#1
In your opinion, what is the most important thing a guitarist can do? That they can know? Or more specifically, a rock guitarist, and a "lead" guitarist at that? Just thought I'd get some opinions. Thanks
#2
How to play the guitar.
Quote by Tyler Durden
It's only after we've lost everything that we're free to do anything.

Erowid
#4
feeling what they're playing, and knowing when the right time for the appropriate solo in a song.
#5
Quote by huskyplayer
know how to read sheet music on the spot

Man, if only everyone thought this.

I think the most important thing is to be able to pick up things quickly. Especially the main melody of the song, the key, the rhythm, the direction.

Also to have respect for others and their talents. A lot of guitarists have enormous egos and try to take control of every situation. It is important to not only have your own ideas but to listen and take in others'
#6
I'm learning to read sheet music, and I've also been paying attention to how what I do fits into the song a lot more. Thats good advice though, especially the stuff about the ego
#8
I think the most important thing for any instrument, especially a lead guitarist, is knowing when to not play or when to back it off. There are so many great guitar players that have no musical tact.

Example: http://bit.ly/cAs5w
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#9
All the advice mentioned so far has been good. Just to throw in something new, I'll say be open minded and listen to all kinds of music. A good musician can learn something from any style of music, even if it's a style you don't play.
There's my way and the wrong way.
#10
Quote by huskyplayer
..more specifically, a rock guitarist, and a "lead" guitarist at that?~SaulnierE
know how to read sheet music on the spot


Really? I wish I could read sheet music on the spot but it's definitely not something that's held me back from learning rock/lead guitar. If I'd spent alot of time learning how to do that, I wonder how much time that would have left me to develop any decent "chops"? I'm not knocking the suggestion, but the most important specifically for rock/lead? History has proven that it's not even required for greatness.
#11
Looking at every opportunity as a chance to learn.
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Theory is descriptive, not prescriptive.


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theory states 1+1=2 sometimes in music 1+1=3.
#14
Quote by SaulnierE
In your opinion, what is the most important thing a guitarist can do?
Mark (steven seagull) hit this spot-on.

Quote by SaulnierE
That they can know?
When to not play.
"The most powerful note is the one not played."

The natural tendency is to fill all spaces.
But strategically placed gaps do more than any note ever could.
Meadows
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#15
Let me compare this to a guy I knew. He was a Pianist but the same applies to guitar. I don't know a ton about piano, but it seemed like his form wasn't exactly perfect and he occasionally hit wrong notes, but I still consider him the best musician I've ever played with.

Why? He picked up on the key of the song instantly, and immediately had something (just improvising) to add to the song. (He had never rehearsed with the band before and knew none of the songs) That alone made him better in my eyes than any mindless shredder. Same applies to guitar

Edit: Ear training is what I was getting at
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Last edited by QuantumMechanix at Dec 23, 2009,
#16
A good sense of rhythm and tempo, the ability to lock into a groove instead of just playing. A good ear and awareness of what's going on around them (again, instead of just playing).

In my opinion these are far more important than chops (to a certain extent, though; chops still are important). Same goes for pretty much every instrument, not just guitar.
Only play what you hear. If you don’t hear anything, don’t play anything.
-Chick Corea
#17
I apologize for coming off negatively towards any suggestion made in any post. The one about sight reading in particular. I kind of disregarded the first sentence in SaulnierE's post because he asked for specifics and any of the suggestions made could have probably been concluded to by most people who don't even play an instrument let alone the guitar in specific.
All these great suggestions (ie opinions on "the most important...") could be debated on all day, because most are very general and vague.
So far we've heard...
  • Know how to read sheet music on the spot
  • Pick up things quickly ie melody of the song, the key, the rhythm, the direction
  • Be teachable and use your ears.
  • Be open minded and listen to all kinds of music,
  • Looking at every opportunity as a chance to learn.
  • Learn how to listen
  • When to not play.
  • Ear training +3
  • A good sense of rhythm and tempo
  • Ability to lock into a groove instead of just playing

All excellent suggestions for budding guitarists or musicians in general. Only 2 posts actually made reference to his specific questions, and they're both the same.
  • Feeling what you're playing, and knowing when the right time for the appropriate solo in a song.
  • Knowing when to not play or when to back it off

I believe this was the only, or main reason for the thread being posted. I get kind of weary hearing the same old "you're not ready for that, learn this instead....ect" It seems to be all too common for theorists to try and advise guitarists (because if you at least try to make noise on it, that's what you are and noone can tell you otherwise) that the're asking the wrong questions and trying to learn theory out of turn. It seems like anyone looking for any kind of shortcut or "cheat sheet" is almost always being sent straight to the drawing board. Alot of people disregard someone's request for advice because of the simple fact they conclude the TS is trying to level jump the learning process they experienced themselves.

