Gary Moore & Playing with Feeling

Gary Moore – The Stumble

I was very sorry to hear when Gary Moore died in February. If I made a list of guitarists who convey the most raw emotion, Gary would be near the top. I don’t know how many hundreds or thousands of blues guitarists I’ve seen and heard play, but few clearly enjoyed it so much, and used the guitar so expressively.

Playing with feeling is notoriously difficult to teach, since it’s not quantifiable, like learning songs and exercises can be (2nd string, 12th fret, bend up 1/2 step, etc.). It has to come from a much more personal place, and the guitarist has to feel comfortable opening up in front of others, displaying that unguarded emotion and all of the movements, facial expressions, and sounds it brings out.

Even if you don’t think you’re self-conscious about your playing, I recommend playing a few songs when no one else is around, dancing around, and just getting into it completely. It’s more difficult to do around others. I often find insights into my own playing when I do this, and tend to enjoy myself even more. Who knows, you might come up with a new stage move or powerful riff to add to in your repertoire.