Jump to content


Please note: You can easily log in to MPN using your Facebook account!

What would you define as a great guitarplayer?


PeeMonkey

Recommended Posts

Here is something which is really hard to define. What would you guys use to define a great guitarplayer. To the average person who knows absolutely nothing about guitars, they cannot tell the difference between someone who strums chords vs someone who can play complicated solo's like foo fighters riffs vs van halen solo's. Believe me, there are those who all think its the same.

 

In the world of guitarist, we come to different standards, but what are these standards? Well maybe there are good, then there are those beyond good? I often give less credit then I deserve when I rate my skill as a guitarist, which often makes me believe I am never good enough, however when playing in front of friends who know nothing about guitar they belive I am great...

 

No idea im just rambling because it annoys me when I first had started playing guitar few years ago learning techniques and basic stuff, (of course it sounded like crap as a beginner back then)while someone who would use the drop D 1 finger nu metal action would get more credit as a better musician. (This is in the minds of average people though) Maybe this post did not come out the way I intended but I'm short on time, haha, maybe I will reread it and edit it later.

 

Also how would U rate yourself as a guitarist? I often cannot rate myself adequately. What are the factors to rate a player?

Link to comment
Share on other sites



  • Replies 36
  • Created
  • Last Reply
I dunno about rating myself. I am certain that I suck which is I think a good thing in that it keeps me striving to improve while not inflating my ego. My first teacher told me it would take me 5 years to develop a decent ability, and add on another 5 to that to be able to play in a band with other musicians confidently. Thats it, no secrets, no hidden stuff. Just hard work. Like you pee, I work on things that will develop more likely in time (more than I wish but thats ok :D ) and continue to unfold with ability instead of falling in with some people that I know and dropping to D or tuning down a whole step with the gain knob twisted clockwise till it almost breaks off. Those that I am know are good players and have a compendium of songs and pick up knew ones really quickly. They sound awesome and they have a superb sense of rhythm that I completely lack. But as time passes, I seem to think they fall into a lane where they arent learning more than songs, ie. theory, reading, and other things that I want to learn and am actually attempting in the time that I have. Rambling post, please forgive.
Link to comment
Share on other sites

I think a lot of people can appreciate a "gee whiz" guitarist vs. someone who bangs chords.

 

But, I was conferring with another esteemed guitarist via IM the other night, and found myself mentioning...

 

"How many jaw-dropping guitarists are really famous?"

 

I really can't think of many that are household names, with the possible exception of EVH. Now, you say "What about Yngwie?" or whoever. Compare the public (not guitar players, everyday Joes) stature of Yngwie with someone like, say Bruce Springsteen.

 

Oh yeah, people know Yngwie, but most jaw dropping guitarists are confined to the role of anonymous (to the public, anyway) sidemen. Guitarists know them, but not many others.

 

So, why then, fighting two uphill battles simultaneously, do we seek immaculate technical proficiency? The uphill battles I speak of are:

 

1. It's almost impossible in a huge field of excellent guitarists to be any sort of "top dawg" and...

 

2. Even if you succeed, probably the most you can hope for is some session work, and live in relative anonymity.

 

So, back to your original question, "What makes a guitarist great?"

 

I think there are a couple categories of "great"

 

First and most obvious, the pyrotechnicians. The Danny Gattons, Yngwies, Johnny Hilands... those guys. The jaw droppers.

 

Second...the "for the song" players. The people who can come up with outstanding musical phrases to underscore a song. This is my personal favorite category. Here we find the B.B. Kings, the Walter Beckers, the George Harrisons.

 

Third...the pioneers. The ground breakers. People may come along and outdo the original pioneers in time, but the pioneers will stand.

 

Now, sometimes the categories cross...sometimes they don't.

 

Point is, to BE a great guitarist, find which category or categories you can fit in and do so. And there are always room for pioneers...

"Cisco Kid, was a friend of mine"
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Some of my favorite songs are in "dropped" D. And as has been said here so often, soul and emotion trump speed and technical proficency (for me, anyway...) every day of the week. The GREAT performer is the one that reaches me emotionally, wether he is playing an instrument, acting, dancing, or otherwise plying his craft.

 

Bill

"I believe that entertainment can aspire to be art, and can become art, but if you set out to make art you're an idiot."

 

Steve Martin

 

Show business: we're all here because we're not all there.

 

 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

For me, it's about feel, confidence, smoothness, and I always admire someone taking a risk or two. I conquered blistering speed deades ago, when it was a youthful priority. I still use it a lot, but I'm more impressed these days to see smoothness and complexity of phrasing, while really feeling the passsage someone is playing. Most of us on here can dazzle non-players. There's no trick to that. Accolades from fine musicians mean more to me these days, as they are at least earned from merit.

 

We're all our worst self-evaluators, always looking for improvement, and never totally pleased with anything less than one of our best ever renditions of whatever we're doing. After a while, the best ever can become difficult to exceed, just like a sprinter's best ever 100 yard dash, not that we can't always improve, but the increments become smaller and less apparent, especially to ourselves. Once we arrive at a level of excellence in terms of technique, speed, showmanship, whatever, we place higher expectations on ourselves for every facet of playing. It never ends.

