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How to avoid getting bored when practicing guitar

Boredom is something that happens to every guitar player at some point. You've played everything you can possibly think of, become disinterested, put the guitar down and go do something else.

This is totally normal.

I don't play guitar every day. In fact, there are times I'll go almost a whole week without playing at all. Then I'll pick it back up again, play for a while, then for a few more days or weeks and then put the guitar down for a week again.

Again, totally normal, at least for me.

I find I have a really hard time believing anyone who says "I play guitar every day" because there are times when you just need to step away from the instrument and take a break if for no other reason than to let the skin on your fret hand's fingertips grow back. Even though I've been playing for a long time, yeah, my fingertips get wrecked sometimes I need to take a break so they can heal up. And even if I switched to half-round or flatwound strings, my fingertips would still get wrecked just from the constant indentations put into the fingertips from pressing down strings on the frets. No matter how soft one's touch is on the strings, indentations on the fingertips happen and that's just the way it is.

Anyway, this article isn't about combating guitar player fatigue but rather guitar player boredom.

Here are four ways to combat the boredom.

1. Take a break

You don't have to play every day. It's just like I said above, there are times where I personally won't play a single note for an entire week. I'm not saying that will work for you, but it works for me.

2. Play more riffs and less solos

There are way too many players that do nothing but solo, solo, solo and solo some more whenever they sit and practice. And that gets boring REAL quick.

Riffs are easier to play and easier to learn. For example, in just one hour you could probably learn the riffs to play at least 5 songs if not more. But to get just one solo from a song learned perfectly, that will take up the whole hour if not longer. And when you're working on the same thing for a solid hour straight and get frustrated, you get bored.

3. Figure out how to do the same thing anywhere on the neck

Chances are there's one type of "mini-solo," which is just a simple note progression, that you know how to do really well. Maybe a harmonic, maybe a hammer-on/off, maybe a trill sound, whatever. But you probably always play it on the same part of the neck using the same notes.

Take that one thing you know well and try it in different places. Try it 3 frets higher or lower. Try it high on the neck. Try it low on the neck. Try it everywhere.

And when you find there's a certain part of the neck where you can't make it work, there's your new challenge. Make it work. Find alternatives. They're there if you look.

Some of the best chords I've ever come up with were from trying them on different parts of the neck where they "didn't work," so I had to come up with something else that sounded mostly like where it was before, creating a whole new-sounding chord. I've had the same thing happen with little progressions and soloing as well.

4. "Reverse" a riff

Take any song you like, learn the riff, then play it "backwards." If the riff is E, A, B, play it as B, A, E.

Many guitar players over the years have come up with their best riffs by "stealing" from popular songs they like and then reversing the way it's played. Doesn't work for solos very well, but works great for chords.

Less soloing is the most important

For whatever reason there are so many players that say to themselves "I must be good at soloing and I must learn how to do it."


Who said you had to be a great soloist? Who said you had to solo at all? If it annoys you to sit and learn soloing, here's an idea: DON'T DO IT.

I can't for the life of me understand why any guitar player would play anything that he or she considers annoying to play - especially when you basically have nothing to show for it but wrecked fingertips.

Why do you play guitar? Because it's fun. When you play stuff that's annoying to play, that's not fun. Avoid the un-fun stuff altogether. And if that means not soloing, then like I said, don't do it. Write riffs instead.

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