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Chasing a dragon?   You are logged in as Guest
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Haydn

 

Posts: 59
Joined: Jan. 29 2011
 

Chasing a dragon? 

I've been having thoughts about what it means to be a great guitarist, and wanted the infinitely wise members of the foro to weigh in with their opinions.

Here's the questions: Do you consider yourself to be a great guitarist?

Obviously, this is a very subjective question, so give reason for your answer.

Personally, I've found that as I've progressed, I've exceeded my initial expectations of what I thought I could achieve. I'm better than I thought I could be. BUT, as I've improved I've realised how little I know, discovered so many fantastic guitarists, mind blowing compositions and impossibly technical pieces. The yard stick has been moved. When I started I thought that if I could do what I can do now, I would be great. Well, I've arrived here and the goal has been moved. Undoubtedly, one day I'll reach a point I currently consider amazing, and when I reach it I'll once again realise how much more there is to learn.

So, is it possible? Can you reach a point where you feel as though you can rest on your laurels? Or are we doomed to chase a dragon, strive to reach an unreachable goal and measure ourselves against an impossible yardstick?

I'm going to go practise now. Hopefully I'll be one step closer to the unattainable by the time I return to your wise and witty resposes

Haydn
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Feb. 9 2012 22:12:27
 
El Kiko

Posts: 2697
Joined: Jun. 7 2010
From: The South Ireland

RE: Chasing a dragon? (in reply to Haydn

If you are not striving to be better in some way or all ways then you are musically dead ........

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  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Feb. 9 2012 22:29:20
 
xirdneH_imiJ

Posts: 1900
Joined: Dec. 2 2006
From: Budapest, now in Southampton

RE: Chasing a dragon? (in reply to Haydn

i think in most cases it's going to be a constant chase...in mine as well, but also while trying to become a better player technically, i'm trying not to forget that the main purpose of the struggle is to be able to create great music, not just to be great technically...i see so many technically excellent players whose compositions are not very good/original/creative etc (so they suck)...
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Feb. 9 2012 22:31:31
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  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Feb. 9 2012 23:54:00
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  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Feb. 10 2012 0:35:02
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  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Feb. 10 2012 3:28:41
 
akatune

 

Posts: 188
Joined: Mar. 28 2008
 

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  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Feb. 10 2012 8:03:12
 
edguerin

Posts: 1590
Joined: Dec. 24 2007
From: Siegburg, Alemania

RE: Chasing a dragon? (in reply to Haydn

quote:

Here's the questions: Do you consider yourself to be a great guitarist?

No.

But lots of time I have fun.

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Ed

El aficionado solitario
Alemania
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Feb. 10 2012 16:47:46
 
El Kiko

Posts: 2697
Joined: Jun. 7 2010
From: The South Ireland

RE: Chasing a dragon? (in reply to edguerin

Try to imagine the opposite , like .....OK , I did it ...so now I have nothing left to play ....nothing left to practice ...I have reached my goal and I am really good ...great ....
well done me ....

So now ....erm....I willl .....erm...


Game of football anyone .......??



Here's the questions: Do you consider yourself to be a great guitarist?

no, definitely not , I am trying to be intermediate ... I may happen one day, but although I want it, I am really in no particular hurry to be there, the journey is good .

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  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Feb. 10 2012 20:15:23
 
sig

 

Posts: 296
Joined: Nov. 7 2007
From: Wisconsin

RE: Chasing a dragon? (in reply to Haydn

Great topic and since i'm feeling kind of philosophical today I figured I'd put my .02 in on this subject. I totally agree with all the posts so far, it is a journey not a destination; for me at least. I too am a hobbyist but I also perform with a local company, we do shows, dance classes and occasionally workshops with other dancers and musicians.

What I've found is i'm as good as I need to be but not as good as I feel I want to be. I see vid's here of some members and I turn green with envy at their skill level. Then I think to myself, I love this art form and just being able to play in compas with a dancer and occasionally a singer is well beyond what I thought I'd every be able to do with my guitar. Its really quite rewarding and if I keep that in perspective, I feel i'll enjoy the ride so much more. I find that comparing myself to somebody else is an excersize in futility and I try not to do that. There will always be somebody better, faster more technically advanced; it's just how the world works. The other thing I love about flamenco is the sense of community that I feel. Irregardless of your skill level i've found that most people are willing to help others learn and grow. Its really a great feeling...

