Choose your Heroes

Jimi Hendrix is great … most guitarist at some point in their life literally try to BE him … and it’s fine … but the sooner you realize that there’s already too many Hendrix copycats the better.

(if you’re a saxophone player replace Hendrix by John Coltrane, pianist replace by Keith Jarret, etc…)

If your heroes are all in the Top 100 Rolling Stones ‘best guitarists’ selection, you haven’t done a good job in your research. Yes, most of the guitarist in Rolling Stones are great, for different reasons (technic, feeling, sound, etc…), and you can genuinely  love them -I do-, but you should have at least 50 other names that ARE NOT in the list.

Austin Kleon -author of a book you MUST read “Steal Like an Artist”– report the words of a writer saying that “when people call something ‘original’, nine times out of ten they just don’t know the references or the original sources involved”. If you copy Jimi Hendrix, everybody will enjoy it but they will know that you’re ripping of Jimi. If you copy Danny Gatton your rip off will probably be less obvious … if you said “danny who ?” you’ve just proved my point …

(saxophonist replace Gatton by Bunky Green, pianists by Andrew Hill etc…)

Every artist is influenced by the artists that come before him, it’s not new, it’s okay and it’s actually a relief : you don’t have to create everything from nothing. Jimi Hendrix didn’t come out of nowhere: listen to Curtis Mayfield, Hubert Sumlin, Buddy Guy (early recording, before 1966 basically), Earl Hooker, and you’ll have a better idea why Hendrix played the way he played. And what is uniquely his.

Every guitarist in the Rolling Stones Selection has a “musical family tree” : choose ONE artist, and climb their family tree.

The great thing about You as an artist, is that you can create your own Family Tree. You choose what’s in your iTunes library, you choose what you’ll spend time transcribing and practicing.

You can’t choose your family, but you can choose your heroes.

PS : because you’re a guitarist doesn’t mean your heroes have to be guitarists, they can / should also be singer, pianists, sax players, drummers … etc … more on that later

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