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--- Aug 13 2001 Go to category
Subject: mastering the guitar
Category: Musical Philosophy
From: Jeff Ridings (Greenville, S.C.)

hi, pat I'm a 15 year old guitarist, i've been playing for about four years, but there is one thing I've always wanted to know.

I don't mean to brag but I always get complements from other guitar players my age(BTW these are mostly jazz guys) about my phrasing and technique and all that stuff but one thing that truly amazes me is when I hear and see guys like you, stevie ray, Pat martino...etc. It seem like your guitar is just an extension of your own body, like you have complete control over your guitar and it'll say whatever you want it to. I feel thats missing in my playing, not just passion but just being able to have a relationship with the guitar(or any other instrument) like a long lost brother or something. It really hard to try to explain in words. I know and continue to learn alot of theory but that doesn't seem to be the key!! i guess it sort of a spiritual thing?? Mind giving me a little insight??

Pat’s Answer:

hi jeff,

there is no quick way to develop the kind of relationship to music that i think you are talking about, but i would say that just the fact that you are percieving that as a possibility is a very good sign. learning to play well is something that takes many, many years of dedicated work and study. with time, one starts to feel a connection speed increase where you are able to access information that you have absorbed and quickly utilize it to help you find your way through various musical challenges. the only way i know of to speed this process up or enhance it beyond what you may be doing through just sheer work is to spend as much time around musicians that are better than you as possible. as time goes on, your vocabulary increases and you are able to utilize everything you have in more immediate way. the fact that you have an early ability that is impressing your peers is great. listen to master musicians as much and as closely as you can on recordings and live. good luck with everything!

best from pat