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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hello everyone!

(Sorry this is so damn long, I'll understand if you don't want to read it.)

I've been coming to this site just about everyday for probably a month or so now. I haven't said much, but I'd now like to say what an incredible site this is. And I don't just mean in the obvious way, with all of the things it has to offer. But more noticeably, the attitudes and friendliness of everyone here, and the time, effort, and dedication those running it, and contributing to it, put in. Everyone's been great with their compliments and guidance toward their fellow musicians, regardless of their playing levels, or styles here. Even with the unfortunate incident recently, most everyone seems somewhat understanding and forgiving. I've never witnessed so many "nice guitarists" before, which brings me toward my point.

I've been a guitarist for twenty-six years now. I've always tried never to judge anyone, or consider myself above anyone, especially other guitarists. I had some good friends helping me when I was starting out, and I've always tried to remember that, when I see someone else struggling, or just reaching out for some advice. But It's been troubling me (not eating away at me, or anything) for many, many years now, why it is that so many guitarists (again, nobody here) are so arrogant, self-righteous, and overly-competitive. I've never notice this on any large scale with drummers, keyboardists, bass players... it's primarily guitar players.

I visit other forums and try to help people with direct and informative replies, only to have other know-it-alls try to top my answers with confusing details, that the person may not be ready for, or with condescending implications toward MY replies... Instead of posting something like "yeah, but if I could just expand on that a little, blah blah," it's always gotta be, "no way," or "that's not as good as my way..." Or they'll reply to MY questions, only concerned with impressing everyone with their knowledge of unrelated details which don't answer the question. It's like Muscle Beach! It's as if they're all competeing with one another. And it's not just on the internet, but in clubs, or wherever else. When my fellow band members take breaks between sets, meet women, talk with friends... I'm bombarded with questions, criticisms, resumes, and life-stories from other guitarists who want to make it very clear that they're not just some audience member, but that they are someone very special (I think most of you can relate to this).

Anyway, I'm not asking how to deal with it, God knows I've had that taken care of for years, and it's not even the issue. I just figured that with so many guitarists from all over the world here, that this would be the place where someone could shed some light on why this phenomenon exists. Do they think that they are the only "real" musicians, while others just keep a beat, provide lyrics, or pump out the bottom end? There's an old joke I'm sure you've all heard..."How many guitar players does it take to screw in a light bulb? "Ten." One to screw it in, and nine to point at him and say "Nahh, I can do that better than him." Unfortunately, there's a good reason why people laugh at that joke.

C.C. DeVille was once asked his reaction to being labled a "bad guitarist." His reply was "If you can't do it right, do it anyway." I wish more guitarists felt this way... especially when listening to others. That humbleness certainly paid off for "him."

Anyway, I hope I didn't offend anyone as I am only generalizing from my own personal experience. It's not my intention to start a negative thread here, or a gripe session... I'm a happy, go lucky guy, with a positive attitude, and I've certainly known many guitar players who didn't fit this stereotype. I just thought some of you could relate, and might know something about these typical "jerk" guitarist's psyches, and where this all comes from. Sorry for the long post. Thanks for reading.
 

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Hi there,

I really don't know where that attitude comes from with guitar players mate. However, I must admit that I had my doubts about whether this site could sustain such a friendly atmosphere as you describe once it expanded. However, it has continued to thrive and promote a friendly encouraging place for everyone to collaborate no matter what their skill level.

Out of numerous thousands of us here, I could probably count the dickheads that fall into the category you describe on one hand. That's damn good, and as you say, surprising to say the least. Certainly most guitarists I met in person were very egotistical and intent on playing something to show that they were the superior guitarist.

I dunno, I'm naturally not a competitive guy. Well, not overly competitive, anyway. Sure, I like to win, who doesn't, right ? However, if I lose at pool, an arguement, my team loses at football, etc., I'm not a sore loser like a lot of people are. So I can't be arsed with all that competitiveness at all.

But I too have been amazed and extremely thankful for the attitude of the guitarists on this site. There is so much talent on here. There are so many people that are ahead of me... No, let me rephrase that... There are so many people that can play things on their guitar that I can't play at this moment in time, and I really respect and admire them for that. However, they don't have an ego, and plus, I think it was stingx said, the cool thing about them being on this site is that if you truly want to learn what they are playing, then just ask.

I look at how far I have come since my first postings on here, and it's leaps and bounds. And it's all thanx and testimony to the people on this site.

I know I haven't really answered your question that much, if at all. But I thought I would chip in with my own stupidly long post.

Thanx once again to everyone at Guitars101 for going against the normal guitarist asshole trend !!!

