Question for Kurt and others - How do you keep mentally and creatively fresh?

(8 posts)
  1. Basile865

    You guys ever hit a musical Rut? Sometimes they can last forever it seems. The question for Kurt is, How do you keep your mind and spirit fresh in order to tackle new creativity AND help keep a hunger to press forward in growth? I saw this one video series of you playing alone on youtube, which is now gone, but the way you played was expressive, musical and in a way exploratory. It didn't really sound like anybody - you were doing kind of a tapping thing at the beginning I think. It reminded of me when I was a kid first playing - not that I could play anything like you, but in the sense that the relationship between the person and their instrument was new and exciting. Almost like a honeymoon phase haha. It was just a man and his guitar, no influences or genre's suggested. I wonder how somebody like yourself, with the amount of music that has passed through your ears and the amount of playing you do everyday keep it fresh.

    I once read I think it was a Miles Davis quote where he said something along the lines of it takes a few hours of endless playing before you start to sound like yourself.

    Past few days I've hit a rut. If I don't have a good creative output or flow I almost get sick. I cant eat or sleep well, its like I have the flew or something - you get sweaty. You pick up the guitar a few times throughout the day and get so frustrated because nothing inspiring comes out you put it back down. Drives me nuts! Its not too too often that it happens but when it does I feel like I lose my sanity. I'm like a junkie going through withdraw haha.

    How does everybody else here keep their head in balance?

    In the past I find playing other instruments helps and just taking time off from guitar for a day or two. Lately I've been hitting this wall for probably about 2 weeks where I'm playing the same style, same old licks.

    I will say Kurt you've inspired me to want to be a MUSICIAN and not just a guitarist. When other instruments are there like the piano it seems to help creativity and exploration, but at the same time I see so many miles to cover on guitar.

    Thanks to Kurt and everybody for any input on the topic.

  2. Poparad

    I've always kept myself involved in a lot of very different styles of music, both in playing and listening. Whenever I feel like I'm in a rut with my jazz playing, I usually start listening to something very different, which gets me thinking about thinks from a different perspective, and recharges my creativity.

  3. InWalked

    Every few years I'll get stuck in a major rut and sometimes it takes months for me to climb out. I always there are no detours when it comes to playing but I'll try different sources of inspiration. As Poparod said, I'll listen to something radically different like going through my old vinyl records that I bought when I was in my teens. I try to tap into the energy that I had then when my guitar playing was seemingly rut free. The Bad Brains "I Against I" and Metheny's "New Chautauqua" are as therapeutic as green tea for me.

  4. Basile865

    Thanks guys. InWalked thats an interesting Pat Metheny clip - almost has a country vibe to it. Every once and a while a little bluegrass is fun to listen to - Union Station has some good stuff. It seems like certain gear has its own sounds and music in it. When I pick up my strat and plug it into my plexi, I think blues rock and killer leads. But now I'm trying to step back and learn new lines and ideas through Kurt's stuff which has turned my whole view upside down. I'm kind of a hendrix nut, but kurt's music has a freedom to it and really creates landscapes and emotions. Its changed the way I approach playing in a big way. Its way beyond my knowledge and I'm trying to figure out where to start

  5. silverwater

    If I'm feeling stale as a musician, I'll go back and listen to and play the stuff that made me wanted to play the guitar in the first place, to try and recapture that feeling; an almost childlike sense of amazement. Sometimes with Jazz, at least for me, it's easy to get caught up in trying to make progress, like learning more and more harmonic sounds to play over changes, and I'll forget that I'm supposed to be enjoying myself. Playing along with the solo to Comfortably Numb can change that for me, or listening to people like Phish, Kurt, the Allmans, Metheny, whose pure joy for what they are doing comes through in the music and reminds you what it's all about.

  6. Basile865

    Yeah, I totally agree silverwater. Hendrix has helped me keep that torch burning for years, and Kurt has instilled a new excitement for new knowledge. Jazz overall is somewhat new to me - people like Metheny, Holdsworth and Rosenwinkel have resparked my imagination. I've just been trying to live a few days without playing and it has made me crave it more.

  7. shawnuff

    as far as the creativity aspect, i've picked up a few new instruments over the last couple of years (keys, mandolin, banjo, lapsteel) and i find it really interesting to compose or get ideas from instruments that i am not as familiar with; it really gets me away from guitar ruts. it actually forces you to sort of 'think simpler' and its surprising how refreshing that is.
    i know i've heard somewhere about kurt and many other great 'non-piano as first instrument' musicians composing on piano.

  8. Basile865

    For those looking for some possible inspiration I stumbled upon this guy John Williams. He is a composer that has written many of the scores to films we've all seen like Home Alone, Hook, Jaws, Superman, Indiana Jones etc etc. I've never really sat down to seriously listen to movie music - but its stunningly beautiful. Full of ideas.

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