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  •  The EvO:R-Pedia Musicians Tips Section
    5 Guitar Tips to Getting and Staying Employed

    Welcome to the EvO:R Tips Section. We call this section EvO:R-Pedia because it is like a complete reference library for Indie musicians...Just about every tip has been used so you won't find false promises and a series of books to buy after reading each tip. This section was put here by musicians so that people that followed can take this knowledge and use it's power.

    5 Guitar Tips to Getting and Staying Employed
    By Harley Warren

    Many guitarists, including myself, felt that overpowering insatiable need to learn guitar because one technical approach stood out over most others. That preferred style becomes our musical forte and therein our crutch. Personally, I loved the heavy technical wizards from the 80's and 90's (think Malmsteen, Vai, Tony McAlpine, e.t.c..) and did my best to emulate them. My fingers bled from learning their techniques. However once I started playing professionally it was painfully obvious that any given style was only as good as it was popular. Once you start paying the bills with your axe, it becomes very important to know all the necessary tricks of the trade or die of starvation.

    I learned early on that if you want to make a living playing guitar, cherish what you love but practice what you will need - when you least expect it. If you are talented enough to become a professional axeman, your strengths will come as no surprise to anyone. However, if you examine the session masters (Steve Lukather, Ry Cooder,Paul Jackson Jr. to name but a few) you find that their musical palette contains far more colors than that which they are best known for choosing to showcase the most.

    Scrutinize a good guitarists body of work, not just the style that turns you on the most. Steve Lukather is a perfect example. His work with Toto is arguably his most prolific, but the tracks he laid for Michael Jackson, Boz Scaggs, e.t.c... go a long way to showing his diversity and skills in different styles. The man's discography is amazing. Bottom line is that it's easy to be awesome at what you love, but it's necessary to become good at everything else if you want to make a living.

    If you are a true shredder of any quality, you like to spend a great excess of time simply noodling your favorite riffs, or getting a few BPM faster with that smoking "sweep picking" technique that impresses everyone. I have one word for that... bollocks. If you only practice what you know than you never learn, it just gets easier to present your current skill level.

    factoid: No matter what you think you can do brilliantly on the guitar, there is a 9 year old somewhere on the planet that can do it better, while skateboarding.

    Proper habits are the absolute key to becoming better at your craft. If you set aside 2 hours per day to practice, then take at least half of that time studying new and unfamiliar techniques or styles, gravitating - of course - to what is popular in today's music world. You will always find the time to riff what you love to play - that is a given - otherwise you are an accountant not a musician. Having said that, unless you are prepared to expand your horizons musically you will be the best guitarist in your basement but a complete waste of time in an organization that wants to pay you cash in hand.

    Once you have developed enough new techniques to accomplish in your soon-to-be awesome new skill set, stop stockpiling ideas for a while and do the work. It is so easy to over-saturate your brain with new musical ideas. You will only get confused and frustrated with too much on the plate. One rarely learns how to fight by just from continually being attacked by overwhelming force. It can happen, but in most cases you end up bloodied and worse for wear. Knowledge comes in steps, over time, with a great deal of patience and love for your craft.

    As an example, I'll give you my normal weekly schedule.

  •  I will mercilessly hunt down 4 different techniques using different "style macros" (musical styles) I pick out 2 to 4 lessons from each of the 4 styles that will advance my skill set, and therein is the tasty meat filling in my practice week feast :-) A "lesson" can be a guitar solo from an old George Benson song, the alternate picking technique that I read about in my latest guitar player magazine, e.t.c...

  •  I normally throw 2 to 4 style "lessons" into one 2 hour daily practice session, depending on the learning curve involved.

  •  I practice on the first 3 days of the week.

  •  I use and use the next 2 days of a week reviewing, honing what I have learned, riffing to myself, and then experimenting with the new knowledge over music that I like.

  •  In the next few days I am yet again on the hunt for new things to learn. I always allow at least one day - every 8 or so days- wherein I do not touch the guitar. For some reason it always seems like a good idea to give your "creative brain" a break and let it sort out all the things you have fed it. It's my equivalent of the phrase "sleep on it".

    Finding the motivation for doing something that doesn't necessarily turn your crank, well that's somewhat like asking someone in a Ferrari to drive the speed limit. After all, it seems rather moronic to build a car that can do 75 MPH in first gear and then ask you to put around the world in slow motion, no?

    To motivate yourself properly for learning a style that may make you only want to run screaming head-long into a brick wall, simply pick techniques and lessons that challenge and frustrate you, styles that question your own abilities as a guitarist. Knowing that any chump can play in a style you don't find appealing means nothing - unless that chump is doing something that makes you look like an idiot.

    Finding material to learn has never been so easy. Any good guitar publication in print or on the internet is worth it's weight in gold to you, the aspiring guitarist. Pick from a variety of sources, instructional videos and audio programs, and listen to many popular stations - you will inevitably snatch something challenging, or at least something that peaks your musical curiosity and expands your horizons as a guitarist. Bookmark and keep checking this blog and others for it will often contain many good links and sources that can help you achieve your goal.

    When I talk about "aural hygiene" in seminars, sometimes I make my point by noodling a solo loudly over my speech. It becomes a very elementary lesson at this point. When someone pays $80 to $150.00 and hour to hear me talk about my approach to guitar, I always found it weird they would rather hear me speak occasionally.

    Let's assume that you are good enough to get out there and spread the love, and you have a few auditions or sessions lined up. The golden rule is simple: Keep the bloody noise down!

    Guitarists and drummers are the absolute worst for wailing away in oblivion while people are talking, setting up, or adjusting sound. Making unnecessary noise when it's time to be quiet shows you have no respect for the other people in said session. No matter how unbelievable you may be skill wise, people don't need to hear your "Amazingness" over and over again. You will walk out of that session looking like a horses ass, guaranteed.

    There have been many cases in my own experience leading bands or recording sessions when I could have easily committed homicide - from a drummer who wouldn't stop tuning or warming up. So my best advise is to keep it down until you are called upon to show off those unreal chops, or you will quickly have a reputation that keeps other people's phones ringing and keeps you at home staring at your unpaid phone bill.

  • The author is an accomplished musician and recording artist. He has contributed to many music publications during his tenure. You can normally find him writing for http://guitarmethods.blogspot.com/ when he is not publishing in magazines.

    Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/?expert=Harley_Warren
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