For me the biggest difference between a great guitar player and a great singer or band member is how you choose to make music. You don’t have to play a lot of fast music from a single source to have an impact, and that’s because the majority of the music you listen to is too slow for your taste anyway.
Your work will sound different when the guitar picks up more than just the chords, but what about when you take it up to the next level – when you’re using a full range of notes instead of a single pitch?
I would agree that most guitarists I know with good technical skills have difficulty using faster music in this way, but most great guitarists have excellent technique when they start building up to a really fast song.
Take for example Bob Dylan’s famous and often overlooked track “Finger Eleven”. The song is based around a fast guitar riff while staying mostly on guitar, but Bob uses a combination of speed and precision to build up to a very fast climax.
Is there any rule of thumb I can follow and which should be applied to creating my own music without using a lot of electronic elements or processing?
You can find a lot of sound design advice online, but if you really want to try something new, then I’d recommend experimenting with various types of equipment, especially pedals, effects and synthesisers – just don’t expect to learn anything with them if they don’t work for you, since you may find that they create only part of your ideas and don’t have enough sonic versatility to be useful.
If there was only one thing I know I could improve upon as a musician, what would it be?
I would take a break from touring, stop practicing, and just focus on getting better! In the next two years the world is ready to hear the results.
Where do you see yourself in 10 years? What role do you think a good guitarist should play for the next decade?
I think I’m going to play guitar in my spare time for the foreseeable future, although it’s a long shot, and hopefully it will be one of the reasons why my wife decided to split from me and move to San Diego. I think I’ll try to make this possible by building a website at www.guitarbyrussian.com so that if anybody wants to visit, they can play with me and give feedback.
Any final reflections?
I’m an optimist and I wouldn’t want people to take
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