#1
Many of us long for the ability to sprint through those complex, intertwined pentatonic scales and arpeggio runs like we’re musical Olympian finger acrobats. As awing as it sounds when you hear a pro execute such hypnotic maneuvers, it will actually surprise you to know that baring these skills does not necessarily mean you will be more musically attractive to any audience than a guitarist who plays those rather simple, deeply emotional blues melodies. Unfortunately, this truth is often neglected among certain groups of guitar players. If you wish to be noticed as a genuinely exceptional musician, every beginning and advancing guitar player would be wise to realize that speed isn’t everything.

A fast guitarist can sprint along the fretboard at full speed all day long and still lack any element that actually catches a true audience’s ear. An accomplished guitarist will not require the likes of speed to accomplish a dedicated crowd. Instead, they will have mastered the core essence of playing music to a point they are able to construct memorable melodies out of even as little as one single note played at any particular tempo, upon any particular rhythm. To the skilled musician, neither speed nor complexity will matter. I’ve often heard and seen guitarists strut around throwing freestyle solos out around people with a look on there face. “Hey, check this out. Whatcha think of that huh? Am I the shiz or what! Take that! And have another!” The reality is, this is far from convincing (at least to me). It is a desperate attempt to get attention with no genuine means. The musician who does this commonly does not have their intentions in an honest place. They play with no connection to who they actually are inside. This could be because they lack personal confidence, or because they are simply misguided by how they were taught. To be fair though, there are many reasons for this depending on the person and where their heart is.

For those of you who idolize the speed demons of rock and metal, just keep your heads on strait. I’m sure you are probably assuming that I am down talking legends across rock history. On the contrary, this article is elaborating what makes these legends much different than various other guitarists who sport much different reasons for their playing. Guitar legends of yesterday and today have clearly offered every aspect of accomplished guitar playing. Would you say those such as Santana all the way to Dimebag Darrell ever took and drove only one characteristic of guitar playing all the way through their musical careers? How could they have caught a dedicated audience base if they had never mastered the realm of capturing listeners with simple yet emotional musical pieces? It is through this that they actually gained the listeners trust that they want to connect with their audience, not show off that they are the best in the west.

Therefore, to truly understand what makes a musician good, one will have to understand the essence of how music effects its listener. It is what the human emotional system craves that a complete musician must focus on in order to accomplish speaking to the audience. The human system of emotion is actually intriguingly responsive to a wide array of rhythms and harmony. The next time you choose to select a song to listen to, pick something as deeply sad as you can find. While you listen, let the music itself guide your thoughts and feelings and notice how it controls and leads you along its path. Where does it take you? What is it saying to you? What is it doing to you?! These kinds of things are exactly what lives in the heart of all music creation.

If you honestly dream to be someone who can pick an instrument up out of nowhere among friends, family, and strangers and stop time for each and every one of them through your music, you will want to master a very characterized balance between where slow careful acoustic patterns drift them into a teary daze and where keen uplifting major melodies drive them into an expansive emotional inspiration. These two polar ends of the spectrum will give you complete control over your listener’s response.

The truth is, it is actually what the musician wants to get off their chest through their music that truly captures those who witness it. The most important thing is that you are playing to tell the listener you relate to what they feel. The listener is always (even if subconsciously) looking for a message (whether musical or lyrical) that will tell them “Things will be alright”, “I know that sorrowful feeling, you’re not alone”, “I bet you just want to blow the world up!”, “Take the weight off your shoulders. You’re free to let yourself enjoy the moment”. These are the things that come from you, the musician, with the power to emotionally serve and inspire those around you. Think about what that means. It doesn’t mean pumping out speed and dexterity on the fret board to look like the big dog. It’s much more psychological than that.

