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What makes a guitar player a "guitarist"?


alcorn429

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I've been playing for about six or seven months now. I practice atleast two hours a day. I love to play and learn new stuff and it is by far one of the best hobbies I've ever had. I think what throws me off is I've visited some of the other forums and theres all this talk about whether your a guitar player or a guitarist. To me, guitar seems like an art form that can never be perfected. A guitarist is some one who is passoionately always looking for ways to improve and learn more and then uses what they've learned to further their style of playing. Let me know what you guys think.

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A guitar player considers the guitar a tool to craft what he or she sees fit.

 

A guitarist....is true to the guitar that's in his or her hands.

 

 

 

I almost forgot....

 

I've been playing off and on for almost 25 years now. I think I am only now actually taking steps to becoming a "guitarist" vs. a guitar player.

 

"Tools"

 

Thirty spokes meet at a nave;

Because of the hole we may use the wheel.

Clay is moulded into a vessel;

Because of the hollow we may use the cup.

Walls are built around a hearth;

Because of the doors we may use the house.

Thus tools come from what exists' date='

But use from what does not.[/i']

 

~Lao Tzu

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There are two types of guitar players: the ones who listen and copy and are satisfied with just getting it "kinda right" and those who study and learn scales, modes, and techniques as well. For the first 30 years I was more of the first kind. I played in box forms and later discovered extended patterns. About 15 years ago, I discovered a book called "Total Guitar". I wore that book out and learned scales and some techniques that I had never known. I learned the relationships between 3rds and 5ths and 7ths and 9ths, minor and major scales, and modal theory. I learned that the box patterns I used most were called Blues Pentatonic scales. This was an eye opener.

 

Learning some music theory will propel a guitar player into territory that's conducive to becoming a much better guitar player. When you read the articles and interviews in the mags you find that great guitar players can talk the theory and do so naturally. They put it to work, play hours per day, and that's why the great soloists stand out.

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Well for my first post I will put my head on the block. Most of the posts are hinting around the difference, a "guitar player" can play songs he/she has practiced and learned to play, a "guitarist" is a person who can sit down for the first time and play a song or songs the way they were written and/or improvise well enough on a song he/she has never heard so no one knows the person has never played the song before. Examples Chet Atkins, Roy Clark, Jimi Hendrix, Jerry Reed, Slash................

 

But the point (which has already been made) is to enjoy what you play, don't strive to be the best, strive to be happy with "your" music, because only YOU need to be!

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Those are just labels.......based on some of the deffinitions there are "guitar players" out there who only play a few notes but do it with passion and soul...and there are "guitarists" who can rip off a furious flurry of theoretically correct phrases. I'd rather hear the former.

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Those are just labels.......based on some of the deffinitions there are "guitar players" out there who only play a few notes but do it with passion and soul...and there are "guitarists" who can rip off a furious flurry of theoretically correct phrases. I'd rather hear the former.

 

Certainly, they are just labels.....

 

But, labels are used to describe things. And love it or hate it, the human mind, by desire and intention, enjoys nothing more than to see or experience things, and then place them into nice, little categorial boxes so that they do not have to dwell too much, or take any additional consideration towards those said things which are being contemplated.

 

I appear to be the sole objector, and for most of us? Sure...no difference at all. You're a guitar player. Hence, you are a guitarist.

 

But, since I myself sort of utilize terms in that manner...after all, my weak mind does require some amount of assistance towards defining what I have seen and experienced....

 

The guitarist, whatever they are playing.....it goes beyond theory, it goes beyond musical mastery...it goes beyond technique. All of those things....those are earmarks of the mastery towards a tool. At that point...

 

Still a guitar player.

 

The difference...

 

In the hands of a guitarist, that guitar no longer acts as a tool....it becomes alive. By channeling their life, and their will into that guitar, it becomes something more, and something greater than a slab of wood that might have some wiring in it and a couple of magnets to receive the sound.

 

The guitarist, IMHO has the ability to animate the instrument in such a way that it becomes, or acts like a living, breathing thing, and communicates as such.

 

I don't expect people to understand this perception. For some, Hendrix was just another guitar player. John Lennon...just another songwriter. Beethoven....just another composer. Paganini was just another violinist.

