Music has a language which is the structure with which you form the music. Technique is the mechanism you utilise for fluency in expressing that language. The sound made is the product of how you use the technique to express the language. And how you use the technique to express the language to create the music is entirely up to you. It’s not up to Yngwie Malmsteen or Steve Vai, nor Eric Johnson or Eric Clapton. They, as with all the other guitarists worthy of being called a guitarist, have their own ways to express themselves with the electric guitar.
It’s not about practicing to levels of proficiency till you’re a copy of them; till you could go round haughtily claiming to the denizens that you can play as fast as Malmsteen, including the pouting lips and sucked in cheeks. Or bend and shake the notes like David Gilmour complete with pursed lips and puffed up cheeks. Or tap like EVH with grinning lips and smiling cheeks. You only need bona fide guitar heroes to broaden your vocabulary of how the music can be played. Theirs is their own expression. Just as yours should be your own.
If you want others to drool when you play note for note of what others could; if you want them to cream at the flurry of notes at the same speed, or even faster; if you could make all the facial expressions and do all the moves – than all you’re looking for is to be regarded as a good mimic. You’d be no different than a well-trained simian. Or local rap artists who prance around like they’re the bizkit just because they actually believe they sound black and from the projects. Ignore the apologists who say they’re using the form and expression of others but make it their own. Yeah, that’s not mimicry. That’s thievery.
So get your own sound. Forge your own expression. Find your own sense of fashion. Get out of the local mindset that only accepts something as good only when it’s able to mimic something that is already good before. When you got the language and discovered the technique, and stored a library of how it’s done -close your eyes, silence your mind, reach down deep inside and let it flow using the language to give it form and the technique to give it beauty. And only then would it be interesting to lend you an ear.
But if you’re merely playing like someone else with roving eyes to see whose watching and a grinning sneer that says, “Ain’t but a thang”, then join the queue at the next Idol line.