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Discussion in 'Bad Dog Cafe' started by P-Nutz, Oct 6, 2019.
I actually became a much better guitarist when I stopped trying to be "great".
More generally, I don't think any truly good musician will ever call themselves great. Not out of false modesty because the better you get the more you realise the amount of stuff to learn is really infinite...
I a much better violinist than guitarist.
I’m still taking baby steps - but I seem to improve a little each time I practice. And I really enjoy it so on I go.
I am the best at what I do in my town (country pickin',rockabilly,blues, surf,rock) & am a first-call guitar, steel & bass player. Considering I live in Florida & most of the "musicians" here are pretty substandard, that is NOT really bragging. In my native NYC, where the level of musicianship was much higher than here, I was still a first call guy, but only average.
"Great" is what you get called by people who weren't there for all the work you did to get to where you are and who can't see the doubts and inadequacies you still feel. Anybody who calls him/herself "great" is almost certain not to be.
Am I going to hell because I'm going to say I think I'm pretty good as a guitar player and a singer?
I don't consider it a burden, but rather a joy to have 'worked' very hard ( for decades) to try to be a very good musician.
Not necessarily formal training as I am self taught, fingerpick incorrectly, don't read music ( or tab, just blessed with a good ear and can read chord charts), but have made it a mission to learn how to play and perform many styles of, call it guitar-centric music, with good friends.
I have put in the time as I love it, so I'm not great, but solid maybe?
Edit- I have I guess a pride and boastful ego about what I have achieved in music as I have been a real F**k up as a provider, no career focus or goals- probably due to the dang guitar!
After 31 year of playing nearly every day, even though many would say I'm underestimating, I'd rate myself as slightly above average. I'm looking at the big picture of guitar playing. I've probably taught 3-5 friends who went from day one to better than me in a matter of 6 months. I've had to work for most of the guitar skills I have. I try to work on my rhythm playing and chord knowledge the most.
I have faster fingers than Marc Ribot or Bill Frissel
I know more theory than Hendrix, BB or Birelli Lagrene
I have a softer touch than Pete Townsend
I can use a pick better than Paco de Lucia (probably)
I have a larger classical repertoire than Angus Young
I can finger more complex chord voicings than Django Reinhardt or Tony Iomi
I've been playing guitar a lot longer than Marcus King or Joey Landreth
I could beat up John Mayer in a street fight (maybe irrelevant, but a fun thought)
My mom has said she'd rather listen to me than Alan Holdsworth (bless her)
In those ways (and those ways only), I'm better then greatness! In what ways are you all better than greatness?
I decline the title of Great Guitarist and accept the lesser title of Garage Band Master Hack, which also comes with double the prize money.
I wear this tee-shirt occasionally because it's true:
unnamed by Ray, on Flickr
My brother in law and sister came to visit recently. They're both really accomplished visual artists, but neither is a musician. They knew I dabbled at playing guitar and I think they heard me play a few times when we were all MUCH younger. Like when I sat in with the blues band at my wedding 34+ years ago, maybe another time or two. And when they were here, I played them a recording I'd recently finished, a multi-track I'd done of some Stones or Dead tune, I don't remember exactly what. And they immediately reacted, "you got really good"! And I replied that no, I really haven't gotten much better, I just started playing again and it sounds better because it's a recording of a song with a rhythm and second rhythm with more accents, and a lead section, and a couple of vocal tracks.
The bottom line is, I know how good I am in the food chain of guitarists, and it's not very good. BUT, so what? It's good enough for folks who aren't critical musicians (which I tend to be at times) to hear and enjoy for what it is. And, more importantly, I ENJOY THE HELL OUT OF IT.
I think we forget that for most of human history music was something that happened among friends and family and people were as good as they were and had a great time. Because until about 100-150 years ago, that's all there was. There was no recorded music where you could regularly hear the "best" musicians in the world with whom to compare yourself. You just made music for the joy of it. And most of us grew up in the heyday of the music industry when records or CDs of GREAT musicians were readily available to us, and we grew up on THAT music, rather than music we made with our friends and families. And so as we learned to play, that's what inspired us, which is an upside, but it's also who we compared ourselves, to. Which is a downside for all except for the tiniest percentage of us who were talented and determined enough to almost reach that level as players. But a lot of us know our (very significant) limitations but make music anyway because we love doing it - it takes us out of our heads (which can be a dangerous place to be in this day and age) and reconnects us to our hearts, our guts, our balls, etc. Puts us squarely in the moment and gets us out of the turmoil of day to day life in this hyper-modern society.
So, if you can do that and enjoy it, by some measures, you ARE a great musician. Just not by the measures we use when we compare ourselves to the Jimi's, the Eric's, the BB's, the Eddie's who's music we grew up loving.
No one plays like me better than I do! or No one makes mistakes like I can make mistakes.
Not great at all or even close to good but I do have a lot of fun and it is one of the few things I still get great enjoyment from even though I stink at it.
I occasionally get to play with a few (great guitar players)!
I got to play with Kenny Penny last night.
Kenny played with Jerry Reed for many years, as well as Dottie West and Johnny Russell.
He plays fiddle beautifully, too.
The guy I usually sub for, Chris Reeves is a badass, also.
Occasionally I get to play bass or acoustic rhythm with him.
I'm probably described as the greatest.. thrasher that is!
When asked about me a friend once described me as "Adequate".
Gee thanks buddy!
I get to play gigs and have a lot of musician friends in town; to me that's pretty great.
Half a century wasted.
With 157 replies, chances are very high that by now some extremely talented guitarists have posted in this thread.
Just want to say y'all rock. Keep on pickin' on.
I make hundreds of dollars a year playing mediocre guitar in front of people trying desperately to ignore me.
Greatness has been elusive dance partner.
Only one guy so far that I know of that’s played on a Springsteen record.
I reckon you are absolutely correct.
And I know I ain’t one of them.