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> Stuck Perfectioning
Gabriel Leopardi
post May 17 2014, 04:22 PM
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You know that awesome video of someone shredding a million notes per second with perfect execution is just a click away. Check it out once more and then get back to this thread.

We always talk here about the important of "making music", and using technique as a tool to express ourselves, however I notice that sometimes technique can become an obsession. With the Interwebz it’s easy to get stuck in a ‘perfectioning mood’ - where all your focus is on getting that perfect technique.

Do you recognize yourself in this description? If so, what do you intend to do with your perfect technique once you have got it?


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klasaine
post May 17 2014, 06:59 PM
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Guitar players like perfection. We're obsessed with it.
Artists, producers, engineers - the general public ... they don't really care. They like (and respond to) uniqueness.
Technique means nothing if the song is bad. What's that joke: How many guitar players does it take to screw in a lightbulb? ... 100. One to do it and 99 to say "that sucks" or that they could do it better/faster.

I've made a career out of imperfection. I have some decent technique and I appreciate good technique but if I can't fit it into a piece of music and make that music better because of it then it's not working. It's the mis-step and recovery that people respond to. Like the athlete that almost falls, recovers and then scores. Give 'em some interest. Never play anything just because it 'works'. That's not good enough.
Is the song better because of a guitar part? Or is it 'just a guitar part' with a song around it.

This post has been edited by klasaine: May 17 2014, 07:05 PM


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Spock
post May 17 2014, 07:52 PM
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AMEN Gab & Klasaine!!!!

I am of the opinion that you don't have to be a great guitar player to play or write good songs. Yes, being a perfect guitarist would be great, but that has never been my ultimate goal - my ultimate goal was to play songs that made me want to bounce my head and shoulders - but even more importantly, to make girls shake their asses.

When music becomes too technical, it becomes more of a man thing, and enjoyed more by people that appreciate that style of art - where playing, creating grooves is something everyone can enjoy - add a great vocal melody and you've got a hit, whether international or local.

I'm not saying my opinion is the only "right" opinion - but it is an equally viable opinion as is becoming a master guitarist.

I can have a great time sitting around a campfire with friends, someone marginally playing a song on an acoustic and we sit around and sing and get a feeling from it.

To me music is about mood. Sure I would love to have professional technique, but I don't love professional technique enough to strive for it for hours on end to write music to awe other awesome guitarists. If I can create a good mood banging on one bar chord and bending 1 string - I've accomplished what I set out to do and everything else is just icing on the cake.

Someone can have all the talent in the world, but if they don't have heart they lose appeal.

This post has been edited by Spock: May 18 2014, 01:06 AM
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Monica Gheorghev...
post May 17 2014, 08:12 PM
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I want a perfect technique, but even if someday I will can play one million notes per second, I will not use this in a abusive way. I want to keep a balance between technique and musicality. This means that my main goal it's to develop in the same time a high level for technique and a high level for composition. This is the ideal from my point of view. I work in equal measure for both. But I want perfection for both even if this means "millions" years of practice and failures wink.gif

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Gabriel Leopardi
post May 18 2014, 08:14 PM
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It's interesting to know different points of view about this topic. Monica's opinion is not opposed but she gives the same importance to both technique and music. She also talks about "perfection", this makes me want to add a new question in this topic.

Can we talk about perfection when we refer to music?
What does perfection mean in music and art?


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Spock
post May 18 2014, 08:31 PM
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Good question. There is perfection in technique I believe, but is there, or can there be "perfection" in something as subjective as music? I don't think so. Music, in itself, does not have to be perfect to be adored, however, a specific riff can be screwed up terribly.

Like Klasaine said somewhere - it's in the recovery. The sum of the parts make up the whole. Is a song a single note or a single riff? Of course not. People are very forgiving of a note, where a riff posted for technique and perfection are open for critique - there is always something that can be improved on.

I've played many live gigs, and skrewed up everything I played many times during the same song, and would lament that with someone afterwords, only to hear over and over, well, I never heard you screw up.

I say all that to say this. Striving for perfection is great, and striving to be the best guitarist you can be is great too, but don't allow the pursuit of perfection to stand in the way of making music and creating a mood.

And really, it all boils down to what each person's individual goal is - to be a musician, or to be a musician's musician.

Yngwie Malmstien is a pretty awesome guitarist. Personally, I think 99% of his songs suck. I'd rather listen to Adam Jones bang out his D stuff than Petrucci filet the neck on a guitar, give me the Foo Fighters any day over Steve Vai - it's all subjective - there is no ultimate right answer, just what is right to you.

This post has been edited by Spock: May 18 2014, 08:48 PM
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klasaine
post May 18 2014, 10:04 PM
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Excellent points Spock!

