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> We're All Faking It !
Ben Higgins
post Mar 3 2015, 08:11 PM
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We've all heard of the expression 'Fake it until you make it'. It suggests a combination of doing your best and acting like you know what you're doing. Truly, most people are doing this all the time until they get to the point where they start doing things naturally without thinking about it.

This can be applied perfectly to music. Al of us are treading a path of no certainty. Apparently there is a Japanese saying which goes something like 'One inch ahead and all is total darkness'. This is related to not being able to predict the future but I think we can also apply it to any endeavours where we are learning something. There are no guarantees that this lick, this technique or this song idea will work for us but all we can do is try NOW.

A lot of people are scared of the idea of trying something in case it doesn't work and they've wasted their time. But you have to go through these processes as there is no other way to literally see if it works. We can look at others to see what is physically possible but just because somebody else isn't able to do something, doesn't mean it can't be done. Conversely, just because somebody else can do something, doesn't mean you can.. or a better way of looking at it is that it may not be your path. It may not be right for you. So the boundaries of possibilities can only truly be tested by you, me and everybody else.

I've been talking about the extreme edge of things but what I'm really on about is that we've got to bring some faith to the process, knowing that with time, results will show. It's like learning your first chord progression. It's so awkward, hitting all those horrible unwanted strings and WHY is my finger not fretting that note properly, it's just making a horrible pinging noise and why does it take 10 years for me to move from one chord shape to another ? Yeah, those first chords are a bit testing aren't they ?

The heart of the matter is the idea of 'fake it until you make it'. We've got a phrase in England called 'blagging it'. It means trying to get away with something even if you're not doing it 100% right, just 'seeing how it goes'.

I'll be honest with you. Every guitarist is blagging it to some degree. Don't think they know what they're doing all the time. I'm blagging it loads of the time. Doesn't matter how technical one gets or how much they write stuff in their comfort zone, they'll still be blagging it sometimes. Btw, that phrase comfort zone, it gets overused but it's still applicable. No guitarist is master of all. You cannot be a master of blues, jazz, rock, classic metal, death metal, black metal, metalcore, progressive metal, progessive death metal, technical death metal, technical progressive blackened metalcore (Ok, I'm just taking the piss now but that probably does exist).

I'll let you in on an open secret. Most great guitar players, (if they've got any sense) once they've found their strengths, they work to them. They write around them. In most cases, their techniques actually evolved from the music they were trying to write. In other words, instead of learning a bunch of technique, they chanced upon certain things whilst in the process of writing. There's a great quote from Pat Martino that illustrates this - "The music has generated all the techniques I use."

This doesn't mean that we should just attack the guitar without learning basic techniques. Of course we need to know how to hold a pick, to learn chords and lots of other fundamentals but once we're going, we don't have to follow a set path of 'speed picking, tapping, sweeps etc'. We can develop what we want to, write with it (if we want to write) and hone the things that we enjoy the most. That's what Vai meant when he talked about cultivating his strengths.

Why do people love Vai and think he's a musical genius ? Is it because he can play every technique and lick and song better than everbody else ? No, it's because he embraced what made him Steve Vai and made it bigger and bigger and bigger until his personality literally leaps out from his music. What you get from his music is 100% him. Fan of Steve will probably maintain that he's the master of every technique but, being respectfully realistic, Steve will have honed all the techniques he wants to use to the level of his personal satisfaction where he can get out his musical vision. And that is it. But I promise you, along the way he was blagging it big time. Because you have to. He wasn't the player he was today when he was Zappa or when he replaced Yngwie in Alcatrazz but would you have known it as an observer at the time ? No. Because only we ourselves know when we're 100% on something and when we're walking the line and blagging it until we can do something.

We learn on the job and as we all know, in music, we never stop learning. We're eternal students. So that's why none of us know what we're doing. We're all faking it together.


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klasaine
post Mar 4 2015, 02:28 AM
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There's an expression in jazz that says, "if you don't F something up every time you play - you're not working hard enough".


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Opossum
post Mar 4 2015, 04:56 AM
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QUOTE (Ben Higgins @ Mar 3 2015, 07:11 PM) *
We've all heard of the expression 'Fake it until you make it'. It suggests a combination of doing your best and acting like you know what you're doing. Truly, most people are doing this all the time until they get to the point where they start doing things naturally without thinking about it.

