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The Ego & The Guitarist


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This may or may not strike some nerves with some people, keep in mind I am trying to stay as neutral as possible.


This is more of a question than a statement, come to think of it...


In my 10 yrs of playing, I've jammed with many guitarists and bands and such. I'd noticed this a long time ago as I am sure a lot of you have, there are really good guitarists that are really cool, and there are really good guitarists that have a definite egotistical persona.


Once again, simply an observation from personal experience, the egotistical guitarists know it all, have better gear than you, can shred faster than you, etc...


The cool, laid back guitarists know their techniques, know their gear, know their theory, but don't impose their prowess on "lesser experienced" musicians.


My question is: Does it come with the territory, that becoming an incredible guitarist develops an ego? Or do people just fall in to that? Or do people recognize it and stay away from it?


I've seen both sides shred guitars and harmonize melodies and counterpoint and all that, but it seems the ego based ones tend to play the same stuff and restrict themselves to specific genres of music. As the laid back ones seem to play all types of music and styles.


Once again these are simply observations and NOT meant to bash anyone, just looking for opinions and what others have observed.




After viewing some replies to this thread, I feel it is necessary to point out I am talking about the NEGATIVE aspects of the ego.

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well said brun.


nut i think it isnt completley true, I got two examples of ppl who defy that.


My guitar teacher: graduated magna *** laude from berklee just the right mindset in the sense of ego.


Kid in my school: plays Bass and guitar went to two advanced music related things over the summer in pennsylvania and I think NC. great musician very little ego, very funny too.

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Human nature


Probably has nothing to do with Guitar playing at all. There are cool laid back people in all kinds of jobs and the reverse is true also if your a jerk and have a overblown ego it doesn't matter if your a Brain Surgeon, a sports hero or too your point a guitar player you'll still be a total jerk it's just more visible and you get the chance to inflict it on thousands of other people not just your family and close friends.


The difference in really artistic people of any kind including musicians is that sometimes you put a real introvert in a very public situation and they may look like a real jerk just because they can't deal with the public need. but real core values and issues on a person or based on who they are not what they do.

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In my 35 plus years of gigging bars, I've played from Clearwater Beach Fla., to Apache Jct., Arizona, to Lake Charles, Louisiana, Beaumont Texas, Fredricksburg/Luckenbach, New Orleans, Paducah, Ky., Marion/Carbondale, Illinois, Nashville, Morehead, Morganfield.......


There are idiots everywhere. Ego's are usually crap.


The finest pickers, bassist, drummers I've ever worked with were good people. The majority of a$$holes, were not very good anyhow.


The a$$holes that, by chance WERE good...... Still had a hard time finding people to work with them......



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There will always be people who think they know more than you, and they might, but they don't need to be a jerk about it


Not just guitarists, lots of musicians though, I have no idea why


My dad has always said, the quiet ones know more than you think, which is what I live by in anything, guitar, shooting, school, it applies everywhere


I say let your actions speak for themselves, those that talk a lot, probably that is all they are made up of

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In a Guitar World a while back, Clapton admitted he was an egotistical a$$ in the 60s. The reason Mayall replaced him was because he didn't show up half the time. Clapton said back then, he felt he deserved the "Clapton is God" tag. Blackmore is another difficult player. I think a little ego is required to make it big.

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Most guitarists I know personally are quiet and polite to the extreme.

Especially the ones who can PLAY.

A couple of them have a rowdy alter ego onstage, but most leave the antics to the singer or drummer.






I'm always polite (well, 99% of the time) and rarely quiet, but I can't play for sh!t.


When I gig, I play rhythm parts only and let the guitar experts take the spotlight.

Lucky for me, I'm a rhythm and riffs man at heart - I can do simple power chords all night....


I never gig with people who can't play, it's a waste of my time and I'm not skilled enough to lead a band.



I've met few guitarists at my meager skill level who would ever admit the same.


Most guys I jam with want to play all the leads, and play them faster/better than the original.

They rarely pull it off and often sound like wankers.

These are also the guys with the thin sh!tty tone because of all the 'impressive' effects in the signal path.


I'll just pull back and nail the rhythm part perfectly while they flounder and embarrass themselves....


My Dad told me as a boy

"Know your limitations and stay within them, fewer dents/sparks/stitches that way."



A couple guys I've played with (who I respect immensely) have commented that I have an excellent ear.

I can pick parts out of a song, work out riffs, and I'm ALWAYS in tune.

All I gotta do is get my fingers to go where I want.....



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Ever come across one that thinks hes great but actually sucks? Got one at my school

Oh i got a bunch at my school to. Some kids named me the best in my school but theres this one kid...doesnt go to our school but still lives in our town that has a bright futrue in guitar for him. Hope you get that semi hollow gibson tom, you desrve it. :-k

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I suck too' date=' but am more than happy to offer up my help to people if I can


I try not to criticize playing, unless someones asks me to critique


I enjoy watching true experts play, it is just simply amazing [/quote']

Well said, Fred.



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My thoughts on Ego...


(Just in case you didn't get it, I made the word "My" bold to be more egotistical)


- We all have ego


- The word ego has a lot of negative connotations. This was not always so.


- Ego is necessary for success. The people the OP used as examples sound driven to compete and to succeed. That requires a certain amount of ego.


- The meek shall inherit nothing.


- Someone devoid of ego will never achieve anything.


- Ego tends to rub others the wrong way. Why? Why should your confidence or even your over-confidence bother me. I'll just walk away if I don't enjoy your company.


- People who are jealous of someone's abilities will often cite the size of that person's ego.


- I'm a pretty modest guy. I'd probably be a better player if I weren't.

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Well said, SP!!!


I've been accused as you state above.

Most people who know me will say my confidence is well-placed and that some people just don't see it.

I even had a boss tell me years ago that I come across as pretty arrogant at times.

Many people have told me that their first impression of me was the same way.


May be something to it....

I try to keep in mind what my folks taught me about being humble, it just doesn't appear that way at times....





I think it involves knowing one's place and I'm pretty good at that.

At gigs my friends play, I'm often the gopher/Hey Boy/roadie/tech because I know what they might need.

Try to stay out of the lights and out of the way, cuz I ain't near the player they are.

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Like Surfpup said, we all need and have Ego. The problem is when the Person/Player is out of touch with thier Id.


Very simply put, Ego is how we view ourselves, Id is how others view us.


Since we're talking Ego, I have to use myself as an example. I'm a good guitar player who was given a Natural Gift to hear and reproduce music.

I've made it a point to grow as a musician over the last 21 years of playing, never stagnate, always learn something new and venture in genre's that i may Not Like, just to be a better musician


However, there are plenty of others out there with the same talents, the same goals, and the same Guitars, that will and do put me to shame.

And in my Limited experience, I've discovered that a sincere humility about your abilities will land the gig faster than Ego laden prowess.


On another side note, and I know this is a really long post already, and Egotistical musician will stagnate, as they are already the best, there is no need to improve.

Don't let that Burmese Tiger Trap swallow you Gifted Young Players. Stay Grounded.

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Interesting topic....


The guitars players that actually jam and play in a group setting are pretty cool for the most part.


But on the other hand................


I'm sorta new to guitar forums (less than a year), but what I've noticed in that time is the more unfriendly players are on guitar forums.



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