But, of course that isn't true. There are some truly awful pieces for electric guitar, some not bad ones and some very good ones. It is the commentors that step in to point this out!
As one commentor said, the "guitar symphonies" of Glenn Branca are rather awful. Here is a section of his Symphony No. 8:
That's exactly what you would expect to hear with 100 electric guitarists. To keep them together you have to have a heavy beat. It's tremolando electronic sludge all the way through. No themes, no rhythmic contrasts. As a composition this is appallingly crude!
Another piece they excerpt in the article is Rhys Chatham's A Crimson Grail. Here is the very end, which sounds like an idiot headbanger's version of the Dona nobis pacem from Bach's B minor Mass:
If it took longer than five minutes to write that I would be surprised. Again, appallingly crude. The next piece, an aria with electric guitar obbligato, is surprisingly pleasant:
Their next example is Steve Reich's Electric Counterpoint which is just as good as you might expect from one of the most well-known current American composers:
A particularly wonderful use of the electric guitar. The last piece they put up is this one by Steven Mackey which is not bad, but a bit aimless:
I really can't make sense out of this universal policy in music journalism that Thou Shalt Make No Aesthetic Judgments! There is always good music, bad music and just ok music. Why deny it? Is it to avoid people complaining in the comments? As in the case of this article, the commentors are the first to leap in and point out what is good and bad! Here is the first comment to the article:
I'm a guitarist, luthier, owned a music store and was a recording engineer. I have been around music all my life. I love everything guitar except what i heard above. It was chaos. If you want to hear a guitar symphony listen to the Allman Brothers do "in memory of Elizabeth Reed" or some songs by Queen. Too many to mention. I admit i only sampled the first two songs and i couldn't even get all the way through them. Not saying it's a bad idea, just that the the compositions were horrific to me. Twenty people grinding on electric guitars like that is a migraine looking for a head to invade.He is talking about the first two pieces and nails it pretty well.
So why this "all music is equally worthy" crap? Must be just one of those unexamined assumptions of The Narrative.
UPDATE: I just can't resist the temptation of putting up my own piece for multiple guitars. I have put it up before, but if you missed it, this is Long Lines of Winter Light for an indeterminate number of guitars. In this performance there are ten guitars. It is in "moment" form, meaning that there are a bunch of small boxes of musical ideas that can be played in various orders. The conductor guides the players by indicating which boxes they are to play. Here it is: