Monday, March 12, 2012

Yngwie (and me) on guitar playing

My old friend Philippe is a guitarist and a creator of outstanding effects pedals. I have all three of them and they are doing wonderful things for my tone. If you want to check them out, and I strongly suggest it if you are a guitar player or know a guitar player and want to sound cool. His company name is Caroline Guitar Company.

Anywho, Philippe had on his Facebook page a link to an 18 year old article from Guitar World on Yngwie Malmsteen doing a blindfold test on about 14 songs and critiquing the guitar playing.  If you don't know who Yngwie is, this is pretty much all you need to know.

Here is the link to the article. It is better to see the video first and then read the article because when you read it you can do so in Yngwie's funny fake-European accent. Good times!

So anyway, he takes predictable dumps on Pearl Jam and Dinosaur Jr and surprised dumps on guys like Joe Satriani and Jeff Beck. It makes for amusing reading, especially if you are a guitar dork.

It got me thinking about what I like in guitar playing. I will admit an appreciation of what guys like Yngwie and Satriani and Steve Vai can do. They are real virtuosos and are not afraid to show off. Personally though I find that style dull. To me it's not particularly emotive or interesting. A good guitar solo or riff makes a song. When they are REALLY good, they can be transcendent. May I present Exhibit A: that is much better! To my untrained and perhaps feeble ears what Dave pulls off here is better than anything Yngwie has ever dreamed of.

Guitar playing, just like singing, is made by the passion invested in it. A guitar is an incredibly powerful instrument. It can create a whole world of sound. It can get into the gutter or it can soar into the sky. Just because you can play fast and know every single scale and can do every little trick Eddie Van Halen can do does not necessarily make you a brilliant guitar player. You can have all the talent and skill and chops in the world, but as cheesy as it sounds, if you don't feel it, then you're really missing it. You have to invest a piece of yourself into your playing, otherwise it's just Arpeggio's From Hell.

1 comment:

  1. I once made a playlist of 100 songs by 100 great guitar players, Yngwie almost made the list but I had to cut him. I love his polar opposite reviews of two of my favorite guitar solos, Jessica and 'Cause We've Ended as Lovers