It’s true. Here’s the 19th guitarist better than Hendrix!

Heh… The 19th guitarist is being published on the 19th of the month! This means something!

Wait, no it doesn’t…

Well, it does mean that I’ve been at this for a while. In Internet Years, this site is now a grizzled old man. I publish these once per week and skipped just two weeks. That’s a long time, considering I expected to list just a few before I got bored.

I must say, it has been fun. You can read the list of featured guitarists (all of whom are better than Hendrix) by clicking this link. That link isn’t always updated as well as it should be but it’s pretty close and I try to get to that updating thing every week. Sometimes, I just don’t have the time.

Now, what is this list about? I’ve told you this before, but this could be the first time you’ve ever visited – so I’ll tell you again.

The unwashed mental midgets at Rolling Stone have made a number of lists. They’re not the only group of people who should have their fingers smashed with a ball-peen hammer and forbidden to type again. Lots of people make these lists. They’re just the ones I dislike the most, ’cause people consider them an authoritative source.

At the top of these lists, they put one Mr. Jimi Hendrix. That’s horrible. This mistake has permeated through society and now people think he was a great guitarist. They’re wrong. They’re horribly wrong.

The term greatest guitarist is a technical term. This should be measured objectively. The qualifications are ability to master the various techniques, understanding of music theory, versatility, innovation, ability to compose sound complex works, and consistency of quality – both in the studio and live.

It hasn’t got a damned thing to do with who we like best. It hasn’t got anything to do with who our favorite artists are. Those are subjective criteria and the term is “guitarist” and not “artist.” I’d have had no complaints (or at least far fewer) had they called him the greatest artist. But, when they call him the greatest guitarist, it’s personal and they’re doing many other actually great guitarists a disservice.

Many of the people on my list, and to be featured in the future, don’t get nearly the accolades they deserve. They’re overshadowed by the looming figure that is Hendrix when they are, by objective measurement, better than he was on his best day.

It’s not about who we like the best. It’s not about who we prefer to listen to. It’s not about who had the most hits. It’s not about popular sentiment. It’s about greatness defined as a technical skill and trying to be objective as humanly possible.

And, our next guitarist is just that. His worst day was more technically adept than Hendrix’s best day. And, like many on this list, you can change him around and place him higher or lower on the list. One thing that I don’t think is deniable is that he was a far more adept guitarist than Hendrix was.
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Guitar History with TheBuddha: Part 2

So, you might remember that time I got a little bit inebriated (well, for some definition of ‘little’) and decided that I’d share some history of the guitar with you? No? Well, I do. Here’s a link to refresh your memory.

In that entry, I told you about how the guitar’s classified as a chordophone and what that actually means. In my defense, it seemed like a pretty good place to start.

Today, we’re going to trek back through history and examine some more about the instrument we all know and love.
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Lessons about performing, lesson 36: Band Meetings!

Strangely enough, I’ve not yet run out of ideas for this series. I’m not sure how long it will last, but there’s still more lessons to be shared and more rules to follow.

If you want to see the complete list, click here. Basically, I’m trying to help you get a leg up on the competition, if you’re crazy enough to decide to try to make a living as a performing musician. There’s no magical trick that will make you a rock star, but following these rules will give you a better chance at having a successful career as a performing musician.

You don’t need to follow all of these rules – but you should capitalize on the rules that you can follow. Some of them are a little vague and you’ll need to adapt them to your own situation. We play to a diverse group of people, in a variety of settings, and very different kinds of music.

So, you’ll need to use some commonsense and apply these to your situation. Some of them, you may even be able to ignore. This next rule is not one of those that you should ignore. In fact, it’s probably one of the more important rules on this list. (No, I don’t always say that! I only say it when it’s really important!)
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Lessons about performing, lesson 35: Your local music shop!

You know, I didn’t expect this site to have more than a few entries before I just stopped writing stuff for it. If I could go back through my past, I bet I could dig up dozens of defunct blogs that got fewer than a half-dozen posts.

This site is different, somehow. I think a large part of that difference is actually you. Yes, you are the probable difference. You take the time out of your busy lives to read the words that spew forth from my keyboard pounding and are kind enough to encourage me.

But, I don’t think it’s the encouragement that really does it. It’s not meant to sound egotistical, but I can probably get encouragement anywhere.

No… What it is, and what I really enjoy, are the comments and ensuing discussions that these articles generate. I really enjoy how it has, across a few sites, become a bit of a community of people who check the articles, comment frequently, and let me know how the information in these articles mattered to them.

The sites where these articles are submitted support a voting system and I don’t write these for the votes. I write them because I get comments and interaction. I also write them because it fills me with glee to see how many people read the results of my keyboard smashing. I really enjoy seeing the number of people who read these articles and knowing that I give them a few minutes of tranquility and share some information with them.

