Has guitar playing progressed since the late 70's

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  • Check out "the empyrean" by John Frusciante. 
    MYMUSIC

    I wanna be a door
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  • soma1975soma1975 Frets: 2565
    Edge was definitely an evolution. Rhythmic and poppy without a clear and obvious blues influence. 

    Tom Morello did something nobody has done before or since. 

    Not really my bag but Guthrie Govan is worlds away from anything in the late 70s. 
    My Trade Feedback Thread is here

    Been uploading old tracks I recorded ages ago and hopefully some new noodles here.
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  • Matt_McGMatt_McG Frets: 224
    I think the overall standard in many genres is higher than it has ever been. 

    Not just in rock, but great RnB and Gospel players — some of which has crossed over into mainstream pop via D’Angelo and others — great jazz, country and Americana players.

    Modern classical players are light years away from the 70s. They play the most difficult stuff with brilliant time feel, and sense of melody. In the way that great string players and pianists always could, but classical guitar players really largely couldn’t.

    People fusing jazz and rock are actually good at it, which, looking back, wasn’t alway the case.

    EVH is a bit of a strange one, as he was basically taking Holdsworth and 60s blues rock and bringing them together (brilliantly). But he did it with amazing time feel and a great pop sensibility. Van Halen became huge because the songs are insanely catchy. 

    i’m not sure that will happen again. Music has moved on.

    As an aside. for tapping, there are videos of Roy Smeck doing it in the 1920s/30s.
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  • timmypixtimmypix Frets: 419
    Amazed this thread's got this far without mentioning Tosin Abasi. Yes, Meshuggah and Sikth were the flag bearers for the modern djenty metal sound, but Tosin took that, then added classical, jazz and bass influences (the Victor Wooten double thumb) to come up with something that I don't think anyone was doing before or is doing better. In terms of pushing the envelope, at least in my little bubble of awareness, I think it goes Hendrix > Van Halen > Steve Vai > Tosin Abasi.
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  • I saw U2 last night. Starting with late 70’s early 80’s stuff that was already a step forward from late 70’s prog and classic rock, through all of the Joshua Tree and onto an encore of effect-laden madness. One guy did all that over a career, so any suggestion that guitar playing “hasn’t moved on” is more down to the listening habits of the person making that statement, imo
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  • FreebirdFreebird Frets: 3439
    edited December 2019
    The Pixies shook up guitar music in the 80s, or at least according to David Bowie they did.


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  • FreebirdFreebird Frets: 3439
    In fact I would say Chuck Berry, Hank Marvin, Eric Clapton, Jimi Hendrix and EVH are the only guitarists that really changed the game for everyone and influenced just about everyone with a guitar. 
    Yes Page, Beck and countless others were probably better but none had the impact. 
    Don't forget Eddie Cochran.
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  • ClarkyClarky Frets: 3236
    the invention of the Floyd Rose and other subsequent double locking systems spawned a whole bunch of new expressive techniques and tricks that started in the 80's which continued well into the 90's
    play every note as if it were your first
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  • ClarkyClarky Frets: 3236
    IIRC Dave Edmunds said electric guitar playing stopped evolving with the invention of the fuzz pedal. 

    Van Halen was pretty much the end of a period when clever electric guitar playing was a big wow for anyone other than guitarists. The band weren't even really very big in the UK at the time. 

