Guitar Lessons by Chip McDonald - June 2018

Monday, June 25, 2018

Radio Songs and My "Van Halen - No Chaff" Spotify List?

 It occurred to me yesterday I wanted to hear "some Van Halen". 

 Which probably doesn't surprise the reader.  The thing is, whenever I want to hear something, yes - I'm very particular about it.  Also probably not a surprise?

 In my revitalized "Embracing My Inner Ron Swanson" get--off-my-lawn era of life, I've finally realized incarnately

 I generally don't like songs "made for the radio". 


  Sigh. It's the 21st century, so I'll have to expand on that: I don't have any aversion to pop music, or songs that have become radio hits.  What I don't like are songs that sound like there was a hint of "let's keep this poppy, radio friendly!".  I admit this may be confirmation bias.  I don't care, it molds what I listen to and in turn makes me "me".  (See previous blog postings on said concept).  Music is and should be subjective, unlike cold, harsh reality.

 I used to not like Dave Matthews Band because of the over exposure to the song "What Would You Say".  I didn't like his voice on it, but mostly I didn't like how it conformed to a Perfectly Crafted Pop Song.  It was very light and fluffy, played off the character of his voice very heavily as the hook (on the break).  Which is fine, but it struck me as being too conscious of it's own... poppy-ness ("That Poppy" has infiltrated my brain, amazing).  

 Need I say that based on the above I don't like the song "Jump"?  No, I can't stand it's C major happy-for-no-reason pop-logic.  It's a great song, fantastic keyboard hook.  I don't like it.  Sorry.

 But less than that, there are songs in the Van Halen pantheon that I've never really cared for, and it's for that reason - for whatever reason they strike me as being "self-aware" of their pop character.  Yesterday I made this list, fast and easy, with little need for consideration.  It's mostly the result of that thinking.

 So for Van Halen I - not my favorite VH album - there is no "Ain't Talking 'bout Love".  Or "Running With the Devil".  Definitely not "You Really Got Me", "Ice Cream Man" , "Feel Your Love Tonight".  I don't hate those songs, and they're fun now and then *to play*, but I don't need to listen to them.

 "Jamies Cryin'" is left off.  Sentimentally I might want to include it - maybe the first song I showed someone how to play, after I had been playing guitar for all of 5 minutes (yeah, no kidding).  No "Eruption": I've heard it/played it too many times.  BUT - when it comes to "Eddie Van Halen solo lead guitar spot" what first comes to mind is the intro to the song "Fools" on Women and Children First.  I remember that from well before I played guitar as being ultra-aggressive and exciting, and I still think it's his coolest example of "Van Halen" playing.  It's just very pure ripping - not shredding, but ripping.  There's a difference.

Yeah, so just 3 songs: "On Fire", "Atomic Punk", and "I'm the One".

 Van Halen II is different, I wore it out much more than I.  For that matter, I'm much more familiar with a bootleg of their "last performance at the Pasadena Civic" when they had just got signed, when it comes to songs from their first album.  It was super raw and swaggering, again very exciting - more than the recorded versions.  And you can hear Eddie's amps dying, making crackling noises, all sorts of cool artifacts of his sound.

 I don't have "Dance the Night Away" on there, or "Beautiful Girls".  I do, however, have "You're No Good" because it has a sort of sleepy, spooky slowed down character to it that is peculiar for a "pop song".  It's like they messed up picking a tempo, a draggy pop song.  Which is an interesting concept, a potential genre?

 The rest made it to my list.  Over all in my opinion this record is where Eddie congealed into "Eddie Van Halen" proper.  Percussive ostinato oblique riffs combined with funky articulation.  Interject novel bits - the octave tapping intro to "Women in Love",  the open string faux flamenco trickery of "Spanish Fly", the drama of the pre-dive bombed chord intro to "D.O.A.".   The crazy contrary motion intro of "Light up the Sky".   On and on, just tons of interesting and novel parts.  Plus the expected "exciting riff festival".

Women and Children First is always over looked.  It some ways it's my favorite VH record, the most played before I started playing guitar.

 I love how this record sounds.  The high end is ultra smooth.  Alex' drums are just... barely... loud enough, so the cymbal sizzle isn't over bearing.  The side effect of that is that the guitar (and keyboard) parts JUMP OUT, REALLY LOUD.  It's like it's just guitar + Roth.  I wish the remastered version wasn't as compressed.  Like everything these days.  Oh well.

