I talk a lot about Guitar Badassery on this blog, so maybe it’s time that I laid out a comprehensive definition.
I think a properly badass guitar player should:
- always be seeking improvement
- play with great time & feel, with or without a click
- have good enough ears to pick up melodies & progressions quickly
- understand how songs are put together
- bring creative A Game to an arrangement
- play appropriately––whether that’s loud or soft, busy or sparse
- know enough music theory to build chords, understand keys, transpose, & improvise
- know the guitar neck forwards, backwards, inside out, & upside down
- read enough music to communicate with other musicians
- but also be able to play many many songs from memory
- get good tone, live or recorded
- listen to a wide range of musical styles
- learn to play a representative sample of the last 100 years of guitar music, as a point of idiomatic reference
- be professional and easy to deal with
- perform well under pressure
- massive bonus points for singing lead or harmony vocals
And that’s about it. Maybe I missed a thing or two. I trust you’ll let me know if I did.
You’ll notice no particular emphasis on two-handed tapping, sweep picking, modes, TAB, or any of things we collectively seem to invest the most time in/waste the most time on.
I’m not saying that I fit my own definition of Guitar Badassery.
But I’m damn sure trying.