The next time you encounter somebody playing the guitar, thrashing out a raging speed metal solo, ask them if they can play something such as Eric Clapton and then make your assessment. They might be able to make you think “Wow, he’s good”. But are they able to stir up feelings inside you that most other things cannot? When it comes down to it, any guitarist can simply sound skillful, but what kind of guitarist can send you a personally encrypted message through the notes they play? In this light, a good guitarist will not simply have a skill with playing music. They will have a skill to emotionally and psychologically comfort and empower the musically hungry people of the world.
#3
Thank you. Is there anything that might need added to be mentioned, taken out or switched around? Or does everyone feel that it is good as it is?
#4
It's awful.

You're telling people that aiming for speed is wrong because it lacks the emotion conveyed by other forms of playing?

Who are you to tell them that?

And I love the suggestion that fast guitarists aren't 'authentic' guitarists. How uninformed and stupid can you get?

I'm willing to bet most of the good shredders have more passion and drive than you do, it takes a huge amount of skill and practise to get to that level. They appreciate the technicality behind that kind of playing and it means something to them. You just can't appreciate it, because it's not your type of music.

Your post is an attempt at some kind of etherial soul-searching enlightenment that fails miserably because you just come across as some ignorant and arrogant prat who can't see the hypocrisy in criticising someone's desire and skill when they clearly have more than you will ever do.

I can't stand shredders, but at least I recognize the heart that goes into the playing.

Probably the worst article I've ever read on here. Laughably bad. I'm embarassed reading it. Get over yourself.
Last edited by ClaptonWannabe at Mar 21, 2009,
#5
Quote by echodust
Thank you. Is there anything that might need added to be mentioned, taken out or switched around? Or does everyone feel that it is good as it is?


first off - the title!

it's retarted and stupid

ok and the rest is almost all ****e too.. thats my opinion
is it cliche to use myspace / soundclick links in my sig ? y/n __________________________________________________
soundclick
myspace
__________________________________________________
#6
Quote by ClaptonWannabe
It's awful.

You're telling people that aiming for speed is wrong because it lacks the emotion conveyed by other forms of playing?

Who are you to tell them that?

And I love the suggestion that fast guitarists aren't 'authentic' guitarists. How uninformed and stupid can you get?

I'm willing to bet most of the good shredders have more passion and drive than you do, it takes a huge amount of skill and practise to get to that level. They appreciate the technicality behind that kind of playing and it means something to them. You just can't appreciate it, because it's not your type of music.

Your post is an attempt at some kind of etherial soul-searching enlightenment that fails miserably because you just come across as some ignorant and arrogant prat who can't see the hypocrisy in criticising someone's desire and skill when they clearly have more than you will ever do.

I can't stand shredders, but at least I recognize the heart that goes into the playing.

Probably the worst article I've ever read on here. Laughably bad. I'm embarassed reading it. Get over yourself.



Actually, the majority of what I listen to is speed metal (Slayer, In Flames, Arch Enemy), Even more so, Metallica, Megadeth, and Pantera.

I've taught guitar since I was 15 years old (1995), and I've met some incredibly skilled musicians along the way who play just as fast as the best of them. They played pretty damn fast, but they had an element to their playing that conveyed that they were passionate about it. Not that they were hotshots. On the other hand, I've met some really self-centered arrogant players who, whenever they play, they look at their fingers, and then they look up at you like "yeah b*tch, whatcah think of that?" And what they play has no feeling to it. It's all done by numbers and it's rediculous.

What I wrote here is not trying to state that playing fast is bad. It is trying to state that playing only to show off that your Mr. Bigshot without actually trying to communicate to the listener is pointless.

I know that there is probably some information I need to add or adjust to the article to get some things a little more clear, but I doubt that my article is anything as you describe it. There are many aspects to the communication process between the writer and the interpreter (the reader), and I'm pretty sure you've completely botched the interpretation.

The title was made to get the reader's attention.

