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TheCurmudgeon
LSU Fan
Not where I want to be
Member since Aug 2014
1407 posts

Being a musician vs being a "guitar player"
Playing last night with some friends, drinking a little bourbon, we started talking about when a "guitar player" becomes a "musician". Ended up being an interesting debate.

I know chord progressions, chords, scales, can put together arrangements, can pick up on the structure of a song while listening to it, and the like. But I hesitate saying I'm a "musician", instead just refer to myself as "guitar player".

When do you baws think someone moves from a "player" to a "musician"?


wareaglepete
Auburn Fan
Just east of Lyra
Member since Dec 2012
4950 posts
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re: Being a musician vs being a "guitar player"
Musician:
a person who plays a musical instrument, especially as a profession, or is musically talented

Since there is an "or" before the talented part, I am a musician as I fit the rest.


TheFretShack
Member since Oct 2015
625 posts
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re: Being a musician vs being a "guitar player"
If you were playing with friends, as in someone calls out a song and you can play along and not sh!t everyone's bed, I'd call you a musician. "Musician" also evokes multi-faceted for me. If you play guitar alone and do nothing else, you're a guitarist. If you play guitar, and can play bass, can sing a little, dabble effectively with keys or ukes or mandos if need be for the band's or the jam's sake, then you're a musician.



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Philzilla2k
Atlanta Braves Fan
Member since Oct 2017
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re: Being a musician vs being a "guitar player"
seems like semantics


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EZE Tiger Fan
Member since Jul 2004
43670 posts

re: Being a musician vs being a "guitar player"
I can play a guitar slightly above average. I've written my own "riffs" but can't ever complete anything on my own. I'm nowhere near a musician.

I know someone personally who is on the songwriters guild. He can play just about any instrument. He is a musician.


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Philzilla2k
Atlanta Braves Fan
Member since Oct 2017
6765 posts
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re: Being a musician vs being a "guitar player"
If any thing, songwriting separates musicians from guitarist.


auggie
Auburn Fan
Opelika, Alabama
Member since Aug 2013
19260 posts
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re: Being a musician vs being a "guitar player"
quote:

If any thing, songwriting separates musicians from guitarist.

I don't know about that, I know some very successful songwriters that can barely play a guitar or anything else. All they needed to do was get their idea across. Being a better guitar player/musician does help to write songs that can be more interesting musically, but lets face it, most commercially successful music is pretty darn simple.

What does it matter anyway, what somebody calls you? Just do what you do.
This post was edited on 2/18 at 12:27 pm


SEClint
New Orleans Saints Fan
New Orleans, LA/Portland, OR
Member since Nov 2006
38759 posts
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re: Being a musician vs being a "guitar player"
quote:

When do you baws think someone moves from a "player" to a "musician"?
when it becomes your passion and you have no other choice because without it life is empty.

..some are born with it, others may use Maybelline.
This post was edited on 2/18 at 12:28 pm


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TheCurmudgeon
LSU Fan
Not where I want to be
Member since Aug 2014
1407 posts

re: Being a musician vs being a "guitar player"
quote:


What does it matter anyway, what somebody calls you? Just do what you do


It's more the nature of the discussion we were having.

Everyone agrees one guy in particular is a musician, he can pick up and start playing in a song he's never heard before, improvise over it, even improve on it. A couple of the guys wear "guitar player" proudly, they know only a few chords, we tell them the progression they mostly follow by watching someone's fret hand for changes.

The rest of us are in the middle. I kinda like FretShack's description (FYI I was wearing your shop T-shirt last night!)


auggie
Auburn Fan
Opelika, Alabama
Member since Aug 2013
19260 posts
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re: Being a musician vs being a "guitar player"
quote:

It's more the nature of the discussion we were having. Everyone agrees one guy in particular is a musician, he can pick up and start playing in a song he's never heard before, improvise over it, even improve on it. A couple of the guys wear "guitar player" proudly, they know only a few chords, we tell them the progression they mostly follow by watching someone's fret hand for changes. The rest of us are in the middle. I kinda like FretShack's description

I've always just tried to stay away from labels. I'm a pretty decent guitar player/studier, and can make do on some other instruments. I like writing songs and I keep working at it. I don't call myself a songwriter, because I haven't had a hit yet. I don't call myself a guitar player, because I think that would feel like pressure to make every song with super great guitar, when it's not really needed. Most songs just need a simple groove, and it's really easy to overdo it.

I've been working on a particular song for a couple of weeks, I've been trying to come up with a creepy sounding riff that would work, repeating through it, and just couldn't find it. Finally last night, I found it by accident, just 5 notes, and I've spent about 8 hours trying to get it all worked in.


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re: Being a musician vs being a "guitar player"
i would add the ability to perform in front of a crowd as a criteria to move from "guitar player" to "musician." It introduces a whole new series of challenges, both musically and personally. and i don't mean a big crowd. Even being able to perform in front of a dozen or so people changes things.


auggie
Auburn Fan
Opelika, Alabama
Member since Aug 2013
19260 posts
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re: Being a musician vs being a "guitar player"
quote:

i would add the ability to perform in front of a crowd as a criteria to move from "guitar player" to "musician." It introduces a whole new series of challenges, both musically and personally. and i don't mean a big crowd. Even being able to perform in front of a dozen or so people changes things.

