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#1
I was taking part in another thread I found myself writing about the difference between natural "talent" and thousands of hours of actual playing experience and thinking about the importance of both. When I first started playing I thought I was hot sh*t because I felt I was as good or slightly better than any of the people I was playing with locally. Over the years I went into and out of bands with various players who were pretty much on the same experience level as me. Finally I was asked to join a fairly successful band that had a very good reputation, worked a lot and was on the verge of having big things happen. As I learned quickly the lead guitar player in that band was incredible and played beautifully with emotion and technique far greater than any musician I had worked with previously. He made everything look easy. I saw he had a "gift", a special talent something I had never encountered before. To me up till that point, talent was a word I would use to describe good players and performers who practiced hard, studied and learned to play well. This guy was different and for me this was a life changing experience because I realized that what he had naturally, I didn't and never would. I had experience but he had massive talent. That realization depressed me.

This was my first (not my last) encounter with someone who had natural talent. Knowing I didn't possess that kind of talent didn't stop me from playing, but it almost did. Now after many years of live playing experience I am comfortable with the level I play at and when learning a new song becomes a challenge I often think back all those years ago when I found out what real talent is.

Can experience ever overcome real talent?
Yes I am guitarded also, nice to meet you.
Last edited by Rickholly74 at Jul 24, 2015,
#2
We are all different and bring different things to the table. I am glad there are those people out there who learn very quickly and "can hear it once and play it". I am not one of those and realize I must work harder at it than many. Eventually I can get to a pretty high level with enough time in the woodshed but I don't see it as a competition with others of innate ability. Set your own goals and work towards them. Ignore other players goals because they come from a different starting point.
"Your sound is in your hands as much as anything. It's the way you pick, and the way you hold the guitar, more than it is the amp or the guitar you use." -- Stevie Ray Vaughan

"Anybody can play. The note is only 20 percent. The attitude of the motherfucker who plays it is 80 percent." -- Miles Davis

Guthrie on tone: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zmohdG9lLqY
#3
For a straight up answer, no. Natural talent will always produce superior results.

Experience will just exploit that talent even more.

Can experience make all those great classical composers better than what they were? Can experience make Guthrie Govan better than what he already is? No. Cuz they are already gifted.

Why is it that Gordon Ramsay has achieved so much more than all the other chefs that walked through Marco Pierre White's kitchens? Ambition and... talent.

Inb4 haters gonna hate.
Last edited by mdc at Jul 24, 2015,
#4
You know, Malcolm Gladwell argues (with evidence) in "Outliers" that, essentially, talent just IS experience. I'm not going to repeat all of his arguments here, but the short version is that most people we look at as incredibly talented have put in way more work than we have.

I mean, a top classical musician is working on his skills for hours every single day. You could be somebody who works very very hard ... and you're not going to be working as hard as him.

In a larger sense, I find this kind of question pointless. The answer doesn't change anything.

Are you happy with how good you are? If so, great. If not, work harder. You will get better. Most people "stall out" because they get good enough, and stop putting in the hours. In your case, I suspect you stopped working that harder because you were already as good or better than the people around you, so you felt there was no benefit to being batter.

But now you do. Now you see that you've got another level you can aim for.

So the only relevant question is - are you going to work to get better, or not?

Furthermore, lets say that you do have a ceiling, because of "natural talent" - whatever that is. Do you really have any reason AT ALL to think that you've reached that ceiling? If you haven't spent a long period working hard with guidance so that you're working on the right things, and seen no improvement, then you really have no evidence to suggest that you've hit your ceiling.
#5
Quote by mdc
For a straight up answer, no. Natural talent will always produce superior results.

Experience will just exploit that talent even more.

Can experience make all those great classical composers better than what they were? Can experience make Guthrie Govan better than what he already is? No. Cuz they are already gifted.

Inb4 haters gonna hate.


Are you being serious?
#6
Quote by HotspurJr
You know, Malcolm Gladwell argues (with evidence) in "Outliers" that, essentially, talent just IS experience. I'm not going to repeat all of his arguments here, but the short version is that most people we look at as incredibly talented have put in way more work than we have.


