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Being Great Guitar Player Vs. Being A Great Musician?


GuitarWolf

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Originally posted by Pappadopalus:

The Edge and Kravitz, sure they are not the greatest guitarist. But they are great musicians.

 

They are included because their music has inspired me.

 

You don't have to be a phenominal guitarist to be a great musician.

This reply just basically got me thinking, whats the difference between a great guitar player and a great musician? Is being a great guitar player determined my technical skill alone? Is being a great musician souly determined by ones ability to compose and to inspire? Discuss.
YtseJam your Majesty!
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well i think its like this, my view anyway. Im a descent guitar player for my age i think, not great but alot better than the folks around here. I can play some pretty good bluesy rock, but i dont really know what im playing. Like i know WHERE to play but not what im actually playing. I can usally listen and get things to fit together with one another but its just using my ear, i never really know exactly what notes im hittin, even on piano. ill learn what notes can go together for a song but every time i play somethin new i have to figure it out again, not that it takes a ton of time. (takin lessons now to learn though). On a side note i feel im pretty good at composing and putting together lots of sounds and instruments. But again thats all by ear pretty much. Now would it make a big difference if i knew all of the scales for different keys and knew exactly what im doing? Probably a little easier, more time saving then anything, i think in the end as long as you can get the vision you have in your head out and interpreted with real instruments, then your good.

 

Ahh,, another post of mine that makes no sense.

 

Ryan

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Well this is a good subject to noodle about for sure! To me a good musician is a good technician,who understands his instrument and other instruments and how they relate to each other. He has taken the time to study his craft in depth and along with technical ability and training can perform and create or recreate music that other people appreciate. I think that every musician should be able to share his musical abilities and share it with other people as a gift no matter how insignificant it may appear to be. You cannot be a good guitar player with out being a good musician, they are one in the same to me. A good musician has depth in his musical knowledge that goes farther than only playing guitar.
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I suspect Django was a great player without being a great musician in the traditional sense. Being that he couldn't read, I'm assuming here he couldn't read music either?

 

G.

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I think you guys should define your terms before launching on these sorts of threads.

 

A "great musician" is, presumably, someone that plays "great music".

 

The next question, of course, is "what constitutes great music?" Answer that one and the whole thing becomes quite simple.

 

Good luck with it though. ;)

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I think the best example of a great musician is when Eric broke out with Cream and they started playing more inspired music.

 

I think that the biggest part of being a great musician is a combonation of being a good guitar player and knowing how to fit together with others in a band. A great musician also knows how to express his/her feelings through solo play or composing a great song.

And if I were a guitar player

it would havta be the blues

 

-CCR- penthouse pauper

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I have known a lot of monster "players" that can technically pull off anything Vai does. But they could not write a song that is moving or interesting to save their life. That to me defines player vs musician. To me it does not matter if you can read music or if you know how to apply every single mode and scale...yes those things are vitally important in developing ones abilities to compose and understand your craft from a mental/technical perspective...but...it's not the end all be all.

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Without reading any of the previous replies...I would say being a great musician who happens to play guitar centers more on having a musical ear...being able to hear how their instrument fits best into the overall mix. In some cases it might mean sacrificing what they would do to bring "accolades" to themselves for the sake of having a better overall song.

 

We've all heard examples of guitar solos on records that seem simplistic...and, some are tempted to say "That guy's not all that good"...and yet, you happen to stumble across a seminar or something where the same guy absolutely blows you out of the water. It's not that he can't play...it's that he's choosing not to use every opportunity to show off. Doing what is best for the sake of the song. To me, that's the mark of not only a great musician, but a great guitarist as well...

"Cisco Kid, was a friend of mine"
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And some of us greedy mothers want to do both, and can't, so we back up just a hair from both goals and find a way to (help) write good tunes and play cool solos both! Knowing we'll never be songwriters on the level of Lennon/McCartney, or virtuosos on the level of Django, Chet, Segovia, Holdsworth.... that does NOT mean we can't write a cool tune or two, or come up with a good solo!
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I think the best quote to sum up my theory is:

 

"mmmmm, 'great warrior'!?, wars not make one great." (Yoda)

 

I know it's very tempting to talk about technique and theory and notation when you talk about being a musician, but you must remember young padawan that music was music before man could write.

