Some Nights You Just Don't Have It

Discussion about guitar playing from a diverse group of people with different tastes and levels of experience.
Post Reply
User avatar
rparker
Musically Insane
Posts: 5490
Joined: December 18th, 2003, 6:12 pm
Location: Sunny North Carolina
Contact:

Some Nights You Just Don't Have It

Post by rparker » July 23rd, 2011, 8:24 am

Almost everyone has had one of those nights. I had mine a couple nights ago. It started with just a lack of musical feeling with my strumming hand and ended up with a bad technique and timing on the fret hand, and everything in between. Heck, I couldn't even keep a pic in my hands properly.

My bass playing friend came over for a session Thursday Evening. I was playing just fine earlier in the day, but the evening was my worst session with him in 1-1/2 years. I started a bit off balance and it got worse as I tried to fix it. I eventually bottomed out on Queen's "Crazy Little Thing Called love". I started to recover a little bit on the Stones' "Miss You". I found sort of an acceptable groove and left it alone after that.

The adjustment I made was to keep things as simple as I could with the strumming and rhythm. I think the mental message to myself was to play as good as I could with what I had instead of trying to fix it, whatever "it" was. That lowered my mistakes quite a bit and allowed me to bash my way through the rest of the session.

I found it quite interesting that one thing being off could lead to a whole chain of things getting out of whack. Kind of like a golf swing. I did fix it the next morning within an hour or so and spent a couple of house in the afternoon just playing and singing as if nothing had happened. I think the thing I fixed was that my strum hand and wrist got too stiff on me. Hard to imagine that it would lead to bad timing on the fret hand and missing chords the way I did.

It was not my first awful night playing, either. I play alone most of the time. It's so easy to pick up the guitar, play something and decide that "I ain't got it tonight" and put it away. I could not do that on Thursday, though. I had company. I realized that it's like everything else. Sometimes it's not how well you can play, but how well you can play when you don't have it. I should probably adjust my playing alone strategy to work on playing when it's not there.
Roy

"I wonder if a composer ever intentionally composed a piece that was physically impossible to play and stuck it away to be found years later after his death, knowing it would forever drive perfectionist musicians crazy." - George Carlin

User avatar
TRGuitar
Guitarnoise Addict
Posts: 3708
Joined: January 2nd, 2007, 10:31 pm
Location: Northern New York
Contact:

Re: Some Nights You Just Don't Have It

Post by TRGuitar » July 23rd, 2011, 11:16 am

I hate it when that happens! Just have to tough it out.
"Work hard, rock hard, eat hard, sleep hard,
grow big, wear glasses if you need 'em."
-- The Webb Wilder Credo --

User avatar
cnev
Guitarnoise Addict
Posts: 4906
Joined: June 2nd, 2003, 11:07 am
Location: New Britain, CT

Re: Some Nights You Just Don't Have It

Post by cnev » July 25th, 2011, 5:38 am

.....and that could be tonight..well I hope not anyway.

I've had similar nights but usually I can attribute them to something like either boredom or to much beer..Ha

There are times when I just don't really feel like playing and it becomes a chore and I'm usually not at my best. Same if I've had to many beers but that doesn't happen much lately I haven't been drinking much beer.

It usually is a problem for certain songs more than others but there have been nights when everything was just flat.

It don't really remember havin that feeling when I'm playing by myself as I can just keep changing songs to whatever I can handle that day but it's more when I amd playing with my friends and dont have alot of choices on what we will play.

The other thing I have found is I have musical ADD. I really get bored playing the same songs over and over that's why I constatntly work on new songs but unfortunately the rest of the guys either don't liek the stuff I learn or don't want to learn it cuz it takes us weeks to add new songs.
"It's all about stickin it to the man!"
It's a long way to the top if you want to rock n roll!

fleaaaaaa
Senior Member
Posts: 915
Joined: July 19th, 2003, 9:29 am
Location: England
Contact:

Re: Some Nights You Just Don't Have It

Post by fleaaaaaa » July 26th, 2011, 3:56 am

CNEV, I often get so sick of the same songs in bands, especially when they are songs other bands have made me play in the past. I swear, I never want to hear another word about Sweet home alabama in my life!

I am so glad I am not in a band anymore and I am young, I mean we could at least attempt to write some of our songs then lose more of the covers.
together we stand, divided we fall..........

User avatar
notes_norton
Guitarnoise Denizen
Posts: 1497
Joined: May 20th, 2008, 5:04 am
Location: Fort Pierce, Florida, USA
Contact:

Re: Some Nights You Just Don't Have It

Post by notes_norton » July 26th, 2011, 5:04 am

Cnev

I play music for a living, so I am comfortable enough with my instruments to never have a bad night.

However some nights are definitely better than others. Sometimes my fingers fly on my sax/synth/guitar/flute and during improvisation solos I play things that actually surprise and delight my own ears. On rare occasions I just end up recycling the same stuff I've done before - no inspiration, no surprises. Of course, I play those old licks with as much energy as I can muster and the audience doesn't know the difference -- but I do.

fleaaaaaa

I never get tired of playing those old songs. I find the worst part of playing those "war horses" is calling the tune. Some of them are only played when requested. But once the song starts, and the audience is digging it, I forget that I wasn't enthusiastic about playing it, I get into the music, and have a great time playing it.