There are a lot of criticisms of that book.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Outliers_%28book%29#Reception

Quote by HotspurJr

In a larger sense, I find this kind of question pointless. The answer doesn't change anything.

Are you happy with how good you are? If so, great. If not, work harder. You will get better.


Good point. I would tend to agree. (though I would put "(probably)" between "will" and "get", just to hedge my bets (you might be practising the wrong way, for example).

It also depends on how talented you are (or profoundly untalented), and how hard you're willing to work. There aren't just two extremes, "talented" (where you don't have to work at all) and "untalented" (where you will be rubbish nomatter how much work you put in).
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Last edited by Dave_Mc at Jul 24, 2015,
#7
Quote by Serotonite
Are you being serious?

Yeah. I honestly think natural ability will overcome experience. Experience is incredibly important, yes. But in the end it only aids and exploits that natural talent.

And of course hard work is involved. Sometimes in life you have to sacrifice things in order to achieve what you want.
Last edited by mdc at Jul 24, 2015,
#8
I know that feeling. Most of the time it comes when I see a musician who is the same age as I am accomplishing the things that I feel like I should have accomplished by now. I know I should be inspired when I see players like that, but it's kinda hard sometimes, you know? But I guess it's what one does within his/her years of playing that matters rather than the number of years one has played for.

And to add to that, each person's brain is simply wired differently from everyone else's, so to speak. It may all come more naturally to other people. But I think that also leads to another good thing - we get all different sorts of music. And what one does with what one innately has - well, let's just say it can lead to all different sorts of stuff.

The 'envious' feeling is a hard one to shake off, but after a while I pick up the guitar again. Then I make music. That's the thing - in the end, it's just you and the music. \m/

/peace out
#9
Quote by HotspurJr
You know, Malcolm Gladwell argues (with evidence) in "Outliers" that, essentially, talent just IS experience. I'm not going to repeat all of his arguments here, but the short version is that most people we look at as incredibly talented have put in way more work than we have.

I mean, a top classical musician is working on his skills for hours every single day. You could be somebody who works very very hard ... and you're not going to be working as hard as him.

In a larger sense, I find this kind of question pointless. The answer doesn't change anything.

Are you happy with how good you are? If so, great. If not, work harder. You will get better. Most people "stall out" because they get good enough, and stop putting in the hours. In your case, I suspect you stopped working that harder because you were already as good or better than the people around you, so you felt there was no benefit to being batter.

But now you do. Now you see that you've got another level you can aim for.

So the only relevant question is - are you going to work to get better, or not?

Furthermore, lets say that you do have a ceiling, because of "natural talent" - whatever that is. Do you really have any reason AT ALL to think that you've reached that ceiling? If you haven't spent a long period working hard with guidance so that you're working on the right things, and seen no improvement, then you really have no evidence to suggest that you've hit your ceiling.


Well, from personal experience Malcolm is clearly wrong. I have taught guitar, swimming, skiing, sailing, and high performance driving for many years. Some folks just "get it" right away with no experience at all. Lots of 15 yr old phenoms out there with zero experience and a clear innate ability they were born with. Others have to work harder at it. Some will never be very good at a particular skill because they were simply not wired that way.

The second part is absolutely true. You can never really know where your talent ceiling is unless you put in the hours. Sometimes you can move the ceiling a bit. It's not a competition though, just be the best you can be.

The question now becomes: "is this the most effective use of your time on earth?" Personally I suck at golf and have played enough to recognize a steep learning curve applies to me while many of my friends play well easily. I could spend 20k hours working at golf to be a better than average player, or I could spend another 1000 hrs and be a damn good guitarist. Choose wisely.
"Your sound is in your hands as much as anything. It's the way you pick, and the way you hold the guitar, more than it is the amp or the guitar you use." -- Stevie Ray Vaughan

"Anybody can play. The note is only 20 percent. The attitude of the motherfucker who plays it is 80 percent." -- Miles Davis

Guthrie on tone: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zmohdG9lLqY
#10
Quote by mdc
Yeah. I honestly think natural ability will overcome experience. Experience is incredibly important, yes. But in the end it only aids and exploits that natural talent.

And of course hard work is involved. Sometimes in life you have to sacrifice things in order to achieve what you want.


