Ruttin' on the pizz

Music is said to make us happy, and indeed this is often the case as it has been for millennia. Yet evidence is everywhere that music (and inseparable-from-music extramusical activity) seems to reinforce divisions and prejudices, hostilities and biases. (There's no accounting for taste; opinions/preferences/nostalgias are inevitable. My concern is with actions, whether the anonymous online hater flinging %@$^!, or the self-limiting "I don't listen to that because it's beneath me" attitude a.k.a. that/you/those people sucks/suck/suck, triple S not worthy.)

What is sucking or its opposite-and-analogue blowing as regards guitar playing? Digital manipulations failing to honor imaginary standards of speed/technique/precision/flair/attitude (hard to quantify)/repeatability (and most important, copyability). Or perhaps the timbral realm sullied by insufficiently recognizable genre allegiance, the standard of which is country=Tele; folk=Martin; classical=nylon, jazz=expensive (Purity of Tone), metal=pointy, in sound and shape. The rhythm veers too close to ethnicity for insularity to flourish. The harmony isn't ultradiatonic, and hurts calcified expectations. The melody follows internal logic, rejecting the thrust of historical implication.

Plus you have to look a certain way (and be a certain size/color/build/gender) to do certain things with the guitar. Duh. Hair can be worn in one of two styles per style. Sartorial choices aren't really. Branding, lifestyle development, and global deals await, so long as you go long, the long con of running in place.

But what matter. Change is afoot, and cultural/social/political/technological change is both catalyst and conductor. Soon few will care about the guitar. The guitar and all the fights about it and what can/should be done with it, what is allowed, will be over. Thank goodness. Perhaps then, labels lost, we can get back to plunking about on these fascinating stringed instruments that do offer (in the company of friends and in the spirit of exploration) happiness. Oh yeah, those, what are they called again? Best not to answer.

We will still have music in a relatively guitarless future. Hopefully some of this musical activity will transcend tribal skirmish, letting us hear a reminder- however excellent, however amateur, however underbaked or just right, however personal/private/unfamiliar/pretty/ugly/sad/joyous- hopefully a reminder breaks through that we are all just trying to figure out how to move within our finite days. I'd like the stories we tell to broaden in scope, and accommodate new developments as they arise. Music is already flexible enough for this; we just need to relax (everything) to hear it.