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#2
You don't need to play a million notes a second. After all, I doubt any guitarist could pull off such a feat, and if there's one that could, he/she should post a video 'cause thats one hell of a talent.

All serious like, the window for that stuff closed a while ago. You could most definitely try to make a splash in that genre, but it's highly unlikely that you'd get anywhere, as the big three are still around and still playing and still writing new stuff. Once they're gone, a few more will probably take their place.
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#3
I think you can't really make huge amounts of money, or any at all, if you're starting your musical career as an instrumental guitarist without having any exposure being a guitarist of a vocalist-fronted band prior to that.
Jeff Loomis is a perfect example of an instrumental guitar player who has made a pretty big name for himself by today's standards. He gained exposure and fame with Nevermore. Then, he released Zero Order Phase and recently, after leaving Nevermore, Plains of Oblivion (which has a few songs with guest vocalists, but still mostly instrumental). He has a touring band and he makes a living with it. I bought Zero Order Phase CD when it came out
But there are guys like Paul Wardingham, who released his debut solo album Assimilate Regenerate last year and is about to release his second album in due time. He hasn't played in a renowned vocalist-fronted band like Loomis did, but nonetheless sells decent amounts of copies of Assimilate Regenerate, judging by comments of his fans on Youtube. I didn't buy this one, although i considered ordering it.
Fun fact: Probably the only CD I wish I haven't bought is Passion and Warfare. I think I listened to the whole thing maybe three times. I've grown tired of Vai's style, it's was "too pretentious"(for a lack of a better description, maybe "artsy-fartsy" would suffice) for me to really grasp it. I admire his skills and like some of his songs, but it just wasn't my cup of tea.
#4
Just read the blog... watched the vid. You play well. Fun piece and nice playing. Good question. Think a lot of us are asking that in every genre. Speed is fun to have as an ally, but I really think it is overdone nowadays. It's hard to catch anyone with blazing speed anymore. Good compositions are hard to come by. That's where the gold will always be... for both pocketbook and soul. No argument. It is hard to stand out.
#5
i really doubt it

people done ejoy listening to insturmental guitarists too much nowadays
which sucks cause i quite enjoy it and i dont really do the 1000 notes a minute thing because its not always musical

anyway not unless youre already established or maybe in a pretty famous band and youre known for your musicality i wouldnt expect any instrumental artist to get well nkown
#6
Quote by TravisWright
Just read the blog... watched the vid. You play well. Fun piece and nice playing. Good question. Think a lot of us are asking that in every genre. Speed is fun to have as an ally, but I really think it is overdone nowadays. It's hard to catch anyone with blazing speed anymore. Good compositions are hard to come by. That's where the gold will always be... for both pocketbook and soul. No argument. It is hard to stand out.

Agree.

Playing at high speed is so 80s. You really can't even stand out if you are super fast. So yeah, it's all about good songwriting.

But do you write songs to make money or because you like writing songs?

You just need to do something different. Start a new genre. Or what the hell, just play and write music you like.
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#7
it was viable back in the 70s/80s but now it's just contrived, honestly. it's used more as a cop-out for DIY guitarists than a legitimate and organic musical inspiration
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#8
Awesome replies and all dead-on I think. It's one reason I started a vocal band, which then got hung up when the singer quit! So I continued doing instrumentals, which I love. I'm glad a new singer is close to doing his vox because I'd rather put my promo effort into that. I mostly finished up several album of instrumentals I've had lying around and if it weren't for the existing songs, I'd probably have just stopped despite loving it.

I'm mostly going to do YouTube videos soon for these, showing all instruments on screen at once. I'll get my promo kicks that way.
#10
Can anyone make a big splash doing this genre anymore or is it just a minor thing for people who play a million notes per second?


I think it's viable for a few people to make a living doing this kind of thing. Mattias IA Eklhund, Guthrie Govan and Andy James are all relatively new to this field and are making money off it. However, I would never suggest it's a serious career choice.
#11
holy crap, TS lives near me

I'M NEAR THE RIO, TS


ps: checked your website. Honestly, I think you could use a complete revamp in the design. Let me know this is something you're considering!

