Has anyone here ever completely lost the desire to play guitar?

Discussion in 'The Pub' started by rich2k4, Apr 17, 2016.

  1. rich2k4

    rich2k4 Supporting Member

    Mar 5, 2005
    I am 27 years old, I have been playing for 13 years. Throughout high school and college, guitar consumed my life. It is all I did when I got home from school. When I wasn't reading about guitars, I was thinking about them. Countless hours spent playing, hours spent browsing TGP these last 10 years. I did the band thing for a little bit but it wasn't my thing, but I mostly enjoyed playing on my own, or privately with 1 or 2 friends.

    I used to have a small group of "guitar friends" 4 people, including me. They would come over and we would play, try out each other's guitars, amps, etc.

    These friends eventually moved on to other things, moved away. I finished college, got a full time job, and the desire to play just evaporated fairly quickly. It is not like I have no free time. I have a lot of free time after work, but I spend it watching netflix/youtube/ and video games. It seems like for the last couple years, I have had no motivation to plug in and play.

    I've been trying to determine why I started playing in the first place, and I can't think of any concrete reason. When I was 14, I was a huge gamer., and spent most of my time on the computer My dad disliked this, and wanted me to get involved in something "more serious" so during a xmas eve family get together in 2003, he found out that my cousin was taking guitar lessons. One thing led to another and he got my cousin to start teaching me guitar. I'm not really sure why I went along with it. I guess I felt it didn't hurt to give it a shot.

    I guess learning came easy to me, and it just kind of bloomed from there. I started researching guitar playing on the internet, and through that I found various guitar forums such as this one. I slowly got more and more interested. It was during this time when I met people who also played guitar in school. I signed up for a guitar class. That gave me the motivation to keep getting better because it was something I could display to these people, and I felt like there was at least someone who cared.

    I think that is one huge factor as to why my desire just disappeared. I feel like none of it matters, and no one cares. I start trying to learn a guitar solo off a recording and then I stop and ask myself why the hell am I doing this? I can't really answer the question. I then start thinking who the hell cares that I learned this solo? no one. I found myself getting in to my own little world on the weekends, and then monday morning walking into the office and getting that "back to reality" feeling. Realizing that in the end, no one gives a crap about my playing, my guitar collection, whether I learned that solo last night, etc. Reality hits, and then I'm sitting in another team meeting talking about company things that I don't care about. Because that is what is supposed to matter.

    I find myself sometimes sitting at my desk and hear a song come on Spotify that for a brief moment makes me actually want to pick up the guitar and learn it. It quickly fades after I ask myself what the point is. What reward do I get if I learn this solo? This brings me back to the realization that it no one cares and what is the point.

    It's very hard to explain. I still get the itch to buy new equipment but realize its too expensive (even though I can afford it) and doesn't matter, I won't play it, it will just sit there.

    I am hoping there is at least someone who has been in my shoes.
  2. Peteyvee

    Peteyvee Premium Platinum Member

    Mar 11, 2010
    Just East of Venice Beach
    You may be suffering from depression and don't know it. One symptom is the loss of desire to do things that once brought pleasure. Or maybe you just decided you're not interested in playing anymore...
  3. Seth L

    Seth L Silver Supporting Member

    Mar 22, 2014
    I quit playing for a few years back in the 80's. Just burnt out I think. I picked it back up and rediscovered the the reason I wanted to play in the first place. It makes me happy. I've never looked back.
    deathrider817, CodeMonk and Madsen like this.
  4. Stu Cats

    Stu Cats Member

    Sep 30, 2009
    Jiangsu, China
    When I have lots of stress, which is often these days, I don't play. I always want to have one around, though. My Thinline is next to my desk as I type. I may have just under an hour of playing time in 3 months, and a Dorian chart on an open window on my desktop.
  5. YYZ

    YYZ Supporting Member

    Mar 14, 2009
    Orange, CA
    Hey, sounds a bit like depression to me as well. I go through periods of not playing and they stretch out because I'm disappointed that I've regressed, and then keep putting off getting back at it. But, I don't have that why does it even matter feeling. That anhedonia is more in line with depression, and it seems it is impacting more than guitar.
    deathrider817 likes this.
  6. GuitarsFromMars

