34 Years and counting

Today (July 4th) is my thirty-seventeenth birthday (heh), and marked the beginning of my thirty-fourth year as a guitarist and songwriter. So, what is it like to play guitar for that long? Well, one thing is for sure, I know my way around the neck by now. I know every chord in every key, and can solo in any key, having memorized the scales and extra passing tones long ago. The biggest accomplishment in my opinion is cultivating and refining my vocabulary for the guitar. In terms of improvising, this gives me a lot of different ways of expressing myself- many of them without even thinking. That's probably 70% of soloing- having a big file of riffs and phrases I can use. The other 30% is purely exploratory, and this is where things get exciting, because if I don't concentrate I can paint myself into a corner or go 'off the rails' - but this exploration is what ultimately develops into additional vocabulary to use when the time is right. The difference between a guitarist that has only been playing for 5 years, and one who has more than 30 under his belt is the size and wise use of this vocabulary.

So, enough of the mumbo-jumbo! Listen to "The Waiting" where I developed some new sounds, trying tight 2nd double-stops, or the end of Shanks Akimbo where I kept some noodling solos that I didn't know I was recording at the time.

If you play guitar, you know what I'm talking about! Now go out there and experiment, and build your vocabulary.

Dudley

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