...modes and scales are still useless.


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#13
Would you be interested in meeting up some times? Sounds like we've got some stuff in common.

...modes and scales are still useless.


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#15
Well it depends on your idea of what "instrumental guitar" is. There's tons of great instrumental music out there, but if you're thinking of it as shred guitar, than I think not, but if you're thinking of the possibilities of stretching space and time and tripping out using guitar as the main instrument, there are plenty of people doing that.

Check out Ryan Chilcoat and Mylets are some great instrumental guitarist. I'm sure there's more than I can't think of.

You've still got great shred guitarists, if that's what you're looking for, like Tosin Abasi
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#16
To be honest I don't listen to much music with lyrics. Too be honest again, most I find sound very cliche to me. Not to say I don't listen to stuff with lyrics but most of my favorites are purely instrumental. The genre isn't going anywhere for me at least. I like how its not in the limelight.
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#17
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#19
Quote by Fallenoath
To be honest I don't listen to much music with lyrics. Too be honest again, most I find sound very cliche to me. Not to say I don't listen to stuff with lyrics but most of my favorites are purely instrumental. The genre isn't going anywhere for me at least. I like how its not in the limelight.


TBH I find music with lyrics makes me think to much, whereas instrumental music, preferably quality instrumental music, I can just happily listen to without reading into it
#20
Quote by Fallenoath
To be honest I don't listen to much music with lyrics. Too be honest again, most I find sound very cliche to me. Not to say I don't listen to stuff with lyrics but most of my favorites are purely instrumental. The genre isn't going anywhere for me at least. I like how its not in the limelight.

I don't really focus on lyrics if a song has lyrics. At least I don't start analyzing them. IMO music is a lot more powerful than words. Sometimes lyrics are easy to listen to but I usually start listening to lyrics once I've heard the song a couple of times and know what is going on. But I think I rather listen to a singer singing a melody than a guitar playing a melody. Or it kind of depends on the song. They sound different and I think vocals are just one instrument, just like guitar. And usually singing melodies sound best when somebody actually sings them. Guitar melodies are a bit different, they are not vocal melodies (sometimes they are though). You can do different stuff with guitar than vocals.
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#21
I think it's safe to say that a lot more people enjoy music with a singer than music without. Just have a flick through the music charts of the last couple of decades for the proof.
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#22
Quote by RandyEllefson
I wrote a blog about this and wondered what others thought.

Can anyone make a big splash doing this genre anymore or is it just a minor thing for people who play a million notes per second?


What do you mean by viable? As in whether there is or isn't a fanbase out there? Or making money off it?

If you're talking about fanbase, then yeah it's probably not very viable. Instrumental guitar fans tend to be mostly musicians (most often, guitar players specifically) themselves. That already limits your audience. But, hey, at least they're still out there. I also gotta say that besides the fast ones and the big 3, there is at least some praise for John Frusciante's solo albums. Also, although not solo acts, there's some sort of shoegaze/post-rock (both are mostly instrumental, but aren't very technical, though) revival going on, I think.

If it's about money, then chances are ridiculously small no matter the genre, so you might as well not sweat it and play what you want. The only way for most mortals to live off music is to, as it's been mentioned here several times, hustle like maniacs: jump on every gig and/or session you can, produce for who ever asks, etc, even if you don't like the genre. Even then, it's a modest living, so you probably won't own your own airplane and mansion on Beverly Hills. And it requires a lot of sacrifice... time spent hunting for gigs is time you won't be paid for.

If playing stuff you maybe just don't like or even hate (sure there are people who simply enjoy the act of playing/writing stuff that will reach people's ears and, whether it is top40-sounding pop or pop-country, they don't feel it's beneath them and don't care too much about which genre it is) is something you're definitely not ok with, then just keep playing your thing, and if by mere chance it's meant to go big, it will, but if it's not, at least you're having fun and doing something you love.
Last edited by CryogenicHusk at May 16, 2013,
#23
I think there is a larger market for instrumental guitar in the video game, film, and TV industry. Background music type stuff.
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#24
Excellent observations. Thanks guys.

