Yesterday, someone was sending me musical “stumpers” that she likes to challenge my knowledge with. You know, like “who’s playing”, or “name this band and the guitarist”, things like that. Usually I do pretty well, and get about 70% of the trivia questions and stumpers correct, but this time there was a contemporary player who stumped me! The one thing I did notice was that he sounded an awful lot like me, and had similar ideas that were almost “too close” for comfort!
Well, sure enough, it turned out to be someone I had seen as a student for 2 of the last 3 years, who was already a fairly accomplished guitarist, but whose eyes I had really opened in terms of my bending, and my phrasing. This was immediately apparent as I started to listen to him, and o course, once I knew that he was my student it made perfect sense! I do admit that I hear my licks everywhere; on records, at gigs, you name it, but I have never really been afraid of creating any Arlen “clones” out there. But this did “jar” me a bit, since it was so close to home, and my friend was happily listening to him without knowing I had any influence on this player. I guess it’s bound to happen, since I’ve been “passing it on” for years now in a totally unselfish manner. And hey, one has to make a living, right?
I always simply hope that those of you who do get certain ideas and licks from me, at least acknowledge where these things came from, and who inspired you, too. We must always pay tribute to those who came before us, and who led the way artistically. This knowledge of your own art form’s unique history is so critically important, and it will only serve to make you a better player if you do delve into the past that has led up to the very notes you hold in your hand today! I have many students out there, past present and future, and I know that they will in turn, pass on some of this unique information, that most guitar players in the past held closely to the vest, and never divulged! I mean, a lot of what I teach are things that I only do, yet I have no hesitancy to pass it on to you and to others. I guess in the end, I was really glad to hear what my student had done with what I had given him, and I was surely glad to see that he had taken my playing and my lessons so “to heart!”