It certainly wasn't my intention to send the topic "South". After all, the initial topic was the talent of the first guitar player posted; then some others suggested by members.

I'll certainly agree that sitting on a stool, playing "House of the Rising Sun" on a 12 string with a notebook on a stand is easier than playing an arranger, but that's only exploring the surface of playing the guitar.

Unfortunately, that's where most performers stop learning...simple open chords with capos. That's why I hate and refuse to play Buffet music (UGH!).

I'm talking musicianship like the abilities of Tuck Andress, Tommy Emmanuel, George Benson, Rory and others....FAR, FAR more complex than either slapping at simple chords on guitar to accompany vocals or playing any arranger, the way most players do.

We're talking the kind of guitar where the player is covering lead lines, bass lines, chords AND playing innovative, "off the cuff" variations, inversions, etc.!

In my mind, that kind of playing is far more complex. I've been attempting to do that for over 54 years-since my first job playing Less Paul tunes at an Officers Club at Ladd AFB in Fairbanks, Alaska.

But, guys, this isn't some kind of slam on arrangers or those who play them. It's my opinion, expression of my beliefs and preferences.

I wish I had the ability to entertain on an arranger or any other instrument. I don't.
What I can do is earn top money in my market and work 4 plus jobs a week for the past 54 years...still going strong...with 9 total week off in that time. And the people who book me wouldn't consider a flat-top player with a capo and a book full of three chord tunes, or most arranger players.

Chet Atkins, on a TV interview in the 70's said, "I played one of these things (guitar) for over 10 years before I realized that I didn't even know how to tune it properly (he was talking about setting intonation)". "But by that time, I was too rich to give a damn (big, silly grin)".

He, of course, was making fun of all the "pickers and grinners" who never even got to the point of understanding the complexity and possibilities of the instrument.

And, what you appreciate depends on where you're coming from. I certainly was not bored listening to any of the guitar players posted, but I'm listening for superior musicianship over just appreciating entertainment. The one player who does both in my mind is Tommy Emmanuel. Others, like Tuck Andress don't even try to entertain. And, he's fantastic!

This all speaks to the inherent differences between individuals here. Some will always believe that entertainment by any means is the primary talent. Others, me included, value musicianship over entertainment abilities. The two sides will always differ.


I have an arranger job tonite, so I'm certainly aware of the possibilities for work and the creation of good music.

It's just that, to me, there is a world of great options; many of which I prefer over playing an arranger...again, FOR ME!

Great musicianship...particularly in the jazz genre, is like fine acquired taste. A typical statement from those who haven't taken the time to understand what they're hearing is "that's boring".

But, if you don't acquire the taste, you just won't get it! And that's a real shame.

Enjoy whatever and however you play, everyone.


And, Donny, there's no reason to get defensive. There was no slam intended, and while there are things which we will NEVER agree on, I value our association and the connection we have in a field we both love.

Gary, you have always said that your strengths were in singing/entertaining, not musicianship...nothing wrong with that. My reference to the difference between "pickers and grinners" and guitar instrumentalists was in no way a critique of your abilities on guitar, but to point out the options and differences in degrees of difficulty. Certainly no slam intended!


[This message has been edited by captain Russ (edited 08-27-2010).]