This is a question that gets raised a lot, as many of us are often concerned, sometimes OVER concerned that we are not really playing guitar up to our true potential. I can recall periods where I definitely hit “slumps”, especially the kinds of slumps that resemble that of a ball player who for one reason or another, just can’t seem to get any hits over an extended period of time, with no real explanation for it!
I can recall perhaps the biggest slump being at the true beginning of my professional career, when I first moved to Woodstock. It seemed as if I couldn’t “buy” a good guitar solo if I tried, and that was during a time when my creative abilities seemed to actually be at a peak……everything just sort of stopped.
Upon reflection, looking back, of course, I was so very young, only 18, and was up against a whole new world, where the guitar was only a part of it. My concerns were many, and I was still dealing with this great change in my life that meant I had to now also cook, clean, work odd jobs, and live in a tiny apartment, in addition to simply playing the guitar.
I also must admit, that looking back, the music I was suddenly thrust into playing was just a little too “confining” for me at that time. A good lesson in real music, yes, but maybe something I wasn’t quite ready to handle just yet!
Now, I go through different kinds of slumps, which are much more in my head than anything else….I had a gig the other day, for example, where it had been so long since I’d performed that it felt like when I hit the stage, I’d feel out of touch, and literally detached from my instrument. Well, nothing could’ve EVER been further from the truth, as I ended up putting on a show that was such a revelation for me, that I felt as if I had literally “redefined” the instrument! And the whole sold-out crowd knew it, too….so it wasn’t just in my mind that this was happening.
A lot of folks when they hear me talk about that night say,”darn, I wished I had come, but I’ll make the next one”……..and meanwhile I try to explain to them that as far as that night was concerned, there CAN’T be another one like it……it was just that special for me! Still, I do feel that I somehow set a “higher bar” that night, and it’s effects will stay with me, and probably will spur me on to become even a better player still. Hope you’ve had nights like that too……but remember, the “slumps” you may go through from time to time are only temporary, and MUCH better shows and playing lie ahead for you!