Everyone learns differently, at a different pace. We're not dealing with chemistry here, nothing's gonna blow if you experiment a little. So if I feel I have something to teach(for free) someone(who asked) about what I know, I'm not gonna let my lack of theory knowledge stop me from giving any kind of pointers to someone who just wants to enjoy themselves and isn't dependant on guitar theory or skill to make a living supporting a family. I shouldn't really comment on sight reading because I never tried to learn how so I'll never know how important it could have been to playing "rock and lead guitar", so I made an assumption based on the path I took and the lack of theoretical knowledge alot of the guitarists I look up too lack.

Whatever kind of knowledge you have, if you can play the way others are striving for should be seen as important. Certainly not disregarded as counter productive or false.

Sorry for the long post. I seem to have gotten a little offended by the "mindless shredder" comments floating around. If you ever meet a true "mindless shredder" that can play in key, he's an idiot savant. There's always somekind of profound calculation going on with so called "shredders". Alot of them, like George Lynch for example, became greatly skilled players only knowing "boxed" systems or "shortcuts " if you will. The term "mindless shredding" seems to be thrown around by the one's who's knowledge of theory largely outweigh their actual skill, speed and control on the fretboard. It's not everyone's cup of tea but I think it is the TS's and he's probably willing to listen to anyone who can play the way he'd like to be able to. Alot can be said about the "The most powerful note is the one not played" way of thinking. It's a matter of personal tastes and mood. Sometimes I'll listen to SRV and wonder at his impeccable ability to know when and where to let it out. Sometimes I'll be in awe of the lack of breathing room other guitarists have in some other styles like Megadeth's Dialectic Chaos, or Hangar 18.

peace
Drey
#18
Quote by JudgeDrey
I apologize for coming off negatively towards any suggestion made in any post. The one about sight reading in particular. I kind of disregarded the first sentence in SaulnierE's post because he asked for specifics and any of the suggestions made could have probably been concluded to by most people who don't even play an instrument let alone the guitar in specific.
All these great suggestions (ie opinions on "the most important...") could be debated on all day, because most are very general and vague.
So far we've heard...
  • Know how to read sheet music on the spot
  • Pick up things quickly ie melody of the song, the key, the rhythm, the direction
  • Be teachable and use your ears.
  • Be open minded and listen to all kinds of music,
  • Looking at every opportunity as a chance to learn.
  • Learn how to listen
  • When to not play.
  • Ear training +3
  • A good sense of rhythm and tempo
  • Ability to lock into a groove instead of just playing

All excellent suggestions for budding guitarists or musicians in general. Only 2 posts actually made reference to his specific questions, and they're both the same.
  • Feeling what you're playing, and knowing when the right time for the appropriate solo in a song.
  • Knowing when to not play or when to back it off

I believe this was the only, or main reason for the thread being posted. I get kind of weary hearing the same old "you're not ready for that, learn this instead....ect" It seems to be all too common for theorists to try and advise guitarists (because if you at least try to make noise on it, that's what you are and noone can tell you otherwise) that the're asking the wrong questions and trying to learn theory out of turn. It seems like anyone looking for any kind of shortcut or "cheat sheet" is almost always being sent straight to the drawing board. Alot of people disregard someone's request for advice because of the simple fact they conclude the TS is trying to level jump the learning process they experienced themselves.

Everyone learns differently, at a different pace. We're not dealing with chemistry here, nothing's gonna blow if you experiment a little. So if I feel I have something to teach(for free) someone(who asked) about what I know, I'm not gonna let my lack of theory knowledge stop me from giving any kind of pointers to someone who just wants to enjoy themselves and isn't dependant on guitar theory or skill to make a living supporting a family. I shouldn't really comment on sight reading because I never tried to learn how so I'll never know how important it could have been to playing "rock and lead guitar", so I made an assumption based on the path I took and the lack of theoretical knowledge alot of the guitarists I look up too lack.

