Ive played for awhile and im just curious. what does it mean when someone says "chops" Is it just a wide catalog of different techniques? i realize this is a complete noob question, but ive always focused on my playing and trying to get an original sound from my guitar and not so much on conventional teaching, terms, ect. I've recently realized ive hit a plateau in my learning and have moved back towards theory, exercises, ect...it really has helped me move forward. what else have you veterans out there used to break through a sticking point? i know i haven't learned all there is to know, nobody ever will. just curious.
Chops usually means speed

Learning by ear gave me the biggest boost in my playing
Last edited by mrbabo91 at Feb 22, 2012,
I'm by no means amazing, a veteran, or even very experienced, but recording myself play and listening back helped me a lot... It helped me realize that my playing wasn't as tight as I thought, and it really was useful for timing and improving on my improvisation.
I take it to mean ones specific technique and overall ability. Speed is only one possible aspect of having mean chops. Just my 2 cents.
It comes from brass and woodwind jazz musicians, if I remember right, indicating a high degree of control over one's jaw and mouth (known as chops).

Nowadays, that word has extended include all musicians, rather than just jazzy mouth-breathers (terrible pun). Having good chops indicates that you have a high degree of technical skill on your chosen instrument.
thanks guys, the info is much appreciated! i was worried for a minute i was gonna get flamed, im new here....but not to message boards...so yeah. pleasant surprise. thanks again!
No problem.

The reason this forum exists is to answer questions people have. We wouldn't do that very well if we just up and flamed everyone we saw posting a thread, would we?