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#1
I got into a interesting argument a couple times lately...
About how it does take talent to be a good or great guitarist. Though I believe anyone can play any instrument with practice. And I figure that this applies to any instrument almost.

a couple people have disagreed with me on this one. I'm curious about people's opinions does the guitar or really any instrument take talent?


(Sorry if this is in the wrong area?)
#2
Simple some people can play the guitar really good in just a year without formal lessons because they have musical talent. Other guitarists i know played more than this with formal lessons and they suck.
#3
Natural talent can bypass the hardship that comes with having to practice tediously to achieve a certain level which naturally talented people may already have.

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#4
IMO, talent makes it easier for a person to pick things up. So someone with less talent may just take longer.
Another thing is i think in composition, talent is required to a certain degree whereas just playing other peoples pieces should come with enough practice to everyone, if not most players.
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#5
Well you did say "any instrument". Unless you have a great ear for music, it's near impossible to play a classical instrument like a violin without lessons. The guitar is catered for people who don't know anything about music. No offense.
Quote by stevenpollock
You can't be successful in Jazz music until you're at least 40. You don't have anything to say.
#6
There is no such thing as natural talent.
Quote by Zaphod_Beeblebr
Theory is descriptive, not prescriptive.


Quote by MiKe Hendryckz
theory states 1+1=2 sometimes in music 1+1=3.
#7
For me, I believe that true talent comes out in your improvising and composing. Anyone can learn to play a transcribed music with practice. The real masters are the ones who can get their own ideas out and into music.
#8
Quote by The_Sophist
There is no such thing as natural talent.

I could argue that with ideas based in genetics, but that would take up way too much of my time.
Quote by stevenpollock
You can't be successful in Jazz music until you're at least 40. You don't have anything to say.
#9
I have yet to see an concrete proof in genetics, but if you have some, please show me and I'll change my opinion. The best scientific evidence I have seen for this argument the connection of nuerons. If you have developed mental pathways in your life that can also be used in some way to make music, then you will be a better musician then someone who hasn't developed these pathways. This is such a small advantage that I don't think it is even worth thinking about.
Quote by Zaphod_Beeblebr
Theory is descriptive, not prescriptive.


Quote by MiKe Hendryckz
theory states 1+1=2 sometimes in music 1+1=3.
#10
Basically that was my argument, but you just don't think it plays as big a part as I think it does.
Quote by stevenpollock
You can't be successful in Jazz music until you're at least 40. You don't have anything to say.
#11
Fair enough.
Quote by Zaphod_Beeblebr
Theory is descriptive, not prescriptive.


Quote by MiKe Hendryckz
theory states 1+1=2 sometimes in music 1+1=3.
#12
Quote by rockinrider55
For me, I believe that true talent comes out in your improvising and composing. Anyone can learn to play a transcribed music with practice. The real masters are the ones who can get their own ideas out and into music.


That.

If you ask most of the guitar gods if they took lessons or studied theory they'll say, "What's that?"
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#14
Quote by B-Ron
I got into a interesting argument a couple times lately...
About how it does take talent to be a good or great guitarist. Though I believe anyone can play any instrument with practice. And I figure that this applies to any instrument almost.

a couple people have disagreed with me on this one. I'm curious about people's opinions does the guitar or really any instrument take talent?


(Sorry if this is in the wrong area?)



Yes, it does.
shred is gaudy music
#15
Quote by B-Ron
I got into a interesting argument a couple times lately...
About how it does take talent to be a good or great guitarist. Though I believe anyone can play any instrument with practice. And I figure that this applies to any instrument almost.

a couple people have disagreed with me on this one. I'm curious about people's opinions does the guitar or really any instrument take talent?


(Sorry if this is in the wrong area?)


Playing guitar takes a skill set. And skills can be learned. You aren't born being able to play you have to learn. And "talented people" I think are people who learn faster.
#16
it's not really "talent" its just some pre-existing factors that will aid a person in picking up the instrument and learning quicker

example: someone who listens to a lot of music and has a good ear and memory for it will be better off than someone who doesn't. someone with long fingers is better off than someone with short ones etc etc

in the end it comes down to practice and whether or not you love playing imo.
#17
Quote by The_Sophist
There is no such thing as natural talent.

