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Post new topic Are you an imitator or an innovator?
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Author Topic:  Are you an imitator or an innovator?
Bill McCloskey


Post  Posted 6 Jan 2019 1:55 pm    
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Okay, time for a nice loaded question to get the 2019 juices flowing:

Are you an imitator or an innovator?

First, I don't see either of this as wrong or one better than the other, but different approaches to music joy.

Imitators: I think this is were most people lie. They want to imitate as closely as possible the sounds of their heros, their favorite music, signature licks, etc. They investigate the history of the instrument, the great players, and they strive to sound authentic when playing those styles. Their hero's solos are examined like the talmud.

Innovators: Susan Alcorn would fall into this category, But so would Buddy Emmons, Sol Hoopi, in fact, all the folks imitators want to imitate.

I think all of us start out as imitators. I know I did. I now consider myself an innovator wanna be.

What are you?
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Fred Treece


From:
California, USA
Post  Posted 6 Jan 2019 3:56 pm    
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Your posts are getting to be an awful lot of fun, Bill 👍

You are right, we all start out wanting to sound like somebody. After all, listening to music is what inspired us to play in the first place. This is almost like a stage of life question, because at some point in our playing careers, no matter how obscure or how famous that career may be, we inevitably start sounding like nobody else anyway.

“Innovator” is not limited to playing, of course. The master builders of instruments and other equipment pave the way for us to play in ways that we may not have thought to before.

This doesn’t even take into account whether we write our own material. I might consider Player X an innovator, even though his repertoire is almost 100% covers. Player Y claims to write his own material, but doesn’t sound original or innovative at all to me.

Maybe we are innovative or imitative on our own terms, but not to someone else’s standards. I consider myself at an innovative stage of life simply for having taken up pedal steel at age 60, and bringing something a little different to the bands I play with.


Last edited by Fred Treece on 6 Jan 2019 8:29 pm; edited 1 time in total
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Tim Russell


From:
Pennsylvania, USA
Post  Posted 6 Jan 2019 4:13 pm    
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I remember reading in an article - Buddy said we are all "lick thieves." Laughing
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Douglas Schuch


From:
Valencia, Philippines
Post  Posted 7 Jan 2019 5:06 am    
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I have played pedal steel for 7 years now. And on psg, I am an imitator. I am starting to figure out some stuff on my own, and very slowly developing my own style, but mostly I imitate. I got a dobro (7-string Sho-Bro) a week ago. I have no dobro instruction material except a little from online, but not using it. Instead, I am just figuring out stuff myself. It's a much simpler instrument to start on (all instruments are equally hard to master, but some are easier for a novice to figure out some stuff on. I've been chastised for this viewpoint, but I think it is correct). Now, I will readily admit that what I am playing on dobro is not original - I might be figuring out stuff on my own, but at this point anything I play has probably been played a million times. But I am not "imitating" anyone, nor using tab, books, etc. Just figuring out melodies, chord positions, et.
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Donny Hinson


From:
Glen Burnie, Md. U.S.A.
Post  Posted 7 Jan 2019 8:34 am    
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It's hard to be a true innovator, and it gets harder with time. Back in the late '50s and early 60s, there was a lot that hadn't been done yet, so innovation was easier. I copy a lot from many different players, but I haven't really moulded myself in the style or sound of any single player, as many here have done, or attempt to do. There are things I've played that I thought were unique, my own idea and contribution, so to speak. But then, most times, I'd find some player who did the same thing decades ago.
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Joachim Kettner


From:
Germany
Post  Posted 7 Jan 2019 9:10 am    
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When I was a boy, I got a record by a band called The Copycats on an obscure German label. This came to mind when reading this post. I guess one can call me a copycat Laughing
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Joachim Kettner


From:
Germany
Post  Posted 7 Jan 2019 9:14 am    
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Tim Russell wrote:
I remember reading in an article - Buddy said we are all "lick thieves." Laughing

I once read someone say "We only steal from the best".
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Larry Carlson


From:
My Computer
Post  Posted 7 Jan 2019 9:31 am    
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.
I am an imitator.
While I am getting better at my instrument and am now writing my own songs
I can guarantee you I am not doing anything that hasn't been done 10,000 times before.
Even when playing well known songs and I wander off the melody into my own little world
I know just about everyone has been there before.
The good thing is I don't mind that one bit. I'm enjoying myself, making music (sort of) and scaring our dog.
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Jack Stoner


From:
Inverness, Fl
Post  Posted 7 Jan 2019 9:45 am    
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I'm an imitator, mostly. A lot of my licks are ones that I've heard, most are not exactly like the original.

Not being exactly like the original lick brings to mind one that I thought I was copying until I was shown how the original lick was done. I was working in a Nashville music store at the time and noodling on one of the steels in the store. Johnny Cox came into the store and heard me and showed me how Lloyd Green did the lick on a recording. The "right way" was even easier to play.
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Dave Mudgett


From:
Central Pennsylvania
Post  Posted 7 Jan 2019 10:19 am    
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I don't think "imitator" and "innovator" effectively partition (in the set-theoretic sense - https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Partition_of_a_set) the set of people in any field. IMO there are a lot more archetypes going on, but I think it's hard to come up with a simple label to describe them. In addition, I don't think "imitator" and "innovator" are even mutually exclusive.

I think most intelligent people "stand on the shoulders of giants". I think it's pretty boneheaded to argue that it's not worth at least seriously considering what acknowledged masters (in any field) have accomplished. And once one has seriously considered what they have done, how does one not be influeced by it? I guess there have been a handful of people that just seem to grow their own approach to something, but I think that's very rare.

So I think most innovators do in fact imitate, at least in the learning phase, but somehow make breakthroughs. I think I learn by imitation, but I really don't think I am basically an imitator. I have always had to go my own way at some point. But I'm not sure I'd necessarily call myself an "innovator". Maybe I am from my personal point of view, but most labels like this are ascribed by others, not by oneself. And I think that has to do with one's work having a wide reach and then getting wide acceptance. I guess I'm not that ambitious. When it comes to science, math, and music (which is what I've spent most of my adult life doing), what motivates me is a combination of the reason for doing it plus the simple pleasure of doing it, and then letting the chips fall where they may.

So I don't really care about labels like this, which are sort of a trap to begin with. I'm not into innovation for the sake of innovation - for me, there has to be a point to what I'm doing, and I just prefer to let that guide me.

My take.
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Fred Treece


From:
California, USA
Post  Posted 7 Jan 2019 10:58 am    
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Dave Mudgett wrote:
I'm not into innovation for the sake of innovation - for me, there has to be a point to what I'm doing, and I just prefer to let that guide me.

👍 I wish I would have said it that way.
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Mike Neer


From:
NJ
Post  Posted 7 Jan 2019 11:07 am    
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I don’t think it’s for me to say.
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Fred Justice


From:
Mesa, Arizona
Post  Posted 7 Jan 2019 11:49 am    
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I'm just a country tater Very Happy
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