Every passionate musician, at some point, faces a phase where they feel completely stagnant in their musical journey. This is especially true for guitar players. They often find themselves in a situation where they’re playing the same licks, patterns, and songs over and over again. This phenomenon is commonly referred to as being “stuck in a rut.” But why do guitar players get stuck in this obvious and frustrating phase? And more importantly, how can they break free?

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Understanding the Rut

Guitar players, especially those who are self-taught, often get stuck in a rut due to a lack of variety in what they’re playing or learning. They might be focusing too much on a specific music style or technique. Over time, this can lead to burnout and a feeling of being completely fixed in one’s playing style. Another common reason is the lack of emotional release in what they’re playing. If all of their time on the guitar is practice time, the joy of playing can diminish, leading to a rut.

10 Tips for Busting Out of the Rut

Listen to Different Styles of Music: Just as Jimi Hendrix was influenced by classical music, exposing yourself to various music genres can spark new ideas and excitement in your playing.

Take Lessons: Whether online or in-person, lessons can provide a fresh perspective and introduce you to new techniques and strategies.

Take a Break: Sometimes, stepping away from the guitar for a few minutes or even a week can recharge your passion and creativity.

Learn Vocal Melodies on Guitar: This can change how you approach licks and make your playing more melodic.

Attend Live Shows: Watching other musicians perform can be extremely inspiring and motivate you to try new things.

Pick Up a Different Instrument: Learning the basics of another instrument, like the piano, can offer a fresh perspective on music.

Experiment with Open Tunings: This can introduce you to new chord structures and playing styles.

Play with Other Musicians: Jamming with others can introduce you to different playing styles and techniques.

Set Clear Goals: Whether it’s mastering a new song or technique, having a clear goal can keep you motivated.

Challenge Yourself: Step out of your comfort zone. Attend local jams, or even perform live. It can be a game-changer for your confidence and skill set.


Every guitar player, from beginners to professionals, can experience the feeling of being stuck in a rut. However, with the right steps and strategies, it’s possible to break free and reignite the passion for playing. Remember, the journey of a musician is filled with ups and downs, but with persistence and the right approach, you can always find your way back to the exciting path of musical exploration.

RELATED: Get Seth Rosenbloom’s Flying Solo: Intermediate Blues NOW on TrueFire >