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post #1 of 34 (permalink) Old 08-18-2008, 12:40 PM Thread Starter
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Is talent necessary?

Hi everyone,

I've recently started teaching someone to play guitar. It got me thinking about the following; is talent is necessary to become a good guitarist? From both a purely technical and musical point of view?

Or is it so that if you don't have enough (or any) innate talent, you might as well forget about it as you're never going to get where you'd like to be?

What are your thoughts on this?

Kind regards,

Last edited by Myst and rain; 12-01-2008 at 07:10 PM. Reason: Typo (thoughts one this?).
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post #2 of 34 (permalink) Old 08-18-2008, 12:52 PM
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Re: Is talent necessary?

I dont think you have to have particular technical talent to be a good guitarist. It depends what you want to achieve with your guitar. Some people are happy just to strum along,while others what to shred.

It's very subjective on what makes a good guitarist anyway, one persons guitar god is anothers guitar muppet
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post #3 of 34 (permalink) Old 08-18-2008, 01:08 PM
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Re: Is talent necessary?

Often in music audacity is more important than anything else....
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post #4 of 34 (permalink) Old 08-18-2008, 01:14 PM
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Re: Is talent necessary?

Excellent Question !! It's very subjective like it's been said, I used to teach young guyz, and I did notice some were just generally (better) than others, they understood everything, they learned faster, had an ear for music while others just didn't have it, no matter how hard they tried. Some have it easier than others, but I beleive even if you don't have as much talent as the other guy, you can still be a unique and a good guitarist if you push yourself hard, it's all about discipline ! One of the things that I beleive makes me good and unique is my ability to improvise to anything, I rely alot on my ears and theory is a big part of my playing. Just my 2 cents. Cheers.

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post #5 of 34 (permalink) Old 08-18-2008, 01:38 PM
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Re: Is talent necessary?

I've read quotes from Steve Vai to the effect that he claims he was not talented at all when he started, but he was very dedicated to practicing until he was.

So, this raises the question, What is "talent"?

By talent, I think that most people see it as a mystical ability to be excelent without practice, and that just doesn't happen(not that i've seen anyway).

Any guitarist i've ever seen or heard play well got their chops the hard way, through practice, just like the rest of us. I've never heard of anyone who picked up a guitar for the first time and shredded their socks off.

Imho it all comes down to just how focused and dedicated you can be. When you see someone play a guitar (or any instrument for that matter) with skill and flair, just think about the many many hours of practice it took them to do it. Look at your own playing, and ask yourself if talent is the reason you play the way you do, or if all the practice (or lack of) is why.

I think saying that the reason that a certain person is good at what they do is because of their natural talent totally devalues the time, effort and determination that they have put into mastering their discipline of choice.

I believe that just about anyone can display "talent" in their chosen field if they are willing to put in the hard yards.

Rock on!
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post #6 of 34 (permalink) Old 08-18-2008, 03:42 PM
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Re: Is talent necessary?

It'll probably sound trite, but "talent" comes more from the "soul" than anything. If you have the ability to feel, imagine, and react to music on an emotional level, then you can be "trained" to do everything else to one degree or another.

Talent, when it comes to guitar playing, can be taught, whereas soul is innate.
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post #7 of 34 (permalink) Old 08-18-2008, 03:56 PM Thread Starter
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Re: Is talent necessary?

Great replies, guys. I think you guys have it right.
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post #8 of 34 (permalink) Old 08-18-2008, 04:54 PM
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Re: Is talent necessary?

While I think dedication and discipline can help anyone to excel in their chosen field, whether it is music or something else, talent does play a part. For example, my wife can listen to a song and play it on guitar or piano with minimal effort. I have also played with other guitarists that just "got it" much easier than I did. I always say I have minimal talent, but I practiced my a$$ off. When I was younger, I played 8 hours a day for nearly 3 years. Other guys I know could play better than I could, without the dedicated practice time.
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post #9 of 34 (permalink) Old 08-18-2008, 05:05 PM
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Re: Is talent necessary?

my question to you is 'for what?' if you are asking if being a talented guitarist (or musician) is necessary to be successful in the music business, then i would say no. there are quite a few guitarists who can barely play their instruments who are very successful pounding out powerchords. sad but true.

however, you don't have to be a shredder to be considered talented. there are so many styles of guitar playing that require dedication and practice to master the stylistic nuances (i.e., microtonal bends of blues playing, finger coordination for chicken pickin'/bluegrass, etc.). and then there are those who use the instrument for songwriting. they may not be 'talented' in a technical proficiency sense, but as an overall musician, they could be very talented (depending on how good their songs are, which of course is quite subjective).
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post #10 of 34 (permalink) Old 08-18-2008, 06:59 PM
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Re: Is talent necessary?

I think "talent" lives in the world of composition and phrasing. The rest is an immense amount of practice.
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post #11 of 34 (permalink) Old 08-18-2008, 07:05 PM
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Red face Re: Is talent necessary?

There are also many kinds of talent. Songwriting is a talent that takes no technical ability at is performance, as well as entertainment. Right place at the right time is the biggest key to success, next is luck, determination, work ethic, perseverance, business savvy...

Steve Vai
Junior Brown
Robert Cray
Bob Dylan
Buffy Saint-Marie
Lee Ritenour
Stevie Ray Vaughn
Eric Clapton
Ace Frehley
Kurt Cobain
Neil Diamond
Steve Cropper
Bonnie Raitt
Steve Rothery
Andres Segovia
Garth Brooks

They are all guitarists and yet so different from one another, and still inspirational in some way. They all make/made a living with music...pretty amazing thing. I don't like everyone on the list but I think they are all talented...
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post #12 of 34 (permalink) Old 08-18-2008, 08:26 PM
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Re: Is talent necessary?

I'm from a family of musicians and I almost hate my musical ear/talent because it does make me lazy in the practicing field.
But I have chronic migraine's so that adds to me not wanting to pratice. On the days I don't have a migraine I want to savor it and not do anything, on every other day of the month I feel like removing my brain
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post #13 of 34 (permalink) Old 08-19-2008, 08:20 AM
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Re: Is talent necessary?

I've always thought that determination was much more important than talent. I've never had any "Talent" for music, but through 15 years of nearly daily practice, I can play fairly well.

I would assume that goes for anyone.
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post #14 of 34 (permalink) Old 08-19-2008, 11:40 AM Thread Starter
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Re: Is talent necessary?

I really agree with you guys 100%!

My student would like to learn how to play technically demanding metal, eventually. He's mentioned Necrophagist as an example. He's also into fusion. I think he can get to that point. He just has to stick with it and keep working on his technique. He has already improved since I started giving lessons, so that's a good sign.

Thanks, guys.
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post #15 of 34 (permalink) Old 08-19-2008, 12:13 PM
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Re: Is talent necessary?

Originally Posted by HeavyMetal4Ever View Post
I've read quotes from Steve Vai to the effect that he claims he was not talented at all when he started, but he was very dedicated to practicing until he was.
That's reassuring to hear as a beginner. I just wish I was starting out at age 15, instead of my current 34. (well 33, since I technically started playing/learning last year)
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ace frehley , improve , innate , kurt cobain , learning , stevie ray , talent , teaching

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