Hey folks…I’m back again and I’m here to tell you about all the wonderful things you can do with a guitar! Seriously…aside from music you can employ it for a variety of manual tasks such as improvising a hammer, a cricket bat or even going as far as Antonio Banderas’ character in “Once Upon a Time in Mexico” and concealing a grenade launcher in it…
Ok..so seriously though – that’s not quite what I’m getting at. A lot of people feel there’s one way that they’re meant to play guitar – like the classical guitarist playing intricate bach arrangements or a metaller shredding out atonal solos at ear splitting volume. But in both cases they’re playing the fundamentally the same 6 string instrument. True, one is a nylon string acoustic classical guitar and the other is a pointy headstock electric shred-machine, but that doesn’t mean there aren’t transferable skills. Transferable skills means be able to enjoy a wider range of music for a casual player and being able to play a wider range of gigs for a pro. If you play a narrowly defined style, be aware that you don’t have to paint yourself into a box. For instance..
Our refined Classical Guitarist could also turn his hand to styles like Bossa Nova, Flamenco, Tango, or even Pop (check out Edgar Cruz’s brilliant Queen arrangements if you don’t believe me.
And our erstwhile demented shredtastic metaller may find he has a knack for Rock, Blues or Country (all these styles can contain heavy lashing of lead guitar)
And if you primarily play a steel string acoustic, you still have a range that includes folk, delta blues, bluegrass, ragtime, pop and rock.
And these are just styles that you can explore on your primary instrument (Classical Guitar, Electric Guitar or Steel String Acoustic).
Of course, you’re gonna need to make some adaptions. Sanity dictates that you won’t be able to use the same squealing lead to that you use for metal in a country number. The country lead guitarist uses a different way to stand out – a bright clean twangy tone with maybe a touch of reverb, compression and delay. But it doesn’t mean they don’t tear it up!
If you’re a classical guitarist moving into boss nova, you’re going to encounter some unfamiliar jazz chords that might throw you. Or if you start exploring flamenco, you might find the extremely rhythmic nature of the music challenging.
If your primarily a steel string pick player of pop and and rock and you decide to explore ragtime, you’re going to encounter the need to use some kind of finger style, either naked fingers, pick and fingers, thumbpick and fingers or thumbpick and fingerpicks – professional players use all these combinations so it’s a matter of seeing what works well for you)
So don’t paint yourself into a box..if you find that you’re lacking enthusiasm for your normal style, you can inject a whole new lease of life into your playing by embracing a new style. Sure, we might like to define yourself by the style we play (much like teenagers might define themselves by their favourite band) but the truth is there’s only 2 kinds of music…good music and bad music!
Till next time…
Your pleasant plucking phriend