The sheer spectral range of guitar styles is astounding.
Think of the multitudinous volume of expression which exists in the guitar’s rich history. Even the guitar’s reach into early human culture makes us feel the pull of the importance of this box with strings on it.
Every style has its developmental space & audience. Every type of guitar has its followers. This is as it should be (as it is). Each has something to give, add, & blend.
There are also many ways to approach & use the guitar. The guitar has many functions & cultural meanings. As all should be honored, each shall not limit the other (consider alterity). Each approach should contain its defining values & activities, yet not be constructed as one large thing called guitar.
There isn’t a big guitar out there somewhere waiting to be discovered. Physics did postulate string (M-theory) as the basis of physical reality. This certainly bodes well for this craft we call guitar.
Some approaches seem to have more depth to different audiences. Who’s view determines this value spectrum? To each, is the task of creating meaning out of an activity which carries with it, a value & depth scale.
What do we value as most important for playing guitar?
Performing, recording, expression, theoretical endeavors, sharing, jamming, & social functions are some options.
Composing, improvising, songwriting, writing, philosophizing, gear, techniques, & ego are others. We have choices. This is important.
Our cultures create the space for our choices to arise. The social context of our upbringing is a container of shared values which define a landing point for development. Cultures evolve loaded with meanings which can seem absolutely right at first, yet can use some creative sculpting or outright deprogramming to advance their emerging potentials. Other valuable activities are deeply cross-cultural (e.g. the groove).
Over time, meanings may shift. As new cultures are created, new social structures crystallize, & new ideas can penetrate the mystery a layer deeper. New styles emerge, endlessly.
Determining what guitar does for us, & how we use it, gives meaning to our playing life as well providing inspiration & insight for others.
Discerning between what works for us & what has worked for others can be tedious & enlightening. Mirroring time-honored devices keeps our history threaded. Building a narrative based on our exploratory musical actions enables self & culture to deepen. New layers emerge, endlessly.