This is a big question as far as I’m concerned. I think it’s impossible to learn to play everything on the guitar at one time. I’ve worked with a number of artists and players, some of whom had a great many years practice in terms of playing everything they possibly could. But in the end they were still pretty poor guitar players. Most of these people have some very basic knowledge and the same applies to guitar lessons.
Most people in a band can’t handle a certain chord; how many can you get by playing them in a bar? You can’t play a chord with all your fingers simultaneously, so it takes a lot of practice to make a guitarist learn to play everything on the guitar.
What do you think you want the next generation of guitarists to learn?
If I wanted younger guitarists to become guitar heroes I’d better have that much more of a priority than having them learn to do “trucker tunes” at the beginner level; otherwise they won’t have the confidence to play a certain kind of thing.
What about the future for the industry? Are things looking up?
There’s always some sort of recession coming, and one of those will be the advent of the guitar’s next big enemy. This year they’ve got some good albums coming out by some up and coming bands. I have to say, that I’ve always found guitars better as an instrument than drums; both instruments seem to respond well to the amp. I like the sound a lot of the time, but it sometimes requires much more practice than playing a real drummer! I’ve not seen a ton of new gear, but at least there’s a lot more attention paying to guitars today than there used to be.
I have a pretty close relationship with the bands I work closely with, and they have had a huge influence on me and my career. I used to think that one must have a “passive” approach to the guitar, and to a certain extent that’s still true. When you work with guitarists it takes a lot of commitment and commitment is the only thing that brings people to their feet and makes us feel like we’re making the music good. But we don’t see everything as a passivity either. We’re a little impatient by nature, and we want to play. We want to be part of making something and we want to be part of making it the best that it can be. But we’ve never been afraid to go in the other direction,
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