Is there anywhere else to go with guitars, distortion, and skill?

Sparky2

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I must say quite objectively that distorted electric guitar virtuosity has plateaued, and on that point I agree with the OP.

Steve Vai, Paul Gilbert, Joe Satriani, John Petrucci, Mr. Malmsteen, John 5, etc, are notable players we can all agree, but as far as any of them breaking new ground, meh.

I will offer this much;

* Melodic song-craft has made a comeback in the metal world, and I'm happy to hear that.
Paul Gilbert's album Werewolves Of Portland comes to mind.

* The newest, freshest thing on rock radio is what I call the tasty riff.
Crunchy, interesting rhythm guitar riffs that hook you.
Normally with a bassier undercurrent that speaks to seven string guitars playing heavily into the equation.
(Or baritone guitars maybe.)

I guess what I am saying is that high-speed lead guitar shredding doesn't turn my head.
But skillful riffs and engaging song-craft definitely does, and I'm hearing them more and more lately.

:)
 

SixStringSlinger

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I like this and as a “not so technically accomplished guitar player” who likes to write and play and sing, needed to hear it, so thanks.

I had a guitar magazine where Steve Via outlined a 30- or 40-hour "guitar workout"; basically a long weekend's-worth of 10-hour days of different exercises*. And even there, even he made it explicit that the point of it all was to make it so that there is no barrier between your brain in your hands, that you would be able to effortlessly play whatever you imagined, because what you imagined was the point. Yes, depending on what you may imagine you will need some degree of refined, athletic technique, and even if you don't you'll still gain some from doing all the exercises, but that's never the primary goal. It's always secondary to achieving something else.

*There were the typical scales and alternate picking exercises and theory and whatnot, but also more conceptual stuff like listening to each note in a. complex chord and playing with that to come up with the perfect chord for whatever you're trying to express in whatever musical context. I specifically remember a part where he said he had the perfect chord for the moment you first bite into an apple. A little bit of a woo-woo way of expressing the idea, for me, but also a great thing to be able to do.
 

ReverendRevolver

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It's a neat magic trick until you know how it's done.

Do you actually know how it's done? Because it takes a great deal of knohow to ascertain that.
80s shredding at its root? Yes. Writing like Eddy, Randy, Satch, Nuno etc? No. They're fantastic writers and players, I'm a mediocre player and writer. Still puts me in the same pool as several garbage shredders, but with the forethought to not do that all thr bloody time.
I'm not disrespecting those who are good at it, it took me awhile to figure out what SRV did with his right hand, I was just more impressed by that than EVH-alikes tapping (bearing in mind the metalheads of my generation judged dexterity by sweep picking....)


The Who did this in 1969 with the album “Tommy”. Maybe the rock opera is making a comeback? :)
I'm thinking rock operas with no attention spans might be viable. Too bad that's as far as I've gotten in my thinking....
 

loopfinding

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I think guitar music is alive and well.





yeah i was gonna mention some of those guys. it's a little unfortunate abasi or his guy roopam garg are sort of stuck on the prog metal thing (ignored by a lot of guitar players...including me, that music is not really my bag), but i think what they have been doing these last few years have wide applications outside of the style of music they play. i don't make music remotely like them and i have been using that "selective picking" in stuff that i write all the time.

this is done with a delay pedal instead of selective picking, but the intention is the same - kind of emulating how an electronic instrument would play a riff. it's not any sort of obscure trickery either, it's just changing the way the notes are articulated. and it sounds fresh.

 
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Toast

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You're free to represent the algorithm that molds you. Embrace the privatized cultural sphere. Hooray! Things have never been better.
 

TheCheapGuitarist

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not really, no
great songs have never really gone out of style, though
wah pedals, two handed tapping, soft/loud/soft/loud formulas have all come and gone-
great songwriting is still very much in demand
Great songwriting is harder to spot these days; a producer wants an artist to submit nothing more than a recording of him/her singing and playing it on an acoustic guitar. The producer's job is to take that great song and make it sound like everything else that is selling at the moment... :(

The good news in all this is that we don't need producers or record labels anymore, but of course there are zillions of people trying to make it big, so our chances of doing so are probably just as bad as before.
 

TheCheapGuitarist

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Pettruci, Dream Theater, nuff said.
They are great, but haven't really broken any new ground since they hit the scene. Oddly, a much younger friend of mine plays guitar and is really into Dream Theater. He wasn't aware until I told him that they actually had a successful radio single played on FM rock stations during the grunge era. I guess he thought they were too odd for radio.
 




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