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FDP Forum / The Chop Shop / Life gets in the way: Anybody go through this?

Next 20 Messages  


Dec 29th, 2014 01:43 PM   Edit   Profile  

Has this happened to any of you?

You live/breath guitar; it becomes part of your mortal identity. You play in bands, practice non-stop (and along the way, spend thousands of dollars over the years on guitars, lessons, toys and gear.)

And then:

1. You get married.

1A. Get a house in the 'burbs.

2. You have a kid, and potentially, another one.(Supreme Deity willing)

3. J - O - B.

4. Family obligations trump all in your spare time.

5. You come home at night: Dinner time, bath time, story time, bed time (I'm talking about the kid here), Wife time. Exhaustion time. Bed time for you.

One day, you take your guitar off its stand, put it in its case, stuff it in the closet, then suddenly four years go by and that guitar is still in that case and you haven't played it once.

The other day, after almost four years I was getting the itch. I pulled out my Strat, started to play, then started to cry because my chops are next to gone.

Anybody been there before? Care to share any insight into this? I guess I'm hoping for moral support. Thanks guys.

(This message was last edited by drksd4848 at 03:51 PM, Dec 29th, 2014)

Contributing Member

The band is awful

and so are the tunes
Dec 29th, 2014 02:12 PM   Edit   Profile  

It hasn't been that long for you. It does come back.

There are folks here that were off guitar for ten years and more, and they came back and are having a lot of fun with it.

Keep at it. If you can get in 30 minutes of practice per day, you'll come back up to speed pretty fast.

Contributing Member

Ocala, Fla

Dec 29th, 2014 02:20 PM   Edit   Profile  

Certainly there is something you could chop off the list and replace with guitar. A weekly TV show? Heck, 30-60 minutes a week is better than once every 4 years.



Dec 29th, 2014 02:26 PM   Edit   Profile  

"It hasn't been that long for you. It does come back.

There are folks here that were off guitar for ten years and more, and they came back and are having a lot of fun with it.

Keep at it. If you can get in 30 minutes of practice per day, you'll come back up to speed pretty fast."

Thanks Peegoo.

Cal Webway
Contributing Member


Poet Lariat
Dec 29th, 2014 03:07 PM   Edit   Profile  

It comes back, and then some, depending on your passion.

Contributing Member

juneau ak.

If you must smoke, please smoke salmon!
Dec 29th, 2014 03:24 PM   Edit   Profile  

Your story is mine to a tee! After hanging it up for at least 12 or 13 years I got back into playing. Mostly through old friends that were still actively playing and were willing to put up with me!

The hard part is trying to find the time and space you need in a family setting. I now play unplugged early in the morning or/and at night but it's hard to find "your time" some times.
Luckily for me my bass player friend lives 2 mins. away and his shop is our hang out. We can crank it up and move some air! But up until 5 or 6 years ago I'd pull my guitar out of the closet once or twice a year and play for a day or two and set it back.

Benson Fan

Los Angeles, CA USA

Dec 29th, 2014 04:16 PM   Edit   Profile  

It was a 24 year hiatus for me. Then a former coworker asked me if I wanted to get into a band. Next thing I knew, we were one of the busiest cover bands in L.A. Yes, it does come back, and with things like YouTube, you can make up for lost time pretty fast!


LA , Calif

Lost on the blue ball
Dec 29th, 2014 04:31 PM   Edit   Profile  

I have but not for the same reasons.

I stopped for over 4 years out of depression. I also had trigger thumb on the left thumb.

I got back into it last year but not everyday maybe once a week. Now I play a few times a week.

I find for me it's get a bit harder to come back as I got into my 60's. Plus since I still live it this apt for the last year the lady neighbor who lives on the first floor and we on the second she is retired now so I can't play electric much at all and I do have acoustics , they to me are just not the same thing since all have a much narrower nut than I can use and cramp my style.