But then I'm weird.

Notes ♫
Bob "Notes" Norton

Owner, Norton Music http://www.nortonmusic.com Add-on Styles for Band-in-a-Box and Microsoft SongSmith

The Sophisticats http://www.s-cats.com >^. .^< >^. .^<

User avatar
rparker
Musically Insane
Posts: 5490
Joined: December 18th, 2003, 6:12 pm
Location: Sunny North Carolina
Contact:

Re: Some Nights You Just Don't Have It

Post by rparker » July 26th, 2011, 6:38 am

I got thinking a little more about that night. Having a core set of skills available to be able to keep it simple when it happens is probably my best way out. Especially as I only get to jame once a month if I am lucky.

As far as playing songs over and over again, when I practice, I sometimes go from song to song. Sometimes I stumble on one that is harder than the rest and I might work on a bit. Always single guitar arrangement. Easy to change when you're a one man band. Hence, the easy to put away when not having a good night.
Roy

"I wonder if a composer ever intentionally composed a piece that was physically impossible to play and stuck it away to be found years later after his death, knowing it would forever drive perfectionist musicians crazy." - George Carlin

User avatar
cnev
Guitarnoise Addict
Posts: 4906
Joined: June 2nd, 2003, 11:07 am
Location: New Britain, CT

Re: Some Nights You Just Don't Have It

Post by cnev » July 26th, 2011, 6:44 am

Notes.. I'd say that was similar to what I experience at least in my own world. I wouldn't necessarily say I have nights where I'm all thumbs or anything like that but there are days when I am just going through the motions vs really getting into it.

And yea once we start a song that feeling " Oh how I hate this song" usually fades once we are playing and I'm sure it would be even better if there were people there that were actually into it.

But there are always are a few I wish we never played.
"It's all about stickin it to the man!"
It's a long way to the top if you want to rock n roll!

User avatar
notes_norton
Guitarnoise Denizen
Posts: 1497
Joined: May 20th, 2008, 5:04 am
Location: Fort Pierce, Florida, USA
Contact:

Re: Some Nights You Just Don't Have It

Post by notes_norton » July 27th, 2011, 10:54 am

My most un-favorite song is "Yakety Sax". I learned it in the 60s because every sax player has to know this one. The fingerings are tricky, but once you get them under your fingers it's no longer a challenge. And to my ears, the music is quite corny. I only play it when requested (for some reason this one won't die like "New York, New York" did).

But once I start playing it, I have a good time. It impresses the audience favorably. Funny the things that do impress them. I can play some very difficult licks and they go over their head. Hold a note for about 12 bars on the sax (which is easy, I have huge lungs) and they go nuts.

I'm an adequate guitar player, as it is still fairly new to me, but I've found a few "tricks" that wow the audience.

I'm never "all thumbs" and I'm never "just not in the mood to play", but it seems that some days the "muse" visits me and I'm on top of everything, and other times the muse must be visiting someone else. I don't play badly then, I just am not at my best.

I suppose to a degree we are all like that.

Notes
Bob "Notes" Norton

Owner, Norton Music http://www.nortonmusic.com Add-on Styles for Band-in-a-Box and Microsoft SongSmith

The Sophisticats http://www.s-cats.com >^. .^< >^. .^<

User avatar
RoundI
Junior Member
Posts: 98
Joined: January 7th, 2009, 8:04 am
Location: Canada

Re: Some Nights You Just Don't Have It

Post by RoundI » July 29th, 2011, 9:11 am

I find playing with others or an audience makes stuff harder. I too typically play in the basement by myself or along with youtube. When all of a sudden there is six, ten or forty people watching or playing along I often lose a significant portion of my skills. Even a simple Jam with a friend I can forget how to play things that I have known how to play for years.

I think it is just nerves and the solution is exposure.

User avatar
notes_norton
Guitarnoise Denizen
Posts: 1497
Joined: May 20th, 2008, 5:04 am
Location: Fort Pierce, Florida, USA
Contact:

Re: Some Nights You Just Don't Have It

Post by notes_norton » July 30th, 2011, 5:43 am

I'm the opposite. I tend to play better in front of an audience. And if there is another musician in the house, I tend to play even better (I guess it's an effort so 'show off' to someone who actually understands what I'm doing).

I had good encouragement when I was in school band, taking first sax in the all-state band every year that I was eligible.

I also started playing in rock and roll bands when I was in junior high school. I immediately noticed 3 things:
  1. It was fun playing with my buddies
  2. The cute girl who wouldn't look at me in English class was suddenly 'making eyes' at me
  3. At the end of the night they actually paid us!!!
I've been playing music for a living ever since. I'm lucky to be able to make a modest living doing music and nothing but music.

Notes ♫
Bob "Notes" Norton

Owner, Norton Music http://www.nortonmusic.com Add-on Styles for Band-in-a-Box and Microsoft SongSmith

The Sophisticats http://www.s-cats.com >^. .^< >^. .^<

Post Reply