Never a DUH! moment! Well, almost never. OK, OK! Sometimes never!
Link to comment
Share on other sites

There`s a difference between having musicians or critics think you`re great, and having a lot of people who buy CDs think you`re great (unfortunately). That`s at least two major ways to measure greatness. I`ve said in the past, that as slim as the chances are or achieving either of those, I keep doing it because (1) I love it, and

(2) I`m lucky enough to be able to put songs together. If I was just approaching it as a guitarist (that`s how I started out) I think I`d be even more discouraged than I often am, just because of the sheer number of people out there who are technically ahead of me. But it`s about having something to say-every year another crop of grduates emerge from music programs. If it was just about literacy and musicianship they would be the only people making successful recordings.

Same old surprises, brand new cliches-

 

Skipsounds on Soundclick:

www.soundclick.com/bands/pagemusic.cfm?bandid=602491

Link to comment
Share on other sites

to be a " great " guitar player is to be able to please yourself while playing, thats what i think, i mean i play for myself more than i do for others... a " Great " guitar player is the one that knows what hes doing and how to do it, not some1 that can memorize a pattern and reproduce it in 12 diffrent keys at a jaw opening speed, thats not the point, a great guitar player is defined by the trust he puts into his guitar, he gives a " soul " if you wish to eveyr note.

he dosent need to be a petrucci or a satriani or a yngwie or anyone famous.

now, as a player, you never achieve " greatness" there are alaways new things to learn more theory to master diffrent techinques to developp a better player who to compare urself to , more speed to get new styles to enjoy.

 

a great guitarist is not the one that is famous and can make an audience open their jaws, a great guitar player in my point of view is some1 that always finds room for improvment and can make his own jaw open. :thu:

I Am But A Solution In Search Of A Problem.
Link to comment
Share on other sites

My own definition of a great guitarist includes bringing something unique to the table. Whether its technique, tone, or musical. If someone could play "Eruption" EXACTLY like EVH did, I still wouldn't consider him great. I have a hard time just calling someone with great technique alone great, I think the music and tone have to be there too. I don't think that technique equals speed either, technique could be bending and vibrato expressivly like B.B. King.
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Originally posted by flagshipmile:

I dunno, but I look for

0. The song(s)

....

:bor:

 

Songs are just place holders for guitar solos.

 

:D:D:D:D

 

I can't even tell you most lyrics of the songs I hear.

A Jazz/Chord Melody Master-my former instructor www.robertconti.com

 

(FKA GuitarPlayerSoCal)

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I think it can depend greatly on the style one likes. I have a hard time answering that question and usually can not give a straight answer. Some that say players like Pat Martino or Wes Montgomery are surely the best would not say that about Van Halen or Rhodes and vice versa.

 

Some of my favorites are Pat Metheny, Trey Anastasio, Jimmy Page, Jerry Garcia, John Scofield, Dickey Betts, .... hell there are so many. Kurt Rosenwhinkle is one of my most recent favorites. Like I said I can never really say..

 

 

Some have great tone but play boring notes. Some can play 1,000 notes and sound horrible in my opinion. Great tone and smooth melodic phrsases that sound like music is my first standard. There was a qoute somewhere about once you get past playing fast you pay more attention to playing musically.

 

Originally posted by PeeMonkey:

Here is something which is really hard to define. What would you guys use to define a great guitarplayer. To the average person who knows absolutely nothing about guitars, they cannot tell the difference between someone who strums chords vs someone who can play complicated solo's like foo fighters riffs vs van halen solo's. Believe me, there are those who all think its the same.

 

In the world of guitarist, we come to different standards, but what are these standards? Well maybe there are good, then there are those beyond good? I often give less credit then I deserve when I rate my skill as a guitarist, which often makes me believe I am never good enough, however when playing in front of friends who know nothing about guitar they belive I am great...

 

No idea im just rambling because it annoys me when I first had started playing guitar few years ago learning techniques and basic stuff, (of course it sounded like crap as a beginner back then)while someone who would use the drop D 1 finger nu metal action would get more credit as a better musician. (This is in the minds of average people though) Maybe this post did not come out the way I intended but I'm short on time, haha, maybe I will reread it and edit it later.

 

Also how would U rate yourself as a guitarist? I often cannot rate myself adequately. What are the factors to rate a player?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I think there are differences between some that are known as great guitarists as a lead man and those that are great musicians that play guitar as a backup player. Some "ripping" lead players that can "tear it up" can just plain suck at playing backgroud chords and laying down a groove that sounds good.
Link to comment
Share on other sites

I have always believed a great guitar player should also be a great entertainer because that is the way I have always approached guitar playing. I have always had to sing and play guitar so it isn't easy for me to separate the two. I spent allot of years playing in a three piece cover band and worked at singing to become a integral part of my guitar playing. I don't think I could feel like a complete entertainer if I didn't sing. Singing and playing colors your approach to guitar. It makes you concentrate on rhythm parts and fills between your vocal parts, it teaches you how to use the opportunities for tasteful guitar fills. To me there is huge difference in seeing a guitar player that only plays and a guitar player that also sings lead and backup parts. I have allot more respect for players that do a great job at both. Just a word of advice because I know we have some beginning players here on the forum, start your singing and playing early. As you learn guitar parts also learn the vocals and learn to combine them even if it at first seems to impend your guitar playing skills.
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Originally posted by Bluesape:

For me, it's about feel, confidence, smoothness, and I always admire someone taking a risk or two. I conquered blistering speed deades ago, when it was a youthful priority. I still use it a lot, but I'm more impressed these days to see smoothness and complexity of phrasing, while really feeling the passsage someone is playing.

