Rick Beato, Tosin Abasi, Misha Mansoor, Tim Henson Conversation Summary Notes

This post contains my summary notes from “The Modern Guitar Discussion” with Rick Beato, Tosin Abasi (Animals As Leaders), Misha Mansoor (Periphery) and Tim Henson (Polyphia).

Rick Beato’s YouTube channel is one of my current favorites. I featured it in my 5 best online guitar lessons channels post. On his channel you can find Rick having conversations with fantastic guitar players who share insights about playing, composing, gear and recording.

This conversation focused mostly on creativity and originality for guitar players.

Summary Notes

Technology (16:00)

Technology has enabled anyone to be a musician. You don’t have to know how to play an instrument – you can play it on your computer. You don’t need to know music theory. You can just program it, and if it resonates with others, great!

Do you know what you’re doing? (18:45)

You don’t need to understand the theory behind what you’re playing. Channel your instinct and taste, then create! Balance this by attempting to understand the theory behind what you’re playing. Or collaborate with someone that can analyze and explain it. This empowers you to expand on your ideas. Plus others can then take elements of what you do and incorporate it into their music.

Music school (19:30)

“Music school is where originality goes to die.”

The idea here is that music school cannot teach you originality. Music school can teach you music theory, but you’ll have to channel your creativity to develop your own style.

Periphery songwriting formula (21:09)

The formula is a simple flow chart. Does it sound good? Yes, keep going. No? Can you fix it? Yes, then fix it! No, move on to the next idea.

Happy Accident (22:30)

If you know music theory, don’t rely on it to be creative. Enjoy having the freedom to explore the guitar and channel your creativity. Look for those “happy accident” moments and then apply theory to expand the idea.

Originality was the byproduct (25:30)

Don’t chase originality. Chase something more abstract, something that feels a certain right way. Originality will be a byproduct of that.

Like playing video games (26:45)

You don’t have to consider yourself great to be a guitarist or a composer. You just need to enjoy doing it. It’s like video games, you don’t have to be good at them to enjoy playing them.

Make the thing you want to exist (28:30)

When writing music, create that which you want to hear.

YouTube Era (33:00)

YouTube has unlocked a new era where the bar for guitar playing technique is rising at exponential rates.

YouTube is producing guitarists who are great at playing guitar exactly as it is taught in the video. Their technique is flawless. Yes this may lead to a drop in originality. In the pre-YouTube era guitarists would rely on their ear to learn guitar parts. They didn’t have a video tutorial on how to play a part. So with the cost of not playing the part exactly as the original guitarist, they’d have the benefit of developing their own style by playing the part how they uniquely heard and interpreted it.

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