I’m going on another electric guitar hiatus. I don’t know how long it will last this time, but my longest streak was 5 years between 2007 and 2012.
During that time I hardly picked an electric guitar up at all, except to record the guitars for Goodbye, Strange Planet (2008) and Sci-Fi Mind (2013). The guitars were painful to record for those two homemade sets, mainly because I got so out of practice.
Instead of picking up the guitar everyday to develop new skills and compositions, I put it away in a closet and just thought about it. Instead of playing the guitar, I theorized, and codified my personal approach to the instrument: an abrasive mix of rhythm and noise, with the punk-rock downstroke and extended techniques. The guitar parts on those two recordings reflect that, with a variety of distortions and feedback sounds, whammy bar rhythms, altered tunings, dissonant clusters, and so on. When I picked the guitar up again as a daily habit in 2015 to start a band (Jim and the Limbs), it felt fresh.
But the decision to put the guitar away was less about theory than it was for the sake of my mental health, probably the first of many such radical measures to take some degree of control in my life. Playing in a band, writing songs, my ideas of success and the electric guitar were all part of a complex that, frankly, depressed me. I said “fuck this” and put the damned thing in the closet.
This time it’s the other way around. It’s purely theoretical. We’ll see where it leads with my music and my mental health and fitness, but I just want to put it away and not look at it for a while. I wrote a literary manifesto about the guitar a few months ago where I lay out some of the problems I see in the instrument’s future, but mostly it was a tongue-in-cheek generational rant.
Instead of the guitar and songwriting, the focus will be on composing and increasing technical proficiency in instrumental music and in poetry, which will be dealt with separately. At this point I’m just not interested in doing the band thing anyway.
So bye bye, electric guitar. Hasta luego, mi amor.