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Everyone has musical influences, that is to say, everyone has at least one guitar or bass player that they’ve listened to one or more times and thought to themselves “I’d sure like to be able to play like that.” Kept in proper perspective that can be just the encouragement an aspiring guitar or bass player needs, because what was possible for someone else just may very well be possible for them too. In many a guitar store you are likely to walk in and hear a new or novice player doing their level best to play riffs or chord voicings from their favorite guitarist or bassist, and sometimes this can be quite enjoyable and entertaining. However, more often than not, what most hear being played can be rather unpleasant depending on how developed or undeveloped the guitarist is!

Now, this isn’t meant to be demeaning in any way, but rather an encouragement, so unless one is playing cover tunes in a top 40 band no one really wants to hear someone trying to play like their favorite famous guitar player. Rather, people are bound to be much more interested in what kind of original idea the aspiring or novice player can come up with as they continue to develop their own musical skills and abilities. With that said, I believe there is a strong case that can be made for the fact that whatever or whoever a player listens to will to some extent come out in their playing, but the ultimate goal of any musician should always be to be great in their own style and strive to have as much originality as possible.

What I would like to encourage people to take away from this is to use your favorite songs played by your favorite player as a measuring stick of sorts so as to gauge what is possible. This way you can set goals that you can work towards. As you mature more and more as a player in your own right you will hopefully be able to start improvising your own riffs, chord voicings, and even solos if that is what you desire to do. With patience and determination, you can reach whatever goals you set for yourself if you just stick with it. Also, each player is unique in their own right, which means that we all will eventually play the same notes at one time or another, but we will seldom if ever play them the same way or in the same order.

Looking forward, what you will be able to come up with in your own playing style is just as cool sounding as that of your favorite artist. If you enjoy playing guitar as much as I do your passion for the instrument will shine forth.

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