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February 02, 2008

Guitar players with talent

I don't have natural talent. No, really. Hear me out. I know I can play guitar quite well, and I know why. It is not because of some natural gift I happened to have. No, it is because I spent a lot of time practicing and learning stuff when I was younger. I am a believer in hard work.

Some background info: I started out as a terrible player, and there was a very competitive atmosphere at my school when I was a teenager. Other guys also played guitar, and they were way better than me. The reason was mostly because they had been playing longer than I had. So, I decided to practice a lot. After a while, I was beginning to catch up, and people noticed. I started getting offers to play in bands. This kept me going, and it has ever since.

I have seen guys with real natural talent. Scary. I've played with such guys; players who could learn very complicated stuff on the fly, and play it brilliantly. It made me feel like throwing away the guitar. As a matter of fact, not that long ago, I kind of quit playing for a few years, mostly because of my University studies and other "life reasons", but part of the reason was that I didn't feel that confident in my playing any more, and subsequently, I kind of lost interest for a while.

However, when I moved to Canada in 1999, I got back into playing, because people encouraged me a lot to play. That gave me back my motivation, and nowadays, through this website and all the positive feedback I get almost daily, I have fun playing guitar.

Now, the whole point with this post is to tell you that I believe you can get almost anywhere you want with hard work. You see, I didn't have this talent as some of my natural talent peers had, but in the end, I arrived at about the same level of musicianship and skill as they did. The reason is I worked hard for it. I spent more time practicing and studying music theory, I listened more to different styles of music, I transcribed more solos and musical ideas than they ever did. At the end of the day, I could play with these cats and not feel inferior.

There is another element of being a musician I want to mention too. I am talking about the ability to express musical ideas that are inspiring. The kind of playing that is artistic and creative. There are players with limited technique and limited knowledge of music theory who still can express themselves musically in amazing ways. You might have noticed this in blues music, where sometimes really great players are the ones who lived a hard life and they likely didn't take any music lessons. However, I bet they still spent a lot of time just playing, becoming a master of their instrument in their own way.

To wrap this up, my advice to players who are starting out - focus and work hard! You can become a great player, whether you have "natural talent" or not. It may take you longer than those with more natural ability, but don't let it discourage you. I was in the same boat and I turned out ok. Spend time practicing, spend time transcribing music, spend time playing with others, spend time listening to music.

If you want to really get somewhere with your so-called talent, then I encourage you to read either of these two books - The Talent Code or Talent Is Overrated, both great reads that will motivate and inspire you to get going on getting somewhere! More people need to read these kinds of books - it just makes sense. How do you get great at something? These books are all about that.

Remember, hard work will always pay off! This is true for anything, not just regarding playing the guitar. Don't be afraid of doing the work it takes to get you where you want to be. It is very rewarding.

By Robert Renman - www.dolphinstreet.com

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Posted by Robert Renman on February 02, 2008

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