Whatever kind of knowledge you have, if you can play the way others are striving for should be seen as important. Certainly not disregarded as counter productive or false.

Sorry for the long post. I seem to have gotten a little offended by the "mindless shredder" comments floating around. If you ever meet a true "mindless shredder" that can play in key, he's an idiot savant. There's always somekind of profound calculation going on with so called "shredders". Alot of them, like George Lynch for example, became greatly skilled players only knowing "boxed" systems or "shortcuts " if you will. The term "mindless shredding" seems to be thrown around by the one's who's knowledge of theory largely outweigh their actual skill, speed and control on the fretboard. It's not everyone's cup of tea but I think it is the TS's and he's probably willing to listen to anyone who can play the way he'd like to be able to. Alot can be said about the "The most powerful note is the one not played" way of thinking. It's a matter of personal tastes and mood. Sometimes I'll listen to SRV and wonder at his impeccable ability to know when and where to let it out. Sometimes I'll be in awe of the lack of breathing room other guitarists have in some other styles like Megadeth's Dialectic Chaos, or Hangar 18.

peace
Drey

You forgot and know how to play the guitar. Meaning they aren't sloppy and know technique.
Quote by Tyler Durden
It's only after we've lost everything that we're free to do anything.

Erowid
#19
Quote by RockGuitar92
You forgot and know how to play the guitar. Meaning they aren't sloppy and know technique.


Forgive me for not knowing where that comment was supposed to land. "They" know what they know and that's all they know. It sounds a little too vague, again, to apply to anything specific. Enlighten me.
#22
Quote by JudgeDrey
Forgive me for not knowing where that comment was supposed to land. "They" know what they know and that's all they know. It sounds a little too vague, again, to apply to anything specific. Enlighten me.

They should be able to be precise and accurate with playing things. There isn't really too much to say.l
Quote by Tyler Durden
It's only after we've lost everything that we're free to do anything.

Erowid
#23
Quote by SaulnierE
In your opinion, what is the most important thing a guitarist can do? That they can know? Or more specifically, a rock guitarist, and a "lead" guitarist at that? Just thought I'd get some opinions. Thanks

just be the best they can be and play from the heart.
#25
Here are a few things that I consider to be very important.

- Be humble. Be self critical, but not to the point where you're beating yourself up. Always seek to learn, and know that there is always room for more growth.
- Don't compare yourself to others, only to yourself. If someone is better than you, don't be threatened by it, draw inspiration from it.
- Banish the word "should" from your vocabulary. Focus on what you plan to do about whatever it is that you should be able to do instead.
- Listen to music as much as possible.
- Practice consistently and focus. At the same time, make time for goofing off and having fun, and everything in between.
- Try new stuff.
- Focus on the basics more than anything else - your timing and ear, on the technique side your alternate picking, vibrato, bending, legato, and physically, your looseness, coordination, and economy of movement. How well you have these basics down really defines what you can do with the instrument.
- Learn at least basic functional theory and how to apply it.
#26
I would have to agree with all of those answers...and add one more that seems to go unmentioned because some people never seem to think about it.

Be There On Time.

Yeah it sounds kinda wierd but how many of you have known musicians that just never seem to show up on time or at all? I have run into alot of these guys (gals) that just can't get to practice, or even a show on time and if you have ever delt with one of these people you know how much of a hassle it can be.

I had one guy that was a great guitarist but if someone said the word "Party" he was gone and you might not see him again for a week. Meanwhile paractice didn't happen, shows got canceled, and eventually a band fell apart all because he had better things to do.

Bottom line...You can be the best musician in the world and get your ass kicked by the worst just cuz you weren't there.
#27
Thanks for suggestions guys, I meant this not only for me, but for everybody to learn something too, if possible. And as for any assumptions being made about myself, I am not a "mindless shredder", my favorite guitarists are actually Page and Slash.
#28
Quote by SaulnierE
Thanks for suggestions guys, I meant this not only for me, but for everybody to learn something too, if possible. And as for any assumptions being made about myself, I am not a "mindless shredder", my favorite guitarists are actually Page and Slash.


Mine's Mark Farner of Grand Funk and Buck Dharma of Blue Oyster Cult. There's alot I like including yours.
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#31
Honestly to not strive to be the very best. No one is the best, and guitar(or any instrument) should be something that someone should do cause they love it, not cause they want to be number1 on top10 lists.