Perhaps it is easier to start with what this book is not. It does not provide tips or tricks to improve your guitar playing other than at a metaphysical level (more of this later). It does not teach you to play like Robert Fripp, nor does it teach any theory, scales or tasty Crimson tinged licks. It doesn’t consider the benefits of a .7mm plectrum vs a 1mm (believe me, there are books which do), nor does it debate effects pedals or how to play D. In fact for long periods it doesn’t talk about guitars at all. What, you may be wondering, is it about then?
Having read it once cover to cover then skimmed through it a second time, I’m struggling to articulate what it is about really. Probably the easiest way to explain it is to say it is a detailed exploration of Fripp’s personal philosophy of guitar playing (the eponymous Guitar Craft), some of which is quite specific (how to strike the string, when to move fingers, how to sit on a chair) and large sections are letters to his Guitar Craft students or responses to their queries. It stresses the student’s need for poise, for silence, for intent, for being present in the moment. He mentions the Alexander Technique as a key influence, and mindfulness hangs in the air but I don’t remember it being mentioned.
I suppose you could say the book is about how to achieve the right physical, emotional and spiritual state of mind and framework of skills to be able to create music, though as I said above, this doesn’t include what you create, which could be any genre or none.
Personally I found it frustratingly gnomic at times, so abstracted from the realities of making music that it mostly irritated me in its abstruse utterances. But hey, he’s Robert Fripp so who am I to disagree.
Now, where’s that book of hot licks?
Length of Read:Medium
Might appeal to people who enjoyed…
Philosophy books, King Crimson
One thing you’ve learned
There are completely different ways to think about something I have been doing for so long I can’t remember not doing it. Which in itself is interesting. Maybe I’ll give it another read.