Any Hate For Guitarist Prior To The 70’s?

warrent

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Sorry if I implied negativity. I’m truly considering the social science of this. I don’t understand guitar players disparaging guitar players and I listen as a fan who is amazed at most anyone who can play. For some reason it just struck me this might be a relatively new phenomenon (50 years).
Well the lead guitarist as an icon is a recent development. There's really no one before Clapton and Hendrix. Which is not to say there weren't good guitarists before them but most of the fifties rock guitarists were part of a band and not the main focus in the same way Hendrix was. Maybe Lonnie Mack or Duane Eddy but even someone as influential as Chuck Berry was as a guitarist, his early fame was for the songs he wrote and sang. Obviously in Jazz and to a lesser extent country you had name players but not so much in early rock and roll.
The late sixties early seventies market expansion brought such a large expansion of rock music we have a cornucopia of guitar players to love or hate as your heart desires.
 

ndcaster

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agreed.



disagree. my generation (millennials) thought the ticket to aesthetic success was finding an Xer niche and capitalizing on making the best possible technical example of it. the zoomers are doing some offensive and laborious stuff that i don't get and frankly i find it exciting.
you are musically sane

respect
 

ahiddentableau

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my generation (millennials) thought the ticket to aesthetic success was finding an Xer niche and capitalizing on making the best possible technical example of it. the zoomers are doing some offensive and laborious stuff that i don't get and frankly i find it exciting.

Interesting take, and I think I agree, especially about millenials (which is my generation, so I think it's ok for me to criticize). That's what happens when people cling to irony like it's a bomb shelter. I'm less sure about the younger generation. Sometimes I think they've simply abandoned the concept of aesthetics altogether. I have no idea where that will go, which I agree is exciting.
 

telemnemonics

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Well the lead guitarist as an icon is a recent development. There's really no one before Clapton and Hendrix. Which is not to say there weren't good guitarists before them but most of the fifties rock guitarists were part of a band and not the main focus in the same way Hendrix was. Maybe Lonnie Mack or Duane Eddy but even someone as influential as Chuck Berry was as a guitarist, his early fame was for the songs he wrote and sang. Obviously in Jazz and to a lesser extent country you had name players but not so much in early rock and roll.
The late sixties early seventies market expansion brought such a large expansion of rock music we have a cornucopia of guitar players to love or hate as your heart desires.
But the lead instrumentalist as an icon was normal for decades.
The only reason guitars were not used in that way was because you simply couldn’t hear them in a crowded room with a loud band.
When guitar amps got big enough and time passed for players to get ahold of those loud amps, plus get ahold of electric guitars that didn’t feed back at volume loud enough to be heard in a band in a loud crowded venue, THEN guitarists joined all the sax icons and trumpet icons as headliners.

It wasn’t even that nobody played fast single notes, we had Spanish Flamenco guitar and Gypsy Jazz, but not really in America or in big dance halls during the start of the 20th Century when big band Jazz was the pop music with headlining solo instrumentalists who moved from one band leader to another.

I mean how about Django and Stephane in the 1930s???
 
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JL_LI

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Hate for a guitarist? That’s just ridiculous. Hate? There are styles and genres I don’t particularly like, but there are some pretty accomplished musicians playing those tunes. I don’t particularly like hip hop or “modern” country, but those genres aren’t devoid of musicianship or creativity. A lot of boomers like me play and we like what we play. But hate guitarists who are plainly better at their craft? That’s not me and that’s no one I know.
 

deytookerjaabs

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I have to disagree with many takes in here.....and here's way too many words on why!!

IMO, guitarists & musicians in general before 1980 were from 2 main categories (not counting classical musicians):

1. Those whose living was made making people move (mostly everyone before the stadium era)

2. Those who only learned from the above ^^^ (early stadium musicians)


What I mean by this is that if there was common thread amongst categories 1 & 2 is that everyone played with massive pockets/swing when soloing and riffing. From Jimmy Page, to Jimmy Bryant, to Django, to Buddy Guy, to Hank freaking Garland... just everyone. Their time was real, there's a million ways to swing but there's not many ways to NOT swing. And, by that I mean just straight triplets/eights and always landing your big phrase on a downbeat is how people play post 1980, versus pre-1980.

Somehow, the later baby boomers (and this started in Jazz, really) music became something to watch and hear, but not move your ass too. This really ramped up in the 80's, big time, where your exercises people practiced at home (running straight 32'nd note scales) now somehow became a way of playing....weird ****?? A lot of Jazz became improvised classical music and a lot of rock just became ripping tired old patterns with a straight feel.

