Amy Mantis
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Posts tagged electric guitar
Acoustic Guitar and the Phrase "Singer/Songwriter"

My relationship with the acoustic guitar is one that blossomed in earnest over the past four months.  It really began about a year ago when I bought my Taylor, but it probably wasn't until at least six months after I bought it that I really began to develop a true love of the acoustic guitar.  Now I love playing the acoustic guitar.  These days I play it more than I play electric which is a surprise to me as much as it is to anyone who knows me.

See, when I first began playing guitar, I didn't want to be another girl that could play a few chords on her acoustic guitar.  I wanted to be the real thing.  So I solely played electric guitar (save for borrowing friends' guitars) for more than six years.  And even after I got my Martin I still wasn't terribly keen on the acoustic guitar.  It didn't hit me the way the electric guitar did at the outset.

It was a cliche.  And I didn't want to be a cliche.

I didn't want to be a singer/songwriter self-indulgent repetitious dink.  

The phrase "singer/songwriter" is thrown around too casually for my liking.  I love singer/songwriters.  But the real ones.  Carole King is a singer/songwriter.  James Taylor, Jackson Browne, Joni Mitchell, Neil Young (he's everything), CSN(Y), those people are singer/songwriters.  The guy down the hall from me in my dorm at Berklee, a singer/songwriter?  Technically, if he sings and writes his own songs, yeah, he is, but is he really?  Bruce Springsteen is.  Taylor Goldsmith is.  Laura Marling is.  I feel like there's a level that needs to be ascertained before using the phrase "singer/songwriter."

I don't consider myself a singer/songwriter for a number of reasons.  Do I write my own songs?  Yes.  Do I sing them?  Yes.  Am I singer/songwriter?  Again, technically, but no, I'm not.  I'm not comfortable with calling myself that out of respect to those who came before me and truly are singer/songwriters.

I know, I know.  I know it's silly, but maybe in a little while (or a long while) I'll be more welcoming of the phrase "singer/songwriter."  But for now, I'm not.

Speed Takes Time

May 14, 2013 10:44PM

That’s an oxymoron if I ever heard one.

But it’s true. At least for me. One of my biggest weaknesses with playing the guitar has been my ability to play fast. I’m not a shredder by any means, and I don’t aspire to be. But there are some classic licks that I still fumble because my left hand doesn’t do what I want it to do. And sometimes my right hand doesn’t do what I want it to do either. I’ve been working on that since I started playing. I imagine most guitarists work on that.

I do it all - metronome, scale exercises, chromatic exercises, string skipping. You name it, I’ve probably tried it. I personally am not impressed by speed which is why I never focused on it. My teachers always listed it as a low priority (tone is often the highest. And time). I did too. Partly because of them, but mainly because I wasn’t very good at it. And I’m still not, but I’m working on it.

If you have any tips for quick hands, I would greatly appreciate them.