A strange kind of memory

Weird little thing I noticed in the last few days: So I’m working on “Mr. Brownstone,” and we’d been over the verse and chorus riffs in my guitar lesson. I meant to scribble it down while it was still fresh in my mind but then I got sidetracked on my way to the jam space, so I forgot. And the next day when I was getting the guitar out of the case I had no clue what the Hell the riff was, but once I was tuned up, my fingers somehow found their way to the right frets and within maybe 15 seconds I’d gotten the rhythm down as well.

Basically : no guitar = no fucking clue what it is and can’t recall a single note out of the riff, but the second I have my guitar in my hands my fingers find it no problem.

It’s like some sort of a weird need-to-know-basis thing whereby if my hands aren’t on the guitar there’s no access.

I’m noticing the same phenomenon with various other songs and riff chunks, like the verse riff for “Same Old Song and Dance,” too – another case where I hadn’t bothered to make any notes, but found it within a few seconds the next day and after that it’s locked in. Eventually I find myself able to hum the riff, but that always comes after being able to play it, prior to that I still find I hum the vocal line instead.

And now that I think of it, I suspect part of the trouble I was having with memorizing guitar arrangements of my own songs earlier in the fall was that I spent too much time reading off a chord chart like a security blanket instead of trusting this guitar memory thing, though to be fair I didn’t know I had such a thing at the time.