I just keep trying , all I can do . I have absolutely no interest in being in a band any more.

Contributing Member

Ocala, Fla

Dec 29th, 2014 06:53 PM   Edit   Profile  

If the reconnection evoked tears then you owe it to yourself to dig back in. My wife and I were young parents. By the time I was 30 our 2 kids were 10 and 11. I was also at my most musically active years at that time. My wife knew going in that music was at my core and encouraged and accommodated me. It wasn't until the kids were grown and moved out that bar gigging and a life long miserable job sucked the life out of me. After moving down to Fla last year I have no circle of musician friends for the first time since I was 10. It's weird, but I have my home studio and dig writing, recording, even if it's nothing more than musical refrigerator art.

Best of luck to you and keep making the noise when you can.



Dec 30th, 2014 11:05 AM   Edit   Profile  

Wow, guys... Thanks for the support. I missed being on this forum (use to be a regular poster a while ago)

Just want to say, when I wrote "crying", I didn't mean I had tears, I was just majorly bummed/remorseful that I couldn't pull off those David Gilmour or Peter Green licks that I spent years trying to perfect.

So, I'm replacing my zone-out activity with practicing again. And I'm only committing ten minutes of just finger exercises. Ten minutes which almost always turns into 30 min to an hour.

Many moons ago, when I was at the Zenith of my playing, I put together a band and we spent a year playing a stripped down version of "Dark Side of the Moon" No Synthe-A, no screaming lady, no lap steel guitar, just how P/F played it when they first started touring it as "Eclipse". Playing it as a whole, cohesive piece was almost as good as...

Last night, I saw something encouraging: Years ago I had spent many of my evenings trying to arrange "Great Gig in the Sky" for a guitar. Eventually, I sought the help of a guy named Mel Bay ;). Last night, I decided to see if I could pull it off from memory... and sure as [Poop] I could do it reasonable, time and tune. I don't even remember what the friggin' chords were, but the muscle memory was all there... HOT DAMN. (Although I still can't cant remember the bridge chords to the last section... There are two chords that get you from C9 back into Bm)

You something? Most guys - like my brother - have a blast just sitting on a couch jamming away. That's how I started, but when I started studying with Jazz musicians, I began to believe guitar was something that demanded a serious commitment and hard work. The real fun was when all the hard work payed off on the bandstand. But hell, maybe its time to just learn a few songs to play for my son. He doesn't need to hear the solo to Money ;)

Just gotta be careful not to start buying gear again... Things like that tend to happen. Ugh.

Thanks for listening to all my self-absorption.

(This message was last edited by drksd4848 at 01:06 PM, Dec 30th, 2014)


Willoughby, OH , USA

I'm arrogant and a moron
Dec 30th, 2014 11:43 AM   Edit   Profile  

I think it happens to most of us. My wife knew what music means to me, but I did cut back on gigs to keep her happy. Never totally quit and never sold off my gear. I still gig about once a month.

Contributing Member

Seattle, Wa

Dec 30th, 2014 06:41 PM   Edit   Profile  

I seriously believe that is one of the big reason I never settled down because I knew that would take playing music away from my life to some degree.



Jan 5th, 2015 10:13 AM   Edit   Profile  

"Certainly there is something you could chop off the list and replace with guitar. A weekly TV show? Heck, 30-60 minutes a week is better than once every 4 years."

That's the conclusion I came to. Essentially, I replaced it with evening internet/computer zone out time. I'm starting out gradually. Ten minutes of chromatic scale drills. That's all. The beauty of it is, a ten minute commitment is not very daunting (I use to try to practice up to two hours a day and that became a burden after a while.) Also, ten minutes is never really ten minutes. It usually turns into two to three hours of relearning/remembering chords, fiddling with songs I use to play, remembering my repertoire of songs.

