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What makes a good guitarist?

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HowYaDoin
(@howyadoin)
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Topic starter  

Just a while ago, our school had a battle of the bands....

I've noticed that there were alot of wannabe guitarists out there.....there were some guitarists who were actually good, but most of the guitarists were wannabes....

So, I've been wondering.....what makes a good guitarist?

I'm guessing it's not so much about your speed....but rather technique....and how good your sound is.... and your style of playing...

What do you guys think?


   
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Wes Inman
(@wes-inman)
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That is a very good question.

IMHO the most important thing is to play clean and not make mistakes. People hear mistakes. You might be super fast but super sloppy as well. And people will hear it. Another person can come up and play slow and precise, without mistakes. Who would you judge to be the better guitarist?
David Gilmour of Pink Floyd is a great guitarist. He plays pretty slow and always has. But man, does he hit the right notes at the right time.

So besides playing precise, I think a good guitarist (or musician of any type) has to be musical. The Beatles played very simply, but it was very musical. You still hear their songs on the radio every day. You have to play something that is beautiful to listen to. Or maybe something ugly, if that is what the song calls for. A good musician evokes feeling in the listener. The music should match the song. When Hendrix played the Star Spangled Banner at Woodstock, you could hear the bombs falling. That is what makes a good musician.

People put too much emphasis on technique. I have heard many guitarists that are masters on the fretboard, but are absolutely boring to listen to. Give me a fellow like John Fogerty of CCR. He could write a great song that you would sing all day. And he can play some pretty mean guitar when he wants to. He is a great guitarist to me.

If you know something better than Rock and Roll, I'd like to hear it - Jerry Lee Lewis


   
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joe momma
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I think it is important to have your own individual style. As wes says, a lot of people can play fast but they can be dull to listen to. What stands out is when someone plays something in a way thats it not been done before. Take the Edge, he is a fantastic guitarist because he plays like no one else, there are people who now play like the edge but he did something new. Do you think U2 would have been half as big as they are if it wasnt for his playing?


   
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gnease
(@gnease)
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For me, it comes down to this: Am I going to be a musician or just some guy who can mimic other people who play guitar? The latter requires an ear for mimicry, some mastery of technique and possibly the ability to read at least one form of notation. The former requires most of that along with senses (mind/ears) of harmonic and rhythmic structure and development, an appreciation of space and restraint, development of one's own style and a whole lot of other things... BTW, theory is a great thing and very helpful, but not an explicit necessity. We have many existence proofs of excellent musicians who are/were intellectually ignorant of theory, even though their music conformed to or even helped define the theory.

Not everybody develops musical abilities to the same degree, but there is definitely more to playing guitar than just playing guitar.

-Greg

-=tension & release=-


   
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Nick Torres
(@nicktorres)
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Somebody asked something similar a while back, and I'm sticking to my answer.

I'm pretty sure the only requirement to being a good guitarist is owning expensive guitars. The more you have, the better you are.

8)


   
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planetalk
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Feel.

"Feel" is a word used to describe that subtle quality that turns a bunch of notes into music. It's very hard to define, but we all recognize when it's not there ... we stop listening. Drummers, in particular, need to have 'feel' if they're ever going to get a gig.

I recently watched a little video of someone teaching a SRV tune. He certainly had the notes down, made all the right moves ... but he was no SRV.

Kirk


   
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Nick Torres
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Darn it....all that money gone to waste.


   
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Taso
 Taso
(@taso)
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Whew, thanks Planetalk..After reading Nick's post I was about to spend a LOT of money!

First off, whats a "wannabe" guitarist. If they were playing the guitar, doesn't that make them a guitar player, or guitarist?

And for me, personally, because this is a very non-objective question, or at least I'm assuming it to be.

Speed doesn't matter. I find speed playing, while sometimes impressing, to be musically lacking.

Emotion, feeling, thats what matters. Listen to BB King, and then one of these speed players, I find BB King to be much more impressive. And I'm sure he can play fast.. Same with Clapton, he can play fast, sometimes he does, but he doesn't need to, to sound good. Live, one of his best moves is bending a note and holding it for a long time, and it sounds beautiful. (David Gilmour, another good example)

http://taso.dmusic.com/music/


   
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Tim_Madsen
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Somebody asked something similar a while back, and I'm sticking to my answer.

I'm pretty sure the only requirement to being a good guitarist is owning expensive guitars. The more you have, the better you are.

8)

I'm with you Nick. I'm going to buy me an expensive mandolin for Christmas. I've already got an expensive guitar. Then I'll be a good and versitale musician.

Tim Madsen
Nobody cares how much you know,
until they know how much you care.

"What you keep to yourself you lose, what you give away you keep forever." -Axel Munthe


   
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Nick Torres
(@nicktorres)
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I hadn't thought of that...

Wow, now I can be versatile too. Where is my checkbook?


   
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Metaellihead
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David Gilmour of Pink Floyd is a great guitarist. He plays pretty slow and always has. But man, does he hit the right notes at the right time.

He's got what I call a good sense of timing. He wasn't an all out super shredder but he put the right kind of timing into his notes and made them flow. It's a beautiful talent that a lot of musicians don't have or simply don't use. I personally like super-speed, but only in short bursts and balanced out with some vibrato and emotion. The faster notes just blurb together and have no context or meaning, the complete opposite of Gilmour.

I also think another important aspect of being a great guitarist is being able to set a mood. I really like to feel emotion and feeling from music, to have it embody the mood it's trying to create.

-Metaellihead


   
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