I really think that in the era of recorded music the genius it unfolded was the distinct personalities of thousands of amazing musicians and how they approached time under old timey harmony, IMO people get way too caught up in the theory end of things, the theory is old as hell.

Of course, the other common thing before 1980 is almost everyone to get anywhere had less resources and had to steal by using their ear! So, there is that.

But, bottom line, if you're a guitar player learning to play in 1970 you're learning from all the real Blues or Jazz players by ear, the guys who performed hundreds of gigs a year and made people move. If you're a guitarist learning in 1980??? You're reading guitar player and trying to steal tabs from the rock stars who learned **** the hard way. HUGE DIFFERENCE!!


I hope we get back to the old ways one day, but that's just me.
 

bottlenecker

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A good example of finger pointing is later generations accusing boomers of being the cause of long guitar solos.
You younger folks heard of Jazz?
How about a nice Louis Bellson drum solo?
Bird maybe?
Count Basie?
Charlie Mingus ploomp ploomp ploomping a nice bass solo?

Also really, hero players were a thing (big bands had headliners usually on saxes) before boomers but the time when guitar got amplified well enough to HEAR A SOLO in a live band was right about the time the Beatles appeared AND COULDN'T HEAR THEIR OWN GUITARS.

So a couple of things arrived with the boomer:
Guitars sold by Sears and Wards etc cheap.
Guitar amps got loud enough that players could do more than comp rhythm.
The Civil Rights movement used guitar songs to motivate the masses, motivating kids to pick up guitars even before the Beatles.

This timeline's a bit off. Charlie Christian started taking guitar solos with Benny Goodman's band with an EH-150 amp in the 30s. The beatles had volume problems because they played stadiums full of screaming people. I think people used to not scream when they listened to music before that, and there weren't so many of them.
I don't hate solos. I even like some long ones.
But most of them aren't rock guitar solos. There may be a few I can stand.
 
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hepular

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Blues-rock guitar hero worship is completely a baby-boomer thing. And if they like the band, they think the guitar player is a "genius". If they don't, they hear it more objectively. Wes Montgomery was a brilliant player, but when it gets down to it, there's very little difference between Jimmy Page and Joe Bonamasa. Of course you'd never know it from the Jimmy Page fans who might think Joe Bonamasa is a hack.
except that bonamassa plays way more cleanly and hasn't abused girls.
 

hepular

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This timeline's a bit off. Charlie Christian started taking guitar solos with Benny Goodman's band with an EH-150 amp in the 30s. The beatles had volume problems because they played stadiums full of screaming people. I think people used to not scream when they listened to music before that, and there weren't so many of them.
But I don't hate solos. I even like some long ones. But most of them aren't rock guitar solos. There may be a few I can stand though.
y'know who the cat was that christian competed with in OKC before making it? Some dude named Eldon Shamblin.

& let's not forget Sister Rosetta. & Tiny Grimes.
 

telemnemonics

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This timeline's a bit off. Charlie Christian started taking guitar solos with Benny Goodman's band with an EH-150 amp in the 30s. The beatles had volume problems because they played stadiums full of screaming people. I think people used to not scream when they listened to music before that, and there weren't so many of them.
But I don't hate solos. I even like some long ones. But most of them aren't rock guitar solos. There may be a few I can stand though.
Well yeah but Charlie was at that time an outlier rather than the norm.
Like Dolphy playing bass clarinet with Mingus except Mingus was not so proud of that newcomer instrumentation despite the awesome soloist playing it!

So to my observation, the usual soloist instruments remained the loud ones for a few more decades despite guitar players having some chops.
I wasn’t at any of those old time Jazz shows so I can’t say for sure how loud the band and the room would have been during a Christian solo, but I’m betting they were not big band dance hall foot stomping loud AND the guitar solo was audible.

I suppose I could be off on this but I think guitar players had more to offer before louder amps and feedback proof guitars were available to them.
Jazz was also not only big bands playing dance halls.
Several things changed around the same time including bigger crowds and venues, plus louder amps.
If the stadium and the rock guitar player didn’t have the louder amps arriving kind of in response to all the new guitar band players asking for the bigger amps, we wouldn’t have gotten the lead guitar soloist the way we did in the 60s.

Yet before that we had similar sax soloists playing longer solos for dancing audiences that knew the sax players name and knew it was an iconic hero player that was entertaining them.
Pretty sure of all that from reading back before the internet, when a record came in a giant package with pictures and liner notes written by people who were actually there at the time!
 