I always strive for perfection ... knowing full well I probably won't attain it (at least from my point of view).
The important thing is to be able to hear the music you made (or are making) - not your intent.


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Monica Gheorghev...
post May 19 2014, 07:50 AM
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QUOTE (Gabriel Leopardi @ May 18 2014, 07:14 PM) *
It's interesting to know different points of view about this topic. Monica's opinion is not opposed but she gives the same importance to both technique and music. She also talks about "perfection", this makes me want to add a new question in this topic.

Can we talk about perfection when we refer to music?
What does perfection mean in music and art?

We can strive to perfection but we already know that this it will never be touched. Why? Because with every our step further also the "standard" of perfection make a step further. This is a game without ending. But you know Gab... when I know that a thing it's impossible to achieve I want that thing more tongue.gif
It's a motivation for me and this gives me power and make me a very ambitious person. I prefer to believe even if it's just for a second that somehow the perfection has a maxim point and it will stop in a place and someday I will catch up. It's like stories for children, you know that are not true but when you read them for a moment you like to believe that are true wink.gif

Even if perfection doesn't exist, this doesn't mean that we should not try with every step we make to look for it. To run after something untouchable I think it's a very good way to discover ourselves, to push our limits at maximum and to realize what is truly important for us. From my point of view, if you stop looking, this mean that wasn't so important for you...wasn't a "must".
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Ben Higgins
post May 19 2014, 01:05 PM
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Whenever I focus my practise solely on technique, my guitar playing as a whole goes down in quality.. my phrasing deteriorates and I can only think in patterns. There always has to be a musical element or some end purpose in sight.

In regards to perfection, I agree that it is just something to aim at, as long as we all know that it never truly exists. It's a perception that only exists to each individual.

And sometimes, the take that is the best is the one with the extra pick scrape, the feedback, the accidental string hit..

Look at Zeppelin, Sabbath et al... if all the extra bits were removed and cleaned up, would those tracks have the same magic ? I think we all know the answer to that one.


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Gabriel Leopardi
post May 19 2014, 03:38 PM
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QUOTE (Monica Gheorghevici @ May 19 2014, 03:50 AM) *
We can strive to perfection but we already know that this it will never be touched. Why? Because with every our step further also the "standard" of perfection make a step further. This is a game without ending. But you know Gab... when I know that a thing it's impossible to achieve I want that thing more tongue.gif
It's a motivation for me and this gives me power and make me a very ambitious person. I prefer to believe even if it's just for a second that somehow the perfection has a maxim point and it will stop in a place and someday I will catch up. It's like stories for children, you know that are not true but when you read them for a moment you like to believe that are true wink.gif

Even if perfection doesn't exist, this doesn't mean that we should not try with every step we make to look for it. To run after something untouchable I think it's a very good way to discover ourselves, to push our limits at maximum and to realize what is truly important for us. From my point of view, if you stop looking, this mean that wasn't so important for you...wasn't a "must".


It's ok, if this helps with motivation. I remember you saying that you had to practice hard because you felt that you couldn't play (technically) the things that appear in your mind when you are composing.

I respect your thoughts about this but I'm more related to Ben's thinking about this topic. I feel that I lost musicality if I work on technique just for the technique itself. This really happened to me, I have been very obsessive for technique when I was a teenager. I remember I could play lots of Malmsteen's song when I was around 16 but then, every time I jammed or played a solo, it sounded like a mix of Malmsteen licks + scale patterns. My playing was lacking musicality. I wasn't able to create songs that I would like to hear.


QUOTE (Ben Higgins @ May 19 2014, 09:05 AM) *
Whenever I focus my practise solely on technique, my guitar playing as a whole goes down in quality.. my phrasing deteriorates and I can only think in patterns. There always has to be a musical element or some end purpose in sight.

In regards to perfection, I agree that it is just something to aim at, as long as we all know that it never truly exists. It's a perception that only exists to each individual.

And sometimes, the take that is the best is the one with the extra pick scrape, the feedback, the accidental string hit..

Look at Zeppelin, Sabbath et al... if all the extra bits were removed and cleaned up, would those tracks have the same magic ? I think we all know the answer to that one.



Great words Mr Higgins!


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klasaine
post May 19 2014, 06:46 PM
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QUOTE (Ben Higgins @ May 19 2014, 05:05 AM) *
And sometimes, the take that is the best is the one with the extra pick scrape, the feedback, the accidental string hit..

Look at Zeppelin, Sabbath et al... if all the extra bits were removed and cleaned up, would those tracks have the same magic ? I think we all know the answer to that one.


Exactly! That's what I mean when I say "listen to the music you actually played, not your intent".


