A very wise man told me last week that “copying” is not “artistry” and I have not been able to get that thought out of my mind.
The context of our conversation was about photography and painting (not guitar playing).
He was making a reference to how he felt about someone who had the ability to look at a photograph of a famous painting and reproduce it on canvas with oil colors. It was a friendly and somewhat spirited discussion that left me thinking:
If I can “copy” Eric Clapton’s guitar licks, does that make me a “guitar artist”?
It’s certainly a debatable thought and one that we surely will not all agree on. There are thousands upon thousands of guitar “copiers” in the world. I am referring to those who have the ability to sound like their personal favorite guitar player as a result of studying, practicing and memorizing their licks.
They obviously have the ability…but does that make them an “artist”?
I am going to take the controversial position that artistry happens when someone creates a new sound, a new song, a new feeling, a new emotion, a new musical vibe or perhaps…in the case of the video below..a new way to play the guitar.
I realize that tapping and lap-style playing have been around for a long, long time but I must admit that I have not seen this level of acoustic mastery and artistry — ever.
I would love to hear your thoughts!