Carl Verheyen’s Cranktone Chronicles

December 13, 2012

I have an ego problem, but it’s not what you think. I don’t have any delusions of being the greatest or the fastest or bluesiest. Instead, I aspire to the highest standard of musical artistic expression I’m capable of. So with many years of playing the instrument behind me, I get a little bummed when I hear something on the guitar I can’t do. You might call it “motivation”—I call it “ego.” It’s actually a psychologically healthy state of mind, because what it does is kick me in the ass. For example, if I hear a player using a new chord voicing or a bizarre technique, or play an amazing lick, I invariably run through the following sequence of thoughts:

“Wow! What was that?”

“Damn, that’s cool!”

I should know how to do that!”

“I’m going into my practice room, shutting the door, and I refuse to come out until I can do that perfectly.”

I remember first hearing Lenny Breau‘s cascading harmonics, and instantly realizing that I needed to know that technique. A month later, my thought process went something like this:

“How many years have I been playing? And I still can’t do that?”

My ego pinched me. So I locked myself in a room with a Fender Telecaster and a Princeton Reverb, and I said, “I’m not coming out until I have this wired.”

The more you know, the more you find you don’t know— whether it’s sweep arpeggios, eight-finger tapping, Ted Greenestyle chords that stretch over six frets, a Hendrix solo, or even the chord changes to an Elton John song. Be humble enough to ask questions, while inside, your ego always demands the next level.

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