:rock:
 

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excess to requirements
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A mate of mine said guitarists only turn into assholes when they no longer refer to themselves as a guitarist but as a "Musician" or "Multi Instrumentalist" etc. He bases this on the logic that they feel significantly advanced enough to not want to be regarded as every tom dick and harry that strums a few chords. I don't know if that is true but I found it to be pretty accurate so far. I am FIRMLY a guitarist :D
 

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This is the site where you come to if you need help with your playing and get some good advice off players from around the world who may or may not be as skilled as yourself. The thing is you can learn something from everyone on here, I certainly have. Since I joined this site I believe my recording skills have improved and probably my playing skills. There are some fantastic players here and not one ego (except for a few minor people who aren't here anymore). The way I look at it is that music isn't a competition to see who is better but it is something to be celebrated and this is the one place you can come on the net and listen to people's tunes and get some good feedback and honest critisicm and also learn to improve your skills.

SatchFreak said:
When my fellow band members take breaks between sets, meet women, talk with friends... I'm bombarded with questions, criticisms, resumes, and life-stories from other guitarists who want to make it very clear that they're not just some audience member, but that they are someone very special (I think most of you can relate to this).
I most certainly can relate to this. It happens to me every time.
 

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Yup...

Yeah. I've kind noticed this too among a very small # of guitarists in my area. But they are not really all that good, and nobody likes them, so pretty soon they move someplace else. Most of the people in my locale are really nice people, except for the occasional tard that thinks they're the next EVH. I really hate those guys. :rant:

I think it is a problem because those "musicians" forget why they wanted to play guitar, and get all caught up in "who's the fastest" & "who plays the best". Like a certain guitar-playin' individual said a while back: "...guitar playin' aint a competition, bro..."-D.D. :lol:

I am fairly sure that I am pretty good on my axe and people sometimes tell me I'm awesome, which is muy cool, but I still think I kinda suck. I'll go back and listen to my heroes, and I'll be like "damn, he's good. I suck! Must Practice....must become one with instrument...". So far, I'm about a 6 where Dime, EVH, and (insert fav guitarist here), was/are a 10. :rock:
 

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Satch, I can so relate with what you're saying. I think the ego thing comes from the friends that create a player. Enough "you're great" comments, and even a bad player gets an ego.

On the part about people being know-it-alls...I think sometimes lots of things get lost in text. Language barriers, slangs, people not knowing quite how to communicate etc...they try to add on to what has already been said, and go about it all wrong. Other times, people post for the sake of having a voice. When someone knows truly what they are talking about, it sometimes intimidates people. It's almost like "who does this dude think he is invading our world?"

In the entertainment business, whether it be music or anything else, it becomes the world of attention. Those that don't wish to get any attention won't post on the board, usually don't play live or share their tunes and won't go out of their way to participate in anything other that what goes on in their world. There's nothing wrong with that, but most times, someone will respond to a knowledgable post to show they too know what you are talking about. Sometimes it's a competition, other times they may be sincerely trying to add to what's been said and may not convey their ideas properly.

Then again, you have to always consider the source. There are people that can talk a good ballgame, but have no credibility to back it up. Anyone can read up on stuff and become familiar with some of the stuff that gets discussed. Living it is a totally different story. I have the same problems you mention due to the fact that I'm very experienced in quite a lot of areas in music, the business end of things, and the mechanics behind it. But I never go out of my way to prove that I know it all....because quite simply, I don't. There's always something for us to learn through the experience of others. If proper tact is used when conveying an idea, it really helps to get the point across. Especially if the explanation is in depth....which is why I always type novel-like posts. LOL!

But there really is a difference between someone that knows the terminology, and someone that knows the ropes due to real life experience. It depends on the topic at hand of course, but some things truly have to be lived to be explained properly. I get in more confrontations because of that...but those that really read what I'm saying and know what I'm about usually see the light. Knowing a lot and offering help, guidance, tips and tricks is a great way to communicate and help others. Sometimes it's good to be challenged by someone...as long as what they say is true. If it's just a voice for the sake of a voice that attempts to rain on your parade, again I say, consider the source an don't let it bother you. You've done someone a service by adding input to a conversation that you know something about. Most of the advice knowledgable people in the business give is priceless. Just keep telling yourself, that for every confrontation or debate you may get in with one or 2 people, you have probably helped 10+. That's what keeps me goin. :)
 

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Scandinavian noise maker!
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I think that it is a matter of love for music here, it is about sharing what we all like!
Some play with fire, others smoulder more, then again some are full of humour and passion....well I come here because I like it to be this way, music and playing is no competition to me!
I have no ego regarding my playing....I just likes to play well knowing that I am not alone.
Maybe we are just lucky and have a good crowd that actually likes it here, the way it is.
But yeah the most normal thing is the insecureness, about playing such a individual and yet formula driven instrument, I think that we actually break a few rules here regarding that!!
hehe and that is a good thing!
Well just some thoughts.....not very coherent..lol had a beer or two and I am tired as it is:D
 
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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
ive never noticed guitar players have big egos only....ive seen keyboardists, drummers, bassers, singers, and many musicians in general that are conceited.
 

