The Shape of Us and Imperfections

The Shape of Us is a beautiful song by Ian Britt, a yet-to-be-discovered British guitarist and singer. While Ian does a great job with the lyrics and the singing, the star of the song is a gorgeous acoustic guitar riff that plays in the background the whole time.

Now, if you listen carefully however, you’ll notice imperfections. As guitarists move their fingers on the strings for riffs like this, they make a scraping sound (listen to ~1:04 for example). If you listen for it, you’ll hear that sound through the song. And, if you haven’t listened for that scraping sound before, it is likely you’ll now hear it in most of your favorite acoustic guitar riffs.

That scraping sound is a natural side effect of playing gorgeous riffs on an acoustic guitar. Attempting to hide that imperfection or engineer that out would ruin the experience of listening to the acoustic guitar.

It turns out that playing to the guitar’s strengths by focusing on simple, melodious, music and accepting that a few imperfections come with the package is a recipe for creating magical music.

Somewhere in there is a learning for all of us.