Yeah there is,

I watched my daughter's netball team for years (never missed a game and know all her team mates by name) their coach recently left and I've taken over this year as their coach. (Netball is similar but not the same as basketball and not played in the US).

Many of the girls started playing when they were 6. And have been playing for five years.

You could see straight away that some were just better netball player's than other's. Some girls just didn't seem to get it while other's seemed to instinctively understand exactly what to do even though none of them had ever played before. After five years of playing the girls have all improved from where they were.

One girl we'll call her Jane really enjoys playing. She also does athletics and other sports. But she really struggles when playing netball. She thinks she's doing well and works hard at practice, and has five years experience but she just doesn't seem to get it.

A new girl started last year, call her Alice, and had never played before. She made a few basic mistakes regarding rules (offside stepping etc) but outplayed Jane in her first game despite Jane's five year's experience. Everything just seemed to come naturally to Alice. Within a few months she was a solid player.

This year (a year after picking up the sport) Alice is one of my top 3 players. And of those 3, 1 is a true specialist in her position, the other two can play any position and stand out as power players. Alice is one of those that can play anywhere and be dangerous.

This year is their sixth year they are 11-12 years old and for the first time they play in a streamed competition. A number of new girls started this year one of whom was Sarah. She had never played before. In the trials she had to ask where her position was and during the trial was called up several times for technicalities.

She doesn't have the skills many of the other experienced players have or the knowledge of the game. But you could clearly see that she did have something that you just can't teach. She was up against Jane in the trials and outplayed her despite the vast difference in experience and training.

Sarah hasn't picked things up as quickly as what Alice did and it is unlikely that in a year's time she will be a power player like Alice is now, but it is likely that in that time she will become a very strong reliable player. Jane will have to work twice as hard and may never reach the skill level of some of the other girls. But she will continue to improve.

This is what natural talent is all about.

However, and here's the kicker...In a few years Jane might decide she wants to get much better and make the A team at High School. She might start a hardcore training programme in which she pushes herself to excel. She might develop a new determined and focused competitive mindset to the court and become one of the best players on the court. That would also show considerable talent. But it's not natural talent it's earned talent.

If Alice did the same training programme and grew her skill with the same passion she would still outplay Sarah. -That's natural talent.
Si
#18
what scientific basis is there for "natural talent"? i've never heard of anything to do with it, its always outside factors.

unless its genetic predisposition like someone mentioned before but i don't know much about that.
#20
Quote by krallice
what scientific basis is there for "natural talent"? i've never heard of anything to do with it, its always outside factors.

unless its genetic predisposition like someone mentioned before but i don't know much about that.


talent is a natural aptitude. It's like fish take to water, when it's in water it knows what to do. People have talents in one form or another.

A writer, a musician, even an orator. They have the knack to do things that they do.
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#21
Talent is an excuse used by crappy musicians who don't want to take the the responsibility that they suck through lack of practice and hard work. It's much easier to blame a lack of talent than to take responsibility for your musical skills.
#22
Quote by dst127
Talent is an excuse used by crappy musicians who don't want to take the the responsibility that they suck through lack of practice and hard work. It's much easier to blame a lack of talent than to take responsibility for your musical skills.

It also can be used as an egotistical argument to justify how well one plays.
If you play guitar, please don't waste your time in The Pit, and please instead educate yourself in the Musician Talk forum, where you can be missing out on valuable info.
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#23
Quote by B-Ron
I got into a interesting argument a couple times lately...
About how it does take talent to be a good or great guitarist. Though I believe anyone can play any instrument with practice. And I figure that this applies to any instrument almost.

a couple people have disagreed with me on this one. I'm curious about people's opinions does the guitar or really any instrument take talent?