I'm at the point of just doing it because I enjoy it and have unfinished songs to do (though I'm mostly caught up). I've been hoping a vocal band has more success but at this point I'm never going to go touring or whatever anyway because my life (which finances my music) won't allow that.

Still, it costs a lot to release something and I keep finding ways to minimize that. At some point the family takes precedence and I'll have to stop releasing things over it, which sucks. Either that, or just release my kind of lame mixes without mastering and spare all expenses, as I can now record for free.

I just think it would suck to release subpar recordings because I can no longer afford that, due to never recouping costs. It sucks that this is what the result is. I think my stuff is better than that, but maybe I'm just a conceited prick
#25
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#26
Is it a viable genre? Sure, but there's certainly less of a market for it than more "traditional" sounding music (artists with lyrics, and more "traditional" song structures).

The first thing I think of when I think of the potential of a guitar based instrumental act is the fact that your potential audience for such a project will be lesser than someone starting a "standard" rock act. There's a large portion of music fans, especially the "casual" fans, who place a value in lyrics and vocals, therefore you're not likely to draw them into a show or sell your products to them. Your demographic for an instrumental project can basically be boiled down to other musicians, non-musicians who place priority on the actual instrumentation of a song rather than vocals/lyrics, and of course, gender-wise it will be a predominately male audience.

As far as the music itself, to really have some sort of success (whether locally/regionally or a larger scale) there has to be something unique about your music to attract people. Whether its mind-blowing technicality, great song structuring, atmospheric qualities, or something else, having a a trait that's fairly stand-out or unique is a huge plus for an instrumental project.

Also on the topic of the music itself, I feel that an instrumental project playing live has less margin for error in their performances than a "traditional" act. Vocals help to cover up mistakes and discrepancies in music for a standard rock band, but when there's no vocals to cover up any errors (plus the fact the instrumental music places less of a priority on "stage presence"), smaller mistakes will be magnified.

There are some positive things I can think of about the prospects of starting an instrumental group. The first being that with the internet, getting your music heard by potential fans is easier than it would have been a decade ago. There are plenty of sites like the one we're posting on right now that will have a nice concentration of people who are likely to be interested in instrumental music.

Depending on the genre of instrumental music, you might be able to find gigs as an opener for more traditional bands even as an instrumental act, especially if you can get on a bill based around metal or rock acts (likely heavier and/or guitar based rock).

There's certainly potential in an instrumental act, but remember to have somewhat tempered expectations to your level of growth (especially short term) and overall success.

All this being said, I've wanted to start a side project aside from my main act to exercise my more progressive, fusion, and instrumental rock influences. I'm not wanting to be entirely instrumental though, rather have a ~90 minute max set based around about 8-10 original tunes (3-4 would be instrumental, the rest with vocals) and a handful of unique versions of select covers to fill out the set.
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#27
Instrumental shred guitar is mostly for guys who masturbate to guitars. In all seriousness... no it is not a viable genre, even though I do like a few of them (Guthrie Govan for example) who do somehow make a living playing (and probably teaching.)
#28
Quote by Erc
Instrumental shred guitar is mostly for guys who masturbate to guitars. In all seriousness... no it is not a viable genre, even though I do like a few of them (Guthrie Govan for example) who do somehow make a living playing (and probably teaching.)

How does the fact that it's not massively popular make it "non-viable"? If popularity were an indication of viability of genres, then 95% of modern genres would no longer exist.
#30
Tosin Abasi is better than Vai or Satch imo...

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#31
^Technically, of course he is, guitarists are only going to get more and more technically proficient as time goes by.

Violin virtuosos from the Baroque period wouldn't be able to play Penderecki's Capriccio for Violin and Orchestra.
#32
Increasing technical virtuosity isn't an absolute, the 'clarino' style of Baroque trumpet playing is more technically demanding than the parts given to trumpet players in classical period orchestra's.
.
#33
Now, I know we're talking about shred here (skimmed through) but how about acoustic fingerpickers, someone like Andy McKee? Or maybe a solo jazz guitar player like Joe Pass (though it maybe hard to top an amazing guitarist like that).
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#34
Quote by AWACS
Now, I know we're talking about shred here (skimmed through) but how about acoustic fingerpickers, someone like Andy McKee? Or maybe a solo jazz guitar player like Joe Pass (though it maybe hard to top an amazing guitarist like that).


