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> What Kind Of Guitarist Are You ?, Perception versus Actuality !
Ben Higgins
post Sep 4 2014, 02:39 PM
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The guitarist we think we are versus the guitarist we actually are.

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Is there a difference ? Usually, yes. There is no real way to avoid this contrast between our perception of ourselves and what / who we actually are. This is always going to occur in life. But I think a lack of progress can occur if we don't attempt to reconcile these two differing streams of information so we can move forward and achieve our higher potential.

Do you think of yourself as a particular type of guitarist ? It could be something like "I'm more of a picker.." or "I tend to write like XYZ". Or, taking this a bit further, it might not necessarily be a case of how we view ourselves NOW but it could be how we are viewing ourselves in the IDEAL form, in the near future. One may see their self as a percussive player, a picker and a worshipper at the altar of everything Gilbert & Petrucci but in ACTUALITY they could be more of a liquid, legato player and actually use picking less than they think.

As a result, the player may spend more time focusing on the PERCEIVED side of their guitar playing and work mainly on picking ideas and so forth. As a result they may be neglecting a side of them which would actually be a huge benefit if they were to embrace it more. ( Picking and legato are just 2 particular examples and the easiest and most obvious ones I could think of. You could substitute them for any other techniques or even genres / styles )

To sum that up, what I'm trying to say is: We could be practising based on our PERCEPTIONS of who we THINK we are and not on who we ACTUALLY are.

Note that I say 'could'. This is only a theory I have and it may not apply to anyone at all or it may apply to some of you or it may have even applied to all of us at some point during our journey. It may do so again.

There is a counter question to this theory that should be raised. That question is: "Does that mean that we shouldn't try to practise to be the guitarist that we think we can be ? We should only accept what we are ?"

I think we should accept what we are AND practice to be the guitarist we want to be. But at some point during our journey we may discover that the guitarist we thought we wanted to be isn't the guitarist we wanted to be after all.

As we were basing a lot of our guitar activities on our PERCEPTION of who we are, when we took a closer look at the ACTUALITY of how we play and what we can do, we may discover that we're better that we thought we were, especially if we use more of XYZ and stop trying to ABC.

I do believe that when we work more closely with ourselves and our own strengths, that we progress at a higher rate and actually enjoy the journey more. I think we can forget to do so when we get sidetracked by an article or video here and there.. but it's always there for us to embrace once more.. we just have to be willing to block out the type of chatter that keeps us obsessed with performance over discovery.

Of course, this is just a personal belief I hold due to experiences. Beliefs aren't facts. It's just the way I've processed my experiences into a way that I understand them. Other guitarists may swear that they progressed massively by obsessively focusing on particular techniques and goals and mastering them with years of drilling and exercises. Their reality vs my reality. Whose is true ? Both. Neither. Depends who's answering the question.

It's been ages since I've quoted anything from Zen Guitar so I think it's time:

"The way of Zen Guitar is to play what you're meant to play, not necessarily what you want to play. Understand the difference. Sometimes the two are the same, sometimes they are not. You must reconcile one with the other or you will not make any progress on the path."

What do you think about this ? Does that statement make any sense to you ? Is it crazy ?

I've posed a lot of questions and few hard answers but that's deliberate. I think the most exciting thing in our musical journey is discovery. Are you willing to suspend your beliefs and make some discoveries of your own ?


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klasaine
post Sep 4 2014, 03:14 PM
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Play live.

When you play with other musicians (in any type of ensemble situation) you realize or become aware of the type of guitarist you actually are as opposed to what you think you are or even want to be.

Playing in a band will also guide you as to how to get to where you want to be.

As far as meant to be ... you can only ever be what you're meant to be - guitar or otherwise.

This post has been edited by klasaine: Sep 4 2014, 04:07 PM


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PosterBoy
post Sep 5 2014, 06:49 AM
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I wholeheartedly agree with Klasaine, many times what I come out with playing live is nothing like my playing when I'm practicing, sometimes I really surprise myself with phrasing and note choice that come out in the heat of the moment. No situation playing at home by myself does that anywhere near as much as playing with others and even more so with an audience listening


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Ben Higgins
post Sep 5 2014, 09:25 AM
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Yep, playing live and putting your motor skills to the test is a great way of seeing where you're really at.

I also encourage people to do more song playthroughs.. short of playing live, it's more of a dress rehearsal for what you're going to be doing in a 'playing' situation rather than a practise situation.

But in many cases, a live gig will entail playing pre-arranged songs, with or without solos. Not always, but for most people there won't be the call to improvise and go off piste. So, with that in mind, how else can people get down to the essence of who they are as a player, if the live experience isn't uncovering it fully ?


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klasaine
post Sep 5 2014, 02:14 PM
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Jamming with other musicians.

Join a band that's not your preferred style.

Buy a Telecaster and play clean.

Buy a Jackson and play ultra gained out.

Try a nylon string.

Try a bass.

Write a song or riff ONLY on a piano (transfer to guitar later).

etc.


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bleez
post Sep 6 2014, 01:20 PM
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QUOTE (Ben Higgins @ Sep 4 2014, 02:39 PM) *
I think we should accept what we are AND practice to be the guitarist we want to be.

Totally agree with this viewpoint.
Im not keen on thinking that Im 'meant' to be one thing or another. Many times Ive thought 'Im not meant to be a fast picker' but I just ignore that now and carry on obsessing over how fast I can get the metronome cool.gif

QUOTE (Ben Higgins @ Sep 4 2014, 02:39 PM) *
how else can people get down to the essence of who they are as a player, if the live experience isn't uncovering it fully ?

I have played quite a lot of gigs in the past, as a rhythm guitarist ( nothing too taxing! ), it was good but I dont see that happening again anytime soon tbh but thats okay because I actually think that playing alone in the bedroom ( or whatever ) sitting down, one foot raised or whatever is your 'perfect' position, headphones on etc is an excellent way of finding out the essence of who you are as a player. Theres no-one to judge, laugh or impress.
Obviously taking that to an audience is a different level, I used to get quite nervous when playing gigs. I admire the guys who just take it in their stride.

This post has been edited by bleez: Sep 6 2014, 01:21 PM


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