Really, that’s pretty much what I do. I smash the keyboard and words pop out on the screen. Sometimes, I delete them and smash the keyboard some more. Y’all seem to enjoy the results and the results seem pretty good at starting discussions. They seem pretty good at getting people to open up about themselves, their desire to play and share music, and to exchange information and dialogue.

And, really, that’s pretty much the biggest benefit of a group of networked computers. But, that’s not the only network you have available to use to your advantage. Another network is is what we’re going to discuss today.

If you don’t know, this is a list of rules for performing musicians. They won’t turn you into a rock star. They will give you a head start and they will give you better odds at successfully making a living from your musicianship. Click here to read the full list of rules.
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Lesson about Recording for the Complete Novice: It’s all about the Bus…

Aloha!  Chris here with The Kilt Lifters.  It’s Sunday again, and that means it’s time for another lesson on recording for the complete novice.  I hope everyone has had a stellar week that would make Mr. Crazy Eyes blush.  This is going to be a relatively short one, and I hope it’s useful for those folks that are just learning their way around a DAW.  This is one of those simple things that folks rarely explain, but they somehow expect you to know.  I started writing this series when I thought back to all of the frustrations I’ve had learning these things the hard way.  Most of us are musicians, not engineers.  We know how to make the noise we want to make, but not necessarily how best to capture and present it.  One of the most frustrating things ever is hearing one of the grizzled old engineers say, ‘use your ears’.  That’s the least useful thing anyone has ever said, yet you see it EVERYWHERE online in virtually every audio production forum.  It would be akin to me telling one of my guitar students to ‘use their fingers’ when they ask me how to improve their playing.  Duh.  Of course they are going to use their fingers, but it’s my job to tell them wtf they’re supposed to do with their fingers to make the noise they want to make.  So, without further ado, here’s a bit about buses.

At this point, we are assuming that you have a number of tracks recorded, and now you need to process them to make the burps and farts really sparkle.  When you’re dealing with a large number of tracks, it’s often helpful to process groups of tracks together not just for organizational purposes, but also to use your computer’s processing power more efficiently.  To do this, we group tracks into buses.

Take the example below.  We have a group of vocal tracks that we want to process in the same manner.  We have a lead vocal track and a group of background vocals. In this example, we want to use the same compressor with the same settings on all of them.  

It is a large waste of processing power and quite a bit of extra work to add that compressor and set it for each individual track. To accomplish our goal, we group all of the vocal tracks into a single bus and put the compressor on the bus!  This way, the DAW only needs to process one instance of the compressor, and the engineer only needs to configure it once! This is a much more efficient use of both the processor and the engineer.

That’s it for this week.  See?  I told you it would be short and simple.  If there’s a topic you’d like me to cover, please feel free to drop a note in the box below.

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Requested Article: What’s the difference between playing a banjo and playing a guitar?

Good morning! I see you survived Friday the 13th and have managed to visit the site again. Well, I assume you did – otherwise you’d not be reading this, I hope…

Today, I’m going to answer a reader’s question. Sort of…

A fella who goes by the name of @RepublicOfTX asked me to compare and contrast playing a guitar with playing a banjo. Which is a great question and a great idea for an article!

Except, I’m a guitarist and not a banjo player! I own a banjo, in fact I own two of them. I have taken zero formal banjo lessons, am not what I’d call a banjo player, and am absolutely not the best source for information about this subject.

Fortunately, the community of musicians is pretty small and is usually pretty helpful. Someone who wishes to remain anonymous was willing to write up some information for me and I’ll be turning that into my answer. For the sake of anonymity, we’re going to call our wonderful instructor by the name of @MysteriousMysteryMan!

So, I’m not the person answering. Instead, I’m the person relaying the information and turning it into this article.
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Lessons about performing, lesson 34: Communicate With The Crowd!

Greetings, once again, my dear readers! I’m glad you made it back to the site and I’m very glad you find the time to visit, comment, and encourage. Without you, this would be futile. Without you, I’d have zero reason to continue writing this!

If you don’t know what I’m doing, then it’s pretty simple. I’m telling you all the shit you need to know – should you be insane enough to try to make a living as a performing musician. Instead of just telling you not to do it, I’m telling you the things that you can do if you want to increase your chances of success.

Here’s the full list and I encourage folks to read it – even if they’re not musicians. I’m told that there’s a lot of lessons in there that apply to other folk’s jobs and to their lives in general. Some of them may seem like pretty basic things, but I mention them because I see people not doing them and then wondering why they’re not seeing much success in their musical career.

