Hip Tip:

Keep your ears open
Publish date:
Updated on

I’ve spent as much time learning from other instruments as I have from the guitar. There’s as much Charlie Parker, Glenn Gould, and Bob Wills in my playing as there is Kottke or Hendrix. By studying other instruments, you realize the guitar’s limitations—but you also learn alternatives for overcoming them. Try imitating a violin’s glass-like glissando, a trumpet’s sharp burst, or an opera singer’s vibrato. Copying one note from Miles Davis can be more difficult (if not impossible) than playing an endless stream of fast thirty-second-notes. Figure out how to perform the common octave trills of a pianist, the low bass rumbles of a tuba, or the breathy bellows of an accordion. For every guitarist there are hundreds of other instrumentalists to learn from. Don’t close your ears when that corny sounding clarinet comes on the radio—it might just be Ivo Papasov! —Shawn Persinger,

Shawn Persinger