When not playing guitar, I’m usually thinking about guitar, and often have my nose in a music magazine. Here’s a collection of quotations that have stuck with me:
“In early adolescence, my hormones attached themselves to music. Mom and Dad gave me a transistor radio, and I used to lay in bed at night with it turned down low and pressed to my ear. I still remember the first song that galvanized me: “Chains,” a simple pop tune... no great classic or anything, but as I listened to that song on my transistor, suddenly I understood. This changed everything.”
“Listening to the great bluesmen - how they played so well and were so relaxed - really inspired me. I’m still trying to play that way. I’ll probably pursue that the rest of my life.”
“If you’re going to sweep the floor, sweep it better than anybody in town. And if you’re going to play guitar, really, really, really get in it, and don’t be jivin’.”
“... it’s the notes you choose to play, and how you play them, and that is entirely down to your own personal taste. One is constantly striving to get to this magical, perfect sound that is in one’s head.”
“Technique, to me, is knowing enough and being able to do enough to play what you want. Music is such a great communicator. It breaks down linguistic barriers, cultural barriers... it basically reaches out. That’s when rock ‘n’ roll succeeds, and that’s what virtuosity is all about”.
“It takes a lot of discipline to be very proficient on your instrument. You have to really exercise your will power... reach down really deep within and pull out stuff you never knew you had, strength you never bothered to find before.”
“As I’ve been a student of guitar, I know very well all the different blues players’ styles, and at times I’ve tried to emulate it... to feel under my fingertips what it feels like to play Stevie Ray Vaughan or Albert King. You celebrate all those who came before you. They laid the tracks and built the towers.”
“I feel a sense of duty to the music and to young women because I didn’t have many female role models growing up. Women can rock - not just sing and play rhythm - but actually rip leads and improvise with anybody at the drop of a hat.”
“We didn’t want to try to aim our music at a lowest common denominator. In fact, we felt compelled to do the opposite: try to make the music more interesting and therefore, if it’s more interesting, then it will succeed.”
“Just play. Let your personality come out.”
“You know, you never stop learning. It’s a funny thing, that guitar. It’s just this piece of wood and six strings... but each day, it still surprises me.”
“You shouldn’t be in the music business if you have a choice because it will beat you down. If you don’t have a choice, now we’re talking. I take some pride in that I was honest in what I did. At least I wasn’t writing crap just to get on the radio and I didn’t embrace fads.”
“The first time I went electric... when the sound came through the speakers, I couldn’t believe it.”
“Music has to be an all-encompassing passion because it takes so much to get good enough on an instrument... my first rig was a Memphis Les Paul copy, a little Fender amp, and an MXR Distortion +. I remember hooking all that up one day, hitting a chord, and all of a sudden, I had arrived.”
“My strength is my determination - I just want to keep getting better.”
“After we saw the Beatles on Ed Sullivan, we had to learn to play guitars. From that point forward, we were just driven to be as much like the Beatles as we could be. We were too young to think, “We should be the girlfriends of the Beatles. We just wanted to be the Beatles, you know?” I took to the guitar like a duck to water. The light bulb went on, lightning struck, and I got good really fast!”
“It all boils down to hard work. Talent does not exist... you can do anything if you put in the time. You have to do whatever you have to do to get those hours in... that’s what I made myself do for many years. No one can do your pushups for you.”
“The times I’m playing best are when I’m slowing down and not trying to show off.”
“Back in school, it wasn’t easy being a female guitar player... it’s so important to shut out negativity and destructive criticism. I have a deep passion for playing and I’ve worked really hard to get here. Believe me, I’ve put in the hours... you just have to follow your dreams and never give up."
“You’ve got to learn what Albert King said – to play every other lick. Don’t feel the need to fill every space and be like a really boring guest at a dinner party, where you’re just going to talk over everybody and think that what you’ve got to say is more important than anybody else. You’ve got to learn to leave that space.”
“I learned a long time ago that one note can go a long way if it’s the right one.”
“I’ve never used transcriptions or tabs, I only use my ears. I encourage people to use their ears.”
“Don’t envision being a rock star: pick a humbler goal, and work towards it in increments. Figure out what your real character and personality truly is, your temperament and your spirit, and then find ways to put them into your music.”
“I was totally obsessed with drumming and no one ever had to encourage me to
practice - to the contrary: I had to be encouraged to stop!”
Have fun and play on!
Roland Nipp is a self-professed music junkie, knob-twiddler, and song addict from Canada. When not playing music, he is usually thinking about guitars, amps, pedals, songs, and CDs. Roland has written and produced six albums of electric guitar music.
Nipp's solo CD, "Ragged Hearts", is now available. Here's the video of the title cut.