I know what you mean. This is exactly why I dig John Scofield's playing. He comes up with the most unique (IMHO) phrasings in his playing.
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Then it comes to classical guitarists. It is not really possible to say that Segovia is at all bad compared to somone like BB King. I am sure there are some that would say Segovia is the best guitarists.. because there are some ways in which is is.
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Then it comes to classical guitarists. It is not really possible to say that Segovia is at all bad compared to somone like BB King. I am sure there are some that would say Segovia is the best guitarists.. because there are some ways in which is is.
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Should have stuck to the topic more.. since I mentioned classical guitarists. I would say the ability to artistically control dynamics well is defining for skill along with what we mentioned.. great tone and rhythm. Rhythm being even more importatan here since there is no one else playing usually. In terms of great classical players reading is a factor as well of course.
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Great Guitar Player:

 

1. n. One who, as a guitar player, excels in composition and theory as well as a unique style that includes improvisational skills.

 

2. n. A player of guitar, acoustic or electric, who creates and modifies his/her own style of guitar, or type of playing. (An inventor or Innovator of genre)

 

3. n. A player of guitar, acoustic or electric, who indeed has his/her own love of the instrument and surpasses the standard of the music played.

 

4. n. A player who, not only soars above as guitarist, but also entertains, radiates emotion, and touches an audience/listener through music.

 

IMHO

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Well.......dude-wise, he's gotta have cool hair for starters. Throw in some stylish threads, killer dogs-like some Chuck Taylors in Red, weigh about 135lbs, be a consumate cocksman and have a Marshall. Some basic knowledge of the Pentatonic scale in E also helps but not as much as having a Harley, or something close like an '84 black Honda Nighthawk. Now if this dude has all this AND a slick walk, he's got great guitar player written all over him!
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Originally posted by FumbleFingers:

Well.......dude-wise, he's gotta have cool hair for starters. Throw in some stylish threads, killer dogs-like some Chuck Taylors in Red, weigh about 135lbs, be a consumate cocksman and have a Marshall. Some basic knowledge of the Pentatonic scale in E also helps but not as much as having a Harley, or something close like an '84 black Honda Nighthawk. Now if this dude has all this AND a slick walk, he's got great guitar player written all over him!

THAT'S RIGHT DUDE!!
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Originally posted by FumbleFingers:

Well.......dude-wise, he's gotta have cool hair for starters. Throw in some stylish threads, killer dogs-like some Chuck Taylors in Red, weigh about 135lbs, be a consumate cocksman and have a Marshall. Some basic knowledge of the Pentatonic scale in E also helps but not as much as having a Harley, or something close like an '84 black Honda Nighthawk. Now if this dude has all this AND a slick walk, he's got great guitar player written all over him!

THAT'S RIGHT DUDE!!
Link to comment
Share on other sites

I just got food poisoning and had the stomach flu for the past few days, So i've been away from the computer and guitar for that matter. I might as well live in the bathroom for the next few days lol. Crappy thing is studied my ass off for 2 midterms I had yesterday and ended up missing both of them.

 

 

However, skimming through those are some great responses, Still havent had time to read through them all, but yea recently I've just been playing for myself, I think more often I play alone 99% of the time since I just do it as a hobby, but the the reason I ask this is because thats what I love about music, there is no limit to it, you can always compose something better, develop a newer style, so their is basically no end. However, it does get frustrating sometimes when you strive so hard to keep getting better but then it gets harder and harder to measure productivity after a certain point, its not like anything else in the world where you reach a certain limit and you are then the "best"

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I have always felt that the song is first priority. I think a great guitar play is one who can express the song properly in whatever style he/she is playing. I personally don't think one has to be a highly technical player to be good. Examples: Johnny Ramone- simple power chords played fast, sure, it actually could be difficult to play eigth notes that fast, constantly, but you obviously can't compare him with Clapton, Satriani, Eddie VH, ect, but Johnny filled his niche was able able to play for the song, that to me is a good guitar play.

 

Now, I think those mentioned above (Clapton, Satriani, Eddie are all great as well, but mainly because their songs are great, and their playing fills the song and brings the song to their full potential.

"When learned men begin to use their reason, then I generally discover that they haven't got any." -GK Chesterton
Link to comment
Share on other sites

If you like an artist or a band and their music contains guitar parts and you consistently like the sound of these guitar parts, then for you that guitar player is great.

 

This applies to all styles and tastes (and also explains why there are so many varied answers on who is a great guitar player).

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Archived

This topic is now archived and is closed to further replies.

×
×
  • Create New...