 The guitar just sits there in what sounds like a documentation of a Very Very Loud Guitar in a Pretty Big but Nice Sounding Room.  NIGEL TUFNEL VOICE: ON:  What more do you need for rock and roll?  You don't.

 I liked the tom-beat nature of some of the songs, I'm not sure why bands and drummers don't make use of that as a concept more.  It's very odd to me that every band, every band - adheres to the notion that "the drums have to feature either the hi hat or the ride cymbal".  Really?  Why?

 The riffs on this records are simpler, almost basic, but great.  The low tuning is really effective.  I don't like the double stop melody-solo on "Everbody Wants Some", but the riff is great so it's worth it.  The reverb on this record is the best.  Alex' toms are perfect "Alex Van Halen" sounding on this record.  There is ACTUAL LOW END HARMONICS ON THE TOMS.  What a concept.

 "Loss of Control" is one of my favorite VH songs.  They could have just done Z.Z. Top boogie-swing songs and I would have been fine with that.  In fact, I need to make another VH list of just those songs. But "Loss of Control" is sublime - the low tuning ostinato riff with a perfect VH amp sound, just one string, so great in the pick attack sound.

 The open string boogie riff was the prototype for "Hot For Teacher"... and a bazillion VH rip-off songs that Shall Not Be Named but Are Out There. I like it more than "Hot For Teacher" because it pushes the beat so much, and really does sound almost out of control.  Which is great.  The weird flange bit at the end is great as well.

"Tora Tora" as an intro for the above is great, the weird backwards intro.... but also the ultra heavy Sabbath like intro is curious, because Metallica swiped that verbatim on the Black album and nobody noticed?

 His amp/guitar sound is the most bare and upfront on this record.  I know why people reference other records because of the riffs, versus the simplicity on here - but for Simple and Grand Marshall Dimed this is it IMO. "Unchained" is par excellante, but it's a hair lower in the mix - unfortunately, and Alex' "ride the crash cymbals wash" dilutes the guitar sound IMO.  I'd like to take the crash cymbals off of Fair Warning.  "SSHHHSHHSSSSSSSHSHHSSHHSSH"... it's like a truck inner tube deflating through an Eventide Harmonizer chorus setting.

 Hmm.  Fair Warning is the debut of the Eventide playing a part int he Van Halen sound, one way or another. Hmm.

Fair Warning

 I remember buying this record at Camelot Records in Augusta Mall when it was on the bottom floor in the space that eventually became a Radio Shack (r.i.p.).  The album graphics were peculiar and "big". Alex Van Halen's artistic direction is an unsung thing.

 Let me see... Yes, in keeping with this being my favorite VH album, everything made it.  "So This is Love" is almost too poppy.  Except.. the soloing is great.  And the little "plink plink" -behind-the-nut string noise as the ending is great.

 "Sinner's Swing" - again, boogie was their forte.  But the little "tap the pick on the unwound strings" as a hook is brilliant.  Eddie using noises that people didn't associate with a guitar and part in a riff was genius.  Ripping solo of course.  "Push Comes to Shove" is a peculiar soul-funk meets rock "thing", with a Holdsworthy fusion solo.  The off-time bits behind the solo are great, lots of detail in the parts, the way the meter flows from one part to the next.  This is the kind of thing I would have wanted from a "Eddie Van Halen Solo" record.  Oh well.


 A very bright and thinner sounding recording.  More compressed.

"Drop Dead Legs" a departure sound wise for him - a cranked Fender Princeton?  A cool sound, and I like the room ambience.  Interesting chord progression/arpeggio, but the structure of the song is curious and the way the melody strings the arpeggios together is very slick IMO.  It also has a lot variety in the rhythm of the arpeggios and their sequencing, and the "interjected" call and response detail is great.  The coda is one of this coolest vamps again IMO - "Eddie Van Halen solo" music?  One of my favorite VH songs.

 "Girl Gone Bad" - great and novel intro, as he is wont to do.  Big swing vibe, and the bursts of ascending runs into the "second intro" again is very different sounding.  It's like this song, and "Drop Dead Legs" had some sort of big-band era influence (from his childhood hearing his dad's music?).  The chording is very stacatto-grouped akin to 30's pop music.  Great bridge, another Holdsworth influenced solo.  Killer ending, Alex' fills are brilliant and creative, the weird tom fill  as an ending is great - a unique end.