I guess you are right, most of us will always be chasing the dragon, I believe even Paco probably feels that way and he's considered a master of the highest order.
Sig--
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Feb. 10 2012 20:18:52
 
etta

 

Posts: 345
Joined: Jan. 20 2010
 

RE: Chasing a dragon? (in reply to sig

Chasing a dragon has a lot to do with our ego needs. We need to remember, no matter how good we are, there are always better players, and conversely, no matter how bad we are, there are always those who are worse. Bottom line, the most important person to please is yourself and that is about enjoying your music. You are the most important audience for your music. If you enjoy it, learn as you go at whatever pace and to whatever level your time and abilities will take you; relax and enjoy.
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Feb. 10 2012 20:42:42
 
Sean

Posts: 672
Joined: Jan. 20 2011
From: Canada

RE: Chasing a dragon? (in reply to Haydn

I thought chasing the dragon had a lot to do with opium dens

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  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Feb. 10 2012 21:34:57

ToddK

 

Posts: 2961
Joined: Dec. 6 2004
 

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  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Feb. 10 2012 21:50:42
 
BarkellWH

Posts: 3462
Joined: Jul. 12 2009
From: Washington, DC

RE: Chasing a dragon? (in reply to Haydn

quote:

Here's the question: Do you consider yourself to be a great guitarist?


Anyone answering in the affirmative had better be stacking himself up against, and considering himself the equal of, Paco de Lucia, Ramon Montoya, Nino Ricardo, Sabicas, Manolo de Huelva, Melchor de Marchena, and the like in flamenco; Segovia, John Williams, Julian Bream, Pepe Romero, Narciso Yepes, and the like in classical.

To be considered a "great guitarist" is not determined by some subjective evaluation that someone "plays very well," or even that someone is "excellent" or "superb." There are several of them on this forum. The term "great guitarist" implies a category that is in the realm of the sublime. Very few reach that level worldwide. I think I know what you meant by the question, Haydn, but it probably should be re-phrased to represent reality on this forum. I do think that all of us should strive to be the best we can be within the constraints and limits of our talents and quotidian obligations.

Cheers,

Bill

_____________________________

And the end of the fight is a tombstone white,
With the name of the late deceased,
And the epitaph drear, "A fool lies here,
Who tried to hustle the East."

--Rudyard Kipling
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Feb. 10 2012 22:02:40
 
Ricardo

Posts: 14914
Joined: Dec. 14 2004
From: Washington DC

RE: Chasing a dragon? (in reply to Haydn

There are different stages. When you can finally play in rhythm pretty much constantly without loosing the beat, that is one MAJOR step forward. Later it is important that what you do affects other people, regardless of your level. If you are able to inspire other people then you should feel pretty good about what you are doing. Next when you are respected by your peers, or those "in the know", it is a milestone to be proud of. And finally, I think the "great" artists are aware of the feeling when they walk into a room full of, not lay people but, OTHER great artists, and can sense a feeling of "competition" or even fear. That's when you know you are at least good. The balance shifts when the next higher level artist appears in the room...it's great! But you realize that "greatness" is relative. See the movie "Searching for Bobby Fisher".

All along the way there will be critics, people ignore or look down upon your efforts, remain un affected or even jealous of what you do relatively speaking....it is normal. Don't let that deter you from the path of striving for excellence in any case. And while you don't want ego to prevent you from letting your advance or limiting you in other ways (professional or social), remember this quote of John Mclaughlin: "The only egoless persons in the world are saints, and you don't see saints playing guitars!".

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CD's and transcriptions available here:
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  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Feb. 10 2012 23:09:01
 
Haydn

 

Posts: 59
Joined: Jan. 29 2011
 

RE: Chasing a dragon? (in reply to Haydn

I read many interesting points, and see much food for thought.

Firstly, I have to agree with everyone who has said that it's the journey that matters, and not the destination. However, I can't help but feel as though goals are important. Without the milestones we choose to mark our progress as musicians, aren't we just stumbling around in the dark, not going anywhere, and eventually becoming frustrated by our inability to create anything new and exciting? This can be seen as a double edged sword too; by creating milestones, you are also creating a yardstick by which to measure your ability against others.

