Guitar Peaks


- How, in your opinion, should be the ideal guitar player?
- Being ideal means it can't exist.
- I mean: what qualities are required to make a great guitar player?
- There are no rules. Great players are so different one from each other that no rule can apply. Think about Neil Young's rough technique, Mark Knopfler's delicacy, Steve Vai's diversity, Sylvain Luc's clarity. Each great player is top of his/her own style. And each great player has his/her own style. That's why comparisons are redundant. The only thing that links all true artists is that they are themselves. And that makes music an art and not a profession that anyone can learn. Being yourself takes a special gift and a great deal of courage.
- It also takes a lot of practice.
- Generally, yes. But I don't know how much Neil Young has practiced before he delivered his first guitar solo. It's more about personality. If your style requires a complex technique approach, then you have to practice a lot. If you make sense relying on your feelings only, maybe less practice is needed.
- Can you name a few exemplary models?
- Anyone must follow his/her own path. However, I'd like to name, however, three top players. I mention that this is, of course, my opinion only. Danny Gatton was the peak of the American great blues, jazz and country tradition. Tuck Andress took Joe Pass' jazz chordal technique to a new level. So did Bireli Lagrène to the Gypsy Swing. They are all based on a strong guitar tradition but were able to make technical inventions that match their musical creativity.
- Maybe that's the secret: to find a technique that will fit one's musical ideas.
- I guess so. There are many unfortunate cases that it goes the other way round. Kids start learning guitar when their musical ideas are too immature to build a style and then, when they reach maturity, they make the music that will fit the level of their guitar playing.
- The conclusion is that one should begin learning guitar only as an adult.
- No, no, the sooner the better. You just have to be strong enough to adopt and even invent new techniques according to your musical choices. You know what? At a certain stage, take a break! Don't play guitar for two days and think only about the music you want to make. Then, take two more days and think how guitar will help you. Do you need to continue practicing the old way or maybe you have to invent something new? It's all about music. Again and again.  

Neil Young & Crazy Horse – Cinnamon Girl

Dire Straits (Mark Knopfler) – Sultans Of Swing

Steve Vai – The Audience Is Listening

Sylvain Luc – L’Esprit Manouche

Danny Gatton – Tribute to Charlie Christian

Tuck and Patti - Castles Made Of Sand/Little Wing 

Joe Pass – Guitar Solo

Bireli Lagrène – Guitar Solo

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