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  • rbedwell3

Taking that final leap

Many of you have been through the following evolution, and many more have not. Check the following and see where you are.

1) You have mastered the basics.

2) You have copied many guitarists, in multiple genres.

3) You have played in bands, good and bad.

4) You moved on to instrumental music, and mastered the intermediates and advanced.

5) You have a wide variety of influences.

6) You have a collection of guitars, electric, acoustic and classical.

7) You can play pretty much anything anyone asks, mainly because no-one ever asks for anything too difficult these days.

You still listen to mainly the same artists as ten or twenty years ago, because guitar playing has not really evolved much since then.

9) You have had phases of being a fan of one or another guitarist and have mastered their style, to the best of your ability.

If this is you, then the final step is waiting:

Write your own music using your own voice. That is the part that most famous guitarists leave out. Lots of guitar players want to sound like someone for a while, but when you do, then what? Great, you can play a Metheny lick, or a part of a Guthrie Govan song. Awesome. Is that not just plagiarism. Musical plagiarism. Call it what you like, but its copying, isn’t it. It’s like drawing over a picture on tracing paper and then copying that out onto a plain piece of paper and then trying to pass it off as your own drawing. It’s not though, is it? I mean really. It’s a photocopy. Without the photo.

Many of you will be teachers too, and will be familiar with this. At what point does a student, or even a professional musician start to realise that playing covers or copying someone is only really pretending. The famous guitarists never say it out loud, their publishers wouldn’t want them to, that’s a lot of music books, strings, signature models. But, secretly, they are saying to themselves, ‘go and create your own sound, and then maybe you will be sharing this space up here with me.’

That’s the truth, it’s not a condemnation. It took me 20 years to get to the point where I didn’t want to play anyone else’s music. Now, I never play anything other than my own. If you are still not at that point yet, maybe you never will be. It’s not for everyone, but it is worth trying to do so every now and then, just to see if you can. And once you can, there is no going back.

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