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  • Future of Guitar-playing?

    Another one to throw out there. What's your thoughts about the future of guitar-playing? Have we lost feel over technique? Is the technology destroying the natural raw tone, or is it making it easier to reproduce - enhancing it even? Will the guitar as a stringed instrument become outmoded? Is speed destroying the variety of sound that can be played, so it's all about running up and down scales rather than thoughtful phrasing? Will we ever see guys like Johnny Winter, Peter Green, Rory Gallagher, Dave Gilmour again? Or ground-breakers like Jimi Hendrix, Eric Clapton, Jimmy Page and Jeff Beck? Or John McLaughlin, Al Dimeola, Bill Connors? Are we moving into a guitar-playing age spearheaded by Joe Satriani and Steve Vai amongst others in the 90s, where technical mastery of the guitar is creating a new form, becoming something akin to the way young people think technologically nowadays - the speed they text and compute at, etc? And what happens if the electricity goes? Better hold on to that acoustic!

  • #2
    I'd be more worried about actual instruments being phased out in favor of software based emulations. Actual musicians phased out, as well. The future of guitar playing is you don't need a guitar player.

    Drum machines already did it once. And they did it, in spite of sucking balls. And these days, computer software is doing some amazing things in terms of producing some beats. So, the drum machine story will just play out the same for guitar. I would just go ahead and sell me me your gear at a loss, while it has any value left at all.
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    • #3
      I think what's happened in guitar playing is that you now have 2 extremes... You either have pop bands, in which they get a good guitar sound, but they are only playing chords and rarely take a solo... Then at the other extreme, you have guys that have amazing technique and sound, but the compositions usually leave a lot to be desired...

      Back in the day, with Hendrix and Cream and others, these people had great tunes AND great guitar playing... I think that for the people that can really play, the great tunes part is what's missing from the equation... And they also can't sing, and unfortunately, audiences have a real hard time accepting instrumental music, cause they can't relate to something without lyrics...

      Another thing is, times have changed... young guys today aren't necessarily interested in playing the guitar, they're interested in being dj's... Not that there's anything wrong with that, but it's a whole new shillelagh... Ironically and hilariously, the only thing that's brought an interest back in guitar playing for regular people is Guitar Hero, cause they can make believe they can play the guitar... But for the up and coming music person, the interest is singer/songwriter, dj'ing, dance tunes... It's a different time...

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      • #4
        Well, this is an interesting topic. I personally had the impression we threw out the obsession with speed and technique some twenty years ago. But now, checking the harmony central Fora (Forums? Fori? Foraea?), I find that there's a whole new generation of techspeed obsessed kids.
        I guess I have to get out more

        It's interesting though, the whole technique versus feeling debate. I don't think it will ever end since there's no right or wrong either way. There are technically advanced players that can really stir you on a spiritual/emotional level exactly because ther so amazing technically. Then there are totally intuitive players that can leave you in awe wondering how on earth they made that sound (but they can't tell you how cause it was all a big accident).

        When it comes to the future of playing guitar, I really don't believe it will be replaced by software any time soon. Maybe for recorded music (actually that's already happening) but I just watched my Mac perform a solo the other night and I wasn't too impressed.
        On the other hand I work with a fantastic guitar player and when he performs well (where you tend to scream "man! Watch out! You'll burn your fingers!") you know the crowd is totally at his feet. And there is nothing like it.

        In the early eighties I had the feeling that someone like Adrian Belew was at the forefront of new guitar playing but the style he had at the time never took off quite as I expected. Listen to the guitar solos on the Talking Head's "Remain in Light" album. Burn baby! I love that stuff. At the time also the Roland guitarsynths held a promise that never quite paid off.

        The in the nineties Tom Morello took things a step further (in my humble opinion) through mimicking the sampled sounds of hip-hop.
        In the early 00's .......eeeh........well, as I said I don't get out much anymore.

        What I'd like to hear is which player you would consider taking guitar into the future. Is there someone out there I should absolutely hear?

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        • #5
          Nothing quite like watching some new band on some talk show with three guitar players, with really nice guitars and amps yet, but not one of them takes a solo(guess I shouldn't even suggest harmony solos). Of course the audience flips out for them.

          Steve
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          • #6
            There's lots of curb appeal in technique and technology.

            But in the end, I think it's content that wins the long run.


            It can be fascinating to watch purveyors of new techniques (like two hand tapping). Clearly, a guy like Stanley Jordan is, in many ways, a fine musician (that said -- the actual music being made could be usually easily done by two competent guitarists -- or one competent keyboardist).

            It's fun to watch some of these young acoustic tappers in the post-Hedges crowd -- but close your eyes and see how interesting most of it is... most of it, ain't. Unless endless repetitions and insignificant embellishments are your thing.


            With regard to guitar in pop -- it's certainly had a comeback in the last 10 years -- but it's more the symbol or gesture of guitar playing... it seems like there's precious little content beyond the surface... just a bunch of chunkin' and a little left over grindin'...