I agree 100%. Take a tapping virtuoso like Stanley Jordan, or a Jazz master like Joe Pass and compare technicality. Satch is by far my favorite guitarist (going to see him live next month), and he's incredible, but he plays a different style of music, with effects, and is technically a master in different areas that a musician who focuses on other aspects of guitar music. Just look at Mickey Baker's jazz books. There are an incredible variety of oddball chords that Satriani would never play, much less be able to follow the rapid chord changes that a Baker-trained jazz musician would be able to perform. Obviously, if he trained himself, he'd be able to do it, but he has no need.
#35
I Don't find Tosin Abasi that advanced of a guitarist.

He sure as hell is creative though, but give him a 6 string and marshall amp, and he would never get what he has now, so doesn't make him that an "fx" player as well?

Also only shit I heard was drowned in fx and insane compression, he could probably breathe on the string and probably get a full sustaining note, so how good is he in playing dynamically?

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#36
Thanks for the reply but as my post said I saw a Red Q5 but had to buy it with a Virgin Plan, which I don't want, since we are with Telus. I want to buy the Q5 outright and use it on the Telus network
#37
Quote by xxdarrenxx
I Don't find Tosin Abasi that advanced of a guitarist.

He sure as hell is creative though, but give him a 6 string and marshall amp, and he would never get what he has now, so doesn't make him that an "fx" player as well?

Also only shit I heard was drowned in fx and insane compression, he could probably breathe on the string and probably get a full sustaining note, so how good is he in playing dynamically?

Try listening to his 1st album. He has a lot of fairly interesting parts that use different dynamics.
Edit: As an example, check out "Behaving Badly".

To me, he's not advanced in the sense of writing playing "virtually" impossible guitar parts. He's an excellent composer with a good sense of song flow, and melody who uses interesting rhythm parts, Jazz-style chord voicings, and arpeggiated chord voicings.
Last edited by crazysam23_Atax at Sep 1, 2013,
#38
Making a good portion of money off of music that's akin to Satch and Vai, like in the '80's, is highly unlikely. The reason for this is that so many guitarists have already released the groundbreaking albums, over-saturated the market, and then became another passing fad in the mainstream eye. Now, playing percussive-style instrumental guitar music or "fx" guitar playing, like Abasi or Mansoor, is more viable, but I took it that that's not the kind of music you're trying to make.
#39
Quote by crazysam23_Atax
Try listening to his 1st album. He has a lot of fairly interesting parts that use different dynamics.
Edit: As an example, check out "Behaving Badly".

To me, he's not advanced in the sense of writing playing "virtually" impossible guitar parts. He's an excellent composer with a good sense of song flow, and melody who uses interesting rhythm parts, Jazz-style chord voicings, and arpeggiated chord voicings.



That track has the most compressed clean guitar sound I've ever heard.

Compressed <---> dynamically.

I understand that this somehow became part of the sound of "djent" or modern metal, but it lacks the entire suspense/buildup I like in music/sound.

We could debate that the poly-rhythmic divisions, syncopation and (good) drums make up for the dynamics, but that seems more a subject of composition/rhythm and ..drum playing.

I think he has excellent timing, but there's something to be said for tone control/dynamics.

TLDR;

This is not semantic; I mean the actual dynamics in sound.

ie. Imagine a violin playing everything as loud and instantaneous.

I'd like to hear a track with more air from him, where he plays ballady/rubato inspired.

Petrucci for example is more "2-sided". He has his brick walled alternate picking lines, but he also has his breathy airy moments (too little imo).

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Last edited by xxdarrenxx at Sep 2, 2013,
#40
I think the best example of suspense/build up in Animals as Leaders' discography is "CAFO", but I would also agree that the production of the first album is overly compressed in places. Their second album isn't so bad. Listen to "David" as an example.
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