#1
I don't want a poll because I would like detailed answers. Which is more important ability or song writing? For example (only example, not purpose of the thread) would you want to be able to play like Steve Vai , but not be able to write anything or be like Kurt Cobain, great writer but you can't play amazingly.

(Also I am NOT saying Steve Vai can't write and I am NOT saying Kurt Cobain isn't an amazing player, I want my opinion to be unbiased in this thread)
Last edited by CobainBohnam at Sep 2, 2008,
#2
songwriting is much more important,
look at the beatles, none of them are great at their instruments, but their songwriting affected the lives of countless amounts of people, while being one of the most influential bands of all time
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#3
I have to agree, while being a great instrumentalist makes a song better, if it's not a good song to begin with no one cares. The most dedicated fans will remember players, but the masses remember the song and could care less who did it.
#4
Quote by Crimson Ghost
songwriting is much more important,
look at the beatles, none of them are great at their instruments, but their songwriting affected the lives of countless amounts of people, while being one of the most influential bands of all time


+1

Songwriting ftw.

Look at Bob Dylan as well.
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#5
Quote by Crimson Ghost
songwriting is much more important,
look at the beatles, none of them are great at their instruments, but their songwriting affected the lives of countless amounts of people, while being one of the most influential bands of all time


I beg to differ. What about George Harrison? He was no Steve Vai, but for the class of music he played he was an amazing guitarist.

Anyway, to TS, I believe that ability and vocals express the same thing but in different ways. Both can express strong emotions and both can express them without the other.
#6
Quote by gts86
I beg to differ. What about George Harrison? He was no Steve Vai, but for the class of music he played he was an amazing guitarist.

Anyway, to TS, I believe that ability and vocals express the same thing but in different ways. Both can express strong emotions and both can express them without the other.


actually, paul mccartney was better than george at guitar, thats the reason he started recording guitar solos. George was only better when the band started
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Ted: Remember when she was a senior and we were freshmen?
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#7
Quote by Crimson Ghost
actually, paul mccartney was better than george at guitar, thats the reason he started recording guitar solos. George was only better when the band started



I was just pointing it out to prove my point; I wasn't saying who was better. But I still enjoy George a bit more
#8
Do you mean songwriting as in composing of music or just writing lyrics that fit over some chord progressions? Musicians who indulge in both or either are considered to be songwriters. On that basis, Steve Vai is just as good a songwriter as say, John Lennon. Lennon put powerful words over simple chords, Vai puts emotion and power into his music which requires no words.
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#10
Quote by gts86
I beg to differ. What about George Harrison? He was no Steve Vai, but for the class of music he played he was an amazing guitarist.

Anyway, to TS, I believe that ability and vocals express the same thing but in different ways. Both can express strong emotions and both can express them without the other.
George's songwriting is extremely underrated, with and without The Beatles, he's wrote some of the best songs, period.

But anyways, I think songwriting is the most important thing in a song. I thought about it more, it would be hard for me to listen to a song without a catchy melody, but any sign of unoriginality in the lyrics automatically turn me off.

I think lyrics really speak to people, most to all of my favorite quotes that effect me deeply have come from songs and their artists(Syd Barrett, Jim Morrison, John Lennon, etc..)
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#11
Quote by plinkyjr109
I have to agree, while being a great instrumentalist makes a song better, if it's not a good song to begin with no one cares. The most dedicated fans will remember players, but the masses remember the song and could care less who did it.


I disagree, look at many technical death metal bands.
Although Brain Drill's lyrics are fun to listen to while playing halo
#12
I will listen to and enjoy any song that is musically delicious. If there is a deep and meaningful message I connect with then that's a plus, but if there isn't it doesn't take the song down. Example: I can't listen to Bob Dylan but I can listen to the [mostly] meaningless lyrics in metal because they simply don't matter. Hell, half the metal songs would be better as instrumentals

Then there are songs like "Time" and "Wish You Were Here" which have both and are in a class of their own... PERFECTION!
#13
Steve Vai is actually very competent in the theory aspects of music, and is a technically excellent composer, as he's been taking classes since the age of 12.
#14
Quote by spider666
Do you mean songwriting as in composing of music or just writing lyrics that fit over some chord progressions? Musicians who indulge in both or either are considered to be songwriters. On that basis, Steve Vai is just as good a songwriter as say, John Lennon. Lennon put powerful words over simple chords, Vai puts emotion and power into his music which requires no words.



