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Rich W

Best Way to Get Chops Back After Layoff

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Aside from the pat answer ... "practice" ... what have you found to be the most effective and fastest way to get your chops back after you've taken a long break from playing?

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Aside from the obvious, the quickest thing for me was to hook up with some buds and jam. No pressure, lotsa fun, and I always lose track of time (and pain) when I'm jammin'. Depending upon the reason for the layoff, your muscle memory should come back very quickly. Strength and stamina may take some time. Have fun, bro'. [thumbup]

 

 

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I'd say there are two basic paradigms.

 

One is the "no pain, no gain," where you play virtually to the point of bleeding.

 

The other is the "Fingertip tingle, rest until it ain't, then back tuit."

 

In both cases I'd recommend a song list of stuff you remember even if it's chording to Mary Had a Little Lamb.

 

Stuff that requires heavy left hand work on heavy strings is gonna not work well, so ... get lighter strings or don't do it right away.

 

I think there area variations depending on what style you had done in the past - "rock/country/jazz lead?" figure what songs you wanna play along with. Rhythm? Ditto, but perhaps more certainly with lighter or otherwise less abrasive strings.

 

Personally I recommend the song list starting with checkmarked stuff you used to do that you're sure you could do now, play 'til fingertips tingle, rest, play 'til the tingle, etc.

 

For what I'm playing nowadays, my fingers are strong enough, but after messing five minutes with a five string banjo, the first time really in 30 years, I realized I'd have to sit down and determine how to get the muscle memory back to some "chops" rather than attempting to play what had been my best back then. Simple, basic stuff, get the hands in rhythm, etc.

 

But then, that's just a thought.

 

m

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After my 25 year break I thought I'd start with 9's on my guitar so it wasn't hard on my fingers. I didn't like them so it was 10's and sore fingers. Only took a few months though.

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I was asked to do a reunion after 4-5 yrs away from the band i gigged with...i found tackling the more complex leads/parts/riffs to be <memory> stimulating and once i remembered what i did bk then,i was able to add a few nuances to the riffs and such and gave me the confidence to get over the "can i play as good as i did" thing.,kind of a new look at things.I'd suggest gatherin up some of your fav cd's/songs and start right off with playin along with what got ya wantin to play to begin with.Get your mojo goin and keep goin till ya find yourself at the level ya stopped @.Think of some songs u learned way bk when that made you smile when u played them and start there,i think the rest will just fall into place.Welcome back btw !!!

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It's surprising how quickly the chops go. At least for me. If I'm not playing every day, it doesn't take long for my fingers' IQ to drop about 10 points.

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My answer is simple... never have "chops" in the first place. [thumbup]

 

If your playing is dependent upon a high level of physical facility you will see a much quicker dropoff. In other words if it took lots of practice to get there in the first place, it will take lots of practice to stay there, and it will take even more to return there!

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Flip a pencil through your fingers, or pass a quarter across you knuckles. Proper Typing and 10 Key Techniques can help. Anything that requires manual dexterity. Most importantly, however, don't put your guitar down for so long next time.

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Flip a pencil through your fingers, or pass a quarter across you knuckles. Proper Typing and 10 Key Techniques can help. Anything that requires manual dexterity. Most importantly, however, don't put your guitar down for so long next time.

 

Good ideas ... thanks!

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first, Find music you like and play along with it till you are comfortable, then play along with music on the radio...you don't know what's coming next and you have only the length of the tune to get the groove of it. This is great for thinking on your feet, and one of the best ear training techniques I have found in the last 50 years...I got it from Charles Mingus in one of his books. It really helps if you tune the radio to music you don't normally play, or even necessarily like...You might hate it, but you will really learn the guitar again..and pick up some new stuff.

 

Last, don't make it a job-it's fun to learn stuff on the guitar.

 

 

mark

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Greetings Rich from the far east of Canada-Newfoundland.I'm about to embark on the road to getting my chops back too after being sidelined for the past couple of years with a neuro-muscular-skeletal condition.Back from about 2000-2006 I hardly touched guitar and I quite truthfully found that long frequent periods of practice time were the best way to getting chops back but back then I had stopped playing due to a bout of severe depression caused by intense chronic pain from 3 accidents so my approach to getting back to it was practice.Now where the problem is physical I have to not only put in a lot of practice time but I have to incorporate a regimin of stretching and exercises to get the joints and muscles that were almost atrophied limbered up and strengthened.

 

I believe where you have been out of playing regularly for some time it would be very advantageous for you to do stretches and excercises too as where the tendons and muscles haven't been utilized like they were used to for quite some time,starting to play without limbering up or exercising may cause your hands to cramp and tire easily.My chiropractor gave me some stretching and conditioning excercises to do and they have really worked well for me.I do believe there are sites on the web that have hand,arm and finger exercises and stretches for musicians.Lots of luck in getting back to your playing.

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