Gigging and watching other bands over the years it’s easy to recall very noteworthy performances and playing styles. Even with the onset of music television the camera stayed largely focused on the lead vocalist and eventually making its way to the elusive guitarist and his or her craft remained largely shrouded in an air of mystery. With the expansion of technology we are now closer than ever to every entertainer and access is right at our fingertips to place them under a microscope as a discerning critic.
It takes work, use technology – Beyond the acclaimed superstar, novice players and quiet studio musicians now have their time in the limelight with self-made channels and helpful how-to videos. It is amazing to see the effect that the web has played over the last decade in cracking open this guitarists’ information heaven. Simply sitting in the comfort of home and searching YouTube presents a world of opportunity and knowledge. Instant access to thousands of videos with side-by-side gear comparisons and demos is mesmerizing. No longer are we held back by our own ears on how to play a song—now we can find a tutorial and have someone teach us, complete with a handy pause button. We’re no longer limited by our own purchasing power—we can hear demos of equipment in our current G.A.S. state (that’s Gear Acquirement Syndrome for those who are new to the block) to feed the beast. While it may serve to contribute to that syndrome, in truth, it is an amazing tool for guitar players to connect and learn around the globe.
It takes practice – But amongst all that noise and great demos what else can really teach the rest of us to shred? If mundane practice and a deficit of natural born talent wasn’t enough to annoy us, our favorite amplifiers can further highlight our lack of speed and skill, which can be painfully helpful. A sense of solid-state accomplishment can be felt when drilling a part only to be disappointed when plugged in for some tubey goodness. Thinking you have just set yourself up for victory only to have the session crushed because your amp brought focus onto your sloppy playing is a bit devastating. It is hard enough to get past nerves when jamming or recording and get your chops intact but to have your amp turn against you too? Geez. Hard as it may be, this is the time you use that amp that has become an enemy during practice sessions. By letting it do some of the heavy lifting for you by shining a light on the areas you need to improve upon. It will be time well spent practicing and making sure you have fallen in line and armed yourself accordingly for the next battle.