Keeping Your Chops Up Between Gigs

There’s a feel to my guitar playing chops when I’m playing a lot of gigs that can’t be replicated by just practicing. Both practicing and performing are important, and one without the other leaves me feeling imbalanced as a player, both physically and psychologically.

I get really uncomfortable if I’m not playing gigs or practicing guitar. But if I don’t gig for a week or two, I incorporate methods into my guitar practice routine to mimic the physical and mental experience of playing a live show.

Some of this may be my own psychological idiosyncrasies on display, but I’m sure I’m not alone. In between gigs I’ll incorporate the following into my practice routine:

  • Play solos that are finite in length along with tracks that simulate the structure we often find on gigs.
  • Play continuous rhythm guitar parts that maintain my endurance because one of the worst feelings on a gig is to run out of gas after 3 minutes of a 6-minute song, while playing a 16th note rhythm guitar part.
  • I usually sit when I practice but stand on gigs. That makes a difference. So while I’m doing these little simulation exercises, I stand while playing.

These are just a few ideas that work for me. Find what works for you.


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