What Makes a Player a Hack?

Linkslover

Member
Messages
10
I have limited talent (though I have an MBA in finance, I've been gold multiple times that I cannot count to 4), but I enjoy playing and play with enthusiasm. Occasionally, I get through a song without making a mistake.

Does that make me a hack?

Btw, I dress decently and have good (not custom shop, but good) equipment.
 

smallbutmighty

Supporting Member
Messages
8,939
Does anyone else find it baffling and depressing that there is enough interested in collectively defining and marginalizing "hacks" and "posers" to generate a twelve page thread?

And now I've bumped it back to the top.

Great.
 

Daniel Travis

Supporting Member
Messages
1,827
How you dress and your gear is absolutely immaterial. If those things matter to you, you're just a judgemental jerk. A worse offense than being a hack.

I disagree, but only mildly.

1. How you dress is not immaterial. It's a part of the performance you are a part of. And having a cohesive visual, to go along with the music, can have a huge affect on your audience.

2. Gear does matter; it's just not the be-all, end-all. Having a guitar that stays in tune, and plays well according to your needs can be a big help in making you comfortable on stage. See also: above. image DOES matter, it's just relative based on the style of music.

Having low quality or unmaintained pedals/amps etc can ABSOLUTELY matter - if something breaks or has a fault, it can ruin your performance.

Also, a 15 watt squier champion with an 8" speaker (even miced) is not going to cut it for a Metallica tribute band.

Avoid all-encompassing, definitive statements like "absolutely immaterial."
 

drjoel

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
356
Plays wrong chords and doesn't care. Plays riffs that sound amateurish and doesn't care.
 

Squarehammer

Member
Messages
158
Watch live videos of SRV and Clapton and dozens of other musicians looking at the neck when they play.


He spends almost the entire video staring at his neck.

Other then that I agree. Though I am so sick of the word hack. Everything is hack these days.
 

Squarehammer

Member
Messages
158
I dunno, I don't have a problem with any of these properties as long as it is a decent person who makes good music. Doesn't matter to me if they have a pawn shop guitar or don't know the difference between a march and a walz.

And for the record: I could afford more than this $200 guitar and a $400 amp (no pedals even) if I wanted to. I simply don't see why I should, there would be no benefit.
I can't read notes, I can barely tell you what chords I'm playing. I don't know scales, I do know what a verse/chorus/bridge is. Does that make me a hack? No. I turned down a record deal in the 90's cause I didn't like the contract. I was voted York Co. PA's most unique and original guitarist in the late 90s Yet I can't do any of the stuff.
After my 56' start was stolen I started buying cheap guitars and fixing them up. I could afford great gear but why take that on stage? Used old amps and what pedals I needed all used like you.
I have a feel you're a bit like me Walldot...lol
 

JosephZdyrski

Member
Messages
2,979
To me music is about self expression and can be a very spiritual thing to the player. So I’m honestly hesitant to call anyone a hack.

If someone feels the need to look down on other artists it honestly says a lot more about them then it does about the people they’d label as hacks.

I feel to set limitations on music because of some old antiquated standards is only limiting our own perspectives, creativity and the future possibilities of music in the end. You try to hard to define a style and explain it theoretically you simultaneously stunt it’s evolution eventually Almost stopping it completely, as is the case with classical music and is starting to become the case with jazz too, which is very sad. Little wonder musical innovation has been spearheading by academic outsiders for the last 40-50+ years possibly longer.
 

Squarehammer

Member
Messages
158
I don’t think so. It sounds like you’re good at playing the guitar, I just noodle around aimlessly.
I'm not that good , just unique. I don't shred. If fact Shredding does nothing for me. I just write and play what feels good. Hell half of my originals don't even have a solo i them.
I don't like solos of any kind. I like musicians to blend their instruments so it's pleasing to the ear.
I bet you're better then you think. Noodling around is how some of the best songs have written!!
 

Stratcries

Member
Messages
7
Been thinking about this lately after a recent experience...how do YOU define a "Hack" musician in the context of a band or potential bandmate?

List the specific qualities that you find hacky.

I would say...
  • Needs to look at chords to play song
  • Need to read lyrics from a print out to sing song
  • Crap, pawn shop gear when they can afford better, but just don't buy it
  • Has literally no concept of groove or time--what it is or why it matters
  • Dresses like a bum
  • Doesn't know the names of the parts of songs: like what a bridge is
  • Talks of "Touring" when their ability is barely above garage jamming
I'm thinking there's a story behind this original post and I want to know it.
I ndv
Been thinking about this lately after a recent experience...how do YOU define a "Hack" musician in the context of a band or potential bandmate?

List the specific qualities that you find hacky.

I would say...
  • Needs to look at chords to play song
  • Need to read lyrics from a print out to sing song
  • Crap, pawn shop gear when they can afford better, but just don't buy it
  • Has literally no concept of groove or time--what it is or why it matters
  • Dresses like a bum
  • Doesn't know the names of the parts of songs: like what a bridge is
  • Talks of "Touring" when their ability is barely above garage jamming
[/QUOTE what does the word "hack" have anything to do with music.
 

lowyaw

Member
Messages
2,921
Been thinking about this lately after a recent experience...how do YOU define a "Hack" musician in the context of a band or potential bandmate?

List the specific qualities that you find hacky.

I would say...
  • Needs to look at chords to play song
Eh whole lotta hacks there is


None of the points in your list have anything to do with music, musicians, and musicality
there is only one thing that could describe a musician as a "hack' - its when he or she makes claims of being someone that person is not.
 
Last edited:

Kurt Leege

Member
Messages
109
  • Needs to look at chords to play song
  • Need to read lyrics from a print out to sing song
You described just about every cover band good or bad...

Also, if you play jazz everyone has the changes in front of them.

Also, if you hire someone that doesn’t regularly play with you (very common for touring bands, wedding bands, bigger cover bands) and aren’t providing them with charts, it is you that look like the hack.
 




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