July 9, 2013 12:25AM
Today I caught up with my old guitar teacher, Bob Thompson. It had been nearly a year since I saw him last. I started studying with Bob when I was 16 and we instantly hit it off. I haven’t had a lesson with Bob in at least 18 months, and our communication had a steady decline for a while. Not that it matters - Bob will always be a part of my life.
We were talking about music today in a far more abstract way than we ever had. He said something about chops and I said I pretty much have no chops. His response:
"It doesn’t matter. What matters is what’s in here (points to heart)."
I’ve always felt that way, partly because my chops are not stellar. How fast can I play? I don’t know. Do I care? No, not really. I can play along with my favorite songs, and my lack of chops has never hindered anything as far as I can tell.
I am slightly envious of what appears to be effortless playing by my shredder friends. They can just slide up and down the neck for hours, barely picking a note (or intentionally picking every single note). I can’t do that. Because it doesn’t speak to me in an emotional manner. And that’s okay. As far as I’m concerned, it’s not about chops.