I think it depends on what kind of experience it is. Obviously, someone with natural talent will pick things up faster and will practice more efficiently. Therefore 2 years of experience will be significantly greater for them than someone who doesn't really know what their doing. After all, if you practice the wrong thing for 2 years you aren't going to be getting any better, and that's a hurdle that the naturally talented don't have to face. But if the experience entails good teaching, self-discipline and good practice, then the layman could easily catch up with the naturally talented with a bit more hard work.

Basically, experience itself does nothing, the right kind of experience works wonders. The naturally talented get a head start, but nobody can come out of the womb with full knowledge of music theory and fingers agile enough to play anything particularly difficult, that's something that hard work ad experience alone can give.
#11
Talent is not important. Experience is not important.

The only thing that matters is hard work and discipline.

Also I had to read that stupid book and the whole study is silly. There's plenty of people who have been doing things for 10k hours and still suck at them.

Discipline.
"There are two styles of music. Good music and bad music." -Duke Ellington

"If you really think about it, the guitar is a pointless instrument." - Robert Fripp
#12
Quote by Jet Penguin
Talent is not important. Experience is not important.

The only thing that matters is hard work and discipline.


Surely, hard work + discipline = Talent and experience?
#13
Hard work + discipline = Experience. It doesn't equal talent.
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#14
Talent will yield quicker, and perhaps higher. Experience will be slower, but IMO will be worth more.

I can train much harder than a 6'4" Kenya at sprinting, but he won't need as much training to beat me at my peak as a 5'8" white guy. If we had equal amounts of training, he would destroy me.
I think guitar is similar to this. Some people are just naturally better at some things, and in order to match them, other not so talented people need to train more to be as good.
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#15
Quote by Rickholly74
Hard work + discipline = Experience. It doesn't equal talent.

This is right. Talent is something special. Not everyone has it.
#16
Another interesting question - what constitutes musical talent? A good sense for musical imagery? Absolute pitch? It's a very interesting subject.

Oliver Sacks' Musicophilia is worth checking out. You guys may want to look up the case of Tony Cicoria as well.
#17
I think you are right. I work with a lot of vocalists because my bands always have decent harmony vocals (3-4 parts). Some people can hear and create their own harmonies and others can't. I have worked with great lead singers who for whatever reason cannot find or remember their harmonies. It's just another talent. You can show them the part over and over but they don't have that ability to hear it.
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Last edited by Rickholly74 at Jul 24, 2015,
#18
Quote by mdc
This is right. Talent is something special. Not everyone has it.


Oh well that depends how we define talent. Innate talent is something that not everyone has, but if we just take talent to mean above average aptitude, then my post is correct. When someone tells a musician that they are talented, they don't usually mean "you can do this because you were born with it" they usually mean "clearly you've worked very hard and practised daily to get where you are now, and the results are very impressive."

That's just how I use the word, it might not be the Oxford definition though.
#19
Quote by HotspurJr
You know, Malcolm Gladwell argues (with evidence) in "Outliers" that, essentially, talent just IS experience.


If you have mad chops you have talent, but if you have never played in a real-world situation (bands, session work, teaching, etc) you don't have experience. On the other hand, you could play in plenty of bands and not have any talent.
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#20
Spelling is probably more important.

...modes and scales are still useless.


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#21
I don't see myself as talented, but I have heard other people tell me I am talented. I'm not that great an instrumentalist, but I think I'm a pretty good musician. I "know" music. But how did I get to know music? I just have a lot of experience. When it comes to music theory or "understanding" music, at first I didn't understand it. It took a pretty long time to actually start understanding it. But at one point it all just clicked. (Well, I know what to blame - the way I was taught theory pretty much sucked.) I think my "talent" is understanding music, and I guess people would see myself as a "musical" person. But as I said, it took a long time to really start understanding music. I don't think I was born with any special abilities. I got where I am through experience.


What is natural and what is experience? I don't know. I think how good you are at something has a lot to do with understanding things and being motivated. You can teach a lot of students the same way, and some get it and some don't, but that doesn't mean those who get it are more talented than those who don't. The reason may also be that the way you teach works better for certain people, and for others it doesn't. Or maybe those people are more motivated.