 

So yes, I do use the term to describe what I see as a difference between someone who uses the tool as a tool...and someone who can, through their force of will, transform that instrument into acting as something beyond what it is to most of us.

 

In truth? I don't know if I will ever be "a guitarist". But I think I'm a lot closer than I was 10, 15, 20 years ago....

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"The guitarist, IMHO has the ability to animate the instrument in such a way that it becomes, or acts like a living, breathing thing, and communicates as such."

 

I appreciate the distinction you are trying to make,but I think some of that ability is an innate talent...not a learned academic process......that's where the analogy breaks down for me.

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Certainly' date=' they are just labels.....

 

But, labels are used to describe things. And love it or hate it, the human mind, by desire and intention, enjoys nothing more than to see or experience things, and then place them into nice, little categorial boxes so that they do not have to dwell too much, or take any additional consideration towards those said things which are being contemplated.

 

I appear to be the sole objector, and for most of us? Sure...no difference at all. You're a guitar player. Hence, you are a guitarist.

 

But, since I myself sort of utilize terms in that manner...after all, my weak mind does require some amount of assistance towards defining what I have seen and experienced....

 

The guitarist, whatever they are playing.....it goes beyond theory, it goes beyond musical mastery...it goes beyond technique. All of those things....those are earmarks of the mastery towards a tool. At that point...

 

Still a guitar player.

 

The difference...

 

In the hands of a guitarist, that guitar no longer acts as a tool....it becomes alive. By channeling their life, and their will into that guitar, it becomes something more, and something greater than a slab of wood that might have some wiring in it and a couple of magnets to receive the sound.

 

The guitarist, IMHO has the ability to animate the instrument in such a way that it becomes, or acts like a living, breathing thing, and communicates as such.

 

I don't expect people to understand this perception. For some, Hendrix was just another guitar player. John Lennon...just another songwriter. Beethoven....just another composer. Paganini was just another violinist.

 

So yes, I do use the term to describe what I see as a difference between someone who uses the tool as a tool...and someone who can, through their force of will, transform that instrument into acting as something beyond what it is to most of us.

 

In truth? I don't know if I will ever be "a guitarist". But I think I'm a lot closer than I was 10, 15, 20 years ago....[/quote']

 

I'm sorry but IMHO you have created your own definition.

Guitarist is simply a term for someone who performs with a guitar. As in Alex Lifeson is the guitarist for the band Rush or The Edge is the guitarist for the band U2. Nothing more nothing less. There are bad guitarists, mediocre guitarists, and great guitarists or even transcendent guitarists but guitarist by itself is simply a guitar player who performs. Guitarist is not a label for ability, proficiency, or artistry with a guitar. If someone said that they are a guitarist, I would ask for which band or where do you perform?

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I'm sorry but IMHO you have created your own definition.

Guitarist is simply a term for someone who performs with a guitar. As in Alex Lifeson is the guitarist for the band Rush or The Edge is the guitarist for the band U2. Nothing more nothing less. There are bad guitarists' date=' mediocre guitarists, and great guitarists or even transcendent guitarists but guitarist by itself is simply a guitar player who performs. Guitarist is not a label for ability, proficiency, or artistry with a guitar. If someone said that they are a guitarist, I would ask for which band or where do you perform? [/quote']

 

Well, as stated before....I don't expect everyone to understand. I already pointed out I was the sole objector in terms of the definition.

 

And yes, sometimes words mean different things to different people. "Sometimes words have 2 meanings."

 

For some, music is a question of mathematical equations in conjunction with theoretical study and employed via technique only. For others? There is a spiritual connection associated with music.

 

Was a samurai a swordsman?

 

Certainly, they were.

 

But, were they akin to "any run of the mill" swordsman in terms of how they approached their craft?

 

Or, their instrument, which in that case was a katana?

 

Some could argue: "Any person who wielded a sword was a samurai. All samurais were swordsmen. It's just mincing. There's no big deal to any of it."

 

Sure....

 

Well, that's it for me on this thread. I will enjoy my definition, as it gives me something to strive for that goes beyond what is seen upon the paper, and what is initially heard within a composition....

 

Have a nice day.

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