(Ed. note September 2020: This is an old version of the Guitarete “About” page. It will be updated soon.)
You found Guitarete! Cool!
Wait! What’s that?
“Guitarete” is a portmanteau of “guitar” and “arete”: guitar + arete = guitarete
Guitar —- You know what that is.
Arete —- the ancient Greek word, broadly, for “excellence.” (The word arete is used in many ways. If you’re interested in reading more about them, click here, but know that Guitarete isn’t focused on any specific version of “arete.”)
The general idea behind Guitarete.com is that life is more excellent and more fun with the guitar—playing, listening, appreciating, developing.
If you dig that in some way, you’ll find a lot to like on Guitarete.
Here are some starting points:
For many people, the guitar is pretty central to music. Its many sounds are part of what pulls us into music. The guitar isn’t independent of music, of course. It’s not like the guitar would be so cool if no one ever played cool music on it. But it isn’t at all crazy to really love the many roles it plays in music. It’s one of the major peaks in our musical landscape since about the 1930s. Sometimes it’s great to focus on one mountain, but, just as often, it’s great to look at a mountain as part of a bigger scene. Guitarete is certainly for guitarists and guitar fans, but it’s not insular. Part of the point is that, even if one is guitar-centric, the guitar is part of a big musical world.
Nothing is more important than the notes and the rhythms, the art that starts with a person, the touch on the instrument and how that happens in relation to the music that just happened, the next notes, the place in time of the next note, etc.—in other words, the playing, the actual experience of doing music: the thinking and the moving and all that it expresses and leads one to discover and create. This, in my view, is deep stuff and it never runs out. It’s where the wonder and beauty and mystery of music live. It’s also, I think, something pretty hard to write about. A lot of writing about notes and rhythms ends up dry, didactic, and academic. But school-y stuff is pretty much always more useful than it seems, especially when it’s linked to the so-called real world. In too many things and for too many people, the institutions and attitudes of school get in the way of the actual purpose of learning stuff. Guitarete strives to bridge that gap.
Appreciating others is essential. I doubt anyone invented music. Music is a part of being human in the world, like telling stories and asking questions and figuring stuff out and playing games. No doubt there’s a biological and anthropological story in the depths of history about music’s origin, but I don’t think it’s a different story than that of how humans came to be, period. Just because no one invented music, however, doesn’t mean that others aren’t super important to our musical lives. We first hear music coming from others, and, happily, this continues even after we start making music ourselves. It can do a lot to inspire our own music making. Musicians and non-musicians alike are often moved and inspired by music in ways that are psychical, bodily, or both (mostly both). We want others to hear our music. And, we frequently want to make music with others. So, a big part of musical life is social. We gain hugely from the music of others, and part of appreciating others is envisioning possibilities for ourselves. For these reasons, reviews, interviews, and event notices are a big part of Guitarete.com.
Every musician needs at least a little gear. I wouldn’t be the first to notice that guitarists can be gear obsessives. And, it’s not hard to see why. Just look at the astonishing range of cool guitar gear available. Using it is part of making music. Gear—of course—is just potential until notes and rhythm hit it, but it has a lot to do with how we get notes and rhythm out into the world, no matter if one is playing only for oneself or playing for a worldwide audience. So, gear is a necessary part of Guitarete.com. And, “gear” is a broad category. For sure, it includes all manner of guitars and all manner of related stuff, but I also think of it as including educational technology, studio technology, and guitar-techy stuff.
Guitarete is made in New York City. While Guitarete.com draws content from all over, this site is made in New York City. New York City is an awesome, lovely, and maddening place with a ton of world-class musical action, in general, and a seemingly endless stream of great guitarists. It’s not, of course, the only great place for music, but it’s one of them. No doubt, New York City plays a noticeable role in Guitarete.com.
Welcome to Guitarete, and thanks for checking us out!