11 Comments

  1. Is it just me or does this make him sound almost amateur? I know of course he is a legend but it’s undeniable this track is full of mistakes and bad timing that is usually hidden by the other layers. If I recorded this myself I would be embarassed for others to hear it. A person playing guitar for a year can play better than this.

    1. You know, I had the same reaction. I’m disappointed in myself when I’m practicing and do some of those things. But you can’t argue with the quality of the finished product. So, I guess in the end hearing this gives me hope and encouragement for my own guitar playing.

  2. I wouldn’t go as far as to say a person playing a year could play this, though with a lot of work maybe possible. But as someone who has devoted their life to playing the guitar for the past 18 plus years, the isolated track does indeed sound rather sloppy. Sure the timing is off on some parts and some of the bends miss their mark and can sound pretty terrible. But then again the players back then were less technical and much more raw, which I also feel is something very common among those with old school blues backgrounds such as Clapton. But let’s factor in at least that this man was probably high on coke and a few other things while he performed this on that note I think it aint half bad.

  3. If you think that that playing is amateurish, you are obviously not a guitar player.

    1) If a “mistake” gets lost in the mix is it really a mistake?
    2) If your guitar work was featured prominently on one of the Greatest Guitar Songs, does it make sense to listen to it in terms of its flaws?

    My point is that musicality means a whole lot more than perfect intonation, rhythm, and pitch. Yes, good music will contain a certain degree of all those things, but they are not all necessary to the same degree at all times.

    I think the most important lesson I took from high school band was that as a musician, your ONLY job is to make everyone else sound better. That is true of the spazkids stuck in the percussion pit all the way u[p through legenday opera divas.

    Clapton’s track is a perfect meditation on this. WMGGW is one of the finest songs recorded by the Beatles, and its musicality transcends the “mistakes and bad timing” laid bare when heard in isolation. Why is that? What is Clapton doing that other musicians, amateur or otherwise, don’t?

  4. I think that’s called improvisation. A lesser musician might practice the parts until they’re prefect, extracting the magic in the process.

  5. 1. “My three year old can make a painting just like that Pollack.” But she didn’t.
    2. When Picasso scribbles a doodle on a scrap of paper, it’s still a Picasso and you recognize it as such.
    3. Clapton and Harrison created this piece of music to fit the whole. An amateur would likely be copying someone else’s music.

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