Perception Of Perfection

- Will Landrum

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I get a lot of emails from my subscribers saying that they practice a lot but still can't seem to play or execute moves like their favorite guitarist. Let's take a look at exactly what you're aiming for here.

You've heard the term "Practice Makes Perfect". I'd like to discuss this concept with you today and give you some of my personal thoughts on this subject and how it shapes and matures your guitar playing.

First of all, "perfection" is subjective. Here's an example of what I mean.

Let's say I have a new tune that I just finished recording.

I'm really proud of it and I think it sounds great. I know that the solo in the middle of the tune, even though it sounds great and I kept it for the final recording, fell short of what I had in mind for it.

In other words, imperfection from my original idea.

But remember, the solo sounds GREAT! That's why I kept it!

Now, someone else hears the new tune. They really like it! "What an awesome solo" they say, "It's perfect!"

Now you start to see what I mean by subjective.

What's your point of reference to perfection? My point of reference was in my mind when I was recording and creating the solo. The listener's point of reference is his or her own level of enjoyment that was produced as a result of hearing the solo.

Which brings me to the point of today's lesson...

For guitarists, and musicians in general, perfection really doesn't mean playing perfectly like a machine.

What it means is that you reach a level of competence on your guitar where you can execute the basic rhythms and timing that are absolutely essential, but not necessarily be able to play scales and solos exactly like Paul Gilbert and Yngwie (pronounced ing-vay) Malmsteen.

- Yes, you should know the scales.
- Yes, you should be able to play them in time.
- No, you don't have to pick every single note.
- No, you don't have to pick every single note the exact same way every single time.

This should come as great news to you! What a relief!

Don't get burdened down by comparing your playing to others. Strive for their level, yes, but when you achieve that level, you'll realize that you don't need to sound just like Yngwie or Paul because what you've cultivated yourself is just as exciting!

This is something that I learned myself from my own experience. I grew up listening to great guitarists, and they set the standard of competency that I wanted to achieve in my own playing.

Even after imitating those guys to the best of my ability, I still can't execute moves exactly the way they do because our styles are different.

Striving to be like those guys cultivated my own individual style and personality on the guitar which is really what you want anyway! It was something that happened to me without me realizing it.

We don't need another Eddie Van Halen or Yngwie Malmsteen anyway right? We need NEW personalities on guitar!

So getting back to "perfection", if you use Yngwie as your standard for perfection, and you can blaze up and down the fretboard BUT NOT EXACTLY LIKE YNGWIE, DON'T WORRY ABOUT IT!!!

YOU CAN BLAZE UP AND DOWN THE FRETBOARD!!! That's all that matters! You are musically exciting! Go with it and enjoy it!

Again what a relief!

Listen, maximize your strengths and minimize your weaknesses.

If you have a great hammer-on and pull-off technique developed with your left hand, use it to your advantage. I'm not saying to not practice your alternate picking. Just be proud of what you CAN do right now and show it off!

Beauty in is the ear of the listener.

Music is art.

Music is human.

Humans are imperfect.

Musical perfection performed by an imperfect human being is called style!

Will Landrum



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