Any other "born with it" guys on here?

Discussion in 'Playing and Technique' started by james..., Jun 25, 2014.

  1. james...

    james... Supporting Member

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    Edit: A lot of guys in here acting like I'm bragging. Guys it was a blues jam. I think anyone with 2+ years experience could do what I did.

    At the risk of accidentally stepping on/stroking some egos I wanted to see how much company I had in this area.

    I've always been one of those "put it in my hands and I'll play it" guys with any instrument, particularly guitar. Never had a lesson or learned any theory at all. I can just hear music and see it on the fret board. I was like this from a young age. No idea why because neither of my parents play anything.

    Anybody who's like this will tell you though that it has its downsides every blue moon. I remember when I was 19 I was invited to fill in for a blues rock band that plays weekly at a club in the city. When I got there, the main guy asked if I'd ever played Blues.

    "Nah. I've heard a lot but nah."
    "Well do you at least know any theory? Scales?"
    "Nah. I'll be fine. Just play man."

    He gives the guy who invited me this crazy look. I felt pretty awkward.

    He shrugs and realizes I'm all they have. I felt like he was about to say something like "just play chords" but then realized how dumb that would've sounded considering I just told him I didn't know theory. 5 minutes late we launch into a 40 minute set.

    I tried to play really tastefully at first, just subdued lead backup runs. By the 2nd song these guys have realized I'm actually okay. The bass player looks at me and I can tell it's the "take a solo" face. So i rip it. Sounded great.

    I figured I would have won the main guy over but he is super pissed after the set. Starts fussing about how I'm lying and trying to troll the band or something. Tells me to get out and never come back because I'm a liar and nobody without basic theory knowledge could do what I just did.

    I've had similar situations happen maybe 5 or 6 times. I rarely if ever meet anyone in the same boat as me. I'm wondering if I'm alone.
     
    Last edited: Nov 18, 2014
  2. dingusmingus

    dingusmingus Member

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    Cool story, bro.

    Not me--I've worked hard for the modest ability I have. I hope you enjoy and make the most of those gifts.
     
  3. elron hoover

    elron hoover Member

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  4. Guitar Josh

    Guitar Josh Resident Curmudgeon

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  5. JonR

    JonR Member

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    I certainly wasn't born with any special talent. (My personal belief is actually that everyone is born with the potential to develop musical ability, but most lose it in childhood through disuse.)

    My family was in no way musical, I couldn't sing, and it never occurred to me that I might actually be able to make music myself until I was around 15 and saw my friends playing guitar.
    But I did pick it up pretty quickly, with no lessons, and no theory knowledge to speak of (just a tutor book, and reading songbooks). I did my first gigs within a year (friends' band), and was playing ragtime fingerstyle in 18 months or so.

    There's actually a spectrum of ability/talent, whatever you want to call it. It's not a black-and-white issue, those "born with it" versus those who have to learn a ton of theory to play anything.

    The guy who told you "to get out and never come back because I'm a liar and nobody without basic theory knowledge could do what I just did" is obviously a fool with issues of his own. (Although you give the impression of arrogance yourself, and that could have wound him up; and maybe you're embellishing the story a little...? ;))

    Then again, being able to do what you do means you DO have "theory knowledge", you just don't think of what you do in that way. You know the "grammar of the language", because you learned it all by ear. You may not know the academic jargon for what you do, but that's a different issue.
    It's like going to France and learning French by ear from listening and talking to people. No one's born speaking French! (not even French people :D). You'd have no idea of even how words were spelled, but if you can say them right that's all that matters.

    Nobody needs to know theory or scales to play blues well. You just need to know your instrument reasonably well, and to have heard enough blues; and you obviously had.
     
  6. The bear

    The bear Member

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    You seem to have really high thoughts of yourself.
    Do you have any clips of your playing or do we just have to take your word for it?
     
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  7. Mrmarshallhead

    Mrmarshallhead Member

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    I'm not awesome on guitar by any stretch - I get by but lots about my playing frustrates me, however I can bash out a tune on almost anything, and unlike my siblings was always acutely aware of anyone singing or playing either off key or off tempo from a really early age. Both my parents were musical though, and I do honestly believe that musicality is wired in more in some people than others.
     
  8. kimock

    kimock Member

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    Nah, there's an amazing natural guitarist just like you in every city and town all over the world.
    You guys just never meet because none of you ever go anywhere.
     
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  9. derekd

    derekd Supporting Member

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    :spit
     
  10. dingusmingus

    dingusmingus Member

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    I should just leave this alone, in fact I think james might be trolling us a bit, but I can't resist highlighting this bit:

    This dialog strikes me as literally incredible. (Putting aside that james is apparently a guy who plays guitar, who's heard a lot of blues, but who's never tried to play any blues at all.)

    But more fundamentally, what musician asks, right before a gig when settling on a set list, "Well do you at least know any theory?" I get that this strawman attitude helps james set up the dramatic narrative in his head ("theory" v. "natural players"), but I've never met any musician actually on the "theory" side right before a gig. The only question is, can you play?
     
  11. guitarjazz

    guitarjazz Member

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    But you can read fly ****, naturally, right?
     
  12. kimock

    kimock Member

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    Yeah, it's just some ********; go ahead and have fun with it.
     
  13. The bear

    The bear Member

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    Anyone who plays electric guitar must have played something that is based on blues or pentatonic scales at some point. The blues guys would never ask if you know scales and theory either...I don't think the OP is alone, there are plenty of guys like that around and usually they are not nearly as good as they think.
     
  14. GuitarsFromMars

    GuitarsFromMars Member

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    playing in traffic...
    Ever try using your frequent flyer miles ??:console
     
  15. kimock

    kimock Member

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    I'm sitting in a plane right now!
    On my way to "work", and yeah, I use the miles earned to do other fun stuff, but so far the other fun stuff hasn't involved meeting "those guys".
    But you know they're there, or at least that's what the general population here believes.
    I've never seen one.
     
  16. Cosmik de Bris

    Cosmik de Bris Member

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    I've seen "born with it people" on TV, unfortunately they can't tie their own shoelaces or do anything else much at all. I think they're called Autistic Savants.
     
  17. evanjackson

    evanjackson Supporting Member

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  18. guitarjazz

    guitarjazz Member

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    This is the TGP version of a Dear Penthouse letter.
     
  19. Goo Fighters

    Goo Fighters Member

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  20. Jerrod

    Jerrod Silver Supporting Member

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    Can anyone link me to the James Shreds vid?
     

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