It’s always been quite easy for me to be highly critical of other guitar players, and I must admit, even the best of songs or records can be totally ruined for me by below par guitar playing! But still, when I am very much in the act of teaching or evaluating a player, I have rally developed a knack for simply always looking for the best that a player has to offer.
What is unique about the guitar player’s style, their tone, their musical viewpoint? All of this can be taken into account, even if someone is still very much a beginner, or a struggling player. I always look for something in their playing that I can “hang my hat on”, especially when looking for a good “jumping off” point for them to continue their learning. What this also means is that their unique abilities can be “built” upon, and I have observed what it is about them that makes them “tick”.
All guitarists have their own point of view, and it’s amazing the variety that can be observed. I can remember once sitting down in a music store and playing, something I frequently like to do, and the guy behind the counter simply exclaiming, “there is NO way a guitar can be played like that!” What he really meant was that he had never heard anyone play with my particular perspective on the instrument, which told me that he had really never explored much interesting guitar playing in his own style and life.
It’s also a great lesson to learn as a teacher, and I’m sure many of you who follow my stuff are guitar teachers who see many students. Obviously, we always want to correct what might be blatantly wrong with someone’s style or technique, but beware of doing too much tampering with a good thing…..rather, I’d always want to listen for the good in someone’s playing, and try to build on that. Believe me, that student will always be thankful for that, as well as feeling eternally Encouraged, rather than forever DIScouraged!