Why do we love what we love?
Why do I love playing the guitar? Why do we enjoy anything? Generally, it’s the way it makes us feel – physically, mentally, emotionally. My wife has a heart of gold. Our children are absolutely amazing. Summer is so enjoyable to me because in my mind it has always represented freedom (mostly from school and homework). Springtime is great – you know why – because it leads to summer. Muscle cars appeal to me because of the lines, the sound, the feel and the power. And I love broccoli because … wait, I hate broccoli!
Why I love playing guitar.
I get joy just being able to kick back with a guitar in my hands. I find it relaxing, energizing, and entertaining. And after a long day playing for just a few minutes even takes away some stress.
I’ll be the first to tell you that I appreciate guitaring and music way more than I can play it. But the cool thing is that really doesn’t bother me. And if you are a beginning guitarist try not to let your current ability or even lack of ability frustrate you. Enjoy what you can do and look for ways to improve.
I also get a thrill out of listening to accomplished guitarists do their thing. I’m sure you feel the same way, otherwise, why would you be reading this? I’ve seen YouTube videos of child prodigies playing songs they simply should NOT be able to play. That’s awesome. I’ve got friends who blow me away just warming up when they think no one is listening – that is so great. I’ve been to concerts and found my eyes and ears locked on the hands and fingers of the guitarist and the music coming from the amps. It’s the feeling I get when I hear great music – and great guitaring.
Take a listen to the performances I’ve listed below, they come from all types of music. Now, this is not a list of the greatest guitar solos ever. It’s not necessarily a list of my favorite artists. It’s a sampling of performances that have caught my attention and impressed on me the value of the guitar and what learning, playing and working at the craft can lead to. In essence, this is a shortlist (in no particular order) of why I love playing guitar.
Nobody Knows You When You’re Down and Out
I love this performance because I can just imagine Scrapper Blackwell sitting on the front porch jamming away by himself. A cheap guitar, no pedals, no amp, and probably old worn-out strings. But he’s doing his thing and it sounds great. Give it a listen.
No words needed … listen to how the notes speak for themself.
In Your Atmosphere
I think what struck me most is that just listening I expected multiple guitarists. Watching the concert video reveals 2 hands, six strings, 0 overdubs. That’s nuts.
This Is the Time
Wait, what? Yeah, I know this is Billy Joel and he plays the piano. I include this song because the guitar fills left a lasting impression on me a long time ago. Simply put, the guitar makes a great song even better.
PS – Don’t tell anyone but Billy plays guitar too … just not in this song.
Midnight in Harlem
This performance gave me a whole new appreciation for slide guitar.
While My Guitar Gently Weeps
This outstanding rock hall tribute/induction performance includes at t least 5 well-respected guitarists playing a song about a guitar – cool. But it’s not until the solo at the end that the guitar gently weeps. Generally, I’d say just listen, don’t look. But in this case well … you really have to listen and watch. Oh, and after the performance maybe you can check the rafters – that honey-colored Tele has got to be up there somewhere!!!!
This is why I love playing the guitar. I hope you got a sense of the diversity of sounds, and emotions – the energy and sentiment these guitar performances bring.
And I know, I know, I know, I KNOW … there are many, many, many more that could and should be listed here. And I know, I know, I know, I KNOW I left your favorite off the list – hey I’ve left several of my favorites off the list. No worries, this list will change over time in order to showcase the different styles, melodies, sounds, and emotions that can come from the guitar.
In fact, why not let me know what caught your ear – what makes you love playing the guitar. Leave a comment and maybe we can add it to the list.
But bottom line, learning, and playing guitar is not always easy. There may be times when you feel like you are making no progress at all. Don’t let it discourage you. When you feel unmotivated, overwhelmed, or think of quitting do yourself a favor. Stop and think for a few minutes about why you wanted to start playing in the first place. Put on your headphones and listen to the song that makes you feel happy, excited, and good all over. Then go pick up your guitar.
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