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I wish me and the other guitarist in my band had egos, the reason why is when we play we go its your solo so we both are there playing the rythm, We are too polite to eachother too say piss off this is mine lol
reference people talking to me at gigs, all I get is the drunks asking me to play this or that, or sexy women falling over our monitors
 

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tony4552 said:
I wish me and the other guitarist in my band had egos, the reason why is when we play we go its your solo so we both are there playing the rythm, We are too polite to eachother too say piss off this is mine lol
reference people talking to me at gigs, all I get is the drunks asking me to play this or that, or sexy women falling over our monitors
Ah Tony, this comes with time man. It's all about believing in yourselves and feeling confident. Some people mistake "ego" as being a bad word. It is NOT a bad word when you are on the stage....as long as you remember to keep it there and not take it with you. When you are on that stage, it's your party bro. You should feel like you're a God. Why you may ask? Because the people in the audience feed off of your energy just like you feed off of them. Ever se a guy that absolutely sucked on stage, yet put on a show to where he tried to make everyone think he was God? This is the type of attitude you need on the stage...believe it or not. Being humble is awesome. But being humble on the stage isn't always the best bet. I'm not trying to say you need to go and make a fool of yourself, but if you don't believe in yourself and show the people you are confident, no one esle will believe in you either bro.

Just remember, when you're on the stage, it's your party. Don't worry about shit talkers or people making faces, being intimidated by other players etc. You're on the stage, they are in the crowd. :) :icon_thum
 

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I agree about the ego thing. I don't know why it seems to really show in guitar players. I think a lot of it has to do with culture. In a band with a good guitar player, it's like another lead singer up there, but with an instrument in hand. They tend to be the focus of attention. I say this because a bass player or drummer can't really walk into a party and just start playing a instantly recognizable song. A guitar player can. That's just an example obviously, but I'm trying to get at the focus of attention being one of the root causes of big egos. We also went through the "guitar hero" part of popular culture, and some of that still hangs around today.

I just think lots of people can relate to the guitar. It's fairly easy to learn, but really hard to get good at. The guitar is also a very versatile instrument. You can play it loud or soft, and it has many different "voices". You can't carry a piano everywhere you go! I say all this because most everybody as tried to play the guitar, but so few are good at it. So when people see a really good guitar player they take notice.

I also think there is a little more. I am a guitar player in a "band" and I recognize how valuable drums and bass are. Most people (that don't play instruments) don't. The vocals and guitar are usually what people focus their ears on. They sort of tune out the drums and bass, and just let'em carry them through the song. I am in no way taking anything from drummers or bass players, I just think average joe off the street doesn't realize that there is more to a good song besides guitar and vocals.
 
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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
So, I guess it's probably just traditional behavior that's imitated and past down from others.

LukeRake, I think I worded part of my post wrong. I don't believe I've ever had another guitar player say anything negative about my playing (not that I hadn't deserved it on occasion). I used the word "criticisms," but I meant that as "analyzing and evaluating"... you know, comparing what gear they use to what I use, etc... and I also meant that guitarists always approach me to try and build "themselves" up and prove something about "themselves" to me with talk, rather than tearing me down. Sorry for the confusion there. Most guitarists I've met in person, have been "friendly" people toward me, but just very egotistical about themselves, while the "internet" people were who I meant as unfriendly. But like Danny said, that's sometimes just poor communication and attention craving. A friend told me once, the reason for this behavior is because other's abilities bother them (reminiscent of what Metalnick said), so they simply over-compensate by playing a roll. That's unfortunate. Danny said "Just keep telling yourself, that for every confrontation or debate you may get in with one or 2 people, you have probably helped 10+." Good point! I do try to always remember that... and it keeps me going as well. But I was considering staying away from those forums for awhile, but thanks to your reminder, I'm not going to do that.

Well, I'll shut up now before this turns into a psychology thesis. You all said some helpful things. Hopefully I'll get some means to record soon and get more involved here. I'm in a temporary relocation situation now where about all I can do is read posts and reply. But how amazing it is to be in communication with the entire world's guitarists...wow! :icon_cool

Thanks everyone! See ya around.
 