 "House of Pain" - very different sounding with the natural minor > raised vi riff, and the altered half-steppy riffing.  Then the completely different major sounding solo section with the fusion-esque change.. interesting, then comes out on a Z.Z Top-esque blues theme...  Love the non-linear structure, you don't know it's going to go in these directions. 

 Didn't care for the rest.  "Top Jimmy" starts out neat, but then... It's too "happy for no reason", I don't care for parallel 6th licks.  Overtly pop chorus, but the solo section is cool - minus the solo.  "Panama" is great, I'm just burned out on it - on the line pop-music wise, but.. yeah.  "Hot For Teacher" - same deal.  Their pop music zenith?  Brilliant parts, their Ultimate Boogie Swing Song.  But it's a situation where it's going to be "Jump", "Panama" or "Hot For Teacher" when some horrid Pop Culture Show references Van Halen, and the thing that makes that happen makes me not want to hear those songs in particular. 

 He lost me on 5150.  The Trans-Trem "Get Up" is cool, but the Eventide Harmonizer sound and Alex' Simmons drums, combined with a super squashed mix makes it annoying to listen to.  "5150" is a cool arpeggio sequence... but the song is kind of light and fluffy, in a "we've got to balance the aggression of "Get Up" with this light and fluffy stuff".

 Which again could be confirmation bias on my part - but there you go.  YMMV and should.





Monday, June 18, 2018

Sloppiness Pt. 2: Claude Monet and Lead Guitar

1) What is the threshold of acceptability for your audience?

(this is actually a very accurate meta visual example of what this article is about...)

 (the above picture I took using a pinhole lens I made, deliberately making my modern technology digital camera to yields results that look soft and "sloppy" - like an Impressionist painting.  It is of an artist making a copy of a Monet painting titled "The Stroll: Woman with a Parasol (Madame Monet and Her Son)".  Why?  1) Because the painting was already made, I couldn't make it. 2) You're not allowed to use take pictures of certain pictures at museums. 3) ... which doesn't matter, because it doesn't take any particular skill or mindset to take a "perfect" picture of a painting! 4) The pinhole lens has an element of mystery to it because of it's imperfection and inherent chaotic light scattering.  In a staid setting such as a museum, this makes for a more interesting picture to occur in my opinion.  How many pinhole pictures of the inside of a museum have you seen....?)

  .............This may seem self-explanatory, but it's not.

 Your "audience" might be a record producer or engineer.  In which case, they are going to be listening more closely than The Random Person On the Street.

 Your audience may be people in a music store: it shouldn't be, but having worked in music stores most of my life I can say that this is a reality for some people.  The interesting thing here is that there is a profound disconnect between what the Budding Guitar Store Rock Star thinks is "ok" and what the Experienced and Jaded Music Store Employee thinks.

 Another audience might be, as in my case, a guitar student sitting point blank in front of you.  Which is a curious thing, because everything is on the table in this giant question mark of a case.

 Then there is the "traditional" sense of the word.  In a big arena, "sloppiness" is almost relative given the over-amplified whorl of distortion and volume that is a live show.  In this scenario the audience is going to be ultra forgiving, simply because - they can't really make out much detail in a lot of cases, unless it is "that soft part in the song".

 As venues get smaller the stakes go up, actually.  Because a more and more significant portion of the audience is likely to be hearing your amplifier directly off the stage, or as the capability of the p.a. system to the size of the room becomes greater and greater.  So there is trade off here, depending on the p.a. and the sound of the room.  But...

 At this stage (pun intended) there is a Default State of Acceptable: you have to presume your audience is going to have a pretty good chance of hearing at least as much detail as they would hear on a recording.  The thing to note here is that in general, this is NOT "perfect technique"; it's a mature and pragmatic technique.  A practical one.  This is somewhat my position for myself (as I think of it).

 Then there is the Solo Acoustic Performance In a Small and Intimate Setting.  This is difficult.  This is where "approaching perfect technique" comes in, because everything can be heard usually to a more detailed degree than on a recording.

 This is the realm that "singer songwriters" and solo performers work at, which is actually a much higher level of "getting to perfect" than is necessary for the Rock Musician.   In turn these people are stronger on fundamentals and consistency, because there is no forgiving in this situation.  Combined with 21st century expectation of perfection, this is a high-stress place to be, which is why I choose not to do such things anymore. 

 I used to regularly play gigs at bookstores that used to be part of a large national chain.  These gigs were always weird, because invariably I would find myself playing with what is obvious other guitar players literally at arms length in front of me, staring at my fingers with their arms crossed.  These Musical Buzzards were waiting for their chance to prey on the remains of Any Morsel of a Mistake, and I knew it.

