Watch the The Utensil & The Experience online guitar lesson by Pat Martino from The Nature of Guitar
In playing guitar, ability is secondary to its applications.
Take the experience of enjoying a good meal - there are certain implements that are necessary in order to do so. Of course, you can do it with your hands directly, as some do, but here we have forks and knives. Even though we use them every time we eat, we don't think of them when we are at dinner. With no thought whatsoever, it becomes a part of the experience of tasting the food. it's the same thing with the exposure to the guitar over several years playing - just another material that helps you express yourself as a musician.