No Talent Required

Ok, this kind of made me mad.  Really.

EZ Chord I was browsing through the SkyMall Catalogue on my flights this week.  It’s fun to see what kind of products have hit the market since the last time I was on an airplane.  There are some really, really silly things in the SkyMall catalogue, but this one really had me scratching my head. 

Now, if you’ve read much of this blog, you know I’ve been a guitarist since I was about 6.  I don’t play as often as I should, but I’ve played a long time.

Learning a few basic chords is not difficult.  There’s a reason they call it three-chord rock and roll.  This little gadget turns a regular guitar into Guitar Hero, and I think that’s just wrong.

I think even more disturbing than the actual device is the marketing.

Play Your Favorite Guitar Songs in ONE Hour With Just ONE Finger.

Patented E-Z Chord device attaches to any guitar in just 5 minutes and gives you instant success. E-Z Chord replaces difficult finger moves with just four numbered buttons. All you have to do to change chords is push buttons at the right time. Learn to play every type of music: Country, blues, gospel, bluegrass, rock, rockabilly and more.

Pullleeeezzzeeee.

Paint by number does not make you an artist, and guitar by number does not make you a musician.  If you really want to impress the girls by playing the guitar, then learn to play it.  I think they’ll just laugh when you pull out your axe and it has a pushbutton device attached.  I’m just sayin’.  It’s probably not going to have the desired effect … unless you can REALLY sing. 

There’s something to be said about the instant gratification culture that prompts people to buy things like this.  At least I assume they’re buying them or they wouldn’t be in the catalogue.  Not everyone is intended to be an artist, not everyone is intended to be a writer, and not everyone is intended to be a musician.  Assuming you have some talent, then take the time to practice, work on technique, learn to play.  Don’t just buy a gadget and push a button.  Don’t be afraid to fail, and don’t be afraid to admit that maybe, the guitar isn’t for you.

We’re all good at different things, though I don’t know that I’ve found what I’m really good at yet.  I play at the guitar, but I play at it well enough to get up on stage and hold my own with a 3 chord band.  I play at cooking, but I don’t think I’m “The Next Food Network Star”.  I play at being on television, but they pay me to do it.  I played at improv, but there were plenty of other players better than me.  I can’t draw worth a crap.  I’d love to write a novel, but wanting it doesn’t make me a novelist.  I’d have to sit down and map out a book and try to string the sentences together.  But would there be any sense of accomplishment if there were some gadget or computer program that promised “You can write the great American Novel in just 60 minutes with no previous writing experience”?  Not for a second.  It’s like asking for hints when you’re playing computer Scrabble.  If the computer gives you the words, you’ve just let the computer play its self.  No sense of accomplishment at all.

I’ve tried playing “Guitar Hero”.  It’s difficult, maybe more so because I can actually play.  But actually learning a new song makes me feel like I’ve accomplished something.  I’ll be relying on my fingers for those “difficult finger moves”.  You can have your 4 numbered buttons,

–scene–

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2 Comments

Filed under Art, Guitar, Music, Rant

2 responses to “No Talent Required

  1. David

    The E-Z chord device has me a bit conflicted. I play a few instruments as well and I’m generally not one to encourage the easy-way-out mentality; I believe it’s watered down Pop music to mush. That said, the beauty of expression through music is something that I think everyone should take a shot at and if this device encourages a newbie to pick up a guitar and pluck a few strings, I don’t think it would be long before they pull that gadget off the neck and start expanding their chord library.

    As for Guitar Hero, I find the game to be more of a percussive experience than anything else. I’ll admit I’m a guitar Hero/ Rock Band junkie though.

  2. tcpatton

    I’ve enjoyed when I’ve played “Guitar Hero” as well, and I agree, it’s a great for getting out the day’s frustrations. But nowhere near the same as hitting the opening licks of “Sunshine of Your Love” in front of an audience. What a rush!

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