 So instead of thinking about music, I was thinking about string squeaks.  I was thinking about That Really Tough Stretch Coming Up.  That Suddenly Super Quick Legato Part After This Chord.  Execution.

 Which means I could have played easier music (and maybe I should have?).  Or practice even more, which was not a wise utilization of my time given the diminishing returns of what said gig paid!

There are angles around some of the pitfalls.  Some Famously Skilled Acoustic Wizards have acoustic guitars set up with crazy low action, resulting in guitars that when unamplified do not sound very good.  You can also use compression (audio electronic effect), and weird guitar amplifier-like equalization to approach an electric guitar-like feel, but at that point one has to ask are you deluding yourself or the audience?  Hats off to the singer-songwriter guys that just use electric guitars, negating this downside as well as side stepping the "trying to make an acoustic guitar loud/amplified and still sound like an acoustic guitar" battle.

Using a lone microphone, not a pickup, in front of an acoustic guitar is very revealing and challenging.  When you watch footage of James Taylor or Neil Young playing solo in the early 70's, they're not playing hyper-technical licks BUT - they're playing point blank in front of a microphone, not an "acoustic guitar" with a pickup system through a processor/p.a..  That is something of an anachronistic skill set in the 21st century.

 At the bottom of the barrel is the "Fool My Friends" skill set.  In this scenario as long as you almost hit enough notes that whatever it is you're playing is recognizable - you've accomplished something.  And I'm not ragging that - it *is* an accomplishment.  It's something the Friend that is Your Audience can't do, and something you couldn't do at one time.  You can have fun in the garage band, and it's a stepping stone to the next level as long as one understands that concept. 

 The question is, do you let yourself stay there?

2) What is optimal in order to be artistic?

  Jimi Hendrix wasn't perfect.  He didn't strive to be.  He strove for balancing on that Live Audience Acceptability Standard versus going out on a limb improvising.  In my opinion, that is what you want. You want art you've never heard before, right?

 On the other end you've got the Technical Metal Guy who is looking at it as a sport, as is the audience.  Can he play hyper-technical and note-dense music flawlessly, all the way to the end?  GO!!!

 That's... interesting somewhat, but not artistic in itself.  It also runs counter to making art.  This is the realm of what I was talking about previously: the guy that is listening as if another guitar player is sitting in front of him.  Which has nothing to do with Making Art but impressing someone.

 Even within that idiom there is a scale of slop.  Some people think Yngwie Malmsteen is sloppy, others think he's "perfect". Does Yngwie care?  No.

 But this is a very hard road to travel, because we're already at the end of it where there is a sign marked "THE LIMIT OF HUMAN KINESTHETIC ABILITY".   Diminishing returns.  Bands like Rush and Yes set a high bar int he 70s, along with fusion acts like Return to Forever, Weather Report, Al DiMeola, Allan Holdsworth, and the king of complicated music, Frank Zappa.

 In reality, humans are not going to exceed what Zappa did with a group of people when it comes to playing Complicated Music.  It's been done.  Note density, tempo, duration can be made into hurdles, but that's all they are.

 Life is too short to spend worrying about What the Other Guitar Players Think.  I'm OCD so I worry about that - but I shouldn't.  I'm not playing music for musicians, even if a lot of them are. Having said that, the following caveat should be heeded:


3) What is best for a given practice routine? 

  This is where not being sloppy actually counts the most.  There are things you should practice at a certain minimum tempo, even at the expense of sloppiness, but in general striving for perfection when practicing will pay off.

 Which brings me to this point: the reason I'm writing this is in the hope that a student or students will note the gravitas of this.  I've said it a thousand times: playing fast is the easiest thing to accomplish on guitar.  It's just a matter of making yourself practice PERFECTLY.

 The trick is understanding what that means, and most people don't really embrace the idea that it's quite literal.  Not only that, but it's then multiplied by the perfect, optimal rate against duration.  At that juncture it's just repetition and training, patience in waiting.  If you're doing this properly, you can't help but to get faster.

 Which goes back to my point about the guy sitting in his bedroom in the 80's.  If you put a microscope on your playing, and do it enough - you get better.  It's very simple.  Patience.

