View Full Version : Bad Days

Down Up Dick
01-25-2015, 03:47 AM
How many of you have really, really bad Uke days? Most of yesterday I couldn't do a thing correctly. My fretting fingers couldn't find the frets; my strum fingers just couldn't strum only three strings as required, and, worst of all and very scary, I couldn't focus my eyes on the small tabs in the Dummies Book.

So, finally, I changed Ukes and books -- and played even worse. It was just not my day for uking. I gave up and went down and stared at the TV. I hope today will be a better day.

Does this kinda stuff happen to you? If so, what do you do--keep battling or give it up?

Sometime music just isn't all that fulfilling. :old:

01-25-2015, 04:21 AM
It happens to me all the time, and not just with the ukulele. I have a lot more good days than bad days, and usually the best days come right after the bad ones, so I just go with it. I figure that if it is a bad day, I'll just go through the motions and not dwell on it. I'm actually very good with just going with things in general. Anyway, on bad days I usually go to playing stuff like Gilligan's Island and Margaritaville. Just strum away and enjoy myself. I certainly don't fight it. I'm a lover not a fighter, and I'm certainly not going to fight my uke.

The other day, I just couldn't get into it. I was playing fine, I just was kind of apathetic. So I ended up getting the cleaning cloth out and cleaning it up. But then I started whapping the strings with the cleaning cloth to see what that sounded like, and it didn't sound good at all. But I worked on it for a while anyway, figuring that sooner or later someone is going to ask if anyone has ever tried playing the ukulele by whapping the strings with a cleaning cloth, and I can say that I have. So don't worry about it. Some days are like that.

01-25-2015, 04:44 AM
Our bodies are always in a state of flux. When asked why it is so hard to golf at a very high level all the time Tiger Woods said our muscle tension is different from day to day. Have you ever sat down in your car atnd had to readjust the mirrors, yet you are the only one who drives your car. Our mood and emotinal state also affects how we perform a physical task.

I have bad days and I guess every member on this site does as well. It can be frustrating because music is suppose to be joyful not maddening. I will sometimes just play easy whimsical stuff or I put it away and do something else. More frustrating than playing poorly is when every one of my ukes sound like crap and I think I should buy another one. Do you think that might be related to bad days or do we have bad ear days as well :p

01-25-2015, 05:05 AM
I live in a Spanish speaking country four or five months of the year. While it is not my native language, I've spoken it for twenty years. The other day I was on the phone with the internet IT guy, and I could not find the words and put them together to explain what was going wrong with my internet. I don't know why, my brain just wouldn't go into Spanish gear. I called again the next day, and got it all straightened out. That kind of stuff happens to all of us I think. You just can't let it take over your life.

Haha, I didn't know that when my uke wasn't sounding good, it was the uke's fault, not mine.

01-25-2015, 05:05 AM
It happens. On those days, I just put the ukes away and do something else. But on the flip side, there are also those days when everything just comes easily and it feels like I'm playing really well and I could go on playing forever - the only downside is that when those days happen, I don't always have the time to go on playing that day!

01-25-2015, 05:15 AM
Definitely happens to me. There are times where for whatever reason all I get is just buzz buzz bzzzt. There are days the spirit is just not there. I put it down and do something else, more often than not hours later I pick it back up and I'm back to normal.

01-25-2015, 06:41 AM
I used to think that I should play everyday. That would show dedication and a willingness to slog through even though my heart - or fingers - were not really into it that day. Perhaps it goes back to the fear that I might give up on the ukulele like I did on the piano and the guitar. If I play every day, then I am not a quitter.

Then I changed my perspective. If I miss a day, what was the reason? It was usually work, but sometimes it was being engaged -engaged with my husband or my grandkids, or maybe a world event.

If anything that is a different type of practice - a mindful practice of being in the moment. And that can only help my playing, because I bring that empathy building -or that shifting of paradigms -with me when I go back to my music.

Larry D.
01-25-2015, 07:24 AM
Sounds like I am not the only suffer from CRS which is often accompanied by Brain Flatulation.

My wife does not like to use that "other" word for flatulence:rolleyes:

01-25-2015, 10:59 AM
It happens. On those days, I just put the ukes away and do something else. But on the flip side, there are also those days when everything just comes easily and it feels like I'm playing really well and I could go on playing forever - the only downside is that when those days happen, I don't always have the time to go on playing that day!

You've nailed it here Jane! so very true.

