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A couple months ago I became very unhappy with my guitar solos and later my creative process as a whole.
I was never happy with anything that I did, plus I really felt as if I was loosing my creative edge.
To see what I could do to gain some of this back I posted a message to a couple networking groups that I moderate.
After the overwhelming response I thought it would be a great idea to post a number of them in this section so
it could be helpful to others in this same situation.
If you are having issues with your creative process, this might be helpful as we start with my original post and
the responses that followed.
: Because I am taking actual repsonses I did not spell check anyone, so please no emails from editors
and school teachers, please
From: "Charlie Harrelson
Date: Wed Jan 1, 2003 8:57 am
Subject: The creative process.. My question
As many of you are aware, I have been in a huge creative funk with my
lead solo's on guitar. Seems as if I'm sleep walking and not
discovering new areas of excitement.
I did complete two new songs this month, one with Southern logic and
Autocad, and another one with Fragile Fear and they are both worthy
tunes, but my inner voice says "it could have been better, more
creative, more out of the box"...
If you did not know me musicically you could hear one of my new
solo's and say "wow, that was great" but the inner me says "man have
I fooled you"...I'm soloing on impulse power and neeed a boost!
I don't write much music so I haven't tested the waters on that end
yet. So my question to all those guitar minds out there is this.
What can I do to regain my chops, or to loss this voice in my head
that says "It ain't good enough"....?
Are you being too critical of yourself? Just a thought. Can you just go with
the flow , see where it, or you ,takes you? What (if anything) has changed?
This has been going on too long now, as well as your concerns about it.
Maybe those creative juices, you seem to always have, are just running so
much, you aren't able to notice them. My wish for you this New Year is to
get the flow going again and it will be good enough for YOU! Evory-thing I've
heard ,has been terrific, Charlie!
Charlie, you're just goin' through what you THINK is a dry spell, honestly.
What it really is, is a necessary period of creative re-generation. It may feel
like it's been going on for too long or whatever, but mark my words, you will
have a deluge of ideas as soon as you stop stressing about NOT having ideas.
You don't need to 'regain your chops'. You have not LOST them. At the risk of
sounding really ZEN, just try meditating and relaxing and whenever you have a
negative thought about your creativity (or lack thereof), don't ALLOW that
thought to fester in your mind. Push it away and assure yourself: "Something
great will come soon." And it will. It really will! And I can't wait to hear
Happy New Year and don't worry, friend!
Charlie....coming from another lead player just relax and stop thinking about
it..just work on scales and the such that you wouldn't normally do just for
the change during non-recording times.....What can I do to regain my chops,
or to loss this voice in my head that says "It ain't good enough"....?
PLAY WITH EMOTION.....let the guitar sing for you
....i personally believe to never second guess what you do and let
the song take you where you need to be...I do understand your "funk" you are
talking about man but just play for your head..not to worry if someone else
says "Wow" :)
Don't be too critical. Most people won't even take a chance on being creative.
There are a few things I've been trying to learn and apply. First, just show
up "on the page" and create something. Give yourself the latitude to create
something "not good enough." I've found that if I relax and "practice"
creativity, sometimes I can even come up with something that is "good enough."
The key is to keep creating. Don't give in to the little negative voice. We
have enough people willing to be negative for us, so let's not contribute to
their short-sightedness. I'm sure you can play circles around my guitar
skills, so you have all tools you need. Now, just convince yourself!
Happy New Year, Charlie!
with reference to your apparent "creative impasse",
it just occured to me that maybe you should give a clear listen to the lyrics
of my song. "I Can Make it"- and then listen to the guitar player. he has
a remarkably incisive understanding of the meaning of that song as though he
had been or was in the processing of experiencing much of the same....
Note: That guitar player was me.
Another take on Daniel's ideas below, is this. I read an interview
with a guitarist a long time ago, and he thought of the song and the
solo as two different things, and for him the song presents and idea
and in his solos he wants to present a disenting opinion or argue
against the idea. As if, if the song is saying "it is true, it is
true" the solo is screaming "it isn't true, it can't be true, if it
were true then what can be done, I wish it were not true, but alas
perhaps it is".
If Charlie is always trying to afirm the song's theme in his solos,
maybe he should try deconstructing the song in his solo.
Lester Young thought you had to know the lyrics inside and out to play
a solo to a song, since the bebop era people often only deal with the
harmonic implications of a song in their solos. Sonny Rollins really
perfected the theme and variation approach (among so many other
approaches, Sonny Rollins is one of the most outstanding soloists ever,
and unlike other Jazz giants he has so many ways of approaching a
More anwsers to my question on this page
is the founder of EvO:R
and solo guitarist
He manages a multi-million dollar audio/video business, maintains 7 websites, provides
guitar tracks for many artists that need something extra in their mix, records his own music,
is a father of 2, and maintains a 10 acre back yard that needed to be cut weekly during
the rainy summer and still has time to loaf around!
Catch his latest CD release TWO
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