(Sorry if this is in the wrong area?)

talent just means you can do something well. no one is born being able to do something well. but some people learn certain things faster than others. usually that is called "natural talent" but its not really talent. some people are just better suited to certain things. but anyone can become good at something with practice and determination.

thats the other thing. some people say "well i practice all the time and im not that good". really its because they lack the drive that other players have. maybe they just are not as into music as they thought. i know ive always been drawn to music. so when i started playing, i had a drive because now i had an outlet for the music i wanted to get out of me. others may not feel the same way. so because of my drive and my mind already being controlled by music, it seemed like i learned faster than others. but i dont consider it natural talent because i didnt start out good. i needed time like anyone else. but i learned pretty fast because i had a drive to better myself at music. and not everyone has that.
#24
I dont think I believe in talent. Just an ability to work and focus. Someone who can work and concentrate harder then someone else may be considered more talented though
#25
Quote by OldRocker
talent is a natural aptitude. It's like fish take to water, when it's in water it knows what to do. People have talents in one form or another.

A writer, a musician, even an orator. They have the knack to do things that they do.

you defined natural talent by saying it's natural aptitude. replacing one unknown with another does not help any. and i know i shouldn't take it literally but the fish-thing does not work either.
fish are born with instincts that tell them how to survive, it's how they know what to do in the water. are you implying that people are born ready to be writers or musicians or poets?

i'm (well i at least i think lol) a writer, artist and (trying) to be a musician but i know for a fact that anyone can do this, we all have the potential. it's just some of us happened to have certain experiences which put us on the track to becoming those. it's how we were raised in our specific environments that made us good at something or bad something and of course more inclined to be interested in something e.g music, painting etc.

from my personal experience, 'talent' has been used as an ego boost (my best friend says he picks things up fast, said he had a natural talent for guitar and everyone i knew agreed. he started playing 2 weeks before me and now i'm the one who teaches him guitar. does the excuse "oh i guess i didn't have any talent, my bad!" work here?) or as a way for people to justify why OTHERS are good. like you see someone shredding insanely good and you think "oh well he's better than me because he's naturally good at it"
#26
Personally, I don't believe in natural talent. Although, I think a better way to describe my position is that I don't take it into consideration because I believe that if it does exist, it plays a relatively small role in deciding who gets good at what.

One of the main reasons for this opinion that I hold is that I find it somewhat useless to believe in natural talent (even if it does, in fact, exist). Whether or not natural talent exists really doesn't matter to me much. I have seen and observed during my life that regardless of natural talent (or the lack thereof), people can get good at things by working hard and practicing. If I want to get good at something, I can work hard, I can practice, and if I'm motivated enough, those things will play into the equation and make me better.

Even if natural talent plays into this equation, there's nothing I can do about it. So there's no point worrying about it. I might as well focus on what I can do to get better at whatever it is I'm doing (be it guitar or something else).

All that said, I do think that some people have certain traits which might allow them to progress in a certain field more quickly than others. People with longer fingers will be able to learn guitar a little bit faster. People who listen to a lot of music will be able to learn theory and composition more quickly. However, I do not equate this to the "natural talent" that most people would tell you about. I believe that these things give somewhat short-term advantages (ie, they mainly apply during the beginner stage of skill development) and can be overcome relatively easily with a little bit of hard work and dedication.

So, regardless of the existence of "natural talent", in whatever form, I choose not to believe in it, because I can motivate myself better if I believe that the only thing affecting my skill level is my own hard work.

Disclaimer: I do want to make sure that no one thinks that I am saying that ANYONE can get good at ANYTHING if they just try hard enough, and I'm not saying that some people might not have extra difficulty. For example, someone who is tone deaf would definitely have a harder time learning music theory. Someone who is physically disabled probably won't become an Olympic swimmer. However, I think everyone can agree that these things are exceptions to the rule, and have nothing to do with natural talent.
#27
Yes there can be some natural talent involved. Some people are more creative (or have better insight), that's just how it is.

I mean 1 person comes up how to fold a paper airplane, while another guy invents nuclear fusion.

Just in music, some people in 50 years wouldn't come up with the idea to play guitar as a piano, while others "invent" ways to sweep to progressions. This requires insight and fantasy and some daring to go "outside" of the box.