"I just keep trying , all I can do . I have absolutely no interest in being in a band any more. "

I hear that. I always felt being in a band, and a certain extent playing guitar, was like an abusive relationship. The grind involved is unbearable at times (getting everyone together for rehearsals, booking gigs. Dealing with people flaking out, etc.) You quit doing it, but there is always something about it that lures you back. Rinse, repeat.

"I think it happens to most of us. My wife knew what music means to me, but I did cut back on gigs to keep her happy. Never totally quit and never sold off my gear. I still gig about once a month."

I remember when my wife and I were dating, I was adamant: "I'll never give this up, I've put too much of my life into this. Bla Bla Bla" I think she just humored me and told me she'd never make me quit it. Then, after we were married and my son was born, something changed. My priorities shifted and I put it down myself one day, then never picked it back up. At that time, I also started a new job that was creatively challenging. I must have sub consciously diverted much of my energy away from music and into that.

"Best of luck to you and keep making the noise when you can."

That's really nice man, thank you.



Jan 5th, 2015 10:33 AM   Edit   Profile  

BTW, when you pick up the guitar after not playing for a while (years), what have you found to be the hardest skill to get back, in terms of chops?

I notice my chord memory/muscle memory is there, but my rhythm took a dump and when I try to play all the riffs and licks I've accumulated over the years, that's all gone. The pinky and ring finger on my right hand just don't want to cooperate. They've become really stubborn: I know where to go, but they don't want to go there.

And worst of all, I'm coming done with a case of GAS. Once you start playing, all you want to do is buy crap. Damn. Aw, well. Maybe this time I'll build a partscaster. Looks like Rockaudio has some affordable bodies. Quality? Hmm...

(This message was last edited by drksd4848 at 12:37 PM, Jan 5th, 2015)

Contributing Member


Hoarder of instruments
Jan 5th, 2015 11:21 AM   Edit   Profile  

Hard to believe I was a union-card-carrying fulltime bassplayer nearly 40 years ago. After my prolonged absence due to a military and a medical career I am a competent but considerably less skilled bassplayer than I was in my heyday.

However, I went back to playing guitar ten years ago and after a slow start I can say that I am a much better guitarist than when I switched to bass in 1971.

I suppose if I devoted the time I have spent with the guitar on bass some of that would come back, too

"BTW, when you pick up the guitar after not playing for a while (years), what have you found to be the hardest skill to get back, in terms of chops?"

For me it was creating a guitar solo on the fly. It took a while for me to "think guitar"
and "think solo". I still don't "think bass" like the old days.

Oddly enough I developed a much better feel for open space in my playing despite not picking up a guitar for years.


U.S. - Virginia

Jan 5th, 2015 01:54 PM   Edit   Profile  

I have. Not the kids part though :-P

I gave up instruments due to injuries. I was proudly headed down a path of success with drum and bugle corps. Took center snare my rookie year in a div II corps when I was 15. Had unrelated surgery, then when trying to get back into it, ruined my hand.

Fast forward 15 years, I can still pretty much smoke the kids who want to mess with me at the high school with a little practice. Stuff like that, that we really practice, can come back to you. Just get into it again and you'll get back to where you were and surpass it! Why not? Whats the other option? To not play? Do it!

Martin G
Contributing Member


Jan 7th, 2015 01:06 PM   Edit   Profile  

Ha ha, same story here. But know what pulled me back? My daughter wanted to take guitar lessons when she was about 12, so I pulled out the acoustic. She started playing it, which made me want to play it.
Then she progressed to electric so out came the electric and a little champ. Then she started getting her own gear so I'd shop with her and check out what she had. We started jamming a little, although our styles are miles apart. Around christmas we spent an entire afternoon jamming and trying to figure out Christmas songs by ear.

