Guitar Wisdom from the Greats (Part 2)

guitar wisdom

The second part of our round up of guitar wisdom from some of the best in the business. (Read Part 1)

“In my teens I did spend a lot of time playing guitar. But I never liked to call it practice. I was never a metronome warrior. The idea of having a regimented thing that you do every day didn’t appeal to me: “I will now do my sweeps for 10 minutes and then I will take a 30-second break, turn the metronome up 20 percent, do sweeps for five minutes, relax, do alternate picking…” Blah, blah, blah. For some people that works.”

Guthrie Govan

“Music has become really important now. It’s helped me to open up more and take a chance on loving people. Music is a good reason to care. It’s just a vehicle though. It’s a way to try and give somebody something that you feel. If trying the best I can isn’t good enough, I’ll just have to try harder next time…it’s all I can do. If I do the best I can, then at least I did the best I could in this life The way I like to look at it is….if that’s the last time I ever got to play, I’d better give it everything I’ve got.”
SRV

“I don’t work from scales; I just try to hit that jackpot every time and you just go ‘round the mulberry bush to get it.”
Jeff Beck

“I was ten. Definitely no sense of rhythm, and I spent a long time wonderting why it was that such an unlikely candidate would become a professional musician. But I knew right away that I was going to earn a living from it. Thinking about it over the years, I think music has a desire to be heard, such a kind of compulsion to be heard that it picks on unlikely candidates to give it voice.”
Robert Fripp

“Well, let’s look at it in music. I’ll tell you what I’m looking for. I’m looking for eloquence, accuracy, and elegance – among other things such as profundity, pathos, joy – but I think these three qualities, which are written on the back of _Love Supreme_ by John Coltrane; reading those liner notes had a great effect on me. It’s a way of life, a way of being. I don’t think one can strive for elegance and eloquence and purity in music and not in life.”
John McLaughlin

“No, the truth is, you can never perfect your technique. There’s no such thing as ‘perfect.’ If you’re dedicated, you’re always learning and improving. But you do get to a certain point where technique isn’t an issue anymore, and for me, it was probably when I was in my early teens.”
Yngwie Malmsteen


“We all have the ability to be inspired. It is just a matter of letting down certain defences and letting inspiration come in and then acting upon it with courage. I think for people, who are like geniuses, it is always there. But when it comes to people like me, I kind of have to wait for the gods of inspiration to sprinkle some fairy dust on me or something. But once it’s there, it is quite liberating.”
Steve Vai

“I think it’s an ongoing process and I’m always in the process of learning different stuff. Different scales and concepts and stuff. But I’ve still got a ways to go, that’s for sure. I think that ultimately that’s the place you want to be—where you’re freer. You develop the scope of what you can do to the point where you can step into that freedom and kind of forget about what you’ve learned because it’s there at your disposal. You have the wherewithall to pull it off.”
Eric Johnson

“My ideal guitar is the one I’m playing now. I believe that the sound comes from the hands. If you’re playing your guitar and I pick it up, I’ll still sound like me.”
Hiram Bullock

“Creativity is everywhere, all the time. It’s the nature of who we are. As for artistic creativity, I think a lot of people put it on a pedestal and imagine it is something they can’t quite grasp – but it’s the most natural thing in the world. Of course, there are lots of ways that you can work against it, and that aren’t helpful, like if you look at your art as something that you want to get something back from the world for. Then you’re not in creativity mode anymore – you’re in attention receiving mode or something like that. Having been in this business for a long time, I’ve noticed that typically guitar players who practice a lot and search a lot before they become famous, when they became famous, they will stop searching and just freeze. They’ll say, “Okay, this is what everybody likes me for, so this is what I’ll be.” To me, that’s when the relationship to creativity ends.”
John Frusciante

“Guitar solos to me, should be a really articulate way to make fun of guitar solos. My guitar solos [have] gotten to nonsense and sometimes they sound like nonsense, but they’re played on purpose.”
Josh Homme
About Graham Tippett 300 Articles
Compulsive guitar blogger and writer of many innovative guitar books.

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