01-25-2015, 03:11 PM
Something to do with "Alpha Rhythms" I remember reading a very long time ago......in a Bike magazine , oddly enough....but the gist was basically that off days are due to low Alpha Rhythms and good days down to ...guess what ...I read the article in 1978 sat up in bed and just after an article about the Laverda Jota 750...so I don't actually recall all the detail of what these AR s actually do....but bottom line...yes we all have off days ...even after a log time playing ...so if you just don't wanna ....don't.....simples....and if it persists ...then you've lost interest and might be time to take up the Double Bass....or Petanque.....don't sweat it ...is that the right expression ?

01-25-2015, 04:13 PM
When I have a "bad day" it's usually because I'm not hearing things right due to a cold or sinus allergy problem. Everything sounds dull and flat, the chords don't ring, and the harmonies sound off somehow. And my normally resonate, beautiful voice sounds harsh and trebly. It makes me say "I stink today" and run away from my instruments. Fortunately, that only happens a couple of times a year. So, I'm OK with it.

01-26-2015, 12:54 AM
Sure! I remember when I started on bass, I'd have terrible days and I'd have brilliant days. I finally figured out that usually, if I am going through a period of bad days, it's my brain which is processing loads of information and I usually come out a slightly better bass player afterwards. Like I broke through to a new level, so to speak.

As for the Uke, I'm still in my first week so it's too soon to say if the above process will repeat itself on this instrument :)

01-26-2015, 02:23 AM
The very best in any given field have bad days. I grew up in the 60's and was an avid basketball fan as well as playing a lot of organized ball and street ball. I could always shoot the lights out. I once hit 72 free throws in a row. I've had days where I could not throw it in the ocean. Bill Sharman played shooting guard for the Celtics in their heyday and was the best foul shooting guard of his day. I read a story that he was giving a shooting clinic at a high school and missed around 20 straight.
Ukulele is no different, put it behind you and focus on the next day. A bad day on the ukulele is still better than a good day of work!!!!

Ukulele Eddie
01-26-2015, 03:50 AM
I used to call them "Stoopid" Days and thought every employer should give their employees four floating Stoopid Days. If you knew it was one of those days, you'd simply call in Stoopid and say, "You really don't want me to come in today." ;-)

01-26-2015, 06:06 AM
It also depends on what you are trying to do. I was working on some songs the other day that were frustrating me, so being as I am, I decided to teach them a lesson and play some other songs that might be a little more cooperative. So I was going through a bunch of songs that I had saved on the netbook, and found El Paso, by Marty Robbins. I had discovered that one a month or so after I started playing the uke, but the chords and the chord progressions were impossible, so I saved it and moved on to Old Suzanna or something. So I pulled up El Paso and flew through it. I was so excited. So my not so good day ended up being a really fun day. As Kenney Rogers says, "ya gotta know when to fold 'em, when to walk away".

01-26-2015, 04:08 PM
When that happens I jsut go back to simpler songs....sometimes that may not work/
Thats why I have a piano, and a harmonica, and a hammered dulcimer....

01-26-2015, 05:20 PM
I'm looking forward to a bad uke day. Now I just have bad arch top days and bad flat top days. Some days amps are a problem as well.

01-26-2015, 07:20 PM
I definitely know what you mean OP, but don't give up! I would say its best to take a small break at that point.

For example, when composing new songs on the uke, I find that its incredibly refreshing when I take small breaks in between instead of working straight through a song. Inspiration has come a lot smoother when I'm more relaxed.

Another example is while working on a project, a small break really helps with my focus (always good for mood support too). If I find myself really uneasy about something, I'll sleep on it and leave it for the next day.

Finally, another great alternative is to do something else creative like reading, painting, exercises or anything else you're passionate about. When you get back to the music you will most likely be ready to go!

Hope this helps!

Eduardo Uke

Down Up Dick
01-27-2015, 03:49 AM
Well, I don't know whether I've gotten over it or not. I'm learning new stuff, and, so far, it's been a grind. New stuff ( like the ukulele in general) is so hard for me to learn now days. Being old is a trial.

All your comments have been a big help. It's always good to know that others have the same problems. I've even gotten out Bach's Eb flute sonata that crushed me before, and I'm whacking away at that too. Anyway, thanks for your words.

We're all in this together! :old:

02-01-2015, 10:28 AM
Saw a very similar discussion on a motorcycle forum I frequent. They referred to such days as "unco" days. Of course on the road the problem can be more serious.

02-01-2015, 10:32 AM
Very much a beginner here and as such I have really good days and really bad days.
But... a bad day playing ukulele is still better than a good day doing household chores :)