Contributing Member


Too Much GAS
Jan 8th, 2015 10:26 PM   Edit   Profile  

I never really got out of music but I did almost completely quit playing my guitar for about 10 years. After I got married (no kids) I spent most of my time in either a recording studio working behind the glass or sitting in front of a huge PA system and running sound for any number of different bands. The only time I ever played guitar was when I needed a part for a track I was working on and that wasn't very often. I was doing mostly sound design and playing, programming, or sequencing synthesizers. I'd pull out the guitar and quickly put something down and then put it away. Sometimes for months at a time.

My chops went in the crapper as is expected. Then after that was over I developed a debilitating case of carpal tunnel syndrome in both wrists that took me out of playing completely for about 5 years. I finally decided to get that repaired and got my hands back. Then I met a guitarist who was one of the best I have ever heard. I took some lessons from him over the course of a year. As a result of that I have regained everything I had before and gone light years beyond.

I don't really have any interest in playing in cover bands anymore either. I get really bored playing the same old tunes, that I learned when I was 25, over and over, and over again. There's no challenge in that for me. I would much rather sit at home, write, and record, my own music. I'm not trying to sell it. I do it because I love it. When the creative juices are flowing I write. When they aren't I practice my guitar. I play a LOT more than I write.

It does come back. At least it did for me, and then some. After I got to the point where I COULDN'T play anymore I decided that I would NEVER, EVER, take that for granted again. One doesn't always get a second chance. I feel lucky to have gotten one. At some point I may lose the physical ability to play so I need to do it as much as I can, while I can.


Tennessee, USA

Go forth and make a joyful noise.
Jan 10th, 2015 11:22 AM   Edit   Profile  

If it's important, you make the time. I've got a wife, kid, a mortgage, a job that sometimes has me there 11 to 12 hours a day. I always make time to play. Sometimes that means having to get up at 4 or 5am to do a little writing and playing on an unplugged electric.

I love playing guitar and making music with others. Sometimes it's magic and other times a disastrous train wreck, but that is what keeps it interesting and fun. Pick up stuff from those better than you - and from those who are not, as they can give you a different perspective on things that you might not have come up with alone.

While there have been short stints of not being in a band or gigging - the only thing that has kept me from playing was when I was diagnosed with colon cancer last Summer and needed surgery to remove a pretty good size tumor. (On a side note, if you're not feeling well - go to the doctor. Don't chalk it up to "working too hard and I just need some rest", Listen to your body). During recovery I had a lot of free time but was physically unable to play for about 6 weeks. That really sucked. As soon as I could hold a guitar without a lot of pain I slowly started back up. Music is great for healing and therapy.

I dig gear, but never understood GAS. I keep a couple of electrics, a couple of acoustics, a 2x12 combo, a small practice amp, and a few effects. Instead of thinking about what piece of gear to buy next, concentrate on playing or writing. You can wring a lot of different sounds out of minimal gear. Granted, having an instrument with a decent volume and tone control makes a big difference - which is why I go to my Tele about 90% of the time.

Everyone here loves guitars. Don't put it in a case and forget about it. Leave at least one out and about at all times. Pick it up and make a Joyful Noise. Even if it's been years go get it out RIGHT NOW. If it sounds bad because the fingers don't know where to go- it's still ok to me. Only YOU can make that sound. Everyone has a song within - go find it.



Jan 10th, 2015 07:16 PM   Edit   Profile  

ninworks: That's a great story.

RGD: Great story too. Hope you are officially free and clear of the "C" word. And yes, GAS makes no sense. It's an incurable disease that those of us who have no self control suffer from. (Yeah, that's my excuse to avert responsibility for it.)

While I'm selling some left over Fender parts on ebay for money to build an econo-partscaster (Something I've always wanted to do) I think I'm going to spend time taking apart the guitars I have and really learn how to work on them.

Remember that doctor from NYC who came down with E-Bola, then was put into quarantine? When he started to feel better and the worst was over, guess what he did?

He reached for his banjo and spent the rest of his time in quarantine practicing. After hearing that, I think it resparked the fire in me.

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FDP Forum / The Chop Shop / Life gets in the way: Anybody go through this?

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