Do you play better on some days?

Some days I find, I think, I play pretty good. At least I think I play what and how I want to play it (a song).
Then other days, I just can’t get my thing together. No matter what I do, I play poorly (in my mind and to my ears). Sometimes it’s tempo, sometimes I just play the wrong notes, sometimes it’s timing. Some days (not often for me) I just can’t get into the music for who knows what reason considering I play pretty much only music I like.

What do you do about that?

Generally if I’m playing well (again, in my mind and to my ears). I will likely play sometimes till I’m out of songs I want to play (and I know quite a few songs so that can go on for hours).
The days I play poorly. After a little while of that. I just put my guitar down and come back later. Some days that will last the whole day. Other days, it may only last for a little bit before I get my mojo back.

What do you do for them days that you play poorly. Assuming you have them days.


I have plenty of them days! Part of it is I frequently don’t have an opportunity to get to my guitar until late in the evening when I am pretty spent, the cost of not wanting to abandon my family in the earlier evenings.

Sometimes I just let it go and do something else. Sometimes I look at some theory or listen to music. Other times I just back up and do more simple things, like strumming patterns to a metronome, or finger picking patterns, scales, and other rote technique practice. I try and use those times to focus on the little nuances, like how my fingers touch the strings (either hand), or is the tone of a single pluck what I want. There is a lot to do when the big picture doesn’t fall into place well.

I certainly have days like that. I try not to force it. I’ll switch it up and do something different, learn a new tune, do some slow mindful practice, transcribing, or just put down the guitar and try and remember that I’m doing this for my own enjoyment … if I’m not enjoying it today then do something else.

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I think we all gave days like that Jim, and it’s not just limited to playing guitar. I used to play a lot of sports some competitively and there are days it goes for you and others it doesn’t. I think the key is not to beat yourself up about it, take a break and remember that you can do it.

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Hi @HappyCat

Oh yes, I have days I play well. Few and far between! :slight_smile:

Some days I couldn’t hit the correct string if it were the only one on the guitar, others I think my fingertips are double size. I have really horrible timing days as well where I just don’t feel the groove and can’t play in time.

Usually on those days, I just do minimum practice and try again later in the day or the following day. Same as you mentioned. I find as well that I do better studying theory or listening for something to learn on those days.

Hello Jim!

Yes I believe that if you are still in your beginning stages(especially) it can seem to be that way. Do not allow yourself to get in that frustration trap! It will surely cause you not to want to play. You will end up hitting the strings to hard or just not hitting the strings at all then leading to more frustration!!! :crazy_face:. Not a good spot to be in. So putting it down for a bit is not a bad idea at all. Even when you get better, there wil be these days.

For your rhythm and Tempo and notes. There are a number of things I do to help me keep in the groove. I really do love my journey, so for me just about everything about it is enjoyable to me. Helps alot, however there are days I just make myself pick up the guitar and before I know it an hour has gone by. I wasn’t in the mood, but picked it up and it just took off from there.

You have already pinpointed the areas that you need to work on…Temp,Rhythm and proper finger placement. Make sure you incorporate your practice schedule to go along with your songs in your repertoire. For example: chord progression is A A A A X2 D D D D X2 , 1) Practice those chord shapes , P.F.C.'s and O.M.C., 2) mute strings , practice Rhythm(Rhythm is King!), tempo, accents. (Really crazily slow at first, counting out load is best.) 3) Practice strumming and chord progression at slow tempo or one you are comfortable with the changes. 4) Keep Relaxed!! Very important, you will find you play better. 5) Sometimes you have to kick your own but! :wink::rofl:

This is basically part of some of my practice routines in a nutshell.

Hope this helps!

Rock on all!

Jim, there has been a similar thread a while ago. Maybe you’ll get something out of it?

I know exactly what you mean. Some days things seem to work OK and some days they don’t. I just slow things down & concentrate more :slight_smile:

Or this one

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It happens to me too. I just try not to get frustrated and I keep playing. Sometimes after a while I end up playing well some other days it just doesn’t feel great. In my case I keep playing anyways since is just part of the process.

