JUMPING DARKNESS PARADE: EYAL WONDERS WHAT MAKES A GUITARIST “GREAT”
A few weeks ago, our friend, Metal Mark, posted a guitar-oriented webisode where our co-producer, Mark Lewis, said that he thought our lead guitarist, Emil Werstler, was hands down the best guitar player in metal.
His comment caused some pretty interesting dialogue. A bunch of great guitarists’ names were thrown around, as well as the customary amount of entertaining insults. Tobin Abasi, Ron Jarzombek, Ryan Night, Loomis, you suck, die, emotionless piece of shit, etc. You name it. People were getting all riled up.
And that’s okay. Music is something very personal to each and every one of us, and for some reason we take this stuff seriously. Let me say, for the record, I don’t think there is any such thing as a “best guitar player” in anything. Let me repeat, this time in bold, just so we’re clear: I don’t think there is any such thing as a “best guitar player” in anything. I think there’s only the right part played the right way at the right time, or it’s the wrong part. Some guys have a higher ratio of pulling the off “right part” than others, and they seem to do it with no effort. Some pull off “the right part” in ways that are completely non-traditional. Some guys will work their whole lives, and no matter what their girlfriends and wives tell them, they will never pull it off.
The “it” I described above is, of course, purely subjective, but the closer an artist, musician, or creative person comes to fulfilling the right criteria for something to be considered “the right part” for the most amount of people the most amount of times, than the closer they are to being considered “great.” Now, “great” is another one of those words you really can’t define. I mean, try to define it. The dictionary has about fourteen or fifteen similar but different definitions.
So what exactly do people mean when they say a “great” guitarist? Do they mean his sweeping? His song writing? How he blends phrasing with technique? His sight reading? How he moon walks and back flips while soloing? What the fuck are you guys all talking about? Where exactly is the gauge that makes sure that everybody knows what everybody else means? I mean, doesn’t this all seem Tower of Babelish?
And when you say “best”… well, Mark Lewis, I’m not gonna argue with your opinion at all, because you explained that it was just your opinion. But those of you who don’t realize that this is all opinion, or who think that there is some grand review panel in the sky, or a scale by which to judge greatness and the “best” by… Can I please see it? I’d love to know how it works. Sounds fascinating. I’m not being sarcastic.
Since what I’m expecting is probably short of actually knowing what you’re talking about beyond terms relative to you, I’ll say that it’s nice to know we have a safe place online to vent our feelings and opinions. I would love to read your personal criteria, though.
Daath’s new, self-titled album comes out October 25 on Century Media. While you’re waiting patiently, why not visit Daath on MySpace?