Guitarists????

Jeff Beck in a couple of short years with the Yardbirds and his first few solo albums- Jimmy Page on the first Led Zep album, Hendrix on Are You Experienced? Clapton on everything up to Derek and the Dominos, Duane Allman before his 27th birthday, Wes Montgomery, Charlie Christian, Chet Atkins.

Here is my question. To you guitarists.

What contributions have ANY of you made to the art form that is innovative and new? That people have latched onto and said “Hey I never heard anything like this before!”

And that is my problem with today’s guitarists, especially on a local level. True, I am not of their caliber but I have always tried to be creative, musical and put my heart and soul into it.

Too many of you don’t even do that. You sit there and fluff scales, or just repeat licks we’ve hear a million times. And do it almost robotic-ally, not a hint of passion.

Listen to my solo on “Don’t Stop The Dreamin'” by Big Danny.

Listen to my lead work on my CD Road Construction:

My work with Andrew James Hughes:

You can also hear me on my YouTube channel Alvis1515.

I’m deliberately trying to be creative- and deliberately trying to pull your string, to move you. But again this is not about me. I’m asking YOU.

I’m not trying to build myself by posting this- I am seriously posing this question as someone who loves GREAT guitar playing.

And don’t point me to some fusion player who confuses musical diarrhea with great skill. Steve Cropper uses pretty much the same half dozen notes on his solo on Otis Redding’s “Rock Me” over and over and its a fine solo:

I’ve heard blues harp players, sax players, keyboard players, drummers even who blew me away with their creativity and passion.

Almost never do I hear any of this from guitar players. Very few and far between.

So with such inspiration as I’ve outlined above- what gives?

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3 Comments

  1. As you well know I am just getting back into the music field with some obstacles and by no way am I or should I be included in the caliber of a great guitarist. With that said, I have taken some songs that were written mainly for piano and have played them on guitar with great reviews. Anton Daub one time heard me play Elton John’s “Your Song” at a Tuesday Afternoon Open Mic and he liked it stating “You’ve come a long way.” In another way that you don’t hear much of, I have been influenced by returning to the Catholic Church to write Gospel / Contemporary Christian Songs and at an event I played my original “Found Jesus” and not only did people give me good reviews but one woman came up to me and Thanked me for having the courage to not only write but to perform that genre song where most people don’t. As for being more creative, not only on guitar but also other instruments, I am taking off from performing this Winter to not only care for my wife but to work on my music, re-teach myself guitar basics and self-teach myself piano and find a way to come out with a bang that will open eyes. Don’t know how it will go, but I have been one to 1) Never give up and 2) Never stop learning. I urge all others to go back to the basics because it is there, I believe, that you will find ways to play “Outside of the Box” so to speak.

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  2. Surely you jest. LOL. I hear new, creative stuff from TTT all the time and people RAVE, especially about his inventive slide. But big deal. What good does it do him or anyone else? It’s not like the old days when the few stood out. Now people rave about 9 year olds and ignore the fact that most of the really good guitarists were that good at 9 and got a hell of a lot better, but people have gotten jaded. Being good or great means nothing. You have to have a gimmick or the right “connections”, even if you aren’t as good as joe guitarist in the local club. I tell people all the time that there are dozens of awesome guitarists in NJ who could blow away the so-called rock stars who get a lot of attention. Problem is, like you say, very few are doing anything new and creative, and the fans go for the stuff that sounds familiar, not the new. There is a local guy in Asheville who used to live in Red Bank – Andre – who is very creative. Musicians and guitarists have great respect for him, but does the public know him? Do you? Andre Cholmondeley. Awesome and inventive and techs for Greg Lake, tours from time to time with Dweezel and Project Object. But alas, most guitarists revert to the same old licks that have been beaten to death by every cover band in the world. Especially in the Blues genre. You need to come visit, Al.

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    • I think you have a different perspective than I do Suzi. A small handful of creative, masterful players with something compelling to add do not a great scene make. The last really great player to come along has been with us over 20 years- the gentleman who recently hooked up with Bon Jovi.

      TTT, Billy Hector, and who??? You could name a few others I’m sure, as could I. But I hear horn players and keyboard players, and bass players, drummers who blow me away a lot more often. And anyone from within the last ten years?

      I can only tell you what I see coming up in the clubs.

      I think its a problem. Standards are f-d up for guitarists. Too many think technical mastery is all that matters. Or they think simplicity is all that matters. Or that fluffing a few Albert King licks makes them a great blues player. Or have some other messed up ideas that don’t have anything to do with what makes people want to hear you, and would PAY to hear you.

      What matters is having something to say. Something no one else is saying, at least not in the way YOU want to say it. That people need to have said.

      And if you can do that in a way that is marketable and do the right things to market it yes I think you can make a difference. Touring, personal appearances, collaborations, whatever you can do to promote yourself.

      The world needs brilliant guitarists. Like TTT. Instead it gets more and more trickery (that the average listener who doesn’t know about guitar can’t appreciate because they just want great music, they don’t care how you do it), a continuous race to faster, more intricate, run, jump, skip athletics.

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