I recently learned how to play without looking at my hands and it helps me to close my eyes and focus on the sound instead of looking at the fretboard or the wall. It’s really a game changer.

Just with everything else in life, there are good days - and the other ones :wink:
I guess, sometimes I’m distracted or stressed, and I can’t concentrate on new stuff. So I just repeat some older and easier exercises just to keep my fingers busy for some time.

I stick to a friend’s advice on these days: When nothing goes right … go left! :wink:

Unfortunately I often play better when nobody is listening :grin:

Oh, I have lots of those days. Maybe not as often as when I first started and sometimes it’s only a couple of songs. In my practice routines I don’t do all the exercises first and then just play songs, I scatter exercises throughout the practice, I find it helps me. I also play better earlier in the day than later. Though I have played close to midnight on a couple of occasions just so I can say, “I practiced today!” :smile:

I also get really frustrated at times and wonder what the heck I am doing! Then again, I have those moments when the kitchen is a mess after a big holiday meal.

Sometimes I hold off on learning new things, knowing they will be hard for me. I am still on Module 10 which I started in August, I finally am trying the Push, hammers-on and the La Bamba Riff, none of which I am enjoying. I’m sort off putting off getting to it today by hanging out in the Community. (After I drink my tea I WILL go practice.

Somedays the songs go good, other days, fumble fingers. It all depends I guess?

Just had a thought, maybe I should write on a calendar, “good day, bad day, so-so day” and see when the good outnumbers the bad… then again, that could be too depressing. :crazy_face:


Some days are better than others, so is my guitar playing. Sometimes I play and think, not often, but why was my playing in the last OM not this good, but then up and down is a condition of life. Music provides me with so much joy, even playing not up to scratch lifts my spirits.

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Oh yes! Some days I can’t play it wrong and some days I can’t play it right!
I don’t worry about it too much now though because I KNOW that I can play it better than that. It’ll be better tomorrow!

Yes. Some days everything just kind of flows, and other days just seem “off” and fumbly and error-prone. Same goes for singing: there are days where singing a particular line is effortless, and then the next day it might be a struggle to hit some notes and you lose your breath support at the end of phrases, et cetera.

It’s always a bummer when you have an “off” day. But it happens.

Most people probably have good and bad days. One of the reasons I keep practicing regularly is to bring up the level of those bad days, so that one of my bad days today is much better than a bad day (or even a good day) was 5 years ago . I would love to play as well as some guitarist’s bad days :slight_smile:

Things I do if I don’t feel like playing, or am having a bad go at it:

  • Practice practicing: Today might just be a day to practice the act of showing up at my practice area, tuning up, and keeping that space in my schedule dedicated to practicing. Play for 15 minutes - a song I do well, spider exercise or scales that I know well, whatever - if it doesn’t get better take a break for the day. If it does get better work through (some of) what’s on my practice list. Usually just playing something I know will get me over a hump, but if it doesn’t, I still have engaged mentally with playing. The discipline of showing up can be more important than momentary inspiration in a task that takes a long time with gradual progress.
  • Find something guitar related to do: Change strings, clean the fretboard; watch/listen to a recording of myself and try to figure out what worked well, and what I need to work on; Listen to a recording of a song I want to learn/am learning and focus on how the guitar part works; Review a video lesson from a couple modules back - basically keeping the brain engaged with learning
  • Take a break: go outside, do something else entirely, a walk, a nap, whatever and let myself not worry about guitar progress today. I try not to do this every time, or I don’t make the progress that I want, but sometimes my body just needs something else.
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I absolutely have those days. I’ve tried to identify a pattern or a reason and so far can’t find one. The longer I play (been playing daily for over 11 year now), the less I seem to have them, but they still creep up on me and surprise me in the worst possible way. All my fingers seem to be thumbs. Sigh

I mean better is a stretch, less terrible, sure!

Fingers like sausages some days. My rule is as long as I pick the guitar up every day, it’s fine, I will keep progressing.

I know that all to well myself. Often it happens when I’m really tired or exhausted. I tend to do some fun stuff only, better play a little than nothing I guess. :slight_smile: