Are you a guitarist or a songwriter?

Orvillain

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Edgelord
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I think there's a distinction to be made here. I'm not much of a guitar "player" - when I got started, I immediately jumped to learning riffs from Limp Bizkit, Tool, Cradle of Filth, Muse, and various other bands.

But I never really learned whole songs. Well, mostly that is true.

I was far more interested in writing music. I'd already been writing techno, trance, drum & bass, IDM, and glitch music, for about a decade before I ever picked up a guitar. Guitar for me was a new cool instrument I could write with.

And as time has gone on, that's how I view guitar. I can't shred, I can't chicken pick, I can't win first prize in the fretboard olympics. But I can write a song.

I don't really think of myself as a guitarist - not solely anyway.

So what's your history, and how do you describe yourself?
 
I see myself as a songwriter / riff maker. I was never any good at guitar, still to this day.
But I play guitar and bass, make drums in Cubase ( but i suck at playing drums ) and I used to sing also while playing guitar
A few of the guys i`ve been playing live with through the years have been guys that could play cover songs / knows a lot of calssic riff`s and stuff but they struggle making up riff`s and songs in the bands I played in
I never was that guy, I struggle to copy other players..always have. But the cool thing is that opens a thing for me, I could make shit up, and that is how I make music.

- I make shit up
 
Definitely a guitarist. And I'm happy with that because I feel I'm a pretty good one.

I've never really applied myself to writing though, other than a song I wrote for my estranged girlfriend prior to us getting married that many people said was a great song, and a few others that I really didn't feel were very good. Writing just doesn't appeal to me.

But I do have a small place inside me that thinks I really ought to give it a serious try, especially with how much I've improved as a guitarist in the past few years. My thinking is that since my playing is more well-rounded than it used to be, I could probably come up with some cool stuff. I may still give it a go, at some point.

I've often felt that if I were to try my hand at writing, I'm the type of person that would do well to write with another musician.
 
I consider myself to be a musician first and foremost, but my songwriting skill is certainly my best quality. When I was younger (I am still a child) I played clarinet. My music teacher offered me time after school to teach me other instruments and I took her up on it. She taught me piano, xylophone, harp and autoharp. Sucked when she left after my 3rd grade, but those 3 years (1st, 2nd and 3rd grades) were awesome and I love her for having devoted that time and effort to me.

My first guitar was a Martin 12 string! How stupid is that? I have now owned that guitar for 30 years and will never sell it. It was in and out of several pawn shops over the first 10 years I owned it, but I will keep it till the day I die. I have a strat and an Eko Kadett, but my true love of playing guitar started in Feb 2021 when I got my first PRS. In the two years since then, I have played more guitar in each one of those years than I did in the rest of my life combined. Point is, I never was a "guitar player", but I could play some basic chords on guitars.

In my life I have written over 2,000 songs, but it all started with me becoming a musician as a child. So for me, I would say I am a musician who is way better at writing songs than I am at performing them, but performing them is what I have been focussed on for the past 2 years and have made huge gains. The reason is, I have been historically lazy about the musicianship, but the songwriting just flows out of me like a river. I wrote a song once called "Drop Of A Hat" because that is how quickly I can write a song. Lately I have been timing my songwriting, and I seem to average about 15-30 minutes to write a song with 3 verses, a chorus, and a bridge. And when I write them, I am hearing the melodies and parts in my head, but it was not until recently that I have been able to spit that stuff out on guitar with little effort. Of course, this is using the most basic chord structures and stuff, but I don't care, it works for me.

I have released about 70 songs under 4 artist names, and am about to start recording my next album. I honestly believe I am currently writing the best material I have ever written and am very much looking forward to sharing this stuff, but for now, I am just posting cover songs I have learned and am having a blast playing. Some of those can be found at https://MoondogWily.com/studio_live if you are interested. I was never really interested in playing others music, until I learned some of my favorites and now I am addicted. Taking those classic songs in my head and giving them my own twist is priceless for me emotionally and musically!

So to sum it up, songwriter as my guitar playing is beginner level by anybody's standards ;~))
 
I couldn't decide whether I wanted to be a drummer or a guitarist. I wrote my first song when I was about 12, started recording myself in a DAW at 15 and became more interested in writing and producing at that point. Then I got into a band that gigged and concentrated more on guitar playing - took some online lessons. Band came to an end and it was back to being creative in a DAW.

Always in phases.
 
The first thing I did when I picked up dad's guitar as a teenager was try to play chords to songs I liked. By the time I could change between three chords, I was singing melodies and lyric ideas and calling them songs (though of course they were, and remain, shit). So... songwriting is why I value the ability to play anything on the guitar.
 
I'm an artist/creator with guitars as my paintbrushes. Same is true with all my other gear. I never really wanted to be anything else.
 
Musician/Songwriter are fairly interchangeable for me, guitar was just what I started with and has the most fun stuff to play with for me. I thoroughly enjoy playing all the instruments I can but the biggest payoff is when I’m nearing the end of writing a song and hearing all the parts come together. Sometimes in the midst of writing and throwing everything at the wall you don’t know how it’s going to turn out, or you get hyper focused on one part and forget the big picture for a night or two but then you hear it in it’s entirety and go “Where the f*ck did that come from?”, that’s pretty much the main thing that makes me even want to participate in it.
 
I’m a musician and a performer. I grew up singing in choirs, playing in orchestras, reading theory books, and teaching myself piano out of an old hymnal.

So when I picked up guitar I approached it from that perspective. I found charts and learned how to play them on the instrument.

The concept of songwriting (or even coming up with original parts) is something that I never knew until college when I got pulled into a couple original bands by my roommate.

I enjoy writing, it’s fun. But what I really love is performing. Playing live, creating music together with other musicians. Doesn’t matter if it’s performing something I wrote, something someone else wrote, or something we’re improvising on the spot.
 
I see myself as a composer whose primary instrument is the guitar. I wish maybe earlier on I had a balance of learning other peoples songs to present more band opportunities.

There are some great guitar players out there who play other peoples songs really well but there own compositions never seem to reach the same heights IMO.
 
I think there's a distinction to be made here. I'm not much of a guitar "player" - when I got started, I immediately jumped to learning riffs from Limp Bizkit, Tool, Cradle of Filth, Muse, and various other bands.

But I never really learned whole songs. Well, mostly that is true.

I was far more interested in writing music. I'd already been writing techno, trance, drum & bass, IDM, and glitch music, for about a decade before I ever picked up a guitar. Guitar for me was a new cool instrument I could write with.

And as time has gone on, that's how I view guitar. I can't shred, I can't chicken pick, I can't win first prize in the fretboard olympics. But I can write a song.

I don't really think of myself as a guitarist - not solely anyway.

So what's your history, and how do you describe yourself?
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I wouldn't play music if I didn't write. Don't get me wrong, I love to 'shred' when trying new ideas, to test and challenge myself... but the song is always going to be the most important thing.
 
Fun thread.

Short answer: creator/song writer

Long answer: I joined my first band as a bass player, only to have the guy who was already the bass player (he was going to switch to rhythm guitar), tell me I should sing instead. Fast forward ten years, a pile of demos, an album, an EP, around a hundred shows and one tour solely as the singer and I found myself wanting to play guitar.

Started a new band as the guitar player/singer, and out of necessity, the main songwriter. About 3 years later, that died off and I "retired" for about a decade (yes, I'm old). During said retirement, my ex bought me a bass and I fiddle fooled with it from time to time.

Then, 2015 struck and I got a MacBook with GarageBand. Suddenly I was back to writing songs, playing guitar more and more, playing bass more and more and ultimately having enough songs for several one-man-band albums. I've never been about the fretboard gymnastics or any of that, I just want to make songs that I enjoy listening to, which usually consist of a groove, some crazy heaviness and weird "Dr. Suess on a bad acid trip" moments... No Yngwie here... just some bass player turned singer turned guitar player who is actually just a guy with uncontrollable creative needs...
 
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