    GuitarsFromMars Member

    Jun 7, 2004
    playing in traffic...
    Happened a couple times: First, with a torn tendon/ligament from my left thumb to my radial forearm(8 months in a brace). The second time, was with a stroke which paralyzed most of the right side of my body(that insult had me trying to play immediately). It has taken most of a decade to get it back.
    fretless and Cal Webway like this.
  7. 84superchamp

    84superchamp Silver Supporting Member

    Sep 18, 2006
    Okie Dokie, Indiana
    petey & YYZ nailed it i think; depression over various things in your life affect playing, at least for me it does. recently, the fact that i'm getting old, moving to a smaller place and needing to sell off the gear i loved all these years has got me in a funk. i was unhooking the sold gear and replacing it with amps & speakers i haven't used for years and rather than making a joyous noise, i found myself just plunking enough to see if it all worked. but OP, you have the chance to come out of it. :cool:
    deathrider817 likes this.
  8. Hefalump

    Hefalump Member

    Apr 30, 2015
    After the horrid performance I just did in my basement practise room, I think I should just sell my gear and take my family on an exotic vacation
    deathrider817, Probos, derekd and 2 others like this.
  9. vltjd

    vltjd Supporting Member

    Oct 23, 2011
    East of West and West of East
    Same thing happened at around the same time to me, somewhat encouraged by my wife. Didn't own a guitar for two years, then found myself missing it. Came back to playing, learned new styles including styles I never thought would be interesting and haven't thought of stopping since.

    Part of what you are experiencing may be "where am I going with this?" Take a break. if you miss it, you'll come back. If you don't miss it...well, you'll have more free time for other things.
    deathrider817 likes this.
  10. Madsen

    Madsen Member

    Aug 10, 2009
    Denver, Co
    I switch to other instruments when I lose interest in one. sometimes i have a sound in mind & will wait til i have a piece of gear that enables that sound before picking the related instrument back up again.

    but I came to the conclusion a while back that I enjoy the music making process more than performing for people.
    Last edited: Apr 17, 2016
    GuitarsFromMars likes this.
  11. FlackBase

    FlackBase Felonious Monkey Gold Supporting Member

    Sep 25, 2004
    What you may be missing is the joy, brotherhood, fellowship and ethereal connection of playing with other musicians and sharing your music with an audience. Although I'm retired from gigging, I still jump at the chance to join in on the occasional jam. It enriches the soul. That would be "the point". ...for me anyway.
    chopsley, Madsen and Cal Webway like this.
  12. Slackerprince

    Slackerprince Member

    Nov 21, 2008
    Tampa, FL via PDX
    Acoustic guitar
    A couple of Dave Mathews songs
    A girl
    =Your answer

    fretless likes this.
  13. derekd

    derekd Supporting Member

    Sep 10, 2007
    In a van down by the river
    No, not really.

    I have had life stuff get in the way of playing. I am currently going through such a phase, but the desire is still there. I hear a lick or line on a tune in the car and think to learn it once I get home, or I will hear a line in my head and try to replicate it.

    I think Petey's assessment is pretty fair.
    deathrider817 likes this.
  14. Eric Rowland

    Eric Rowland Supporting Member

    Nov 13, 2012
    Chattanooga, TN
    You have to love music. New gear can be inspiring for a little while, but you have to be inspired by the music. IMO it has to be music of substance. Other stuff doesn't have deep or lasting meaning. I stopped playing for a long time because I lost interest. People didn't care that I played or if I played well. That's depressing, but it doesn't matter what other people think, it only matters what you think and especially how you feel. And that feeling comes from music that inspires you. Don't give up, most of us go through this at one time or another....it's life. If nothing else, listen to something you like and enjoy it and learn from it. So much comes from just listening. Good luck and all the best to you!
  15. armadillo66

