BRETT ON De­vel­op­ing In­di­vid­u­al­ity


I be­lieve most play­ers have a unique voice built-in, it just de­pends on how pro­foundly unique it is. It could be a com­pletely rad­i­cal ap­proach to play­ing the in­stru­ment (Al­lan Holdsworth, Frank Gam­bale or TJ Helmerich for ex­am­ple), or it could be in the sub­tlety and nuance of their note choice, phras­ing or vi­brato. I was frus­trated that I couldn’t sound ex­actly like my favourite play­ers. No mat­ter how hard I tried, this ‘other’ sound would come out and I was sure I was just do­ing it all wrong. My good friend Phil Buckle was the first per­son to tell me that I had my own thing go­ing on and af­ter he in­formed me of this, I paid a lot more at­ten­tion to this ‘other’ sound and em­braced it.

I went through a long phase where I didn’t tran­scribe or copy any­one else’s licks or lines and in­stead tried to come up with my own ideas. It’s a lot of fun and all those per­sonal ideas will come in handy if you fid your­self play­ing on al­bums or do­ing live shows along­side your ma­jor in­flu­ences, as I ended up do­ing many times. Not for a minute did I ever think I sounded as good as my he­roes, but I def­i­nitely sounded like me.

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