I've had a very hard playing schedule lately with hard gigs and long rehearsals and have had one day off in the last 2 weeks... All commercial/lead stuff. Last night's 6 hour tech rehearsal for a show and then playing lead in a rock band horn section was the last nail in the coffin for me. My chops got messed up, obviously. My sound is completely destroyed, no edge, no overtones or any centering of notes, I got a nasty double buzz going, I have to play loudly to get any upper register stuff to sound at all like a lead player. I did notice though that my response, flexibility, and range were still pretty much normal, and I don't have any pain... it's just really hard to play and I sound absolutely horrendous.
I realize the answer for this is to take a day or two off which is what I'm doing, but my question is how do pros deal with the constant abuse to there chops every night and prevent this sort of thing from happening? I've studied with a couple guys from the Maynard band but they have said to me many times to do arbans and long tones, and to "just make it work" which is a good point... but come on, I've done my arbans and long tones (which ended up tiring me out even more...oops) and made it work for 2 weeks and if I keep doing this there will probably be a point where I will never be able to "just make it work" ever again, and I definitely don't want that.