Posts Tagged ‘Neil Young’

neilyoungIn the latest issue of Guitar World, Neil Young was quoted saying (when it comes to his guitar playing), “I suck. I’ve heard myself!” That made me laugh when I read this, but it also got me thinking. From a purely technical standpoint, I will agree 100% with him. But despite that, I still love the way he plays, and have always loved his sound, and for the very simple reason that his playing is completely honest.

It’s clear to me every time I listen to a Neil Young song that he is clear with how he uses his guitar; and that is to express his musical message. You listen to his solos, and if you’re a technique snob, you’ll most probably say, “Yikes! What is he doing.” But try to put any other guitarist in the lead role, and the solo just wouldn’t work. Bad technique or good, Neil Young’s playing is integral with his music. It’s simply an extension of who he is, and while on the surface you might be lead to believe that his playing is simple, and you’d be right, but place his playing within the context of the whole song, and you realize that what he is doing with his guitar is meant to be simple. It’s meant to fit with the song. It’s not meant to show off his chops or showcase tricks that he can perform. It’s meant to act as a color on his palette as he paints the picture of his song.

From that perspective, I’ve always believed that he was a true genius at guitar. He may not rip it up, but even he says that his guitar playing is secondary to the song and the band. It’s only a part of the presentation. But it’s an integral part of Neil’s music that fits in perfectly with his musical vision.

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