do you know all the notes on the neck?
If not, take the time to learn them. It will open things up.
Arpeggios are also something that will change the way you play. I'm guilty of not using them enough.
 

amstratnut

Peace thru Music.
Dec 1, 2009
22,265
My house.
Best way to break out of a rut is learning a solo or a riff NOTE FOR NOTE from someone you like, Be them for a week. Then you come back to you with some of that other player's seasoning.

Ive been learning 10 Steely Dan songs for a developing tribute band. I get to try to be ten different dudes in one "style". Its super fun and Im learning a ton.
 


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