I love learning new songs. A fairly easy, energetic rock piece is sometimes everything that I need to keep playing for hours. However, some pieces are harder, some solos require more patience and all in all I have to actually go back to some parts and practice them.
Stretch that over the course of weeks and I have about 10 songs to practice, + 1-2 very hard pieces that need really long cracking, + power workouts and improv. I can only practice for so long each time, and the older pieces start to fade; I basically forget them. I can alternate between what I'm playing at a given moment, but still some songs I've played more than a few months back are gone. I want to learn new stuff constantly, which means abandoning what I've learnt earlier.
Is there any way to counter that? I've noticed that when playing piano this problem is way harder for me because I learn mostly by muscle memory, whereas on guitar I am able to recognize at least chords, patterns, sometimes actually scale of the particular piece. Would going that way (of learning more... conciously) help? Should I play a very limited choice of songs to really remember them, or should I actually do the contrary to expand my "pattern knowledge" to be able to more easily link different pieces together? Or is forgetting older pieces inevitable?
I know that professional guitarists have setlists of at least 25-30 songs, which makes me wonder how many they can actually just play, without having to look for the correct notes for more than a few seconds.