 The flip side is that I encounter, about once a year, the Random Student That Has An Unrealistic Idea About Where Their Skill Set Should Be.  This person gets stilted by trying to make perfect something that takes more time than they allow, at the expense of not taking time to work on other things.  This is the "horse with blinders" brute force approach, that seems to make sense to some people.  Perfect practice has to include the calculus of the bulk of what needs to get done, not just one hay bale in the corner of the painting!

 Which is where I come in as musical "coach".  People in general are all over the place with their notions of expectations and sloppiness, and how that impacts what they play.  For most it's an inefficient perspective and combination.

 Knowing and understanding the above concepts will help a guitar student meter out their efforts, hopefully.  I can't impart to the Technical Metal Student that having a sort of Kurt Cobain level of coarseness applied to technique is not going to work, or to the guy that just wants to play punk music that obsessing about the angle of their pick in degrees while not working on playing barre chords is also wasting their time.  There are things one should consider "sloppy" from the outset and other things that are not as much of an issue, depending on where someone is in their development.

 In conclusion: "sloppiness" is relative, but something one should consider as a concept that one accepts as a philosophy, depending on your "audience".  There is no reason to expect your technical high-gain metal chops to translate to a steel string acoustic.  There is no reason to try to bother with legato lead guitar technique if you're not interested in that, either.  These are specialty skills that have different expectations for "cleanliness" in execution, and there is no reason to impose non-logical restrictions when 98% of your audience won't hear it.

 For the 2% that do, they're probably of a mental state that is non-congruent with reality, making and appreciating art.  Claude Monet was trained as an artist of the "baroque" school of portraiture and technique. In his early paintings you can see him still clinging to that (literal) school of thought, but with hints of rebelliousness.  It shows that he did have a legitimate baroque technique; but this is post van Rijn and Vermeer.

 Monet took what I think may be the biggest authoritative creative step in history, along with a group of peers in the Impressionist movement.  He started making paintings that were deliberately, intentionally disregarding notions of "sloppiness" of technique.  That is not the same as saying he did not have technique, or that there was no technique present!

 That is not the same as saying he did not have technique, or that there was no technique being used in the presentation. 

He gambled on his audience understanding, literally, the big picture.  Not the gatekeepers of the art schools, or the pundits.

 It took a long time, but obviously people have come around to appreciate his art. Music has, since the late 60s, been mired in a weird corporate-imposed state of limbo somewhat like what existed in Monet's life, a pre-determined set of "rules" that defined "art".  When people ask me "do you play classical guitar? Do you play jazz?" my first thought is literally "Andres Segovia already happened.  Joe Pass already happened".  I'm not practicing to simultaneously have perfect classical technique, or perfect jazz technique.  That has been done, and one human isn't going to do it all as perfectly as one human has done these specific idioms already!

 I do not adjust my "output stream" of acceptability based on the idiom.  I do not care to play Bach as perfectly as Segovia and will not waste my life bothering.  I do not care to play modern jazz as Joe Pass did. Paul Gilbert as the cleanest, precise metal guy.  Holdsworth the most legato.  Stevie Ray Vaughn as the most lurid blues player. They have already happened!

 I am all about hybrid vigor.

 I want something new, in some respect.  We have to move forward.  Monet couldn't be Rembrandt and Monet at the same time.  A 21st century artist does not have multiple life times to become the perfect Impressionist, Surrealist, Classical, Baroque, Picasso, Pissaro, Van Gogh etc..  They have already happened. If you look at that list, Picasso could never have happened if he'd worried about Vermeer's standards of execution.  Also note that Pollack, Kadinsky is not on that list; anti-technique as an approach is outside of what I am discussing.  There are actually people that play instruments deliberately untuned, deliberately out of time with no sense of meter.  There is a movement in Japan for "noise music".  You don't have to have technique at all if you want to make sound.  It might even being artistic; but again.... that's not within the purview of what I'm writing about.

 For some the challenge of being "perfect" might be appealing. For others, the acceptance of "being sloppy" may actually be a hindrance and misguided.  It may be perfectly fine to pursue one of the above, or multiples - I'm not saying that wrong, but I AM saying you want to be aware of the concept of differing approaches to sloppiness vs. perfection.  Where do you sit on that scale?



Friday, June 15, 2018

Sloppiness Pt. 1: For Whom Do You Play, and Pig Skateboards?

 On the planet right now, there are a gazillion different guitar players.  They all feel they slot into a mythical and intangible scale of "sloppy vs. not sloppy".