 

Music exists outside of the realm of the written notes, the music itself is only moving air and frequencies. It can be mathematically analysed and replicated. It doesn't really become music until it reaches your ear and is played through the most powerful amplifier known to man, the brain.

 

Therefore I think a great musician is one who can make music that stirs your emotions in a good way.

 

"these crude bodies matter not, my power comes from the force, and a strong ally it is."

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I don't think there's a distinction between these two terms. As Vince suggested, there's a lot of ambiguity because the terms aren't defined.

 

Musician and player are two ways of saying the same thing, although some give more respect to a great musician than a great player. ;)

 

There are great technicians who, as others have suggested, have mastered many of the physical skills involved with playing the instrument.

 

There are people with an innate sense of melody and harmony. Regardless of their technical abilities, their playing demands interest from audiences.

 

There are composers, some of whom have the aforementioned innate sense, others who only understand how to apply the guidelines outlined in music theory, but who can use those guidelines to make interesting music nonetheless.

 

Being a composer is an entirely separate issue from being a great musician. Some of the greatest musicians in history never wrote a measure of music themselves, but could play other composers' music with such feeling as to bring audiences to cheers and tears.

 

One of my best friends is a mediocre technician on all the instruments he plays. His voice is ok. But he's solid in every skill he does possess. He's not a player of melodies on the guitar, but his rhythm is fantastic. He plays relatively simple drum beats, but, like Ringo, they're right in the groove. His bass playing isn't flashy, but it is melodic and adds more than just a solid root and occasional expression note. He has a lot of that innate melodic sense I spoke of earlier.

 

Is he a great technician? No. Is he a really good player? At the techniques he knows, yes. Is he a great musician? Absolutely.

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Cool thread. For me a great musician is someone whose playing I enjoy regardless of technical prowess...but they are not mutually exclusive. There are tons who posess both qualities and Jeff Beck comes to mind immediately. I think a great musician must break out from the constraints of their instrument to the realm of pure music. As a guitarist you can get stuck in "shapes" on the fretboard which conveniently create nice sounds. A great musician will hear things and then try to recreate them on an instrument.
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Drumming great Gene Krupa once said, "A good musician is someone who plays what is right for the song." Like fantasticsound implied, Ringo Starr may not be the most technically gifted drummer in the world, but he's a great musician. Why? Because think of the stylistic range of the Beatles' catalog and then think of Ringo's drum parts - what would you do differently? Every note he played was perfect - that's why he's a great musician.
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Originally posted by ihategarybettman:

Drumming great Gene Krupa once said, "A good musician is someone who plays what is right for the song."

But what if the song itself is no good?

 

Is the song the sum of its parts?

 

If a band is trying to do the best they can by the song, will this necessarily lead to good music or will it just sound like a brave attempt at salvaging crap?

 

Sometimes a work of art (and that includes songs) can still imply the good bits that went into it. That's why sometimes you will see a film that COULD have been good because the plot contains some good ideas, even if they were poorly executed. Maybe songs/books/films/etc have a life of their own and a certain ability to survive bad parts.

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I think there's an assumption on Krupa's part that the song in question has more than just a little merit, Vince. ;)

 

Certainly there are great songs that have been played badly, and just as certainly there are awful songs that have been performed by wonderful musicians. (I think a week as an "A" list session player on Music Row in Nashville would be something akin to watching American Idol. A mix of greatness and mediocre music. The fact that "A" list players are on the session mean the music is played well, but that doesn't mean it will sound good. ;) )

It's easiest to find me on Facebook. Neil Bergman

 

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Originally posted by Kramer Ferrington III.:

I think you guys should define your terms before launching on these sorts of threads.

 

A "great musician" is, presumably, someone that plays "great music".

 

The next question, of course, is "what constitutes great music?" Answer that one and the whole thing becomes quite simple.

 

Good luck with it though. ;)

:P:wave::D:cool:

 

 

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