Vince Gill: "I reached the point where I said, ‘I’m just going to play what’s necessary’"

(Image credit: John Shearer)

Vince Gill has been playing the guitar for 55 of his 62 years. His virtuosic and sweetly expressive solos - whether flatpicked or played fingerstyle - have graced more than 20 genre-spanning studio albums that have earned him 21 Grammy awards and just about every honor the Country Music Association has come up with. Asked if he feels like he has anything more to prove, the easy-going guitarist laughs gently and says, “Probably not. I’ve had a good run.” 

He pauses a little before expanding on his answer: “I mean, there’s still a lot that I can’t do on the guitar - we could fill a book with it. But a while ago I reached the point where I said, ‘I’m just going to play what’s necessary.’ That comes with age and experience. You don’t think like that when you’re young, but it’s a peaceful place to be. I’m content to say what I want on the guitar, and I can leave it at that.”

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Joe Bosso

Joe is a freelance journalist who has, over the past few decades, interviewed hundreds of guitarists for Guitar World, Guitar Player, MusicRadar and Classic Rock. He is also a former editor of Guitar World, contributing writer for Guitar Aficionado and VP of A&R for Island Records. He’s an enthusiastic guitarist, but he’s nowhere near the likes of the people he interviews. Surprisingly, his skills are more suited to the drums. If you need a drummer for your Beatles tribute band, look him up.