This is the only natural talent.

Playing the guitar technically wise requires only the talent of being able to use motoring skills from ur hand. Obviously with a handicap you could argue there's less talent.

But technically anyone can learn guitar that has a "standard body".

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Last edited by xxdarrenxx at Mar 27, 2009,
#28
Here's an extarct from a nice little article I found.

Now I would like to make one thing plain. I'm not trying to state that there is no such thing as natural talent. It does exist and it does help. It can be said that a "naturally gifted" player tends to do everything correctly while practicing. These "things" that the naturally gifted person does intuitively can be analyzed, defined and then taught by a competent teacher.

Of course some people might argue that you need the so called talent to CREATE expressive music. But this is simply not true. There is one thing however that when it comes to creating expressive music that you either have or do not have. And that is DESIRE. You have to feel the desperate need to hear the music, the need that will be satisfied by bringing your unique music forth. This IS the true MUSICAL talent that is either present or absent. EVERYTHING else are sets of tools that can be acquired with time, practice, perseverance and by studying with a great teacher.

As one final point I would like to show you a quote from one of the greatest composers in the history of music.

"People make a mistake who think that my art has come easily to me. Nobody has devoted so much time and thought to composition as I. There is not a famous master whose music I have not studied over and over."

~ Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart

As you may know, Mozart was a child prodigy who is believed to be one of the most “talented” musicians that ever lived. There are rumors that he never wrote any of his music down, that he just heard it naturally in his head. This may or may not be true, but the fact is that he still worked extremely hard to get to the level of compositional prowess that he attained. Had he decided to not push himself to seek knowledge in order to develop his skills, he would never have created any of the awesome music that he is now so famous for.

Hopefully you now see that the best question to ask yourself is not "Do I have talent?" but rather "Do I have the DESIRE to seek out the best possible instruction in music that will enable me to reach my goals? And do I have the love in my heart for music and the passion required to sustain my efforts in becoming a great musician?"


I think its bollocks. I'm joking, I'm joking. Chill chill chill.
#29
Why does everyone need scientific reasons to back every statement up? You see these kinds of things everyday of the week, and im sure some people feel them too.

I've always had a natural talent for athletics and stuff like that, (climbing, jumping, runnnig) especially when I was a kid.

So I would say yes I think natural talent comes into it slightly when playing guitar, of course you still have to work hard, but those with natural talent I think will just take to the learning more easily than others.
Last edited by Helpy Helperton at Mar 27, 2009,
#30
Natural talent? It exists but it's power is vastly exaggerated.

Depending what you're aiming for, it can matter a lot or barely at all.

If we're talking, picking up the guitar and playing a few songs within a year, "natural talent" makes a big difference. If we're talking serious professional guitar playing, there's so much work involved getting to that level that natural talent becomes practically irrelevent with a good teacher.
#32
When we talk about natural talent, what we are really discussing is the speed at which the subject attains a high level of proficency. For example in 20tigers story, Alice became proficient in a very short period of time. Alice did not have any prior experience, other than possibly observing others play netball. Each person learns a given skill (or group of skills) at a different rate. A person with what we percive as natural talent simply learns those given skills at a faster rate than their peers.
#33
Quote by Freepower
Natural talent? It exists but it's power is vastly exaggerated.

Depending what you're aiming for, it can matter a lot or barely at all.

If we're talking, picking up the guitar and playing a few songs within a year, "natural talent" makes a big difference. If we're talking serious professional guitar playing, there's so much work involved getting to that level that natural talent becomes practically irrelevent with a good teacher.


No offense but to me it seems that natural talent is vastly under-exaggerated here. It's almost like people are defensive because they worry that they don't have that natural talent, so they are trying to suppress that fear by saying that talent is irrelevant. (not you of-course, because you always seem sure of your own abilities).


The truth is that we are not all equal. Some have more aptitude (talent) at one thing, where as others may have it in another. Some may have it in multiple things.
It's nice to believe that we are all the same and have the same chances at success, but the fact is that it's just not true. That doesn't mean though that we can't still try our best at something and get the most out of it that we can get.

