In my previous post, I spoke of “rust” and how it pertains to not practicing shooting. Turns out, the same thing happens if you don’t practice your guitar. Now that I have the Paul Reed Smith, I realized that I had gotten away from the boring, repetitive practice of doing the 1st position, pentatonic scale all the way up and down the fret board, moving only as fast as I could without making a single mistake, which is now like 8 bpm. Go figure.
Another parallel with guns is that the minute details are argued on forums across the globe. “You can’t use [Wood Type X] as a veneer because the harmonics will cause anything above a middle C to detune by .0000001 cents!” or “Only real guitarists use ShredderMan guitars! Your FretFlayer2000 is garbage!” to “Unless you luthiate your own axe, you’re not a real musician!”.
I’ve gotten a lot of compliments on the PRS, even though it’s the low end, Korean version. Sure the body isn’t virgin wood taken from the last truffula tree with a California Redwood fret board and sure, maybe a better grade of wood would help sustain a note longer, but just like the gun world, a lot of people seem to get caught up in the minutia and assume that unless you care about the bevel angle on the front of the fret, you’re never going to be able to play well. Just like guns, there are millions of tiny things to argue over that probably only affect the top five or six guitar players in the world but are taken as gospel by their followers.
Speaking of top players, go watch Tommy Emmanuel totally destroy Classical Gas. Now, look at his guitar. I dare say that thing has been around for so long that its initial construction is probably a moot point. I also posit that you could hand Mr. Emmanuel the cheapest, Mexican knock-off and he could play just as good. In the same light, I bet you could hand Dave Sevigny a factory-fresh, straight from the box Hi-Point and he’d still kick your ass.
Finally, while it’s great to watch videos of Emmanuel, Sevigny, Jarrett, Atkins, et al, it’s important to remember that I’m not a professional shooter / guitar player and I’m never going to have the ability to apply myself at that level but that that does not mean I cannot have fun trying to play at 1/1000th those people’s level. It behooves me not to worry about purchasing the perfect guitar or a precision gun because what limits me is not my equipment. However, the converse is one can end up placing artificial limits on themselves should they focus on the gear rather than the skill.