Speed vs Emotion

Posted by The Fretwire on

I have been having this argument since I first learned to play guitar.  What is better in a lead guitar player?  Speed, or Emotion?
*Disclaimer:  The following is my opinion, most likely based on a flawed reasoning as I am personally unable to play as fast as those really fast guitar players out there.  I most likely have formed this opinion merely out of inferiority, but I plan to defend it none the less.
Moving on. I like the Blues.  I like the Blues Players.  I try to emulate them as best I can. What I love about a good blues solo isn't the technical expertise (though Clapton can't be denied his reputation in this area) and it certainly isn't their ability to keep up mind-bending speed (though Stevie Ray Vaughan does a respectable job of bending minds for years). I like what I feel when they play.  And most of the time that feeling isn't "Wow. They play fast." Way back in High School people would see me with a guitar and ask me to play Van Halen, Satriani, or Yngwie Malmsteen, or any other players fondly referred to as shredders. I would tell them "No, but I just learned Love Stuck Baby." They weren't interested. I admit that what the shredders technically difficult.  I admit that very few people can do it so well.  I am glad they can make a great living endorsing gear, selling CD's to other guitar players (cause seriously, who else buys it?) and being featured month after month in Guitar Magazines for the past 25 years.  But its not for me. Eric Clapton once famously stated it was his goal to make audiences cry by playing a single note.  Its a lofty goal, but it tells you where his focus is. Of course, Blues isn't all about sadness.  A good blues song (and a good blues solo) can make you happy, want to dance, sad, anxious, concerned, or any other emotion. On a road trip, I like the scenery more than driving 100 mph.  I guess I like my music the same way. Speed vs. Emotion?  I will take emotion. Here are a couple videos you can view to see examples of the opposing points.  You be the judge. This post is more opinionated than most.  Do you disagree with me?  I would love to discuss that some more.  Comment away. So, you are like fast and stuff, huh? Thats cool. Now for the opposing point. I skipped to the guitar solo for those with short attention spans like me. Maybe its not for you. But it should be. It's, you know. Better.