Personally I'm aware that they are many more talented musicians than me, but I don't let it stop me from enjoying my guitar/music. Just utilize what talent you do have to the best of your ability.

I would also mention that as far as music goes..... If you love listening to music, and you enjoy playing your guitar, you most likely have a certain level of talent for it. I wouldn't worry about it. Just enjoy it.
shred is gaudy music
Last edited by GuitarMunky at Mar 27, 2009,
#34
In my perspective, human beings are born with a special predisposition to certain attributes, be it athletic, academic, artistic and social. I would call it natural intelligence that can be directed or redirected to what a person focuses on. A gifted athlete can be a track and field star and then later on pursue football and have identical standings between the sports. I think same can be said for truly gifted artists like Leonardi DaVinci, WA Mozart, Miles Davis...etc. A talent has to be discovered early in life to nurture it to fruition. Can talent be acquired too? Yes, in some respects... it can... with proper conditioning, training and knowledge, one can be bolstered up to a talented level. The only difference is that the individual with the natural talent will considerably use up less time and effort to excel.
#35
you cannot be born able to do something well. you just cannot. could anyone here pick up the guitar for the firs time and play? i dont think so. no one can do anything well the first time they do it. but like i said, some may be more inclined to certain things. its just genetics. but there is no "music" gene or "guitar" gene. theres no gene for any sport, or art either.

the thing is some people have certain genetic traits that may lend themselves more to a certain task. for example, i have pretty good accuracy, im not too short (6'1) and i can run fast and jump high. so i took to basketball pretty quickly. but my "natural ability" only got me so far. i mean, sure i took to it fast but i didnt start out great. i just learned faster.

now with music, some things might make you more inclined to play or be a better player. for example, you may have a very good memory. that would help when trying to play a song and recognize notes. you may be an obsessive personality. that would help with practicing. you may have large hands. that would help with most stringed instruments including piano.

none of these things are talent. these are just traits you are born with. these traits may make music easier for you to learn, but its not really "talent". talent takes development. but others develop faster. but that again its just a genetic trait. like i said, theres no gene for guitar.
#36
Quote by GuitarMunky
No offense but to me it seems that natural talent is vastly under-exaggerated here. It's almost like people are defensive because they worry that they don't have that natural talent, so they are trying to suppress that fear by saying that talent is irrelevant. (not you of-course, because you always seem sure of your own abilities).


The truth is that we are not all equal. Some have more aptitude (talent) at one thing, where as others may have it in another. Some may have it in multiple things.
It's nice to believe that we are all the same and have the same chances at success, but the fact is that it's just not true. That doesn't mean though that we can't still try our best at something and get the most out of it that we can get.

Personally I'm aware that they are many more talented musicians than me, but I don't let it stop me from enjoying my guitar/music. Just utilize what talent you do have to the best of your ability.

I would also mention that as far as music goes..... If you love listening to music, and you enjoy playing your guitar, you most likely have a certain level of talent for it. I wouldn't worry about it. Just enjoy it.


I couldn't said it better. That's point I was making.

Don't forget savants. Very interesting stuff about them. While I was researching I found that talents can be genetic or aquired.
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#37
Imho anyone can learn anything if they want it bad enough.
Zack wylde said it>>
There will always be a better musician, but talent obviously doesn't stop people from becoming famous well known or even rich
Last edited by stratkat at Mar 27, 2009,
#39
^

No offense but to me it seems that natural talent is vastly under-exaggerated here. It's almost like people are defensive because they worry that they don't have that natural talent, so they are trying to suppress that fear by saying that talent is irrelevant. (not you of-course, because you always seem sure of your own abilities).


Heh, I know what I can do and how well I can do it, anyway.

You're right about the fear of lacking talent. I think I'll evaluate my approach to helping pupils deal with that based on your post.
#40
Quote by OldRocker
That.

If you ask most of the guitar gods if they took lessons or studied theory they'll say, "What's that?"


Am I the only one who noticed this post?

I kind of doubt that many "guitar gods" never learned theory, and many of them did take lessons.
Terrible even.
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