There are different ways to play the guitar. Which is obvious even in construction. Some are electric, some are acoustic. There's a whole industry dedicated to making pedals, things the guitar player can plug into to manipulate the guitars sound.
We even have guitars with 12 stings. It all gets pretty confusing.
And yet even with all the petals and the different types, we still say the person playing the music when they have a guitar is playing a guitar.
But there are also different methods to guitar playing. I noticed this when our friends Daniel and Sarah came to visit a few weeks back.
I have my acoustic guitar sitting out in our living room. I pick it up from time to time to finger pick some chords. I'm not very good, but my method of playing is very free verse. I go where emotion takes me, as best I can. Not where chord charts point.
Daniel picked up the guitar and immediately started playing a recognizable song. Something the guitar isn't all that used to. Because I don't really learn songs, I just play. But when Daniel played, it sounded incredibly familiar. I was amazed.
And yet Daniel was also a bit amazed at the way I simply could pick up and roll with a chord progression I chose freely.
There are many ways to live a life. Steady and following a course set out for you. Or free wheeling and seeing where the random series of events you encounter take you. Improvising along the way.
But the best guitar players are the ones who can find a balance between the impersonation and the improvisation.
And that's the way life works too.
Its not the plan and it's not the careless unrythmic free verse, it's the middle way where the truth resides. That's where the best music is.