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Thread: Slump......slump buster?

  1. #1
    Struggle Monkey B381's Avatar
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    Jun 2016
    North Carolina

    Default Slump......slump buster?

    So, I was searching a few threads and I ran across this post.....

    .Its been years since I was new to stringed instruments.. but I remember like it was yesterday how much of a challenge it is in the beginning.. moving your fingers in impossibly alien ways to form chords, building finger strength to properly fret strings, fingers raw, sore, and nearly bleeding, getting your effin pinky to half ass act like its connected to your brain lol.. etc.. but I cant really remember what made me pick my guitar up every day multiple times a day and keep at it. I dont know why I didnt just drop it and go do something fun rather than setting there torturing myself with something that seemed impossibly out of reach.
    Today's....let's just say, a day. Cold, rainy, mild arthritis from dragging fire hoses for years, etc, etc.

    Don't get me wrong, I have desire to have my mandolin in my hands a lot. I have the desire to learn. I want to get better, I want to be successful in this venture.

    It's a slump. Hopefully a one day slump. Hopefully a sign of forward progress about to happen.

    Throw your best "slump buster" in this thread and maybe help some folks.

    This is the thread that quite came from:
    "It doesn't matter how much you invest in your instrument until you invest in you and your ability..."

    Kentucky KM-150
    Eastman MD-404
    Eastman MD-305
    Morgan Monroe MFM-300 (passed on to a new player)
    Rover RM-75

  2. #2
    Barn Cat Mandolins Bob Clark's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2011
    Beautiful Salem County, NJ

    Default Re: Slump......slump buster?

    We've all been there. Goodness knows I have. My best slump-buster involves having multiple instruments.

    I find I get into the habit of mostly playing one instrument. When I get in a slump, I take out the instrument I have played the least lately, or have not played at all recently. I clean it up, tune it up and away I go. Usually works.

    Barring that, I take a look through my music books and pick out something I used to play but haven't played in a while, especially if it is in a genre I haven't played in a while. Usually works, too.

    The way to get out of a rut is to do something different. Thankfully, mandolins are versatile enough that they enable us to do just that.

    Best wishes,

    Purr more, hiss less. Barn Cat Mandolins Photo Album

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  4. #3
    Registered User Louise NM's Avatar
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    Apr 2017
    New Mexico

    Default Re: Slump......slump buster?

    What Bob said: try something different. Go back to something you can play easily and just play for fun. If even that doesn't work, put the instrument up and go do something else. Try again a couple of hours, or at worst, the next day.

  5. #4

    Default Re: Slump......slump buster?

    I can certainly empathize with you. I seem to stay in a perpetual slump most of the time. It helps me get motivated just coming to the forum here and reading about what others are doing.

  6. #5
    Join Date
    Jan 2007
    Boulder, CO & Chesterfield, MO

    Default Re: Slump......slump buster?

    Take a day off from playing and put new strings on. Then when you pick it up tomorrow, it'll sounds new again.
    Best of luck to you!

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  8. #6
    Gibson F5L Gibson A5L
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    Apr 2008
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    Default Re: Slump......slump buster?

    I take a few lessons on SKYPE when I hit a slow spot. Having to learn a new tune to learn before my next lesson puts me on a schedule an keeps me directed. R/
    I love hanging out with mandolin nerds . . . . . Thanks peeps ...

  9. #7
    Registered User
    Join Date
    Aug 2008
    Austin, TX

    Default Re: Slump......slump buster?

    What Al from Colorado said works for me. But I take more than a day off, sometimes several. When I get back to it, I find some of the vexing passages or licks fall into place. Subconscious at work?


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  11. #8
    Doc Ivory Doc Ivory's Avatar
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    Oct 2015
    South West Florida

    Default Re: Slump......slump buster?

    Boy, I can empathize.
    I get into slumps even today that require just quietly putting the instrument down and not touching it for a few days. Kinda of "refreshing" the mind for a bit.

    It does come back but it has to come back in its own time, it can't be forced.
    Writers, paint and I'm sue all other creative types artists go thru this as well.

    After a day or so, I start feeling the urge to lay again and it usually the right time.
    Doc Ivory
    -Play loud, live long..

  12. #9
    Registered User Tom Wright's Avatar
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    Jun 2010
    Rockville, MD
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    Default Re: Slump......slump buster?

    Sometimes I just need a dose of "Vitamin I" (ibuprofen) but sometimes everything kind of hurts and I just don't pick up the mando.

    But for progress issues, I try to be open for new music, which always adds a different and better perspective on stuff I already play. Usually the result is better playing as well as better understanding.

    Some tunes slip away and need refreshing, others seem to have improved on their own after I have been working other stuff. Sometimes overnight is enough. And some stuff always stays just past comfortable/presentable, and stands as my constant challenge.

    But many times I will think I've reached my limit, from aging and wear and tear, only to find that some tune I thought was never going to sound good feels easy. Progress still is happening, which is the good news. The horizon is approaching but I have time for some serious fun left to me.
    Bandcamp --
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    The viola is proof that man is not rational

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  14. #10

    Default Re: Slump......slump buster?

    Spend ten or fifteen minutes a day playing scales with a metronome. Play them as slowly as you need to to play them cleanly. Play major and minor in all keys. Concentrate on getting a nice uniform tone. Play them in every key. Then learn the scale exercises. For six months you will have no idea how any of this relates to anything.

    One day you will be learning a fiddle tune by ear and wondering why you can find the notes so quickly. One day you will be practicing how to improvise on the fly, and more and more you guess right. Your ear connects to your fingers somehow. Then your brain starts to click with your fingers.

    And for extra fun, tell yourself you can have that fern when you can play the scales at 100 bpm.
    Silverangel A
    Arches F style kit
    1913 Gibson A-1

  15. #11
    Registered User
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    Jun 2013
    Kernersville, NC
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    Default Re: Slump......slump buster?

    A new mandolin
    Find a new local jam or jamming partner
    Set up and record a track or two
    Attend a music camp for mandolin
    Plan to attend a music festival (stay at campground and jam at night)
    Take a group of 4 biweekly lessons from a seasoned instructor on a targeted area that you want to improve
    Find a spot around town to try busking for an hour

    Anything that will push you out of your box and give you purpose to play more. Playing more will bust a slump

  16. #12

    Default Re: Slump......slump buster?

    Also go find an open mic. You'll be an instant hit just because you won't be playing a guitar.
    Silverangel A
    Arches F style kit
    1913 Gibson A-1

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