It’s natural for guitar players to want to spend every single minute available in the loving company of their instruments.
And although some may call it obsession, we really know it’s just our passion.
But sometimes there are exterior forces that impede us from keeping with this lifestyle, such as trips or having to actually work.
Then, Is it ok to take a break from playing guitar? Will it hurt your progress?
Taking a break from playing guitar is perfectly fine, and even recommended. There are no chances of losing the skills you have already earned, think of it as riding a bike. The only downside is that you wouldn’t be making any progress as long as you are away, but you will be extra fresh when you come back.
In this article, I will tell you all you need to know about taking breaks from your playing.
After leaving this page you will have a clearer idea about what could hurt your guitar progress and what are the better practices to maintain it or even boost it.
Are you ready to get started?
You SHOULD be taking breaks when practicing guitar
Learning guitar such as with any other hard skills requires concentration and all of your attention.
Considering the interest many of us have in getting really good at it, it could evolve into some kind of obsessive behavior for some players.
It’s great to have the dedication of putting inhuman daily hours of practice down, but at some point, you will start reaching diminishing returns.
If you are not familiar with this concept, it just means that any extra unit of effort you put into it (let’s say an extra hour of practice) will lead to less progress than the one before it.
This is completely natural, we are not robots, we get tired, distracted, frustrated, overwhelmed, etc.
Taking breaks periodically is the only antidote against it.
And even if it sounds counterintuitive it’s really possible that taking some days off your practice schedule will help you settle what you are rehearsing, and even make you learn faster.
How long should your practice breaks be?
If we are talking about breaks within the day, and while you are practicing, I would recommend splitting your practice into 30-minute blocks with increasing breaks starting from 5 minutes, then 10 minutes, then 15, and so on.
This will help you stay focused on what you are doing and not to space out and start fiddling or playing without even thinking about it, thus making no progress.
If we refer to breaks on your weekly, monthly, or yearly practice schedule, you should also be taking some time off.
I know playing guitar is extremely fun and part of your life, but you should also explore some other facets of it.
On a weekly basis, I would also recommend you take weekends or at least one day off.
Distract yourself from the grind, and new ideas will find you, while the practice of the last days finishes settling.
How to know when to take a break from practicing guitar?
The best moment to step off from your guitar practice is when you start feeling frustrated.
Have you ever been practicing something that’s just a bit out of your comfort zone and struggled to nail it?
Give it a few spins, make sure you understand what’s happening, but if your fingers are not cooperating, put the guitar down, take a break.
Come back tomorrow, and you will find that something is now a lot more accessible, and you will feel as if you had practiced on your sleep.
Finally, another definitive reason for taking a break is if any of your joints start hurting.
Don’t risk having to take extra time off to come back from an injury, give your body some rest.
Should you practice guitar every day?
By all means, if it makes you happy, you want to get better at it, and you have the time, you really should practice guitar every day.
But make sure, as discussed before, that you take some breaks within your practice sessions.
If one day your practice time comes and you don’t feel like it, don’t be hard on yourself, take a day off.
Nobody lost a gig for taking one day off.
Make sure you get some good rest and be ready to give it all tomorrow.
I can assure you you will have an even happier practice session if you get at it extra fresh and determined.
Will taking a week or few days off from guitar practice hurt your progress?
Taking a few days or a week off from your guitar practice is really unlikely to hurt your progress.
Yes, playing guitar is a muscular activity and you might lose a tiny amount of strength or dexterity, but it will come back within the day.
In my opinion, playing guitar is just like riding a bike.
Your body might get out of shape, but your mind will know exactly what to do every time you pick it back up.
Should you take your guitar on vacation to stay in playing shape?
If you are a professional, have an audition, or an important gig coming up, taking your guitar with you on vacation could help you stay in shape, and give you some extra security when the time of performance comes.
However, I would advise against it in any other situation, unless you really plan on making playing the guitar something central with respect to your vacation.
If you go to the beach, or camping, ok, it could be something fun to do and show off.
And be sure to take a look at our article about taking your guitar to the beach:
But if you are going on any other kind of trip where a guitar is not natural, leave it at home.
Take a break, it won’t go anywhere while you are away.
Hello there, my name is Ramiro and I’ve been playing guitar for almost 20 years. I’m obsessed with everything gear-related and I thought it might be worth sharing it. From guitars, pedals, amps, and synths to studio gear and production tips, I hope you find what I post here useful, and I’ll try my best to keep it entertaining also.