A lot of people always ask me about when it was that I really felt I had become a great guitarist, or even more precisely, when are they going to become great guitarists, and I always end up recalling a moment of great “clarity”, when I actually realized that the guitar and I were literally “at one” with each other. This is no joke, and it really did one day, at a very specific moment, suddenly “hit” me that I was pretty much saying whatever I felt or heard right through the guitar, without any thought process seemingly involved!
This was quite a remarkable time, as I had already been playing about 8 or 9 years, was 19 years old approximately, and was just sitting around in my folk’s living room, paying my heart out in a very unassuming and private way. All of a sudden, in the blink of an eye, I was realizing that the guitar had become a complete extension of me and my feelings, and that even though I still had countless things to learn, I was already truly “speaking” through the instrument. This is a very major moment in the lifetime of any musician or artist of any kind, and it takes a great deal of pursuit and striving for this in order for it to happen. Obviously, it is easier for some more than others, but I believe we really all “have it” in ourselves to make these kinds of feelings and moments of “enlightenment” occur. And why not? After all, we are all human, ad all possess this amazing ability to be creative in some walk of artistic life. When people tell me they are “tone deaf”, or have no ear, I just ignore that, and start to tell them my stories of those special moments when certain musical and sonic revelations have come to me.
Another critical thing is that acquiring of perfect “relative pitch”. This sound “relationship” we need to recognize is so critical to our success as musicians that I’d put it up there as truly #1. After all, if we can’t understand what we’ve just heard or played, or what we are wanting to play, then we are just “spinning” our wheels when it comes to finding the notes we “think” we are hearing. Instead, we must be able to literally predict what it is we are about to play, as well as thinking ahead a few musical moves, just like a chess master, when they are strategizing their chess game.
So, be sure to keep trying to achieve that moment of “clarity” and “realization” when it comes to your guitar playing……and I can tell you this…it’ll only happen if you play all the time! So keep it up, and never give it up; it shall happen!! Best of luck!