Comparison-Based Guitar Goals

What are comparison-based guitar goals?

Comparison-based guitar goals are goals that depend upon being favorably compared to a better guitarist in order to achieve the goal. Let me say that again: 

In order to achieve any comparison-based guitar goal, we must be specifically viewed by all other people as being better at guitar than the guitarist we are comparing ourselves with.

If your goal is to be better than Bob at guitar, then everyone must all agree that you are a better guitar player than Bob. And, what if Bob is an amazing guitar player? Ouch.

Comparison-based goals are easy to catch because the comparison and a judgement are both stuck inside the goal. Here's some examples:

  • "I want to be better than Jack White."
  • "I want to be as famous as BB King."
  • "I want to be a faster player than Stevie Ray Vaughn."
  • "I want to be as legendary as Andres Segovia."

So, let me get this straight... Until you are better than Jack White, until you are as famous as BB King, until you are a faster player than Stevie Ray Vaughn, or until you are as legendary as Andres Segovia, you have failed as a guitarist? Seriously?!? I mean, that's what these goals imply.

Do you want to know what's truly messed up? Everyone has to agree that you are better than Jack White in order for you to accomplish that particular goal. Everyone has to agree that you are as legendary as Andres Segovia in order for you to accomplish that particular goal, too. If you don't get a lot of agreement from everyone who knows Jack White or Andres Segovia, you've failed! 

In the long run, having comparison-based guitar goals will not be helpful because you are putting your enjoyment of guitar on the chopping block and handing the cleaver to people who have no idea who you are. Those people will be the judge of you, and there are plenty of haters out there. Is that what you want? To be judged by others and torn down by haters? I hope not. 

Rewriting comparison-based guitar goals

Comparison-based guitar goals have to be cut off at the root. We need to rewrite them altogether. How? Try to make the goal about becoming more familiar with the object of comparison's work, make the language more soft, and throw the judgement right out of the sentence. Here goes:

  • "I'd love to be able to play a bunch of Jack White's songs."
  • "I really like BB King. It'd be an honor to play some of his guitar licks."
  • "I'd enjoy being as technically familiar to the guitar as Stevie Ray Vaughn was."
  • "I'd love to be as familiar to classical guitar as Andres Segovia was."

Comparison-based goals are difficult goals. They have an embedded judgement and comparison. The key is to get rid of the judgement and focus on becoming more familiar with the object of comparison's work. There's nothing wrong with having influences unless you are too emotionally attached to being viewed as a better guitar player than they are.