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When do you consider yourself a guitarist?

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(@hyperborea)
Prominent Member
Joined: 16 years ago
Posts: 833
 

"When do you consider yourself a musician?"
In that since, I think it's when you start to get paid to play music to be a musician. I think there's a big difference in being a musician and playing music.

Getting paid is when you go from being an amateur musician to being a professional (or maybe semi-pro) musician.

Becoming a musician is a step of acquiring those skills that you need to become fluent in the language of music - ear training, understanding theory (either the actual rules or implicitly), often sight reading, etc. Just like becoming fluent in the written language is what it takes to become a writer - most people can write but aren't writers.

Pop music is about stealing pocket money from children. - Ian Anderson


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(@almann1979)
Noble Member
Joined: 14 years ago
Posts: 1283
 

well i have been paid a very helpful amount of pocket money this year for playing my guitar - but i aint no guitarist.
I guess i feel i will be a guitarist when i am confident that when i go on stage i am most likely to be as good or better than joe random in the pub audience who might also play guitar.

I dont feel i am there yet, i always feel that somewhere in that pub is a much better player than me, so i find myself making apologise for my playing - things like "oh dear, i made a lot of mistakes tonight - hope they were'nt too obvious".

when I read what i just wrote it sounds silly - guitar playing is not a competition, - but i guess your origional question Joe also stems out of a lack of confidence - although i have just watched your latest hear hear post and you shouldnt be lacking confidence!!

there will always be many people much better than us, and many things we are incapable of doing, whatever our level (i bet slash couldnt pick up a guitar and fingerpick like tommy emmanuel), but that doesnt mean we havent come a long way to get to be able to do what we can.

maybe we should ask when will other people call us a guitarist?? The answer is probably a lot sooner than we would call ourselves guitarists. :D

"I like to play that guitar. I have to stare at it while I'm playing it because I'm not very good at playing it."
Noel Gallagher (who took the words right out of my mouth)


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(@joehempel)
Noble Member
Joined: 14 years ago
Posts: 2418
Topic starter  

I think I've just come to the conclusion that being a "guitarist" and "guitar player" are two different things.

I think that I play guitar, and I think I do it reasonably well for the amount of time I've been playing. I don't think I call myself a guitarist because I think that implies a profession and not so much a hobby.

In Space, no one can hear me sing!


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 Ande
(@ande)
Honorable Member
Joined: 15 years ago
Posts: 659
 

I consider myself a guitarist when I play my guitar.

I consider myself a musician when I make music.

I will consider myself surprised if I'm ever really satisfied with how well I do either.

But I'm a guitarist. I'm a musician. I'm just not really GOOD at it...

Best,
Ande


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(@ness-k)
Estimable Member
Joined: 15 years ago
Posts: 156
 

I think someones a guitarist once they learn a few chords and then realizes that they have soooo much else to learn but is still eager to continue.

"The Beauty of Music is my Sanity. Without it, I would simply lose my gravity, and blow away with the breeze." - Ness K(Aka Matt Harris)


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(@tim_madsen)
Honorable Member
Joined: 19 years ago
Posts: 728
 

I considered myself a guitarist when I tried to sing. I probably should have considered myself a drummer, tbh.

You made my day a lot brighter

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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(@notes_norton)
Noble Member
Joined: 14 years ago
Posts: 1497
 

I suppose each one of us has our own personal line to cross. And the subject drifted from guitarist to musician.

I started playing drums, then saxophone when I was in junior high school.

I started gigging in junior high school, but did that make me a musician?

I got straight "superiors" in regional and band contests. Did that make me a musician?

In high school, I sat first chair sax (and section leader) each and every year playing tenor sax, beating out the default alto player for section leader (that is quite a feat, especially for an under-classman). Did that make me a musician?

After graduating, I went on the road and eventually warmed up in concert for the headliner bands of the day. Did that make me a musician?

I also learned to double on bass, flute, synthesizers (wind and keyboard), and guitar. Did that make me a musician?

Other than a few "day gigs" I've had when between bands, I've made my living playing music. Does that make me a musician?

To tell you the truth, I don't think any of these things made me a musician. I think I was a musician before I picked up my first instrument, I just didn't know it yet. Even as a small child, my favorite toys were the ones that I could make music with.

Being a musician is not what I do, it's what I am.

I will never fully retire. As long as I can fog a mirror, I'll be playing music. And long after my skills start to diminish with old age, I'll still be a musician.

But as far as being a guitarist is concerned. I felt I crossed that line and became a guitarist when I felt comfortable enough with the guitar to bring it on stage and play leads without embarrassing myself. Am I a great guitarist? No way. But I am a decent rock/blues/country guitarist, especially for someone who according to others is an excellent sax player.

I think that every one of us will know when he/she crosses that line and considers themselves to be a guitarist -- and that line will be different for different people.

Insights and incites by Notes

Bob "Notes" Norton

Owner, Norton Music http://www.nortonmusic.com Add-on Styles for Band-in-a-Box and Microsoft SongSmith

The Sophisticats http://www.s-cats.com >^. .^< >^. .^<


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 cnev
(@cnev)
Famed Member
Joined: 19 years ago
Posts: 4478
 

OK here's the deal:

Musician = Someone that plays music

Guitarist = Someone that plays guitar

Neither denotes skill level so as soon as you do either you are a musician and/or guitarist.