This next lesson is inspired by one of our readers and regular contributors. It’s the result of me giving them a quick lesson, as they’ve recently taken to the stage and begun to play in exchange for money. As such, they’re going to make mistakes and they’ve been a pretty good source for article ideas.

In fact, if you go way back through the list, you’ll see them mentioned a number of times. Why? It was a couple of conversations and a few comments that prompted me to make this list in the first place. Most of those conversations with with our beloved Mr. Eyes.

So, if you have any questions or ideas, do let us know in the comments. If you don’t want to comment publicly, or if you wish to remain anonymous, then you don’t actually have to use your real name. You can also just use this form right here – and that will send me an email and it will be completely private.

Don’t hesitate to comment or submit an email message. You might not think it’s the best idea or best comment, but I may be able to smash the keyboard really hard and turn it into something folks are interested in reading.

We, and by we I mean the community of readers, also love guest articles. So, if you’ve a yearning for authoring something concerning musicianship, this is your place to have that audience! Just register and use the contact form to get in touch with me. I’m sure we can figure something out!

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That’s right, it’s time for the 18th guitarist better than Hendrix.

Some people put Jimi Hendrix at the top of their lists of great guitarists. They’re wrong. They’re not just wrong, they’re very wrong. In fact, I’ve told you how wrong they were 17 times already.

Reputable (for some definition of the word) magazines such as Rolling Stone have put him in first place, more than once. They’re not just wrong, they’re the wrongest wronger to ever wrong! I usually refer to them as a variety of names and herd animals, but I’m pretty satisfied with that one!

They do you, me, and all other guitarists a disservice when they weigh intangible traits and assign greatness based on stupid metrics like popularity, or how much they like their music.

Jimi was a great artist. He was a fantastic performer. He was creative. He was inspiring. He was able to write songs that were both meaningful and enjoyable to listen to. But, he was not a great guitarist.

You want a great guitarist? Pick any second year flamenco student. Pick any classical guitarist of note. Pick any modern neo-classical metal guitarist that actually knows what they’re doing instead of relying on speed. Find one that understands music theory. Find one that innovates. Find one that establishes a genre. Find one that starts a whole school of music.

Those types of people have been on my list – and this trend is going to continue. Why? Because there’s a whole bunch of guitarists who were more technically adept at playing the guitar than Hendrix ever was. Hendrix couldn’t even play the same song twice. Go ahead, go listen to his live stuff.

Feel free to like his music. Many of the guitarists on my list aren’t actually people that I seek out and listen to. I do seek them out, but that’s to learn and to try to understand the complexity and process of creation. The people on my list are masters of their instruments while Hendrix was mostly just a layman with a limited repertoire, poor technique, sloppy playing, and full of inconsistencies.

That’s just reality. That’s why Jimi wasn’t a great guitarist.

On the other hand, our next guitarist is consistent, has mastered the discipline, has authored masterpieces, has forwarded the art, and has demonstrated a very, very thorough knowledge of music theory. And, sadly, they’re pretty much unknown…
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Lessons about performing, lesson 33: Branding!

Look, if you don’t know what I’m doing by now, you’re probably never going to know what I’m doing! 😉

I’m a professional performing musician. I’ve done this job, in some capacity, for many decades. I’m good at it. It’s not ego – it’s years of learning the trade.

The lazy bastards in the industry haven’t written a book that tells you all the shit you really should know before deciding to become a performer. I’d think they’d write this stuff in a book, but they didn’t. They should, they could probably make a few bucks!

But, they haven’t… That means you’re stuck with me telling you all these rules – and there are quite a few. These rules won’t make you a rock star, but they will give better odds than your competition and they may just enable you perform music as your sole source of income. (That’s a rarity and that’s the goal I’m setting for you with this list – though you may not choose to go that far.)

So, here’s the complete list – if you want to read it. If you’re already caught up, let’s get on with the show!
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Lessons about performing, lesson 32: Venue Walk-through!

So, I usually write most of this stuff on the weekends – but this weekend has been pretty busy and last week was too busy to even think about devoting the time to writing articles.

Today is Sunday and most folks have left, so I’m going to write this one up right now and probably put the rest off until tomorrow. I like to keep a few in the queue, ready to give you something to read every day. I like to be prepared and to have a plan!

There’s a reason for writing this! It’s called a lede!

If you’re new to this series then you have a whole lot to catch up on. Basically, I’m compiling a list of rules that will, if followed, increase your odds of being a successful performing musician. No, these rules won’t make you a rock star – but they might enable you to eat something better than Ramen noodles five nights a week.

Fortunately, I’m not going in any particular order. If I was, then this rule should be somewhere near the top of the list. So, you can start with this one!
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