A few years ago I was at a guitar show in London doing a number of sessions for the RGT about the guitar exams and in one of the breaks I was hanging around the stalls looking at the guitars. The noise at these shows is incredible with hundreds of people playing on the instruments and what you hear is a sort of pentatonic hell where the twiddling fingers of young males are shredding their way to some chaotic frenzy.
I reflected that they were using the same scale as used by Hendrix, Clapton and just about every other rock guitarist yet none of them sounded that good because quite simply just as the meaning of language is more than just the words the meaning of music is more than just the notes.
The great blues players were able to get great music from one chord and a few notes and we miss that in the race to complexity and therefore going back to the roots players for any form of music be it the roots of gospel, soul, reggae, African township or folk will give you an insight into what really works in the musical form.
I have four years of guitar magazines that are unread sitting in the teaching room with loads of technical stuff in them, however going back to simple songs and solos has given me fresh insights into the things that got me interested in the first place and helped to add something to the music that I do now.
I think it is a very valuable life lesson.Vic
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