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Guitar Solo Nutritional Content Standards

What's the minimum nutritional standard for a guitar solo? 

NationalGuitarMuseum.com has an article entitled "Why Guitar Players Should Listen to Sax Players", which reminded me of a couple weird experiences I have...

I turn on the radio or walk into a room in the middle of a certain guitar solo and think, "this is really good, who is that?", then upon recognizing it's Eric Clapton I just as suddenly lose interest and find it mundane. This has actually happened more than once.

My other experience is hearing what I thought was the baddest ever guitar solo coming through the walls from a neighbor's apartment, but realizing at some point that it was just some mediocre pop cliche saxophone thing. The walls had filtered out the sax timbres allowing me to conclude I was hearing a guitar solo with this amazing phrasing. Then again, after correct recognition, it became mundane.

All this sort of stuff can really mess with ya, especially if you play guitar. But it's probably frustrating for sax players too. Everybody needs a hook to stand out with, but better yet they need standards. I once read that contemporary sax icon David Sanborn suffered with Polio as a child, which is the reason he walks with a certain gait and leans to one side when he's soloing on his horn. Other contempo sax players since have adopted Sanborn's gait and lean as a standard for cool, not knowing the actual reason why.

Both Eric Clapton and David Sanborn solos are kinda like Nutritional Facts labels, a very white invention, but useful in letting us know that a typical serving of Clapton contains certain  percentages of B.B., Albert & Freddie King, T-bone Walker, etc. Likewise, a Sanborn solo has certain minimum required ingredients from Charlie to Maceo Parker.

White musicians involved with Blues based products must require and refer to such nutritional "labeling" as a guideline and standard for artistic substance compliance. Clapton & Sanborn are like FDA officers reminding us where this stuff comes from.

For this we should be grateful with the understanding that these musicians are kiosks for icons, rather than actual icons themselves.

And this is why we still get goosebumps from Robert Johnson, Elmore James, Lightnin' Hopkins & Albert King. This is why B.B. King is still getting standing ovations and encores from white audiences around the world. And why Coltrane is a god.

So if you're a badass white guitar player, listen to some horn players once in awhile, get to know the food pyramid and remember that you're still only white.





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