Amy Mantis
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Chops

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.