“Multi-Instrumentalists”?

Is this what you want to be?

Q – What band  did John Bonham play guitar for?

A – He didn’t play guitar. He focused on the drums and is widely acknowledged as one of the greatest rock drummers in history.

Q- What band did Miles Davis sing for?

A- He didn’t sing. He focused on the trumpet, and is considered to one of the most influential musicians of the 20th century.

It seems like I’m always running into “multi-instrumentalists” these days. Drummers that also play guitar, guitar players that also write, singers that want to play piano and so on. But what I’m not running  into very often are  the kind of musicians that make me say ‘Damn, this guy is a really solid (insert ONE ) ______ guitar player/ drummer/ songwriter)’

So I say: Friends , Romans, Countrymen, lend me your ears and resist the urge to ‘dabble’ as a musician. Instead find an instrument of focus and really examine the shit out of it. Take your instrument and really get to know it!

At band practice when you have a break, don’t jump on the drums – instead keep your guitar on and run over that one part that keeps screwing you up.

Learn to play to a click, and then, for Christ’s sake, learn to play in time without a click!

No matter where we are at with our skills we all have areas that need developing. So let’s get to work! Be the guy that people talk about. Be the guy that people are always trying to recruit for their bands.

Q- What band did Dave Grohl play drums for?

A- Nirvana, but come on, let’s be honest, you’re no Dave Grohl. : )

1 Comment

  1. Tony Hubert says: | Reply

    I appreciate this article very much. Better to be a master or at least in earnest on one instrument than mediocre on several different instruments. Saying that you’re a “multi-instrumentalist” may sound good at parties but merely increases the ocean of weak musicians out there, and adds to the boredom when having to listen to them.

    Sometimes we hear somebody truly remarkable on an instrument and think,”Well I could never be that good, so I guess I’ll stick to my meat and potatoes style of soloing.” Instead of retreating back into the old songbook, be INSPIRED by stellar musicianship to not necessarily copy anyone, but to find your own voice and stretch the boundaries of your own musicianship.

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