When in Doubt, Go Out

By Eric Din

A long time ago a jazzbo friend of mine said “when in doubt, go out.” I thought it was wanky at the time, like, if you haven’t bothered to learn the changes, go back to the shed and practice before your solo. But it turns out it has come in handy for me many times. When you’re playing in your comfort zone, and find yourself wanting more, play something wrong. Just throw your hands into another place – another key or mess up your technique in some way for a moment – and then see how you recover. It may not work for everyone, but for me, the results are often amazing. I almost didn’t post this because it’s not specific to guitar. And it’s probably old hat for any jazz player, on any instrument. But it’s been so useful to me in my rock and ska playing, so, there ya go! I have so much fun with it

Eric Din is a founding member of famed ska band the Uptones. He studied with Joe Satriani. 

1 comment to When in Doubt, Go Out

  • Moods

    I’ve done this more on violin than guitar, but it is a great way to liven things up. I guess there could be an overlap here with modal playing, but I’ll often start a solo by moving somewhere random and then working my way home.

    It reminds me one of my old teacher’s mantras which was to make your mistakes confidently. Meaning that if you’re lost or nervous about a piece, just push on ahead until you recover. If you make a mistake, people may not even notice. But if you pull back or drop out, everyone will notice immediately. Combine that with your suggestion and I think you have a very useful philosophy.

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