Any real guitarist might say I'm not a real guitarist. At least that's how I feel from time to time. For the past 25 years I've been playing these things, doing what I want with it, letting my influences come through on their own, not trying to mimic any one guitarist in particular. I guess by now I've developed a certain original style, by learning and playing the music of various guitarists both new and old. Still I wonder, how original could my guitar playing be if I've been playing other guitarists riffs for so long?
The answer lies in the fact that we didn't learn how they learned and each guitarist has his own feel for his instrument. Some guys can make the thing talk like you wouldn't believe, you'll swear they have some effects hooked up but it's all in the way they pick and fret the notes. It's in how they shape the sound.
At times I feel like I'm not a real guitarist because I can't play all the scales on purpose and tell you what they are. I can't visually look at the fretboard and tell you where every single note is. For me the magic is in playing. Yes, by learning more I can play more, but if I had to learn every note before I could play them I wouldn't want to bother. I picked up the guitar and played, that was it. Any real guitarist will tell you: Just play, worry about the details later.
The point of this article is this: Play your guitar, develop your style. Let your guitar playing be a natural extension of you. Later on when you really wish you knew more about the guitar or a particular style, study and learn.
If we all kept playing what everyone else played there would be no shaping the future of this instrument. The next revolutionary player will be playing the guitar the way he or she wants to play it, because no one told him or her otherwise.
It's been said that in order to be a great writer, one should write. It holds true for guitarists too. If you want to be a great guitar player, play.
Drew Vics is a guitarist living in New Jersey who has been playing rock music for about 25 years. His most recent influences are guitarists such as Mark Knopfler and James Taylor.
His self produced, debut CD, "No More Waiting" was entirely recorded, mixed and manufactured in his basement digital studio