Hi, I’m an 89A3444aerl-jazz. What are you?
In the style of personal classified ads (remember those?), I have created the ESGATH26G scale. The ESGATH26G is not a musical scale; rather, it’s a shorthand method for guitar players to describe themselves using a string of letters and numbers.
Here is how the ESGATH26G scale works, element by element:
1. E is for Experience. First, are you experienced? This is the year you first played a guitar.
2. S is for Status. A or P: Amateur or Professional. If you make a living or partial living playing or teaching guitar, put P. Otherwise, put A.
3. GATH is for Gear, Ability, Theory, History. These four numbers represent, on a scale of 1-5, how much you care about these 4 elements of the guitar universe.
1 = I couldn’t care less about this
2 = I care only a little about this
3 = I care but don’t obsess about this
4 = This is really important to me
5 = This is a substantial part of my reason for being
Gear: how much you buy, sell, trade, research and fiddle with guitars, amps, pickups, pedals, processors, strings, picks, software, etc.
Ability: technical prowess, tone, rhythm, feel–basically any sound you make
Theory: the workings of chords, scales, modes, inversions, intervals, etc.
History: who played what, who wrote what, who produced what, what inspired whom, who died when, who used what gear, etc.
NOTE: Your self-appointed ratings of 1-5 measure NOT how good you are, but how IMPORTANT these four areas of guitar are to you. A complete beginner could be a 5555 if they plan to become a total guitar junkie. Conversely, a veteran player who has fallen into complete apathy could be a 1111.
4. 26 is for 2-6 letters. The next element contains from 2-6 letters. Include all that apply to you. This section MUST contain at least 2 letters, since all players play either acoustic or electric (or both); and rhythm or lead (or both).
a = you play acoustic
e = you play electric
r = you play rhythm
l = you play lead
t = you are a guitar teacher (whether paid or not)
p = you perform with a guitar (whether paid or not)
5. G is for Genre. The final element is a dash followed by the genre of music you play most: rock, blues, jazz, metal, country, flamenco, etc.
So, revisiting my own self-description, 89A3444aerl-jazz, we see that I first played a guitar in 1989. I’m an amateur. I care somewhat about gear, more so about ability, theory and history. I play acoustic, electric, rhythm and lead. I am not a performer or a teacher, and I play mostly jazz. See? It’s like you’ve known me all your life!
The ESGATH26G scale is fluid and can change as you go through different phases of your guitar life.
So… what are YOU?