How can you tell whether something is natural or not? I don't think somebody with "natural talent" is always going to be better than somebody without it. I think for some people it may be easier to start playing music or whatever, but once you get better, it's more about how much time you spend practicing. In the end, playing an instrument is pretty mechanical. How "musically" you play is another thing - but I think you can learn that too. Everybody needs to practice. Look at any great musician - they all have spent a lot of time practicing their instrument. For example Jimi Hendrix played the guitar all the time. Same with Eddie Van Halen. When his friends partied, he just played the guitar.


I'm studying music pedagogy, so for me it would not be reasonable to think that why somebody doesn't learn something is their fault (they just don't have the talent). That's just against my values. I think anybody can learn if they are interested in the subject and motivated to learn it. It's most likely my fault. I may not be clear enough with my explanations, or maybe the way I teach doesn't fit the student. Or maybe my teaching is not motivating enough. My goal would be to make everybody understand what I'm trying to teach. When you find something interesting, you will want to learn more about it. And you will also learn a lot faster. Motivation is IMO the most important factor.

That's IMO how all teachers should think. Otherwise the teaching methods will never improve. Because if you think the fault is always in your students, you will just keep on using the old methods, because the students lack the talent so they just can't understand what you are talking about.

I attended a lecture about "musical talent". The main point of the lecture was that yes, people are at different levels, and there may be a gene/genes that have to do with musicality. But everybody needs to practice. For some it's just a bit easier, and they don't need to put that much effort in it. But most people are pretty much on the same level. Most people are "musical".


I don't think talent should be used as an excuse to suck or not to practice. If you don't believe in yourself, learning anything will be very difficult. "I'm just not talented enough" is a stupid excuse.


Quote by Rickholly74
I think you are right. I work with a lot of vocalists because my bands always have decent harmony vocals (3-4 parts). Some people can hear and create their own harmonies and others can't. I have worked with great lead singers who for whatever reason cannot find or remember their harmonies. It's just another talent. You can show them the part over and over but they don't have that ability to hear it.

Or, you know, maybe they just have never practiced improvising harmonies?

Ask a classical orchestra musician to improvise a solo. It's pretty likely they may not be able to (well, I'm not trying to generalize - I know today a lot of musicians know a lot of styles, and I know that some classical pieces may also require improvisation). Does this mean they are not talented? No. It means they haven't practiced improvising a solo. It has a lot to do with how you approach music. If you have only played from sheet music, it is pretty unlikely you could learn a song by ear. But if somebody played solely by ear from the day one, they would be able to play a lot of stuff by ear, and maybe their improvisation would also be better (most likely would).

In a similar way those singers may just have started adding their own "twist" to the songs they have learned. And the other singers have always learned the songs note for note, and if it's not note for note, it's wrong. I think it's a lot about your mentality. I started learning music from notation, so for me it's a bit harder to improvise, but I have started doing it more because we jam with our band every now and then, and it doesn't feel that strange any more (I also had to play jazz gigs in the military band and I was pretty much forced to learn to improvise - and I did get better). You can learn to do it if you practice it.
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Last edited by MaggaraMarine at Jul 24, 2015,
#22
You're all wrong because OP is asking which is more "impotant" not which is more "IMPORTANT".
#23
Oh, well in that case, it's OP.
"There are two styles of music. Good music and bad music." -Duke Ellington

"If you really think about it, the guitar is a pointless instrument." - Robert Fripp
#24
Quote by GoldenGuitar
You're all wrong because OP is asking which is more "impotant" not which is more "IMPORTANT".


I would have guessed that since you're so eager to learn everything you would have loved to learn about a fairly common phonetic slang spelling used by speakers of certain non-rhotic dialects.
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#25
We must be talking strictly technical abilities here, since being talented could also be coming up with creative melodies and songs that people like. Problem here is, that such a "talent" is not comparable.
We've all experienced people praising a certain artist, and you can't help but think: "Man. This guy has got to be good. I know his music is going to be!"
But when you hear the music, it seems extremely uninteresting. It has happened to me a ton of times. Some would argue that such an artist has LOADS of natural talent and is a genius, while I might think he's pretty mediocre.


