The Difference Between a Rock Guitarist and a Jazz Guitarist

The Difference Between a Rock Guitarist and a Jazz Guitarist

This week on Facebook there are loads of those ‘what I do, what friends think I do, what my parents think I do …’ picture collages going around. Some are funny, some simply try too hard. There are always a bunch of comments which I can summarize to save you time:  “haha … so true”. (you’re welcome)

I caught this one on a guitar-centric site this week, and what was amazing was not so much the image, which is just another mildly amusing stereotype at play, but the discussion. If you look at the core of the image, there are two potential separate messages as well as the combined one.

First, that jazz music is in general more complex than rock. I mean, no duh, right? That isn’t a value judgement, just a statement of basic fact. I have been listening heavily to Emily Remler for a retrospective, and she had more substitutions for an Emaj chord than most rock musicians have in their entire arsenal. Does that make one music ‘better’? Absolutely not! Impact complexity? Absolutely yes!

The second one is that the audience for rock music is much, much larger than for jazz. That is an equally ‘no duh’ statement as far as I am concerned. I am a huge jazz fan, but aside from summer festivals with a bunch of groups, audiences that break into the ‘thousands’ are reserved for names like Metheny or Corea or a few others.

The hybrid message is what seems to have spurred discussion. I have read through page after page micro-analyzing the monstrous complexity of rock music by tossing out one or two examples, saying that ‘jazz is the same’ based on the written chords being similar to rock music, and so on. It is stunning the amount of anguish, energy, passion and angst generated by what amounts to a humorous little quip on a graphic.

What have you seen lately that has generated way too much discussion?

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About the Author

Michael Anderson
I have loved technology for as long as I can remember - and have been a computer gamer since the PDP-10! Mobile Technology has played a major role in my life - I have used an electronic companion since the HP95LX more than 20 years ago, and have been a 'Laptop First' person since my Compaq LTE Lite 3/20 and Powerbook 170 back in 1991! As an avid gamer and gadget-junkie I was constantly asked for my opinions on new technology, which led to writing small blurbs ... and eventually becoming a reviewer many years ago. My family is my biggest priority in life, and they alternate between loving and tolerating my gaming and gadget hobbies ... but ultimately benefits from the addition of technology to our lives!