Guitar Players

Okay, I admit it.  While guitar is my primary instrument, I do love other instruments and even play a few of them.  I think that working on other instruments improves my overall musicianship by reminding me of dimensions of tone, rhythm, and performance that are not obvious on the guitar.  Plus, it's fun to play lots of different things.

A couple of years ago, I was shopping for a djembe in a drum shop in Boulder, CO.  It's not a shop where I hang out.  No one there knows me or recognizes me.  I am just some old guy browsing around the drums, tapping here and there, showing things to his (very patient) wife.  Nothing special.  The owner points me to where he has a whole bunch of nice djembes and invites me to try them out.  I do so.  These are real, wooden drums.  Each one sounds different from the previous.  There are many to try.

Some are easy to reject.  The resonance isn't good, or the skin mounting looks wrong, but once I get down to three or four of them, I start rotating through the group: Tapping.  Playing.  Listening.  It's a great way to spend an afternoon.  My wife’s patience remains untaxed.  I am happy.

Eventually, about the time I have settled on the drum I shall buy, a young guy comes in.  From something about him -- the way he moves through this shop, I think -- it is obvious that he is a "real" drummer.  By that I mean he is a drummer whose primary instrument is drums as opposed to a guitar player who likes to play other instruments.  He tries some drums here and there in the shop.  At one point, we start playing together, filling in the space within each other's pattern.  It sounds good.  Then it ends.  The shopkeeper, a big man with huge hands and a shaved head, calls out, "Hey!  You guys had a pretty good groove going there."

It's quiet for a second.  Then I have a realization that I share.

"That's the difference between guitar players and drummers.  You get two drummers in a shop; they start playing together.  You get two guitar players in a shop and the first one to hear the other one turns his amp up."

Everybody, my sweet wife included, laughs.  We have all been there, seen/heard that.  In my heart, I know that I have done that.

But right away, I wonder why this is so.  I get quiet, pay for my drum, and we leave. 

© Michael C. Glaviano 2009 - 2016