10 Things About Guitar Playing You Want To Know But Never Dared Ask
Published: 22 February, 2015

Here is an imaginary conversation in the manner much loved by the Ancient Greeks of an imaginary conversation between a student and a wise old sage.

Is a really expensive guitar worth the money?
No more and no less than an expensive car. Depends what you are looking for.

OK, with a car you know what you are getting, but with a guitar?
If you ask that question I suggest you look,listen, and if possibe play a range of guitars. It’s the equivalent of test driving a car.

Actually I have tried really expensive guitars and I didn’t notice a big difference between them and ordinary ones.
In that case buy a cheaper guitar and save yourself enough money to buy the car as well.

I have been practising a lot for ages and don’t seem to get any better. Should I just give up?
Many players don’t realise they are improving because progress is often slow. Try adjusting your expectations to something more realistic.

Progress is slow in spite of me spending hours at it, so what’s the point?
If you ask that question then it is because you are not enjoying your playing. There are lots of other things you can do with your life. Try them instead.

I am thinking of stopping lessons with my guitar teacher. I don’t know how to tell her that I can learn the same stuff on the internet.
The internet cannot replace the dedicated attention of a good teacher. The way to tell her is slowly and gently and hope for the best.

I often get bored at classical guitar concerts. Am I missing something and will I enjoy them more as I get used to them?
Maybe not. There is a lot of indifferent music in guitar concerts which needs to be played really well to be entertaining, and even then your patience might wear thin.

The guitar music I really want to hear is not played often in concert. Why don’t they played more pieces with good tunes?
Young guitarists straight out of College are still under the influence of Academia which emphasises the difficult and the demanding. Older guitarists grew up under the pressure of avoiding the traditional repertoire. The consequence is the frustration you express.

Do really good players need to practise a lot, or are they born with the gift?
The amount of practise varies from player to player as does the size of gift. I prefer to call it a predisposition. No one gets good without quite a lot of practise however gifted.

I like to use the pieces I learn to express myself by adapting them, but my teacher says I should stick to the notes.
There’s a fine line between interpretation and reinvention. You will be safer calling it reinvention, because interpretation suggests playing all the written notes whereas reinvention doesn’t. Now here’s the rub: you better make it interesting otherwise it will sound like self-indulgent rubbish.

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