bass, creative recovery, finger speed, George Harrison, gifted, gypsy jazz, lead guitar, musical genres, rhythm guitar, rock guitar, women in rock
Did you know you came perfectly wired to play a certain style? I’m convinced that musicians are. The problem is when we don’t realize that and then try to attain the skills and wiring to play a style that we aren’t equipped to do-and that’s where the frustration sets in. Luckily it’s a style of rock or blues you love already. Problem is when you go into denial over it….and decide to go somewhere else musically-which can lead to a lot of frustration and angst.
It happened to me in the 80’s when I decided to go along with the crowd and forget my love of 60-70’s rock and go into metal. I’ve never had fast fingers. But there I was,in my 20’s,trying to zip all over the fingerboard,which usually meant my left hand froze up in confusion. “Do what???” was the message my hands were sending to my brain. Or maybe it was the other way around. Then I felt like a failure because I couldn’t do it. Then that led to frustration. In retrospect,I didn’t enjoy playing in the 80’s anywhere as much as I thought. I spent a whole lotta time wishing I could play a certain way to be accepted by myself and others,which led nowhere cause my fingers aren’t of the quicksilver quality. Learning scales didn’t help. Neither did so called “speed excersises”. As a result I wound up on bass or playing rhythm guitar,which I wasn’t happy with either as so many chick players seemed to be doing that and only that.
A lot of players,in the same boat I was,wound up hurting themselves by developing carpal tunnel or some other malady due to pushing their hands into doing things they simply weren’t wired to do. Luckily that never happened to me,despite the fact I’ve had more than one job that had repetitive hand motion as a main duty.
Recently I made the discovery that by going back to the “root music” I grew up loving,I am totally and gratefully equipped to do. This has created a new dimension of personal music appreciation. I feel like I got my “get out of jail” card. I had myself in a self imposed and enforced prison. Or rather my ego mind did.
What music did you grow up hearing and just loving? No doubt,depending on what years you were a grade school kid,if I could hear you I’d be getting a huge variety of responses. It could be rock,blues/rock,grunge,new wave,jazz fusion,pop,etc. Whatever that love is,
that’s the genre you’re supposed to be playing!
To clarify,I don’t mean to say you’re only supposed to play one style. For example, in addition to rock,I have a knack for playing classical and fingerpicking guitar. Key is I can do both well and with ease-which tells me this falls within my “wiring”. (I’m playing Gypsy Jazz too,and it delights me)
The keys lay in knowing what styles you like and what you’re wired for. Where those two streets meet,those genres are for you. My classical guitar teacher,for example,was also a very talented bluegrass flatpicker. From what I understood from other players,this was a highly unusual thing. The styles were far apart-yet he could do both with total ease and flair.
So see where your fingers naturally fall,and search your heart to find where the musical inner gold lies. Make a list and check it against the songbooks you already have. Do they match? Are they in stark contrast to what you’re discovering? If so,you can sell or give away the books that are not sincerely you,and then go for the books that are,along with purchasing CDs of groups & artists you haven’t heard in years but enjoyed. I just picked up a used copy of a George Harrison CD & am enjoying it very much.