With a Little Help of My Friends

jeff beck, buddy guy, eric clapton, albert collins, b.b. king posing for photo

I have recently contemplated on the matter of assisting each other. Helping each other learn guitar, helping each other cross the street, helping each other’s Blues in all its forms. 

You Didn’t Get There Alone

I do not believe or trust those who claim that no one ever helped them with anything. In a world of society and mandatory interactions with other people or groups, it seems impossible for someone to achieve something without others along the way. That’s why I will call the pile on those who claim they achieved something on their own, and call to share our guitar knowledge with young or old Blues lovers for future preservation and prosperity.

blues guitar friends on stage

If You Are There – Help Others Get There

This is a shout out to those who have already achieved or will in the future achieve great heights in their Guitar careers, to remember yourself at the very beginning. Lost and confused, having nothing but a feel and making those first steps towards the Blues. Asking for guidance and getting a cold shoulder, having to fall a thousand times to learn a thousand ways that do not work. This is for you to remember that you will go on, but your legacy will stay longer if you share it with those who now struggle to learn from you. Make it easier for them, be it via Ubisoft’s Rocksmith or Vai’s webinars. Be it through spending quality time with aspiring Blues guitarists or just leaving an advise to general public. All this will leave your name in history that much longer and keep the Blues alive that much further down the road.

Remember not to mock, the next time a young kid will come up to you with his guitar tuner upside down and his strings wound up so poorly that they won’t stay in tune. Every one from Robert Johnson to Eric Clapton, from Billy Gibbons to Jack White have sat in front of their guitar influencers and asked them at least one “how-do-you” question.

It is not limited to any one instrument or any other industry really… If Buddy Guy or Ric Jaz were to teach me a single lick, do you think I wouldn’t tell each of my friends and meet more friends just to tell them that they did?

I feel like I found my passion in a very right place being the Blues. I feel like everyone I’ve seen, listened to and learned from are one big family more often happy than not. I feel like it should be shared and praised at time when everyone is either planning to compete or holds every single thought to themselves in fear of that said competition.

All of us are doing the same thing of searching and spreading the feel of the Blues. Wouldn’t it have more effect if we all did it together? If Leo Fender, Les Paul and Jim Marshall looked down and smiled at seeing how they brought the world together with music. Music is in everything and human being is drawn to it with great force. You either make music or play it, or dance to it or just listen to it. It is our soul part (like body part but cooler) and if these words will get a single experienced artist to share his wisdom with a single ambitious greenhorn out there, then this day was well spent.

If You Want to Get There – Do it

I will never get tired to say that you should not be afraid to ask and try getting there if you feel your heart pulling you there. Jimi Hendrix, SRV and every one of our favorites did not know how to bend their strings or work the fret board at the very beginning. It took them years of dedicated focus and hard work. That hard work included attempts to learn the tricks of the trade from those who were older, from those who learnt it all from those who were older before then. See where this is going? Don’t be afraid to change the world. If they did, why can’t you? Life is in the way? Well, you only got one according to the majority of beliefs. I’d go with Clapton…

Other Side of the Pick?

Yes, there are those who can get really pissed off at the world, sit down and learn as much as there is to Blues Guitar just to show everyone else that they can. Mind you that the Blues in its fundamental form was created by such. I admire these people, I truly do. If I could get obsessed with it to a point where I would not care about anyone along the way, I would take it. I’d never dare to judge them because the greatest and single most eternal creations of people came from obsessions and perfectionism. There is a special place in my heart for Chuck Berry and those like him but nevertheless, I am not yet among them (nor I am sure it can be gained) and thus my view of success is in unity and spending 30, 40, 50 years together as a band. This is a pinnacle of getting there to me.

many blues guitarists at the xroads stage

What I’m saying is…

…help each other. Help those who show real signs of passion and desire to get there. Help those who somehow may have been less fortunate than you. Have patience for them as someone had patience for you once. Remember how it felt at the very beginning. Remember that feeling which started you on this journey in search of Blues Guitar. You never walked alone, and if you did – you know how bad it felt and you won’t let others feel it at least out of compassion. Friendship, as all other feelings can and will disappoint you at times but when you understand that music and guitar are your friends, you will never look at it the same.

Teach them chords, licks, tell them whether it is better to practice one thing to perfection and move to another or differentiate. Tell them your story and they will tell it for you when you go on.

The feel of this would not be the same without the great photography of Gene Shaw who had immortalized so many of our favorite Blues guitarists in his work.

Make Some Noise