Thats not the point of this thread...

Take an example a guy i know who can shred like mad and do some of the most amazing guitar stuff ive ever seen, but for the life of him cant write original stuff, only copy others.

Then take someone who maybe just knows a few chords, but can write the most amazing songs around.

Who would you rather be?
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#15
Quote by Jaxoo
Thats not the point of this thread...

Take an example a guy i know who can shred like mad and do some of the most amazing guitar stuff ive ever seen, but for the life of him cant write original stuff, only copy others.

Then take someone who maybe just knows a few chords, but can write the most amazing songs around.

Who would you rather be?


I see your point.

I'll take two more examples -

A shredder like you mentioned.

And a songwriter who just puts some melody into his poetry.

Now both these categories have their good and bad composers. Jason Becker was a shredder, but in no way can you deny that he didn't compose some of the best instrumental work ever. He used what talents he had to arrange and write good songs.

Now a person like Michael Angelo (please no flaming, it's my personal opinion) overuses his own licks. Granted he's fast and sometimes he makes memorable songs, but mostly he's just rehashing stuff he's already used. He's not a good songwriter in my opinon.

Same thing with lyrics. Elliot Smith is an amazing lyricist and his lyrics translate well into his songs. Now some people can write awesome words, but they do not translate well into music.

Since we are discussing music here, I think fast guitar playing or writing beautiful word interplays are just tools to create good songs. Shredders and poets are extreamly talented, but they just don't translate to good music sometimes.

Like I said, some people can use simple chords and lyrics to make something sound awesome, some people can use 240 bpm shred runs. As long as it translates to good music, they have my respect as good songwriters.
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#16
Quote by spider666
Do you mean songwriting as in composing of music or just writing lyrics that fit over some chord progressions? Musicians who indulge in both or either are considered to be songwriters. On that basis, Steve Vai is just as good a songwriter as say, John Lennon. Lennon put powerful words over simple chords, Vai puts emotion and power into his music which requires no words.



Good point.

Everybody is different when it comes to songwriting and guitar playing. Some will use a lot more technique and some will keep it "simpler" and some people will float in the middle; but it doesn't matter as long as the music rules.

But to reply to the TS; I'd pick songwriting over ability to play. Although I love things on both ends of the spectrum(coincidentally I love Vai and Nirvana).
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#17
Listen to Dio-Sabbath. It's the best of both worlds.

/shameless Sabbath advertising.
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#18
Jason Becker is the perfect example of someone who is a good songwriter but has no ability.
Who says Vai isn't a good writer?
#19
Well...

I would say songwriting, but if you can't reproduce the greatest song ever written, what's the point of it?
#20
Obviously you need a bit of both, but I prefer songwriting.
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#21
Quote by ferretman
Jason Becker is the perfect example of someone who is a good songwriter but has no ability.
Who says Vai isn't a good writer?


At first I was like .

But then I remembered Jason's current condition .

But I disagree with the statement you made that he has no ability even now. Composing good music is an ability in itself. Yes on the basis of the TS's first post, I would agree that his guitar playing ability is no long there, but the musical flair and talent still is.

And as for the original question, I'd like to be the dude who can make good songs and melodies. Technical skill can be aquired and learned through practise, basic musical sense and taste cannot.
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#22
Quote by CobainBohnam
I don't want a poll because I would like detailed answers. Which is more important ability or song writing? For example (only example, not purpose of the thread) would you want to be able to play like Steve Vai , but not be able to write anything or be like Kurt Cobain, great writer but you can't play amazingly.

(Also I am NOT saying Steve Vai can't write and I am NOT saying Kurt Cobain isn't an amazing player, I want my opinion to be unbiased in this thread)


No matter what, i don't want to be like Kurt Cobain