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The subconscious and thinking about other things....

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Trusted Member
Joined: 19 years ago
Posts: 43
Topic starter  

This morning I did something different. Played for a couple hours right after I woke up.

When I was practicing exercises and playing a couple tunes I already know pretty well...I started thinking about other things. Things in my daily life and stuff.... and for some reason I found myself playing this stuff 100 times better than I have been when I'm thinking about it really hard.

Now I know when I'm working out a new rythm, working out the problem areas and stuff I have to be concentrated.

But someone told me that you have to get the guitar into your subconscious in order to be really good.

So I guess this is normal? I guess I'm supposed to be able to think normally while playing guitar subconsciously? Or will I start getting really sloppy and not realize it.

"Into ruin, I am sinking, hostage of this nameless feeling!" - MetallicA

Illustrious Member
Joined: 21 years ago
Posts: 5108

Yes on all counts. Psychologists talk of creative moments when we experience the flow -- we're just in the groove and can turn off our minds and go with it. God, what wonderful moments. And then there will be times when we're just plain distracted and it gets all messed up. So let the flow happen and don't worry if you're sometimes distracted and mess up. And the flow can only come as the fruit of hard work.
Hope that made at least minimal sense.

Well we all shine on--like the moon and the stars and the sun.
-- John Lennon

Estimable Member
Joined: 19 years ago
Posts: 111

It's a thing called "muscle memory". Have you thought about walking lately? If you were to realy try to think about walking and telling your muscles how to walk you would probably be real slow and jerky. Where if you just wanted to get down the hall your body would just go where you wanted without being told "lift left foot, swing leg foward ect".

Any complex task repeated often enough becomes automatic. Driving, riding a bike, anything. How often does your mind "wander" and you continue to preform what ever you were doing without thinking about it.

I coach compeditive pistol shooters, and I try to get my students to the point where they are both deeply concentrating on what they are doing but not thinking about how they are doing it. Sounds impossible but that is what most "skill" coaches are after.

The same principals apply to playing any musical instrument, repeditive practice to set the "mucsle memory". Then concentration to acheieve the "creativity". Sounds like your well on your way! Cool!

Now if I could get to that point with the guitar.

I may be going to hell in a bucket but at least I'm enjoying the ride. (Jerry Garcea)

Reputable Member
Joined: 20 years ago
Posts: 429

As one of the greatest philosophers of our time, Yogi Berra, once said about hitting a baseball:

"Think? How the hell are you gonna think and hit at the same time?"

Just replace "hit" with "play guitar"

Honorable Member
Joined: 21 years ago
Posts: 646

I like to noodle around on the guitar while watching TV.

It annoys the hell out of my wife so I only do it when she's away.

My son likes it though and sometimes says: "Hey, that was cool".

I've come up with 2 songs and an intro that way.

Helgi Briem
hbriem AT gmail DOT com