Joe Gore and The Art Of Expression

Joe Gore ExpressionI go to a lot of different guitar websites in my relentless pursuit of information (don’t we all!), and not long ago while probably searching for something about “tone” I came across perhaps the most important piece of advice I’ve ever read: “I realised that playing expressively was more important than playing ‘well’.”

The words come from Joe Gore in the bio on his wonderful website. Now this concept of playing expressively over playing technically is something I’ve thought for a while but never had expressed in such a nice way. There are a couple of famous guitarists who get rave reviews for their amazing ability, but I’ve always struggled to connect with them. Eventually I realised that it was the emotion and expression that was missing in their playing. Every note may be bang on, but unless there’s feel there’s no connection.

This new guitar mantra has changed the way I practise too. I’m not a technically sound guitarist, so I have tried to spend time learning scales and the full arsenal of chord shapes. The problem has always been that I’ve been chasing technical proficiency rather than expression. I’m still practising scales and chords but now that I’m focussed on how they can improve the feel of my playing it makes so much more sense.

I search for different chord shapes that create a different feel for a song, strumming patterns that are more rhythmic than metronymic, I try different effects and guitars for a different voice, and even my songwriting is starting to reflect my endless pursuit of expressive connection.

So I want to thank Joe Gore and his words of wisdom. He’s unlocked one of the many barriers in my musical journey. Practise is more fun than ever and the liberation from chasing elusive (and maybe impossible) technical expertise is refreshing. Check out his site, it’s great, but more than anything chase expression above all else.

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