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You should get as involved as you can be Satch. It's funny...the people that usually cause confrontations, weed themselves out on their own. The thing that hurts is of those 10 people you might have helped, you can't seem to stop thinking about the 2 that offended you. LOL!!! That's my biggest problem. I face it in the real world too with my CD's I have out. I might get 15 mags that say awesome stuff about me and my material, and then 2 that will ridicule me to the point of me wanting to fly out and make sure it was MY cd they reviewed!!! :dunno:

The negative one's make all the positive one's seem obsolete. I just don't like negativity to where it annihilates a person's abilties, or their character. Whether it be on a forum or someone reviewing your material....I think it should always be done professionally and courteously. I never get upset when someone doesn't agree with me when I make a comment or try to shed light on a subject. That would be forcing an opinion, and that's not good. But it all depends on how they go about it. It just seems to be so hard for people to say "With all due respect, I have to disagree and here's why" or "You're material is very good for what it is, but it's not my cup of tea". Or the best one of all...."You use what in your rig?! Dude, those things suck ass and your guitar sucks too!"

I think that's what is so cool about music thought. How we all come to be ourselves using the gear we have....even if someone else hates it. How many times have we heard a guitar player do incredible stuff or have a great tone....then we find out he's using a $50 guitar with high action and some stomp boxes that we'd not even think of ever using? LOL!!

At any rate, definitely get involved if you can. You never know who will be reading or listening and remember...there are probably way more than 10+ you have helped....they just choose not to come out of lurk mode. :) Take care!
 
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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
Sorry, but I posted my reply without realizing there was a page 2! Missed out on Tony and Kudo. LOL!

Anyway, yeah... I've often thought about the fact that you never hear a unaccompanied drum solo, or bass instrumental or rarely even a vocal uinstrumental on a studio record. But when you've got unaccompanied acoustic pieces, and Eruption-type instrumentals, etc... the guitar becomes sort of an excuse for some to feel more like they're the special ones in their bands. As for Tony, I've only been in one band with another guitar player, and we had the same problem... but in time, we were honest about our styles and differences and had no problems saying who did which one better.

Speaking of two-guitar bands, you guys will appreciate this after my first rant. About 17 or 18 years ago, I played a gig in Brooklyn, and went to a party afterwards. There was a guy there (not a musician) who extremely drunkenly kept telling me over, and over, that our band needed a new guitar player, and how we'd be much better off. After listening to him awhile, I finally snapped at him, thinking that he didn't realize that I was the guitar player. After telling him off... He explained that he only meant a new guitar play "in addition to myself!" (he should've been saying "a second guitar player.") I was highly embarrassed and ashamed, but it was kind of his own fault... We hit it off after that. LOL!
 

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I think it stems from the fact that the guitar, aside from the vocalist, is the spotlight on stage. The vocalist usually fronts the band, but the guitarist almost always gets to step forward and take charge for a little bit.

The problem arises when we start getting extraordinary musicians like EVH, Vai, Malmsteen, etc etc. They're SO good that the fans actually know and relate to them better than with the band's frontman, so a stand-alone guitar solo often becomes part of the set list for the shows. No other instrument (for the most part) ever gets a few minutes ALONE on stage to absolutely blow the audiences' minds!

And I think that because of this, people WANT to be guitarists. Sure, people want to be drummers and whatever too, but I've noticed (especially recently) that everyone wants to play guitar. Guitarists are a dime a dozen around here, and most of them suck. There's only a handful of drummers and bassists, and most of them aren't too hot either. The one's that are always get 'attached' to bands with aforementioned sucky guitarists. Now of course, I used to suck too. And I probably still do! I dont' like to judge a guitarists skill against my own, but rather in comparison to the band he's playing with.

Back on track, I think that concept...that embedded superiority...over other instruments, lends itself to an inflated ego right from the get go.
 

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"I think it stems from the fact that the guitar, aside from the vocalist, is the spotlight on stage. The vocalist usually fronts the band, but the guitarist almost always gets to step forward and take charge for a little bit."
I agree, but I also find that the vocalists themselves very often egotistical as well. They are the one in the spotlight that most people pay attention to.
 

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I dont think it matters what you do, its just the attitude you put toward it... You can have a singer that just sings his heart out and yet still have some super egoed guitarist that try's to put all attention on just him (not saying he's playing good, or just getting attention, but more so wanting attention.) This can go any other way around, between any player in a band. Not dissing the guitar playing, but alot of poeple , at what ive seen, seem to think that singers are the majority of egoes, which is a stereotype in my opinion..
 

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That is quite a correct observation. I took a job as an engineer at a large club about ten years ago. Talk about gaining a new perspective. I have never seen such egotistical behavior in my life. I mean some of the band members acted like they were God or something. The funny thing is that the worse the players, the larger the ego, usually. BUt when it came down to it, many of the guitar players would actuaally converse with you. Even the majors. Try that with a vocalist :D

Once I had a crappy local band come in and start demanding things. The singer walked across the stage stomping his foot where he wanted a vocal mic. As he walked across to the other side, I quickly kicked the vocal mic case under the drum riser. I then informed him that I did not have enough mics for "his backing vocalists". I was such a dick, sometimes. :D
 
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