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deytookerjaabs

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Oof, I can't resist:

Jimmy Page and Joe Bonamassa. Let's use the same tune:








I'm sorry, these guys aren't close....at all. Listen to Jimmy's solo, he swings the **** out of the beginning of his solo feathering the licks and landing his notes on a smokin' pocket, he knows what the "and" is in the beat, then he hits those little trill ideas, then he stabs those m2's in the key taking the solo to a darker place, so much soul in where he pauses and starts every phrase/note, then he moves into this octave thing trying to emulate an almost Wagner type feel, then he goes into this single note thing with a mantra type feel with that scary slurring vibrato..then he ends with those frenzied minor stabs he started the solo with.

Page's solo sounds like a dude who understands 20th century music and is trying to paint this beautiful picture in little bits.

Then listen to Joe B's solo. His right hand attack is so mechanical there is none of the pocket **** Jimmy does anywhere and he even quotes a few Jimmy licks, in fact the whole solo the feel of where his time is never changes for the most part. His descending straight 16th note thing, he lands so many of the phrases right on the downbeat, 1 e & uh 2 e & uh 3...... triplet triplet triplet 4..... etc etc. notes...notes..end phrase on downstroke, repeat. Then he'll play the big blues bend but can't resist going right back to the mechanical EJ feel, he's stuck with it in his right hand. It's stadium rock playing, that's what it is.



One of these guys is a composer playing guitar, the other is a good guitarist trying to emulate his heroes. If you don't hear the HUGE difference between Page and Joe B???? Then, my friend, you might need some ear training. These guys are on different wavelengths. Look, some people think their kids are Bach because the kid learned to sight read a tune or two, that's a nice opinion but man the greats are greats for a ****ing reason.
 

buster poser

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Well the lead guitarist as an icon is a recent development. There's really no one before Clapton and Hendrix.
Nah. And not just Charlie Christian as mentioned. Django, Merle Travis, Elmore, Scotty Moore, hell Bill Haley. Being a good guitar player and soloist was a big thing long before the mid 60s. Credit the preferences of teenagers in that decade. I think this is what OP's getting at.
 

pippoman

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I’ve been playing for close to 6 decades, so I have a lot of players to glean from - Chet Atkins, Roy Clark, Wes Montgomery, The Beatles, Hendrix, Clapton, Keef, Danny Gatton, Terry Kath, The Ventures, and I could go on for a long time. I learned something from each and every one of them because I learned to play by ear. In essence, all of them were my mentors and I never gave thought of who was the best. I joked recently about John Mayer - he’s a monster player, song smith, and young, tall handsome charmer. I said “I hate that guy,” but I meant I’m jealous. If I knew some folks in the Memphis area interested in Texas swing, I’d be in. Lately I’ve been listening to some Redd Volkeart, Kenny Vaughan, Marty Stewart and that ilk. That’s Tele picker heaven! And listen to some of the stuff from The French Family on YT. Anyway, clearly no hate here.
 

bottlenecker

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Well yeah but Charlie was at that time an outlier rather than the norm.
Like Dolphy playing bass clarinet with Mingus except Mingus was not so proud of that newcomer instrumentation despite the awesome soloist playing it!

So to my observation, the usual soloist instruments remained the loud ones for a few more decades despite guitar players having some chops.
I wasn’t at any of those old time Jazz shows so I can’t say for sure how loud the band and the room would have been during a Christian solo, but I’m betting they were not big band dance hall foot stomping loud AND the guitar solo was audible.

I suppose I could be off on this but I think guitar players had more to offer before louder amps and feedback proof guitars were available to them.
Jazz was also not only big bands playing dance halls.
Several things changed around the same time including bigger crowds and venues, plus louder amps.
If the stadium and the rock guitar player didn’t have the louder amps arriving kind of in response to all the new guitar band players asking for the bigger amps, we wouldn’t have gotten the lead guitar soloist the way we did in the 60s.

Yet before that we had similar sax soloists player no long solos for dancing audiences that knew the sax players name and knew it was an iconic hero player that was entertaining them.
Pretty sure of all that from reading back before the internet, when a record came in a giant package with pictures and liner notes written by people who were actually there at the time!

That doesn't seem to be the case. Charlie Christian changed everything very quickly, and a lot of electric "lead" guitar followed immediately in jazz, western swing, country, and pop. Benny Goodman had a pretty big band, and an EH-150 is pretty loud. There are players today that are into them, and are still playing restored ones. Charlie Christian's tone on those live Benny Goodman recordings was fat and overdriven, so he was cranking it up, at least for the solos.
 




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