For several months, I had been playing with moderate amounts of reverb and delay in my signal (Strymon Flint and Empress Tape Delay). It felt and sounded big and cozy, thanks to the reverb especially. One day, I decided to remove both effects and try to rely more on my playing (dynamics, held notes, no notes, slow vibrato) for setting the right ambience/space in the songs. Please note that I play in a three piece (mix of pop and classic rock), so things can sound empty real fast. It felt weird, but not for long, and the rest of the band liked it more. I have to admit it was liberating and certainly helped put my guitar more front and center (no surprise there). It forced me to concentrate more on what my hands needed to do in order to complement the song the best. I'm not suggesting that time-based effects like those don't have their place. Of course they do. However, I fell into the trap of relying too heavily (in my view) on effects and not enough on my hands. Hard not to do since I had a pedal board full of colourful, flashy boxes begging to be stomped on. Highly recommended exercise!