This article teaches about having a healthy balance between speed and grace. If everyone interprets it as "fast players are crap" then I think I need some serious changes in how I write. This article is only aimed that the aspect that a gutiarist need not be obssessed with speed to be good (a recommendation). There are others that I am going to be writing to cover the benefits of being fast and some good ideas for optimizing your playing speed and using it to improve your playing all around the board.
Last edited by echodust at Mar 22, 2009,
#8
Yes, that is a great example of what I'm talking about. Although they are very skilled and fast players, they use what they do to actually create actual feeling in their playing. You see, you can be fast all day, but there are different types of "fast playing" which differs in many ways.

I'll leave this post up for one week before I send in the final version (which will most likely have some better points added into it).

All are welcome to comment, but please try to make it intelligent and logical. Not just "WTH! THIS WHOLE THING IS CRAP!" Comments like that help nothing on this topic, and it is help that I need with it, not just ignorant close-minded opinions of the topic itself.

Thanks.
#11
Obviously you're pressing on a touchy subject here at UG, the never ending speed doesn't equal emotion debate. I do know what you're talking about, and I agree. My main criticism would be that you're implying that fast guitarists aren't authentic, the title setting the tone of the article.

This is an opinion piece, and there's a great underlying message to be had, although I'd say it could be improved if it sounded less patronising like a grampa going "back in my day, we didn't have speed! now that was real music!" and also by showing how the emotion thing can be applied to the harder metal groups, rather than saying the genre is devoid of it.
And no, Guitar Hero will not help. Even on expert. Really.
Soundcloud
#12
Quote by ClaptonWannabe
It's awful.

You're telling people that aiming for speed is wrong because it lacks the emotion conveyed by other forms of playing?

Who are you to tell them that?

And I love the suggestion that fast guitarists aren't 'authentic' guitarists. How uninformed and stupid can you get?

I'm willing to bet most of the good shredders have more passion and drive than you do, it takes a huge amount of skill and practise to get to that level. They appreciate the technicality behind that kind of playing and it means something to them. You just can't appreciate it, because it's not your type of music.

Your post is an attempt at some kind of etherial soul-searching enlightenment that fails miserably because you just come across as some ignorant and arrogant prat who can't see the hypocrisy in criticising someone's desire and skill when they clearly have more than you will ever do.

I can't stand shredders, but at least I recognize the heart that goes into the playing.

Probably the worst article I've ever read on here. Laughably bad. I'm embarassed reading it. Get over yourself.


lol at this noob you pretty much sum up whats wrong with ug
#13
Quote by Tophue
lol at this noob you pretty much sum up whats wrong with ug

I'd say people like you are what's wrong with UG.

close minded people who assert that emotion is what makes a guitarist good. Conveniently ignoring the fact that the music itself has no emotion in it.

it's like saying the colour red is angry.

it may make people feel angry, the painter may have picked that colour because he was angry, but it in itself is not necessarily angry. Many people see red and think of love because they associate it with a rose or the love heart.

that's the thing, emotion is subjective and only exists within the listener. That's why we have fans of noise-rock, ambient sounds, experimental rock etc. because each person interprets a sound differently.

and as we're constantly feeling emotions, I'd say it's impossible to write without emotion.

I get that the intended message behind the article is to not be obsessed with the technique side of the instrument but I think you've gone too far the other way to make you stance seem reasonable.

also your example of asking them if they can play clapton is terribly flawed.

as emotion can only effect the writing aspect of music, if you play a solo note for note, bend for bend, vibrato for vibrato, it'd be impossible to differentiate the 2 takes, but the players could be experiencing completely different emotions.

Also, Clapton's music may not effect somebody emotionally.

EDIT: wasted 5 mins on a zombie thread bumped by someone who wanted to insult someone.

*reported*
Rhythm in Jump. Dancing Close to You.

Quote by element4433
Yeah. people, like Lemoninfluence, are hypocrites and should have all their opinions invalidated from here on out.
#14
naw im not the problem. i did basically the same thing as him in just less words.
#15
Hells yeah! I am totally with you. I'm sick of these show-offs that only ever do fret-wanking.

Note my signature.
Just because it's simple, doesn't mean it's bad.