Problem playing Guitar

Hi Guys,

Someone who was close to me is no longer in my life. I always felt connected to this person when I played my guitar. I guess I associate my guitar with this person. I love playing but it’s a bit painful. What I decided to do was just practice scales and chords. I also started playing sheet music but from the fifth fret. i feel like this let’s me play and stay sharp but without poking my soul.

I’m wondering if anyone else ever found themselves associating their guitar with someone in their life.


I wouldn’t say that I associate guitar, in general, with someone, but there are specific songs that definitely do that to me when I play them. Also, I have a mandolin that was made by my father (from a kit) as a gift for my mother. When she passed away the mandolin came to me. Whenever I play that mandolin it makes me think of her. Bittersweet, for certain.


I was fortunate to have a custom guitar made for me several years back. As I chose the various woods used, I chose woods that represented special moments in my life, my various children were associated with certain woods, Queensland Silky Oak and Tasmanian hardwood and NZ Kauri Pine was also used as my wife is a kiwi native.


Welcome Michael, I’m glad you’ve joined us :grinning:

Your post has ‘poked my soul’. :cry: I understand how you feel and how it affects you to have the associations and memories of the person who is no longer in your life when you play the way you used to. I haven’t wanted to play my guitar much at all since March 2021 because of the associations it has.

I’m glad you’re finding a way to make music without making your soul hurt.

Something else that may help you create new associations with music, would be to learn a new style, dig into theory, and even if you’re an experienced player, work through Justin’s excellent beginner modules.

One other thought, would it help to write a song?

All these things will help set up new nerve circuitry in your brain and new muscle memory and this will create new associations that feel better.

Fantastic Beginner Modules

This course has some free lessons, then it’s a subscription. Good value and it really is practical.
Practical Music Theory

I’m choosing to focus on one of the musical projects that I haven’t touched since March. It’s a challenging one and I’ll have to use my brain, as well as learn some new skills. I’m hoping it will help me get over the feelings of lost purpose and move me forward.

I wish this for you too Michael.


That’s an excellent suggestion. I’ve found emotion to be strong inspiration for songwriting (and performing, for that matter).

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Thanks for the suggestions. I finished all the beginner modules. I’ve been on this website since 2019 and only found out today there were forums. I agree about the music theory modules. I got pretty far and took a break. I may revisit them. In my opinion, so far, this is the best module I have encountered.

In 2019 I went to a Chris Stapleton concert in the middle of nowhere. I got a hotel room for the weekend. Aside from some nice dinners out I realized there wasn’t much to do. I spent the weekend trying to write a song. Although it was nothing special I realized how happy I was. Unfortunately I just don’t have that quiet time. Writing is totally different from playing or learning a song. It requires alone time and more concentration (In my opinion). I don’t get much of that. I tried writing a song after we parted ways a couple of weeks ago. I found some chords that fit my mood. The next day I started playing it. it sounded so sad, so i stopped.

I feel like if I stop, I will never go back. So for now, I just read sheet music and play in the middle of the neck.

Thank you again for responding.

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It sounds like you’ve got something that’s working for you Michael, so keep going.

Michael, glad you have found the Community and are able to share what you are going through. I can’t offer more advice, just happy you have a way to keep playing in your life. I think music and playing will enrich your life for life. As time passes perhaps things will shift, perhaps you’ll come back and write the song.

Thanks David, I hope so, I’m trying.

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