Learn­ing Zone

Lessons from the world’s great­est teach­ers and schools...

Guitar Techniques - - LEARNING ZONE -

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?

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