This can be applied perfectly to music. Al of us are treading a path of no certainty. Apparently there is a Japanese saying which goes something like 'One inch ahead and all is total darkness'. This is related to not being able to predict the future but I think we can also apply it to any endeavours where we are learning something. There are no guarantees that this lick, this technique or this song idea will work for us but all we can do is try NOW.

A lot of people are scared of the idea of trying something in case it doesn't work and they've wasted their time. But you have to go through these processes as there is no other way to literally see if it works. We can look at others to see what is physically possible but just because somebody else isn't able to do something, doesn't mean it can't be done. Conversely, just because somebody else can do something, doesn't mean you can.. or a better way of looking at it is that it may not be your path. It may not be right for you. So the boundaries of possibilities can only truly be tested by you, me and everybody else.

I've been talking about the extreme edge of things but what I'm really on about is that we've got to bring some faith to the process, knowing that with time, results will show. It's like learning your first chord progression. It's so awkward, hitting all those horrible unwanted strings and WHY is my finger not fretting that note properly, it's just making a horrible pinging noise and why does it take 10 years for me to move from one chord shape to another ? Yeah, those first chords are a bit testing aren't they ?

The heart of the matter is the idea of 'fake it until you make it'. We've got a phrase in England called 'blagging it'. It means trying to get away with something even if you're not doing it 100% right, just 'seeing how it goes'.

I'll be honest with you. Every guitarist is blagging it to some degree. Don't think they know what they're doing all the time. I'm blagging it loads of the time. Doesn't matter how technical one gets or how much they write stuff in their comfort zone, they'll still be blagging it sometimes. Btw, that phrase comfort zone, it gets overused but it's still applicable. No guitarist is master of all. You cannot be a master of blues, jazz, rock, classic metal, death metal, black metal, metalcore, progressive metal, progessive death metal, technical death metal, technical progressive blackened metalcore (Ok, I'm just taking the piss now but that probably does exist).

I'll let you in on an open secret. Most great guitar players, (if they've got any sense) once they've found their strengths, they work to them. They write around them. In most cases, their techniques actually evolved from the music they were trying to write. In other words, instead of learning a bunch of technique, they chanced upon certain things whilst in the process of writing. There's a great quote from Pat Martino that illustrates this - "The music has generated all the techniques I use."

This doesn't mean that we should just attack the guitar without learning basic techniques. Of course we need to know how to hold a pick, to learn chords and lots of other fundamentals but once we're going, we don't have to follow a set path of 'speed picking, tapping, sweeps etc'. We can develop what we want to, write with it (if we want to write) and hone the things that we enjoy the most. That's what Vai meant when he talked about cultivating his strengths.

Why do people love Vai and think he's a musical genius ? Is it because he can play every technique and lick and song better than everbody else ? No, it's because he embraced what made him Steve Vai and made it bigger and bigger and bigger until his personality literally leaps out from his music. What you get from his music is 100% him. Fan of Steve will probably maintain that he's the master of every technique but, being respectfully realistic, Steve will have honed all the techniques he wants to use to the level of his personal satisfaction where he can get out his musical vision. And that is it. But I promise you, along the way he was blagging it big time. Because you have to. He wasn't the player he was today when he was Zappa or when he replaced Yngwie in Alcatrazz but would you have known it as an observer at the time ? No. Because only we ourselves know when we're 100% on something and when we're walking the line and blagging it until we can do something.

We learn on the job and as we all know, in music, we never stop learning. We're eternal students. So that's why none of us know what we're doing. We're all faking it together.


Had a great practice session after reading this post. Felt a lot more relaxed improvising. Thanks for the inspiration!
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Ben Higgins
post Mar 4 2015, 10:03 AM
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QUOTE (klasaine @ Mar 4 2015, 01:28 AM) *
There's an expression in jazz that says, "if you don't F something up every time you play - you're not working hard enough".


Nice biggrin.gif

QUOTE (Opossum @ Mar 4 2015, 03:56 AM) *
Had a great practice session after reading this post. Felt a lot more relaxed improvising. Thanks for the inspiration!


Great, pleased to hear it !


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