Part of my quiver


  A lot of people don't evaluate their outcome goals to meter that.  Worse, I think that the 80's wrecked a lot of people's sensibility regarding the concept and turned it into a overly simplistic, all encompassing unobtanium throne of "Perfect Technique".

 I'm going to digress (because it's easy), to an even earlier time of the mid-70s and tell a story about skateboards.  Then, I'll try to tie that into a useful analogy for guitar playing.  I call this "stunt blogging":

 In the early 70s skateboards were very skinny.  They were undeveloped engineering and design-wise, still mired in a limbo zone of being mostly a "toy".  Then, in the mid -70's skateboarding exploded and suddenly there were companies whose sole purpose was to make not only just skateboards, but skateboard parts.

 One company was Dogtown Skates.  Previously there had been a few companies making skateboards, but the shape and size of the skateboards was never really explored (except in length).  Somewhere along the line, the guys that rode their skateboard decks start noticing them getting bigger and bigger, and suddenly it became apparent that a wider board is more stable.  Boards reached beyond being 6-7" wide.  By the 80s people started using boards averaging 10" wide, or more.

 Since then, things have settled down into the typical popsicle stick board seen today, 7.5"-8.5" wide.  But wider than the early 70s, and some still prefer wider today.

At Dogtown, there was a guy in charge of cutting out the planks of wood for the new decks.  This was pre-CNC milling, computer controlled manufacturing.  What he was doing was taking and old deck, and using it as a template to cut out new boards.  Then for the next run, he'd take one of the new boards... and use it as a template for the even newer run of boards.

 Every time he made a new run of boards, he was gradually making them wider.

 For someone who doesn't have a real artistic mind set, the obvious answer to "what is an acceptable amount of sloppiness?" is "obviously" none at all.  The 80s saw the dawn of people staying at home in their bedrooms practicing for many hours a day with their amplifier probably no further than a few feet from their ear.

 The new urge to play faster and more technical led to countless people sitting in front of their amp - in a sonic-microscopic fashion, playing their favorite technically challenging guitar parts from recordings. 

 The thing is, the people they were copying didn't record in that fashion, with their ear up on their speaker.  They heard it blended in professionally by the recording engineer, or maybe out in the studio room with the rest of the band: a less than optimal way to hear what they were doing.  Unless they deliberately soloed their tracks, to polish what they were doing.

 But that was in a *studio* setting.  When that generation and prior was learning guitar, they were listening to more primitive recordings on more primitive playback gear.  They may or may not have been able to make out most of the detail of what their favorite Chuck Berry lick was.  Which was a good thing: this allowed for mutation and hybrids.

 Practice amps were not that great, nor were guitars for beginners prior to the 80s.  So the process of sitting in the bedroom to copy what one's Favorite Guitar Hero did was a more coarse experience, also not tempered by the social pressures of having to have extraordinary technical skill.

 So what was happening in the 80's was akin to the skateboard deck getting bigger and bigger by default. 

 People were transcribing guitar solos with more accuracy and precision than in some cases the original guitar part was played.

 Not only that, but since in most cases the guitar solo on the record represented the guitarist at his "best, peak performance", the practice of replicating that performance over and over and over in the bedroom meant that the Bedroom Guy's skill set was elevated over the original. 

Was art getting better by that process?

 Most would say "no".  Most became intimidated by the anti-punk philosophy of being not just pragmatically skilled, but highly skilled. Then it became trendy to say "no", and that begat the "alternative music" rebellion in the late 80s/early 90s. I think that was a harsh and moronic herd-mentality reflex, to the countless technically adept guitar players that came out of the 80s  unburdened by an artistic sense. But something else just as bad came out of it:

 The moronic, Dunning-Kruger notion of Attaining "Perfect Technique".

 It became kind of tres-cool to say things like "oh yeah, Hendrix... he was sloppy" in the 90s.  I would hear this from both metal guitar players, and technical blues Stevie Ray Vaughn aficionados.  Which was doubly stupid for the SRV fan to say, given Vaughn wouldn't have existed without being a Hendrix fan.

 That attitude matured into what is now a finely shaded and graded scale of "how perfect is your technique?" by a lot of players.  Finely shaded, because what constitutes "perfect" is different depending on who you ask, and actual reality.

 Here's reality: there is "sloppy", and there is "making mistakes". The question is: what is a pragmatic approach to being a a fallible, imperfect human?

 There are 3 concepts that should be recognized in this context, in order to have a practical, pragmatic and useful philosophical attitude on this subject... (outlined in Part 2):