Originally written October 2015
So to my feeble mind I think that practice is the only way to play well. Nobody plays any musical instrument by reading a book or even judiciously observing other players. Oh observation and reading have their place but music is strictly learn by doing. Even vocal music is a learn by doing thing. Sometimes it appears not to be because you actually need NO equipment to sing well.
Elvis Presley’s mother taught him to both sing and dance. When Elvis first started out he was a “Three chord guitar player”. That is all that he needed to back himself when singing. Yet “E”, “A”, and “B-7” inspired life long study. By the time of his death he was a superb guitar guy, and a master of music theory. He also played piano more than adequately to back his magnificent and very well trained voice. He handled a bass guitar with some confidence, even playing bass Guitar on a few of his recordings.
Jimi Hendrix was often considered a “Natural” guitar player. Yet people around him including his family considered him a bit of a weird person because he would practice for better than ten hours a day playing a solid body guitar without an amplifier. He would often miss meals and then when sleep came his bed mate was his guitar. He went through extensive development playing with loads of known and unknown musicians. There is a video recording of Maurice Hendrix, Maurice is Jimi’s middle name, playing with Little Richard. He played night after night at New Yorks cotton club with about anybody that played there. I saw him in the village in Manhattan at Trudy Hellers corner bar.
He put out an album that was essentially seventy minutes of Chuck Berry style guitar solos with only sparse vocal work. The sparse vocal work’s were poor imitations of Chuck Berry. He began to come into his own at New York’s Greenwich Village playing Club Wah finally receiving recognition as a superb CULT guitarist.
When he had made it as they say he put his money into a state of the art and then some recording studio that he named Electric Lady Land. He spent a great deal of time at the studio, often going days at a stretch without ever leaving. Electric Lady Land Studio still exists. Not as a tourist destination, but as an active studio.
The dude played guitar almost constantly for years. When the opportunity came he went to England and set the world of music on it’s ass. This man did not have the right to poison himself at the age of Twenty Eight.
So how do you get to Carnage Hall? Practice baby, practice.