Secondly, whilst even the more competent players are hesitant to label themselves as great, we're all very quick to label other musicians this way, despite the fact they might disagree. What's going on here? Do we all sound better from the perspective of another person, who isn't as intimate with our perceived shortcomings (imagined or otherwise)?

I'm looking forward to hearing everyone's thoughts on the matter...
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Feb. 10 2012 23:11:13
 
Ricardo

Posts: 14914
Joined: Dec. 14 2004
From: Washington DC

RE: Chasing a dragon? (in reply to Haydn

quote:

Do we all sound better from the perspective of another person, who isn't as intimate with our perceived shortcomings (imagined or otherwise)?


In short yes. To my next door neighbor I am a ****ing guitar GENIUS....but to Gerardo Nuñez I suck....although he is such a humble guy he would not say that, but at least he knows where my level is at down here.

A friend told me a co worker he gave my CD to had pandora running and heard Nuñez and thought it was ME playing! It is good in one sense, that I am good enough to fool a layman, in another sense perhaps it means my playing resembles my teacher TOO MUCH. Either way I understand the confusion and still know my place.

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  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Feb. 10 2012 23:17:14
 
BarkellWH

Posts: 3462
Joined: Jul. 12 2009
From: Washington, DC

RE: Chasing a dragon? (in reply to Haydn

quote:

Secondly, whilst even the more competent players are hesitant to label themselves as great, we're all very quick to label other musicians this way, despite the fact they might disagree.


Perhaps the more competent players are hesitant to label themselves as "great" because they understand the difference between being "more competent" and being "great." I stand by my post above. In my opinion, "great" is not as relative a term as some would have you believe.

I think that we sometimes label other musicians as "great" because we use the term in a loose, colloquial way. We refer to someone as a "great" guy, when in fact he may have ordinary talents but he's fun to have around. We just mean we like him a lot as a friend, he's amusing and funny, witty, etc. It doesn't mean he's "great" in the true sense of the term. I guess it comes down to I think "great" is one of those over-used terms that we all throw around with lack of precision.

Just my thoughts, for what they are worth.

Cheers,

Bill

_____________________________

And the end of the fight is a tombstone white,
With the name of the late deceased,
And the epitaph drear, "A fool lies here,
Who tried to hustle the East."

--Rudyard Kipling
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Feb. 10 2012 23:39:07
 
Ricardo

Posts: 14914
Joined: Dec. 14 2004
From: Washington DC

RE: Chasing a dragon? (in reply to BarkellWH

quote:

In my opinion, "great" is not as relative a term as some would have you believe.


Well, by my definition the ones on your list are more then great, they are THE BEST for their relative time periods and disciplines. There plenty of players not in your list that were better then "good" players. But that is just MY definition.

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CD's and transcriptions available here:
www.ricardomarlow.com
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Feb. 10 2012 23:49:24
 
BarkellWH

Posts: 3462
Joined: Jul. 12 2009
From: Washington, DC

RE: Chasing a dragon? (in reply to Ricardo

quote:

Well, by my definition the ones on your list are more then great, they are THE BEST for their relative time periods and disciplines. There plenty of players not in your list that were better then "good" players. But that is just MY definition.


I agree that there are (and were) plenty of players not on my list that are (and were) better than "good" players, but that does not mean they were necessarily "great." Note that I list other categories: "Very good," "excellent," "superb," all of which fall short of "great." I do think that most aficionados would consider the guitarists I listed as "great."

Cheers,

Bill

_____________________________

And the end of the fight is a tombstone white,
With the name of the late deceased,
And the epitaph drear, "A fool lies here,
Who tried to hustle the East."

--Rudyard Kipling
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Feb. 11 2012 0:20:46
 
kudo

Posts: 2064
Joined: Sep. 3 2009
 

RE: Chasing a dragon? (in reply to Haydn

well said and very good points Ricardo

I think that, just like any other art, the point is to be expressive, and not technically impressive. I have seen players who are technically impressive but their music does not make sense. its like having someone speak a language so fast and so fluent that you cant catch the words and you just can not understand what they said (yes they are great at speaking) but the message is not sent across. im sure you have seen people like that

so if you can be both, expressive and technically impressive, then that's great!

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  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Feb. 17 2012 11:21:38
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