    Plenty of guitarists since who have done technical things that weren't happening in 1978 (Malmsteen, Vai, etc) in rock plus clever things in other genres (Frank Gambale rewriting the sweep picking rule book for starters). Van Halen was, arguably, the end game for guitarists in the blues rock tradition (he was heavily influenced by Clapton). But we had guitarists (like John McGeoch)trying to reinvent the electric guitar outside of that tradition. It may not have been technically complex but it was moving the language on. Johnny Marr, lots of Afro beat stuff, loads of others in the 80s and 90s and beyond bringing new flavours into guitar playing. The technicalities of playing were increasingly codifed so you arrive at guitarists like Guthrie Govan who can play anything. The problem is more that the songs haven't caught up - there isn't that much use for that kind of playing in anything other than quite specialist listening.
    I've watched a bunch of Paul Gilbert videos recently. He was a post Malmsteen shredder and a very versatile and technical guitarist. But his thing now is pretty much saying that stuff doesn't ROCK: it doesn't reach many people on a gut level. He's become more interested in blues and melody and extracting dynamics and feel out of the guitar. Maybe it's more that guitar still technically progressed but Van Halen was as high a level of progression that most people can find palatable. 

    I remember that time around through the 80's and early 90's when the whole landscape of rock / metal guitar went through a huge revolution.. like you mention; Malmsteen, Vai, Gilbert, Gambale and add to that Satriani and Petrucci.. which would be followed by guys like Guthrie, Ron Thal, Paul Bieiatowicz and Tosin Abasi that went to whole new extremes..
    I don't think it was so much about new techniques being invented..
    it was about finding completely new ways of using them
    play every note as if it were your first
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  • RockerRocker Frets: 3657
    The short answer to the question posed by the OP is no. And it hasn’t changed for piano players, drummers, uileann pipes players, brass players etc either. 

    The reason is the design/build of the guitar itself. I am speaking of electric guitars but similar comments apply to bass and acoustic instruments. Essentially the electric guitar was designed to be a louder instrument than the banjo in big bands of the 1940s and 1950s. It did the job very well and was found to be good for lead breaks too. Along with drums, bass and a vocalist, it invented rock and roll as we know it. A guitar built in that era will work perfectly for today’s music and not sound or look wrong or strange. 

    Every known method of making strings vibrate has been used with varying degrees of success. The mention of names like EVH, Alan Holdsworth, Tom Morello etc, guys who made interesting music on guitar, did not progress the instrument, rather found another way to get the strings moving. The suggestion that they moved the guitar ‘on’ is not correct IMHO. It smarts of the fanaticism and obsession for details that the train spotters of the past displayed. They noted the most obscure and irrelevant details about the locomotives they saw. Details like had the engine got it’s ‘own’ tender and such like. All this time the traveling public merely wanted to get from A to B as quickly as possible. 

    The guitar is limited due to it’s construction and design. But it is still a very worthwhile instrument to play. Like the piano and other instruments alluded to earlier in this contribution, the designers got the correct answer to the design brief. Until something different is introduced to the marketplace, play on.....

    A worrying trend is to use a computer and samples to create backing tracks for songs. This could finish the guitar and many other instruments as we know it. This would be a great pity so do all you can to keep it real. Play. And then play some more. 
    Insanity: doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results. [Albert Einstein]

    Nil Satis Nisi Optimum

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  • sweepysweepy Frets: 2965
    The 70’s gave us Allan Holdsworth, John McLaughlin, Al DiMeola, Eddie Van Halen, so no it hasn’t really progressed but has had a process of refinement 
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  • ClarkyClarky Frets: 3236
    sweepy said:
    The 70’s gave us Allan Holdsworth, John McLaughlin, Al DiMeola, Eddie Van Halen, so no it hasn’t really progressed but has had a process of refinement 
    I'd say that the things the fellas you list there have been built on..
    more a sort of adding to / evolution / taken to greater extremes than refinement

    for example.. in Eddie's day folks were tapping arpeggios or tap a note onto a bend mostly
    these days folks tap licks, harmonise lines and tap within riffs
    play every note as if it were your first
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  • jpfampsjpfamps Frets: 2042
    Rocker said:
    The short answer to the question posed by the OP is no. And it hasn’t changed for piano players, drummers, uileann pipes players, brass players etc either. 


    Actually classical piano technique has improved massively since the advent of recording, as players were shocked actually how bad their playing was!

    This is true of many classical instruments such as violin.
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