And Notes you weren't a musician as a child at that time you only wished you were..now you are

"It's all about stickin it to the man!"
It's a long way to the top if you want to rock n roll!


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(@eyeplayguitar)
Trusted Member
Joined: 13 years ago
Posts: 55
 

You're a guitarist as long as you're still having fun and pushing yourself to learn and grow. If you've allowed yourself to stagnate and aren't concerned with picking up any new skills or leaning anything new, I don't think you're really considered a guitarist any more at that point.

Find Guitar Teachers


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(@notes_norton)
Noble Member
Joined: 14 years ago
Posts: 1497
 

<...>And Notes you weren't a musician as a child at that time you only wished you were..now you are

That's a good point but exactly when did I cross that line?

Was it:

When I was a small child and figured out what note to start on to play various songs on my toy piano that had no flats or sharps?

When I got the toy xylophone with flats and sharps and figured out even more songs by ear?

When my father showed me a few chords on the ukulele and I started playing from his music books?

When I was in school and joined the "tonette" (recorder) band and actually learned how to read music notes?

When I was in Jr. High and went from beginning band to advanced band in the same year (skipping intermediate band)?

I guess it really doesn't matter, does it?

I'm very happy to be making my living by playing music.

Insights and incites by Notes

Bob "Notes" Norton

Owner, Norton Music http://www.nortonmusic.com Add-on Styles for Band-in-a-Box and Microsoft SongSmith

The Sophisticats http://www.s-cats.com >^. .^< >^. .^<


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 cnev
(@cnev)
Famed Member
Joined: 19 years ago
Posts: 4478
 

Notes,

Well I actually looked up the definitions of both and here's what I found, so I stand corrected by the strict definition, each requires that you are a performer so whenever you made your first performance you were a musician and if it was with a guitar then you were a guitarist too. Again it has nothing to do with skill or whether or not you can read music that has no bearing on it you could be a very good musician or a horrible musician. I guess the question would be what is considered a performance and I think that would be whenever you played for other people, but your right it really doesn't matter.

You are a multi-instrumental musician.

Musician– a composer, conductor or performer of music.

Guitarist -a performer on the guitar.

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

"It's all about stickin it to the man!"
It's a long way to the top if you want to rock n roll!


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(@rparker)
Illustrious Member
Joined: 19 years ago
Posts: 5492
 

I think the definitions cnev found are probably correct. I have a few skills that I want to become servicable at before I'd call myself a guitarist. I want to be able to do some finger-picking, lead/solo and power chords. Basically speaking, more than just the strumming I do now. I'm working on it. Yes, I never really learned power chords that much. Rather odd.

As far as being a musician, I think I would like some basic skills before all of that. Note recognition, being able to pick out the key a song is in, reading basic sheet music fluently, memorizing the fret board, etc, etc.

I certainly have everything I need to accomplish both someday. If I could just remember things from one minute to the next.....

Roy
"I wonder if a composer ever intentionally composed a piece that was physically impossible to play and stuck it away to be found years later after his death, knowing it would forever drive perfectionist musicians crazy." - George Carlin


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 cnev
(@cnev)
Famed Member
Joined: 19 years ago
Posts: 4478
 

Roy,

All those things are just embellishments in the strict sense of the word if you are playing music you are a musician, adding those additional skills would make you a better musicain but you don't need to be able to read music to be a musician necessarily but I know what you mean....and how did you miss out on power chords? I think that will take of all of about 5 minutes to learn those.

"It's all about stickin it to the man!"
It's a long way to the top if you want to rock n roll!


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(@frankyl)
Eminent Member
Joined: 14 years ago
Posts: 44
 

So when do you consider yourself a guitarist?When I'm playing my guitar with my church's band. Because I'm not the bassist, the drummer, the keyboardist, or (to everyone's delight) a singer, and I'm the only one standing up there with a guitar, so I'm the guitarist. If we ever get a second guy or girl playing the guitar again, I suppose I'll be a guitarist rather than the guitarist.

The rest of the time, I just consider myself a guy who likes to play the guitar and has a whole lot more to learn. So I suppose it's relative.


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(@rparker)
Illustrious Member
Joined: 19 years ago
Posts: 5492
 

Roy,

All those things are just embellishments in the strict sense of the word if you are playing music you are a musician, adding those additional skills would make you a better musicain but you don't need to be able to read music to be a musician necessarily but I know what you mean....and how did you miss out on power chords? I think that will take of all of about 5 minutes to learn those.

re: Power Chords. They never sounded good until I was able to play with some nominal output....about a few weeks ago. Same for lead, although I've been able to take what I've learned and apply it to some quiter playing since.

re: Musicianship. I agree. It's just a personal thing, and I'm sure I hold myself up to standards that are ever increasing with skills learned and abilities increased.

Roy
"I wonder if a composer ever intentionally composed a piece that was physically impossible to play and stuck it away to be found years later after his death, knowing it would forever drive perfectionist musicians crazy." - George Carlin


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