            People mentioned Peter Green, Jimi Hendrix, Rory Gallagher... those were guys who put the content and emotion above technique -- though they all had plenty of the latter -- and plenty of raw speed, too, when it was appropriate.


            And those guys are pretty much at the top of my personal guitar god mountain -- but I think it's one of the often unsung heroes of guitar who really talks to me sometimes: Oscar Moore, Jr, the guitarist in the old Nat Cole Trio. His playing is amazing -- yet it always serves the music -- it's always doing just the right thing for the song.


            PS... to go back to my opening analogy, some of these now-aging guitar technique mavens (Satriani, Vai) remind me of a shiny, red Mitsubishi sports car... if you know what I mean.

            PPS... to go back to my riff on Oscar Moore -- another guy in that pocket but in a whole different context: Sterling Morrison from the Velvet Underground. The public attention was on Nico and Lou, and Lou's way out of control anyone-can-play guitar freak outs... but quietly making music on some of what have become some of the best loved and most memorable of the VU's songs was the very developed, traditional Morrison, doing sweet little chord comping, tasty embellishments, and basically giving a much-needed respite from the chaotic impulses of Reed and his out of tune 12 string.
            .

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            • #7
              BTW, Satriani and Vai are terrible examples of "technique over feeling". Both are terrific players who have taken their instrument and its expression to higher levels.

              Name some others, bro...

              BTW, until the day the never-ending-battery for laptops is created, making music will still be easier by grabbing your old acoustic guitar and playing. It is a part of the life.
              www.guslozada.com

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              • #8
                As far as I can see, this is an age of "anything goes" when it comes to guitar playing. There are speed-demon tech-heads and there are people who can't play anything but power chords in dropped D. I don't see a whole lot in between in a way, but there are some around... me for instance.

                But, it's hard to pick up any real majority "trend" in guitar playing the last few years, which is fine as far as I'm concerned.
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                • #9
                  BTW, Satriani and Vai are terrible examples of "technique over feeling". Both are terrific players who have taken their instrument and its expression to higher levels.

                  Name some others, bro...

                  BTW, until the day the never-ending-battery for laptops is created, making music will still be easier by grabbing your old acoustic guitar and playing. It is a part of the life.


                  I guess those feelings are just not reaching me...

                  Different strokes.


                  UPDATE: I guess I should hasten to add that I have not heard everything -- or even most of what these guys have done. If Gus says their music conveys feeling to him, I'll defer to his greater familiarity with their music -- not to mention his passionate Latin sensibilities.

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                  • #10
                    Keith Wyatt taught me something cool about 20 years ago. He said to play guitar like it's a guitar. Do the things that can't be easily replicated by a synthesizer. For me, that means that the imperfections... the slightly-missed bent note, the scrape of strings, the inadvertant chunk of a muted note... are just as important as the true technique performance stuff.

                    I think guitar playing trends will continue to be cyclical. Like Lee said, in this age, it's really "anything goes" with a mish-mosh of speed demons, atmospheric ambience players, good old blues-based rockers, and the effects of a multitude of influences that form new hybrid styles.

                    I think it's a good time to be a guitar player, really. I'm still having fun after 31 years of slinging the six-string.
                    Music, thoughts, stuff, and... I guess that's all

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                    • #11
                      I think I'd be a better player today if I hadn't spent my first 5 years on the guitar playing the same two chords... but... seriously... who gets tired of the middle part to "Down by the River"?


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                      • #12
                        one word:

                        plastics.

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                        • #13
                          i wonder if people had these kinds of discussions when mozart or beethoven were doing their takes on bach.

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                          • #14
                            BTW, Satriani and Vai are terrible examples of "technique over feeling". Both are terrific players who have taken their instrument and its expression to higher levels.


                            Especially Satriani. In fact, it's rare to ever see a guitarist (or vocalist...or bass player...or drummer...or anyone...) play with as much feeling as I've seen Satriani play with live. I felt like he was channeling monstrous waves of emotion and energy through his playing, and that he was really really into it. An amazing player. I say this, and you might be able to tell by my posts that I usually don't even listen to much of this sort of music.
                            Ken Lee on 500px / Ken's Photo Store / Ken Lee Photography Facebook Website / Blueberry Buddha Studios / Ajanta Palace Houseboat - Kashmir / Hotel Green View - Kashmir / Eleven Shadows website / Ken Lee Photography Blog / Akai 12-track tape transfers / MY NEW ALBUM! The Mercury Seven

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                            • #15
                              i wonder if people had these kinds of discussions when mozart or beethoven were doing their takes on bach.


                              Yes, they did, all the time. And they did it again when Brahms was doing his Beethoven schtick. This is normal musician thought that's been going on for hundreds of years... probably longer.
                              Music, thoughts, stuff, and... I guess that's all

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