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“I think it’s the challenge right now – they are very isolated, working on their own”: Pete Townshend on the one thing Instagram guitarists lack

“I think what needs to happen is they need to be fitted into the music world, somewhere other than Instagram.”

Pete Townshend of The Who performs

Image: Erika Goldring / Getty Images

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The Who’s Pete Townshend has spoken on a key aspect of guitar playing he believes many Instagram guitarists tend to overlook these days.

In a new interview with Guitarist, Townshend offered his thoughts on whether or not playing fast comes at the expense of playing lyrically, saying: “Well, Prince could shred and he often would play a really soulful blues track, and then in order to get from one bit of blues to the other, he would do an extraordinary shred. So it was a bit flashy [vocalising]. Maybe it was just to show he could do it. So, I don’t know.”

According to Townshend, social media shredders sometimes experience a “disconnect”, whereby they are able to play fast but lack the ability to appreciate melody or lyricism – a predicament he argues stems from a lack of experience playing with other musicians.

“A lot of them are just solo musicians that have mastered their craft and got really, really fast. So, I think what needs to happen is they need to be fitted into the music world, somewhere other than Instagram.”

“That’s the challenge for them,” he adds. “I think it’s the challenge right now, as it is for a lot of electronic music musicians: they are very isolated, working on their own.”

Townshend then singles out virtuoso Angel Vivaldi as one of the few guitarists who’s “brilliant” both on his own and while he’s playing with other musicians, saying: “There are many on Instagram – one of my favourites is a guy called Angel Vivaldi, who’s a brilliant, brilliant player – but when he works with other musicians, he changes.”

“He actually listens to them and fits in. He can play anything that he wants to play.”

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