There are many aspects of music. If you compare yourself to other musicians in terms of speed and technical ability, you will most likely always look bad. There is ALWAYS going to be someone who is faster than you (almost).
And most likely, you'll think that other peoples ideas are much better and more creative than your own. It's very rare to find someone, who praises their own work. Sure they might be proud and believe what they've written is good, but if you ask them, it's not as good as what THEY consider good.

I believe we all struggle with these thoughts, at least I do. I just try to look at the bright side of things, and there might be some aspects of music that I'm better at, even though he is much faster than me. Maybe I'm better at coming up with vocal melodies that people like?

My point is, someone out there might think of you (OP) as you did about that other guitarist. All the melodies and songs you write, are just exactly what they like, hence they will probably call out your "natural talent" for songwriting, like you did with his technical abilities. Thing is; Those people have no idea how much time you spent practicing.
Last edited by KrisHQ at Jul 24, 2015,
#26
^Good stuff.

I usually find that the people who tell me how talented I am have zero conception of how many hours I've spent training. Not playing, but training, and then playing on top of that.

Maybe I had 'talent' (I doubt it), but everything I can do musically is a direct result of me sitting down and working hard.
"There are two styles of music. Good music and bad music." -Duke Ellington

"If you really think about it, the guitar is a pointless instrument." - Robert Fripp
#27
Define "talent".
Define "natural ability".

There's a lot of assumptions here that special differences in musicality can be inborn. Has that been proved? Not AFAIK.

Most people who talk about talent - in the sense of an innate musical gift - are only observing musicians who are extremely skilled, and being unable to imagine that they could possibly have learned it.
That's simply a failure of imaginatiion.

It's quite possible that differences are inborn. But - from what I've seen - the more you examine these supposedly "talented" people, the more you see years - decades - of commitment to their craft. What they tend to have in common is (a) starting young, often very young, and (b) sticking with it to the exclusion of most other stuff, due to a consuming passion for it.
The more you look, IOW, the less you need to hypothesize about an innate disposition. (Except possibly one towards patience and discipline.)

We all know that the younger you start learning something, the quicker you learn it, and the more "natural" that skill becomes, the more embedded in your character. It not only looks natural from outside, it feels natural subjectively. It can feel as natural as a mother tongue - and we know we weren't born speaking that, we learned it.

My personal view - for which I also have no evidence (other than sporadic reading of the research): we are all born musical, at least with musical potential. (If we aren't, how come music is so universal, how come we can all understand and appreciate it?) But most of use lose it, because we don't use it - the "gene" (if it is one) is not "switched on", and the capacity begins to atrophy. We can still pick it up later, re-awaken it, but the longer we leave it the harder it is. Once out of infancy, in particular, it falls off quite quickly.
I compare it to the capacity for language. That gets switched on early, because the environment makes it obvious how important it is. Our sonic sensitivity is directed towards speech, making sense of that. Very few infants experience music in the same way, as something significant that they need to pay attention to. Those that do (I believe) are the ones that end up appearing "talented" later on.
(Childhood is not so much about acquiring skills, expanding one's brain; it's about jettisoning unused potentials in order to focus on direct practicalities and develop those skills: the stuff we're faced with every day. A narrowing down rather than an opening out, in order to move forward where it matters.)

There is a particular cultural attitude in the west (and in some other cultures) that sees music as the preserve of a special, professional elite. The Romantic notion of the "genius" (the man - it's usually a man - with a hotline to God), and the modern star culture. That helps preserve the "talent myth": the idea that unless one is born special, there's no point in even trying.

There are other cultures (in Africa at least) which see it quite differently, in which everyone partakes in music to some extent. Everyone can sing, because everyone has a voice. There might still be variations in skill or interest, but no sense that special talent is required. There are no "geniuses", but no one is "tone deaf" either.
Last edited by jongtr at Jul 24, 2015,
#28
^+1

(theo be proud I kept the zero's out)
"There are two styles of music. Good music and bad music." -Duke Ellington

"If you really think about it, the guitar is a pointless instrument." - Robert Fripp
#29
Jet, I like that line "Not playing, but training, then playing on top of that". Perfect.
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#30
i prefer to think that what people have perceived as talent is really just different people having different inclinations, or wanting a certain thing to varying degrees.
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#32
^ Hahahaha well played.

