Monday, May 28, 2007

The Guitar

Most people think the guitar is a musical instrument. I see it as a bit more complicated than that. To me, the guitar is a family of 10 to 12 musical instruments (or more, depending on how you count). Most of them have some similarities--most have six strings, most are mainly made of wood--but there are differences, too, including more or less than six strings, use of metal in place of wood--and some look quite different from the rest.

Part of those differences stem from the fact that those 10 to 12 instruments are used in even more styles of music, and each type of music puts different demands on the guitar and the guitar player. The "licks" a bluegrass guitarist uses would be out of place in rock--the rocker's playing wouldn't go over in a jazz setting--the jazz player doesn't measure up in a classical guitarist's eyes--get the picture? As a matter of fact there have been times when it seemed to me that after playing guitar, the most common activity of guitar players is looking down their noses at each other. They get to feeling that their musical genre and type of guitar are superior to the others. There are some who aren't so snobby, but all too many are.

And that's to be expected, really. Guitar players are not angels; they're fallen human beings, just like the rest of us. So enjoy the music--as many styles as you can--but when they quit playing and start putting each other down, just take it with a grain (or five or six) of salt!

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