That leads to another label "performer". There are lots of great studio musicians that don't really care for performing.


Tigerfan016
LSU Fan
Member since May 2014
158 posts

re: Being a musician vs being a "guitar player"
A musician is someone who sees and performs music as a means of communication- whether it be an idea, emotion, story, etc.

An instrumentalist is someone who plays an instrument.

Unfortunately, most of the music industry is full of instrumentalists or musicians who aren’t good at their instruments. Skill and communication allow music to be more impactful and meaningful


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US Space Force Fan
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Member since Aug 2005
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re: Being a musician vs being a "guitar player"
quote:

There are lots of great studio musicians that don't really care for performing.
the ability to perform in a studio while recording would fall under that same thing i was trying to describe. Essentially, the ability to play under pressure.


auggie
Auburn Fan
Opelika, Alabama
Member since Aug 2013
19260 posts
 Online 

re: Being a musician vs being a "guitar player"
quote:

Unfortunately, most of the music industry is full of instrumentalists or musicians who aren’t good at their instruments.

I think the big part of the industry is just trying to put out the music that will sell to folks with short attention spans. There are plenty of great musicians that can make unbelievable music, but there aren't enough people who can appreciate it. Mostly, the public wants more cowbell.


auggie
Auburn Fan
Opelika, Alabama
Member since Aug 2013
19260 posts
 Online 

re: Being a musician vs being a "guitar player"
quote:

the ability to perform in a studio while recording would fall under that same thing i was trying to describe. Essentially, the ability to play under pressure.

I guess that's a matter of perspective. To me, the studio is the lowest pressure playing that there is, because it's so easy to fix mistakes. Recording at home by myself, and doing everything myself, that's pressure to me, because I've got too much going on that I'm having to think about. At the studio, all I have to do is play with the click track.


wareaglepete
Auburn Fan
Just east of Lyra
Member since Dec 2012
4950 posts
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re: Being a musician vs being a "guitar player"
quote:

the public wants more cowbell.



There is an actual definition for musician (posted it in above post) but everyone wants to make up their own to suit what they think it should be. Just labels. Egos are never in short supply in the music world.

Call me whatever, I don't give a damn. I am still getting up there and playing and having a blast either way.


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kingbob
LSU Fan
Sorrento, LA
Member since Nov 2010
57243 posts

re: Being a musician vs being a "guitar player"
an instrumentalist is someone who can play an instrument, a guitar player being a subset of instrumentalist who can specifically play a guitar.

A performer is someone who is skilled at audience manipulation and attention retention in order to put on an engaging and entertaining repertoire for an audience.

A musician is someone who is capable of using a musical instrument to make something musical. What is music? That's mostly up to the listener and the maker, but it is an auditory expression of creativity for the sake of being creative, not merely a task performed for a utilitarian function.

There are two kinds of musicians: interpretive musicians, who are capable of taking the compositions of others and repeating them or expounding on them, and creative musicians who have the ability and aptitude to compose entirely new works of music.

Creative musicians are usually considered "artists". Among creative musicians, there are two forms: composers and improvisers, i.e. those who primarily create new works of music via a plan and much time and preparation before they perform and those who literally make up the music they are playing in the moment, often using frameworks and forms as a guideline or jumping off point.

Improvisational musicians are often known as "noodlers" or "soloists", since the most common form of improvised music in popular culture is the jazz or rock music solo, where one of the players (or a series of players taking turns) gets to highlight their own skills by taking sole responsibility for the melody of the song and improvising an impressive and entertaining bit of music on the fly to fit within the allotted space.

Those soloists capable of noodling on more than one instrument are usually considered to be virtuosos. They can sound awesome playing virtually anything.

There's also differences among different kinds of recording musicians and what not, but that's a discussion for a different day, imo.


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kingbob
LSU Fan
Sorrento, LA
Member since Nov 2010
57243 posts

re: Being a musician vs being a "guitar player"
quote:

I guess that's a matter of perspective. To me, the studio is the lowest pressure playing that there is, because it's so easy to fix mistakes.


This. Plus, there's so many ways to get around your own limitations in the studio. There's so many tricks to stitch together takes and make something utterly unrepeatable live, that the studio is basically musical fantasy land. You can pretty much make anything sound like anything, and are limited only by the skill and creativity of your sound engineer. A good engineer with a kemper and a synth paired with an even remotely competent guitar player can make just about anything.


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SEClint
New Orleans Saints Fan
New Orleans, LA/Portland, OR
Member since Nov 2006
38759 posts
 Online 

re: Being a musician vs being a "guitar player"
quote:

the ability to perform in a studio while recording would fall under that same thing i was trying to describe. Essentially, the ability to play under pressure.
I feel less pressure in a studio.

By the time I'm there, I've got all the parts down. Probably at the best ill ever have thrm tbh. I control it in the studio too, live there are many different factors..human factors, acoustics, fatigue etc.


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