    armadillo66 Member

    Nov 27, 2012
    8550ft up in the Sangre De Cristo Mnts
    I had some ugly band personnel issues piss me off so bad I just left it alone for several year, dabbled for my own entertainment but really did not play often after several years of gigs and practice making me play 7 days a week.
    Then in 2010, I had a aneurysm in my left optic nerve artery and a small TIA stroke pretty much dinked my eye hand coordination and when I tried to play, it was like I was a beginner all over again. I had always been pretty good with gear and great tone out of even pawn shop and screwed up older gear, a friend of mine was a stellar player but really suffering with gear problems and tone issues. I helped him sound better, he helped me learn to play again, but this time, my body decided, hey you might as well get good at this, so Steve and I started playing 4-6hrs a day three days a week with each other, then he was also giving me so much homework I ended up playing all the time. Got my mojo back, felt much better about myself. fast forward, Steve and I play in Gnometown Heros Band together, we have great chops, great gear & tone, and opportunities to have some real fun occasionally doing festivals and charity events and such.
    Now I am 63yrs old, be 64 in late July, playing the best guitar of my whole life, this winter, instead of depression over cabin fever in cold weather, I am playing guitar, at as advanced level as I can get my fingers and brain to do. And while I was old dog learning new tricks, I learned to play bass a bit, and got where I can play some basic piano stuff and have a ball on my Roland Synthax doing UFO's landing and radial engine aircraft flyovers, that is a bunch of fun on a good PA.
    I just listened to a recording I did this morning, laid down a Bass track, then played lead on my Les Paul and Mesa, pretty impressed by what I have learned to do at this point. Hoping for a fun summer outdoor gig season here n Colorado or anywhere else the music takes me.
  16. StanG

    StanG Member

    Aug 16, 2007
    Then don't. The world will keep turning. But don't sell all your stuff, you will regret it when you come around.
    Jahn likes this.
  17. CubanB

    CubanB Member

    Nov 10, 2010
    I'm fortunate to have started playing for my own reasons, not someone else's. It's not a simple thing to type out here, but it comes from seeking your own validation instead of others (parents, friends etc). In that respect, I could be the last person on earth and I'd still enjoy guitar (or the other things I enjoy). I still feel connected to others, but just not via music or guitar. When I do feel connected to others via guitar it's just a bonus. There's been times when I've had 5-10 guitar or music related friends and other times when it's just me. Both times I've felt happy.

    Just go with what feels right for you, whether that's playing, or not playing. This issue extends to other things in your life, not just guitar. You described the feeling of having the itch, follow wherever it takes you, regardless of if anyone else approves.
  18. jamester

    jamester Silver Supporting Member

    Feb 13, 2010
    Baltimore, MD
    Six years ago I found myself completely burned out on life. Since guitar was my whole life, teaching and playing, I started feeling I was no longer interested in it...the instrument, the gear, the lifestyle etc. I needed change, and new stimulus. My playing was boring me, and I felt like I'd hit a wall with my musical development.

    I changed careers, and for a few years it was great. I was learning new things, and had a steady paycheck instead of constantly hustling to get by being self-employed. But after a while the guitar and music started calling me back. I am back to music full-time now, started a business, and my playing's never been better or more fulfilling.

    Not the same as what you're going through OP, but I can relate to the feeling of being disinterested and burned out. As was said, depression can play a roll and did for me as well. I feel now that it's ok to walk away from things, for whatever reason, in pursuit of other things. You will either find new satisfaction from different pursuits, or find a renewed interest in the former pursuit. Or both!
  19. AaeCee

    AaeCee Member

    Jul 2, 2005
    My problem is that I sometimes lose the desire to practice, and want to play as though I practiced all the time. o_O
    deathrider817 and mg550 like this.
  20. lefort_1

    lefort_1 Nuzzled Firmly Betwixt Gold Supporting Member

    Aug 4, 2012
    I've quit a couple times, but I was never that much of a player to begin with.

    - Once, in the mid 80's, when my kids were small... all it took was one crushed mandolin and I put up the good instruments for about 4 years.

    - Later, early 90's, I nearly cut my right index and middle finger off... surgical 'reattachment' (70% cut thru at the knuckle) and it took 6 moths of healing/PT before I could hold a pencil properly...2-3 years before I could hold a pick without dropping it w/in 30 seconds of playing.

    - Now... not playing much, tho I still do work on my pedal design projects here and there. Work has been really intense, trying to grow it so it looks good when I sell/retire in 10-12 years. Much more pressing things to do than join the Tan Pants Brigade.

    I haven't bought a guitar in 3-4 years.
    Just bought my first used pedal in 6 months.
    CodeMonk likes this.

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