What It Is To Be A Guitarist

Updated: Sep 15, 2021

Without doubt, the guitar is one of the most universally liked instruments on the planet and their players thought of as cool, fly-by-night, larger than life characters, destined for greatness. And yes, while all of that is true (not), there may be certain aspects of being a guitarist that the everyday listener doesn't expect.


So, what does it mean to be a guitarist?


Tone. Searching for the unattainable tone - unattainable because once said tone has been attained, another one will present itself for the goal of being pursued.


Sore fingers. Calloused finger tips, cut into from hours of trying to nail that new solo you've just heard.


Idols. Page, Hendrix, Clapton, Vai, Van Halen, Gilmour, Knopfler. Musicians who have gone before, leaving a line in the sands of time for the rest of us mere mortals to do our best to follow.


Gear. "I'm sure my pedalboard has room for just one more fuzz pedal. There! Right next to my MXR Phase 90 from '86 that I use in two bars of that Heart song I like."


Empty rooms. Hours spent in your bedroom running up and down scales, practicing chord fingerings and changes, learning more and more about how little you know. This sets you up beautifully for the many, many empty venues you will perform in.


Inadequacy. An eternal struggle of never feeling good enough. Not helped by the YouTube video you just watched of a 3-year-old playing a pitch-perfect rendition of Bohemian Rhapsody from start to finish on a Fender Squier she got for Christmas.


Joy. Bending a string a full step, perfect vibrato, sustain for days, mastering a diminished chord for the first time, thumb independence, hearing a recording of yourself and not utterly hating it.


Pure joy.