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Cosmin Lupu
post May 20 2014, 09:11 AM
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Hehe! Ken and Gabi and Ben and Spock - you guys struck the nail with a ten ton hammer smile.gif

For me, perfection can take many faccetes - it's about what you are able to transmit. One should focus on making music and perfecting his technique in the same time, because both go hand in hand.

I heard a lot of folks lately saying - I want to get better technique and then write songs. Having a great technique will not make you write better songs smile.gif It will help you play better on the guitar. If you see it as a sport, you will only strive for technique, but let me say this - when you will walk up on a stage you won't be playing technique. You need to play music.

The moment you will see technique simply as a tool and not as a goal, you will start seeing other things too smile.gif


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Gabriel Leopardi
post May 20 2014, 04:41 PM
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QUOTE (Cosmin Lupu @ May 20 2014, 05:11 AM) *
Hehe! Ken and Gabi and Ben and Spock - you guys struck the nail with a ten ton hammer smile.gif

For me, perfection can take many faccetes - it's about what you are able to transmit. One should focus on making music and perfecting his technique in the same time, because both go hand in hand.

I heard a lot of folks lately saying - I want to get better technique and then write songs. Having a great technique will not make you write better songs smile.gif It will help you play better on the guitar. If you see it as a sport, you will only strive for technique, but let me say this - when you will walk up on a stage you won't be playing technique. You need to play music.

The moment you will see technique simply as a tool and not as a goal, you will start seeing other things too smile.gif


You explained this very clearly. There are many examples of guitarists with a crude technique that express much more than other that can sweep 8 strings in a second. Don't you think so?


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klasaine
post May 20 2014, 04:55 PM
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Try this when you're stuck or frustrated with either perfection or imperfection:
http://stoney.sb.org/eno/oblique.html
Click the green 'here' button at the top for a new suggestion.

*These are also available as apps (iphone or android). Usually free.

This post has been edited by klasaine: May 20 2014, 04:57 PM


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Cosmin Lupu
post May 21 2014, 07:30 AM
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QUOTE (Gabriel Leopardi @ May 20 2014, 03:41 PM) *
You explained this very clearly. There are many examples of guitarists with a crude technique that express much more than other that can sweep 8 strings in a second. Don't you think so?


Exactly smile.gif I like to use Kurt Cobain as an example of perfect imperfection. He was a guy who didn't know how to play the guitar too well, but hey, he wrote a BIG piece of music history with all his imperfections and influenced generations since the early 90s until the present day!

I don't actually think he worried about how good his technique was, but for people like him, it's more of a matter of 'how do I get this thing out of me?' And they fight and struggle to express themselves in any way they can, musically and out of that struggle, there's surely something magical to come out smile.gif


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Gabriel Leopardi
post May 21 2014, 05:30 PM
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QUOTE (Cosmin Lupu @ May 21 2014, 03:30 AM) *
Exactly smile.gif I like to use Kurt Cobain as an example of perfect imperfection. He was a guy who didn't know how to play the guitar too well, but hey, he wrote a BIG piece of music history with all his imperfections and influenced generations since the early 90s until the present day!

I don't actually think he worried about how good his technique was, but for people like him, it's more of a matter of 'how do I get this thing out of me?' And they fight and struggle to express themselves in any way they can, musically and out of that struggle, there's surely something magical to come out smile.gif



This is a very good example of crude technique guitarist that expresses a lot with his music. Do you know any other one?


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klasaine
post May 21 2014, 06:15 PM
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Johnny Ramone - KING of the downstroke!


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Gabriel Leopardi
post May 21 2014, 06:51 PM
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QUOTE (klasaine @ May 21 2014, 02:15 PM) *
Johnny Ramone - KING of the downstroke!



hehehe great addition! who else?



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Ben Higgins
post May 21 2014, 06:55 PM
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QUOTE (Gabriel Leopardi @ May 21 2014, 05:30 PM) *
This is a very good example of crude technique guitarist that expresses a lot with his music. Do you know any other one?


Venom - the whole band ! cool.gif

Quorthon from Bathory.. very unrefined but very effective.


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SirJamsalot
post May 21 2014, 07:40 PM
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Perfection in music is relative to the hearer. When a guitarist speaks of wanting to perfect his/her technique, I find what they really mean by that is they want to be able to convey the sound they hear in their head, onto their instrument here in this physical world.

I have the same desire/drive, but I don't obsess over it. I realize that comes with experience over time, just like learning to speak the thoughts in your head takes time to develop, so I don't rush or expect it to click on a specified date. Instead, I just play and let the chips fall where they may. smile.gif

Being a perfectionist has its ups and downs. The upside is driving to better yourself. The downside is never being content with yourself.

This post has been edited by SirJamsalot: May 21 2014, 07:43 PM


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