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Ispoke to a reader recently about a concern that had hampered his progress. It was sad enough for me to want to share it here. It was about not having enough types of guitars to allow him to engage with all the GT articles. He only had a Strat, which meant that Hard Rock, Jazz, Classical and Acoustic were relegated every month to the ‘don’t play’ trash can. I could have wept.
But how did this mentality get cultivated? He said, it was largely down to online forums that have quite rigid notions about musical ‘authenticity’.
Now, we do believe that playing music with the most suitable guitar makes sense. Tarrega is perfect played on a good nylon string, but that’s not to say a clean-toned Tele is going to do a huge disservice (Ted Greene certainly didn’t think so). Same with Jimi’s Little Wing played on a hollowbody jazzer; lovely on a Strat, no less musical on humbucker (tell George Benson otherwise!).
GT is about getting physically and theoretically better, with an ear on stylistic and creative traits. Opinions about aesthetics are outside our remit, and I’d suggest yours too while studying. A dominant 7th has the same core content regardless of the instrument it’s played on. Performing a tone bend is pretty much the same on a clean-toned Strat or a filthed-up Les Paul. Besides, isn’t it great to cross reference guitars, styles and players? It doesn’t matter what instrument you use to learn from GT. Fingerpick classical pieces on a Les Paul, duplicate country licks on a nylon string (Jerry Reed!) and tap away on your acoustic’s fretboard). Keep an open mind; that ‘correct’ instrument attitude is so stifling that few players get far thinking like that. I hope you enjoy the whole issue with whatever guitar you love playing the most! In fact, why not try a few of the above suggestions?