If the faces they make are anything to go by, Guitar players are often in a state of transcendent bliss while playing. Truly, all musicians find the music they play transporting, but Guitarists are a special sect of musician. Part of what makes the Guitarist philosophy unique is the adaptability and flexibility of the instrument – guitars can be used to play any style of music and taken along virtually anywhere. Consequently, the Guitarist philosophy is one of freedom, flexibility and intuition. The Guitarist minister is one who can go anywhere, contribute to everything, and carry their own baggage.
Lending itself to improvised accompaniment, the Guitarist has many techniques with which to channel the soul of the music and embellish the song. What’s more, this attitude can be extrapolated to life itself. A truly devout Guitarist can see the world as a song in which they can always add some flourish or harmony.
The history of Guitarism has always been rather dualistic — on one hand being used to play traditional music for the upper classes, and on the other hand playing simple folk tunes for the common people. The earliest guitars were folk instruments like the lute, but gradually saw greater renown as precursors to the modern guitar in medieval classical and religious music. At the same time, however, guitars and guitar-like instruments were used by romantic traveling troubadours to woo ladies and enliven festivals. This dualism continued through the ages with the Spanish classical/flamenco divide and the modern jazz/rock split. This dual nature of Guitarism has helped unite people from disparate backgrounds by seducing their spirits with the power of music.
The practicing and performing of the guitar is very much like meditation, especially if the Guitarist is an improviser. Additionally, Guitarists are often prone to tinker with their instruments, especially if they are electric – swapping out parts and trying new pickups, amplifiers and pedals. This reverence for the vehicles of their religious practice helps to attune them to the many details of the world around them.
I just go where the guitar takes me.
— Angus Young
It’s a magical thing, the guitar. It allows you to be the whole band in one, to play rhythm and melody, sing over the top. And as an instrument for solos, you can bend notes, draw emotional content out of tiny movements, vibratos and tonal things which even a piano can’t do.
— David Gilmour
Enthusiasm is everything. It must be taut and vibrating like a guitar string.
Let’s be realistic about this, the guitar can be the single most blasphemous device on the face of the earth. That’s why I like it…The disgusting stink of a too-loud electric guitar: now that’s my idea of a good time.
— Frank Zappa
A guitar is a very personal extension of the person playing it. You have to be emotionally and spiritually connected to your instrument. I’m very brutal on my instruments, but not all the time.
— Eddie Van Halen