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The question now becomes: "is this the most effective use of your time on earth?" Personally I suck at golf and have played enough to recognize a steep learning curve applies to me while many of my friends play well easily. I could spend 20k hours working at golf to be a better than average player, or I could spend another 1000 hrs and be a damn good guitarist. Choose wisely.


That is an excellent point, and that's what I always think. (Especially with the people who act like you're lazy if you're not willing to do it.)

Sure- if you put in 15 hours a day at something you're mediocre at, maybe you can get pretty good. Maybe even good enough to do it for a career. (Though I would also caution that if you have to work 10 times as hard at the start, it's probably not going to get any easier- as you get up the difficulty scale you'll have to work harder again, just to keep up. You also might find that you hit a point where you can no longer keep up, because people who do "get it" more easily than you do are also capable of putting in hard work, and if that happens you're up the proverbial creek without a paddle.)

How much fun is your life going to be if you have to work 10 times as hard as everyone else at the same job/hobby?

Life's too short.

(In my opinion.)

Quote by Jet Penguin

The only thing that matters is hard work and discipline.


Aren't those two things?

I pretty much agree with MaggaraMarine. And KrisHQ made some good points too- there's more than one talent in music as well.

Basically I usually sit on the fence. Far as I'm aware the current research suggests that the two are so closely intertwined (nature versus nurture I mean) it's almost impossible to separate the two out. But odds are a bit of both.
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Last edited by Dave_Mc at Jul 24, 2015,
#33
Have you ever noticed that all those people that are deemed as "talented" are also extremely passionate, and literally eat, shit, piss, and dream about the things they do? I've never met a "talented" musician that was not one bit dedicated all they ever really talk about is music, and not to mention they're extremely humble. You might talk them up, and make them seem so great about the skill level they're at, but any real passionate musician will know that there's an infinite amount of material out there that they have yet to scratch the surface upon. No matter how good you get you can always be 10 times better than were you're at currently right now. Maybe you feel this way right now O.P because like you stated you thought you were "hot shit". So you decided not to really take your practice seriously anymore because you viewed music as a competition, and because you saw yourself being better than the locals around you. Well the truth is any musician worth their grain of salt will know that music isn't a competition.What music really is about, is being a community..


You can learn so much from every other musician around you, and they can also even learn from you. There's really no pinnacle or thresh hold to where your ability can reach. There's literally an infinite amount of ways to approaching things in how you practice, and learn. Not to mention how many different musical styles there are out there to learn; that a lot of us haven't even scratched the surface upon.. It all has to do with having a certain mind set, and understanding that having self discipline is key to really developing on an instrument; or in any other aspect in life, in general. Those musicians out there that have reached a mastery of skill on their instrument have nothing, but discipline, and passionate.


A good example of this is Paco de lucia; you think he could of really have reached a skill level in guitar playing so high by just being talented? Hell no the guy studied, and lived what he did, and that's why he was so great. He kept expanding his horizons by playing, and learning from all types of musicians. He took so much from so many different musical genres for example "gypsy jazz", and that's why he was so skilled because he kept learning..


The guy you're talking about deeming him as "talented" I can assure you he lives his music that's why he's as good, as he is. These things don't tend to happen by accident, and wishful thinking sure as hell won't get anyone to the level where they want to be at. It takes hard work, and focus. Not to mention you have to be highly critical with your skill set, and be realistic. Realize that anything is possible because limitations are merely mental, but you have to put in the quality work not the "quantity" of work into what you're doing. You have to build a high level of knowledge to understand what you're truly doing, and when it comes to learning it's a never ending experience there are no caps to the levels that you can reach if you put your mind to it.
Last edited by Black_devils at Jul 24, 2015,
#34
^ Don't make me post that Chrissie Wellington Wikipedia link again...
I'm an idiot and I accidentally clicked the "Remove all subscriptions" button. If it seems like I'm ignoring you, I'm not, I'm just no longer subscribed to the thread. If you quote me or do the @user thing at me, hopefully it'll notify me through my notifications and I'll get back to you.
Quote by K33nbl4d3
I'll have to put the Classic T models on my to-try list. Shame the finish options there are Anachronism Gold, Nuclear Waste and Aged Clown, because in principle the plaintop is right up my alley.

