Thursday, June 14, 2012

A Guitar That Speaks to You

What is the best electric guitar?
I've been complaining to anyone who will listen to me about how hard it is to play the blues. The blues can be deceivingly simple-sounding. For instance, this B.B. King song is simple. There's nothing about the song which is technically that difficult.

But "technical" is not what this music is about. Any 2nd-year student of the guitar could learn to hit all the notes B.B. King plays — and hit them in time — but getting even close to the mastery of his feel is another matter entirely.
Listen to those pianissimo phrases he slips at the end. Those are stunningly beautiful. He gets this sound inside the notes which are just jaw-droppingly sublime.
I read this article on Eric Clapton's going from Les Pauls to Stratocasters. Now the notion, to me, that one type is guitar is "better" than another is absurd. Plenty of awesome guitar players play one or the other. But the thing that Eric Clapton talks about in the article is how the Strat feels to him. It's not even the way it sounds necessarily, but the way the guitar feels in his hands.
Which is basically the direction I've been going in. I feel like I've finally found the instruments and the amplifiers that feel right to me. It took me 30 years, but I finally figured it out.
I still can't play the blues though. I can do Celtic rock — that's something I have a feel for. But the blues just don't work for me. Sigh. OK. Celtic rock. I got that...

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