The guitar, be it electric or acoustic, is the most versatile of instruments. You can strum a few chords, adopt a highly disciplined classical guitar technique, or play sophisticated jazz chord and scale progressions. The choice is yours. Whatever your bag, the journey to achieving your goal and the fundamental sound is the real buzz.
It’s a funny thing, but music is unlike most other activities. Take football for example, there is no escaping the fact that if you want to play pro-football you had better be good and there are no short cuts. Technique and fitness is an absolute must. Musical expression is different and shares may similarities with the spoken word. A few well chosen words can be far more effective than a tidal wave of sophisticated verbal statement. So it is with playing the guitar.
Arguably, the most successful singer songwriter who ever lived is Bob Dylan, whose delivery is based essentially on guitar sounds and an awesome skill as a lyricist. His musical structure is generally simple – but the simplicity of the music and great hook lines and lyrics is bang on the nail as a musical statement.
So the fact to take on board is that technical ability has little to do with musical talent. If your groove is a simple country, reggae or blues feel you can be damn good and highly relevant without being a technical genius. The simple player who plays with feel and taste is a musician, the same as a highly accomplished classical or jazz guitarist. It is amazing how formally trained musicians, i. e. classical, or other technical jazz players, are mostly the most ineffective exponents of rock, country, pop or blues music.
Playing guitar is essentially an attitude, and feel and the necessary musical knowledge to express what you wish to play. Don’t be fooled into following the path of so many potentially great musicians and be fazed by more accomplished players. When you tune in to the simplicity of a player such as the great blues guitarist B. B. King, you cannot help but be affected by his economy of notes, played in such a meaningful, soulful musical context.
Playing guitar has an infinite number of possibilities. It is the most adaptable, useable instrument, and it’s the journey to your goal that’s the fun part. You will never stop learning guitar. Each time you pick it up you will discover something new and it needn’t be hard to play to be relevant!