Quote by K33nbl4d3
Presumably because the CCF (Combined Corksniffing Forces) of MLP and Gibson forums would rise up against them, plunging the land into war.

Quote by T00DEEPBLUE
Et tu, br00tz?
#35
Quote by Cajundaddy
Well, from personal experience Malcolm is clearly wrong. I have taught guitar, swimming, skiing, sailing, and high performance driving for many years. Some folks just "get it" right away with no experience at all. Lots of 15 yr old phenoms out there with zero experience and a clear innate ability they were born with. Others have to work harder at it. Some will never be very good at a particular skill because they were simply not wired that way.


Whether or not he's wrong, I think it's relevant to the OP's relationship with the new guitarist, because, quite frankly, how the hell would he know if that guitarist was "talented" when he first picked up the instrument or not, or if he's worked his ass off with it, much harder and smarter than the OP has, or both.

That gets to my main point - which you agree with, I suspect - that it's madness to look at someone better than you, say "oh, they're more talented than me," and use that as an argument to quit or put limitations on yourself absent substantial other evidence.

The notion that some people can create harmonies and others can't is pretty flimsy evidence in favor a of a talent-heavy model, since I don't think anyone is born knowing harmony, and it is something people get taught. It seems like the OP is convinced, from looking at the finished product, that these other people got their via "talent" and that's assuming facts not in evidence.
#36
Learning existing material or theory isn't the only measure of talent.
My guitar strength is in learning and playing songs written by others.
I can play pretty much anything that's out there.

But when I try to create a riff or freestyle solos I cant do shit, ive tried for years it's just not what I'm good at.

I'd almost be willing to trade all of my technical skill and theory knowledge for an ounce of creativity
#39
Quote by Sean0913
I know of no one that has lots of experience, that isn't also talented. No one.

Best,

Sean


Salesmen in guitar stores.

Quote by EyeNon15
I can play pretty much anything that's out there.


I love when people say that.
There's no such thing; there never was. Where I am going you cannot follow me now.
Last edited by theogonia777 at Jul 24, 2015,
#40
I think talent or natural ability reveals itself as a short learning curve. A highly talented person is able to advance quickly compared to the general population. This is true in music, sports, mathematics and other areas of skill as well. Whether they go on and take these natural abilities to the highest level depends on practice, discipline, determination, and desire. A person with average natural ability may be able to reach as high over time but they will have to work a lot harder at it.

Examples:

Mozart- composing on the piano at age 5. Enriched environment, short learning curve.

Tiger Woods- Playing exceptional golf at age 12. Short learning curve.

Gymnastics- The Chinese are well known for testing athletes at an early age and fast track the ones with high natural ability.

Ski lessons- We had a group of 8 kids between 5-8yrs, all 1st timers for one weekend of lessons. All had the same instruction, equipment, and time on the slopes. After 1 day, half the class was split because the more advanced kids could negotiate intermediate runs already. Others were still falling a lot on the bunny slope. One we nicknamed the bomber. She was 5 and had essentially mastered the basics in one day. We took her to the top of the mountain and she fearlessly blasted down the advanced runs in control. High natural ability, short learning curve.

Swim lessons- A group of college age non-swimmers. Some were from Africa and were highly afraid of the water. Others simply never learned. Same instruction, same time in the pool, same practice routine. A few of them mastered all four basic strokes by semester end and were good swimmers. A few were able to save themselves from drowning but had not developed good stroke mechanics yet. Two learned very little all semester. They came in with more comfort in the water than the Africans but just didn't improve much. I would say they all applied similar levels of effort. Different natural abilities and learning curves.
"Your sound is in your hands as much as anything. It's the way you pick, and the way you hold the guitar, more than it is the amp or the guitar you use." -- Stevie Ray Vaughan

"Anybody can play. The note is only 20 percent. The attitude of the motherfucker who plays it is 80 percent." -- Miles Davis

Guthrie on tone: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zmohdG9lLqY
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