well i've been studying for about 2 years and have developed decent technique. i've not really had any classical training so alot of my technique is just what i think sounds good, but are chops everything.  and how do you develop them  better. i know speeds not everything but its a plus!!! anyway what  do you think?
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quick and easy answer: no!

think of it this way:

you could be the most eloquent speaker in the world but have nothing worth saying.
you also have to remember that there are different kinds of chops...........some things you do, someone else may not be able to do very well, and vice versa.  everyone has something different to give...........it's a beautiful thing.
i think "chops" was originally used to refer to technical facility, but has since been "expanded" to describe proficiency in other areas as well.  

for example:

"i need to work on my 'jazz chops', 'hanging chops' or my 'drinking chops'" :)
i have been working on my comping, closed voicing, rootless and alt chord chops
i've heard that the term "chops" originally came about from horn players whose exercising has the effect of strengthening the cheek and jaw muscles.

that area of the face is also the region where the type of sideburn known as "lamb-chops" grows.

so while "geting your chops together" orignally meant exercising the basics to the point of reflex, i believe it now means relative mastery over any number of musical issues.

however, sometimes "chops" is taken to mean "possessing a large collection of riffs" (as opposed to a deep understanding of structure and the ability to technically execute most musical ideas with relative fluidity).

while having "chops" may not be the be-all end-all to music, having chops is pretty much a prerequisite any level of pro musicianship.
here's the way i look at it- if you have something in your head or heart that you want to play and you don't have the technical facility to play it, then you need to work on your chops. but if you can play what you want, then your chops are where they need to be.

what i love hearing are players with monster chops who don't have to use them all the time.
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