The Dilema of Collecting, Wanting and Adding More Guitars.

The Dilema of Collecting, Wanting and Adding More Guitars.

Almost every guitar player that I know enjoys adding instruments to their stable. We have an emotional connection to guitars and let’s face it – we love the damn things. Reasons to look for new instruments vary from something that we truly need, such as capability to have a go to guitar for an extra tuning or a back-up guitar when we play a live show, all the way to finding an axe just because it would look good on our wall.

Are any of the reasons good enough? Sure. I won’t judge.

But, there is a deeper mental dilemma and torment at play when some guitarists obsess over which instrument to get next. It is the feeling of getting something new that is exciting for the sake of the chase that often results in nothing less than a one two punch to the brain.

When a need arises to truly have a new guitar, then let’s leave it at that. Go for it. But, what if we just go crazy while fueled with the greedy need of getting something new just because. Let’s talk about that. I will additionally throw a few tips on how to approach finding the right guitar you need.

I would like to share some tips that might help you when you are driving yourself crazy over what to get next. Yes, this loony cycle includes sleepless nights and spending hours upon hours looking on the internet.

Wanting Something Is Way More Powerful Than Having It

The anticipation and excitement of getting a potential new guitar are often more powerful than the satisfaction of having it in your hands. I think of it when a child orders something from the internet and he checks every hour if the mailman dropped it off for him. Once the package is opened and a couple days are spent with the new toy, a new prize appears on the horizon. Yep, even guitars are like that. The truth is that people are emotional animals and many lack the self-discipline to avoid traps that are set up by their mind.

If you are thinking about the next guitar you will get “after” the one you are looking at “currently”, you might be beginning to spin a little crazy. These days it is extremely hard to get away from having something you are interested in not find you. How about when you look at something online one day and a banner ad pops-up with this exact item when you least expect it a day after while you Google cat food. Yeah, it’s like dropping beer cans at the doorstep of a guy who likes to hit the brews a little too hard and tries to stop. Remember, my main point to get away from this spin cycle. Remember that the anticipation and excitement are very often more powerful than the product. If this point does not hit hard enough, follow below.

Do Not Accept Cheaper Substitutes

You know what is a real let down? When you buy something that is kind of what you wanted and then you realize it was a mistake. You end up selling it for the less than you bought it for and you go back to the guitar that you really wanted that is now more expensive. Double loss. Double frustration. Don’t do that. Yes, sometimes it is important to bleed for what you want. Get what you want. These days guitar manufacturers make instruments that are all over the price range with many of them looking very similar. Once you get the cheaper alternative you realize that the neck binding sucks, the guitar is not balanced right or that the hardware is cheap. This is a total waste of time. I would rather have 2 great quality guitars than 12 low budget beaters. No contest. Don’t accept substitutes. Remember, that your mind will play tricks on you and will try to give you a million reason why the substitute is better. You’ll hear things like it’s cheaper, you can get it now, it’s local. It’s all BS. Don’t do it. Get what you want.

True Progress Happens With Work and Practice

You are thinking WTF, I just want a guitar. That is my point. A new guitar will not make you sound great overnight – it still takes practice to play it well. Make sure that getting new gear is not your substitute for practicing. It is very easy to use guitar buying as a distraction to what the guitar was meant for, and that is to being played. So, if you are spending more time on the internet looking for new guitars versus practicing on them, then the priorities might be out of whack.

What If You Are Over The Mountain

Ok, so what happens when you are spinning, just want anything, want something new and you don’t know why the heck you are looking for a new guitar anyways. My tip is to get busy with something else. You are not in a productive space because your emotions and lack of reason keeps you spinning. Focus on something else, a new project or something else that you can get your hand or mind on. One of main reasons for failing at anything is a broken focus. You can use this to guitar buying as well. If you want to fail at buying a new guitar, break the focus of thinking about it. Eventually the urge will get smaller and smaller. You can use this usually negative principle of losing focus to actually gain potentially positive outcome.

These are the main points that I wanted to share. I am sure that there are several others, but I hope that above does help you in your decisions while chasing that holy-grail. And, remember guitar shopping is still cheaper than fast horses and big boats, so take your time, enjoy a nice axe every so often, don’t spend every penny you have, breathe a little and try to enjoy the process as it should be a fun one. Once guitar buying or collecting is stressful and not fun, the point is completely lost and is a dead ringer that you should probably rethink your approach. Horns Up!

 

What’s Talent Have To Do With It …

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Talent and people’s perspective and relationship to it is an interesting thing. See if you can agree with me that having talent at something is a gift that allows you to be naturally pre-disposed to doing better than others at a task.

Good example of this is a friend who picks up a pencil and can draw something pretty well or a buddy at work who picks-up playing drums and naturally has good rhythm and timing. You can say that without trying too hard, these people had a leg up on the task out of thin air. It was a gift that could be practiced and improved upon to get better, but that raw ability was in the person’s DNA.

When I was stydying, obsessing and practicing the guitar all the way through my college years, I never considered myself to have any more talent at playing the instrument than anyone else that I met. I felt that I became good at playing the guitar because I practiced it a lot.

One of my college professors disagreed with me, however. He said that no matter how much he practiced he was never able to achieve his dream and play in the NFL. He felt he did not have enough talent in football, although he loved the game and had a lot of passion for it. That conversation began changing my perspective a little.

So, should someone give up a pursuing something because they feel or think that they might have little talent for it? Definitely not.

Truth is that if you have a strong interest in trying something this is very often your talent nudging you to do it. You really never know how talented you might be at anything until you try. They say the more expensive place on earth is the cemetery because unfulfilled inventions, dreams and things that could make life for us humans better never had a chance to be materialized.

Point to remember. Even if you are very talented at something you have to put in the work. This is a sticky point for many talented folks. Because things might come “easier” to them due to various talents they often do not try hard. I have seen this happen with many guitar playing friends of mine who were ridiculously talented but just kind of sat around and settled. They got what they wanted easily and they never knew how to push for super results where real work was needed.

One thing I’d also lke to stress is a quote I recently read from NFL veteran and Superbowl XVLI Champion, Steve Weatherford.

“Talent will always lose to someone who’s willing to work.”

You hear him? Steve believes that strong work ethic will outperform eventually someone with talent. Talent will not improve by itself unles you put in more work. You can’t only rely on it. If you have a talented person rely soley at their birth given talent, the hard working person with lesser talent will eventually rise and surpass him or her. I agree with this to be true. This is a very motivating factor for anyone who wants to become better at something whether it is an instrument or anything else. In a nutshell, the success relies on you.

And, if it is you, then this is good news. You can always control your output, work and dedication.

I think it also important to be straight on this and realize that there are sometimes misalignments. If you really have to work incredibly hard to shoot one hoop out of 10 and you are looking to surpass someone who is just the right height and has a lot of talent that can take him as far as the NBA – you might be in the wrong game.

Remember that because you like something you do not have to become a master at it. Your talent might lie somewhere else. There is plenty of joy just enjoying doing something because you like it and not having the stress of becoming amazing at it. Become truly great at where your talents lie and simply enjoy the rest. It is impossible to conquer everything.

I strongly believe that everyone has a talent to do something whether it is art related, building something, problem solving or decorating. Sometimes the talent speaks to you when it nudges you to try something because of your interest in it and sometimes you have to be concious of your surrounding a bit. Perhaps your talent is simply listening to people and giving small pieces of advice. Horns Up!

Action Before Inspiration! (And, A Quick Story About A Car Battery)

In today’s blog I want to touch on an idea that I learned to be true and can definitely be applied to guitar playing.

As humans we often have 2 internal voices. One that wants to do something and the other one that comes up with excuses as to why we shouldn’t do it. You know the routine. You’re tired, not enough time, etc.

This applies in everything we do in life, but for today’s example, I’ll just stick to it as far as it applies to the guitar.

Often, we know we should play the guitar but then the battle starts as to why we could do it later. At this moment, hopefully you are naturally inspired to play often and that is great. However, there will be a time when the enthusiasm will dip and the info here is helpful. It happens to everyone, even professionals.

Let me share with you 2 great things to remember.

1) What I found out that we sometimes can NOT wait until an inspiration takes over for us to play or do a task.

2) I also found out that when we take action to do a task and stay with it for a few minutes an inspiration to keep doing it kicks in on its own and finds US. We simply must know to take action first and let the inspiration kick in shortly. It happens all the time. We might not feel like gong to the gym, but once we are there usually we end up doing what is necessary to finish the trip successfully.

Remember the car battery? Well, practicing the guitar is also similar to starting the car. The car takes the most juice out of the battery right when it starts and this is same with the guitar when you don’t feel like playing. But, after you pick up the guitar, plug in and play a few licks – you usually stay with it for a long while.

Studies show that we need about 15-25 minutes of doing something until we get into a creative zone where time dissapears. You know what I’m talking about.

Keep these simple but true ideas handy for when you will need it. Horns up!

The Greatest Guitar Playing Advice From Bruce Lee.

“I fear not the man who has practiced 10,000 kicks once. I fear the man who has practiced one kick 10,000 times.” – Bruce Lee

This entry of the dragon is for guitar players and yep, Bruce Lee is right. In truth, I find that many guitar players out there are confused as far as what to practice and how to practice. I can understand why. No one really wants to talk about boring practice routine. That’s ok. I’ll just do it right here.

Read the quote above and understand that what Bruce Lee is talking about is focus and the art of mastering something by repetition. One of the definitions of mastering something is the ability to be able to call on something quickly and perform it exceptionally well.

Here is how this applies to guitar playing.

First of all, many guitar players have already figured out that to stay at the same level technically they are at, they need to at least practice 45 minutes a day. Anything else and you are sliding back. Anything more, give or take, and you’ll be gaining. So, while we are here, I’ll chime in that there are no plateaus in guitar playing. We never arrive and stay at the same level. If we are not getting better, we are getting worse.

Here’s the deal. When guitar players practice they usually jump around the fret board playing parts of someone else’s solos they know, a lick here and there and then they work on something they feel is not yet up to up. But, this is only one type of practice.

If you want to get terrifyingly fast and fluid, we need to check out the Bruce Lee quote.

Instead of playing dozens of 75% there licks, choose one lick and play it over and over and over again. Don’t practice any other ones. Just keep nailing that same lick until the cows come home. Doing so will help break barriers and will allow you to obtain a complete new level of performance out of that one lick.

Here’s where the great bonus appears. Read the next sentence slowly, so you understand. Because the way the guitar is set up, meaning that only frets and strings make up the fret board, anytime you play anything similar to the lick you’ve mastered, anywhere on the fret board – it is already almost if not as good as the lick you practiced. This is one of the great secrets of guitar playing.

Get it? It is absolutely true.

If you want to develop your right hand picking practice one or two licks until they sound incredible. Master them. Own them. This is much more beneficial that practicing 25 licks that never reach a superb level.

How much should you practice the lick? Well, it depends on good you want to get. I used to have about 5 licks like these and I’d put on a timer and watch it while I played each lick for let’s say 5-7 minutes non stop. I had a few licks for right hand picking, one for pull off, one for a long legato run across the neck and so on. I’d play them with a timer at the beginning at every practice session.

Paul Gilbert (Racer X, Mr. Big) practiced his famous Al DiMeola guitar lick so much and got so good at at it that his early guitar shred style was based around it. Now, that’s mastering something.

I hope this helps some of you a bit. Horns Up!

NEW! Online Guitar Coaching Program

Recently the folks at Skype told me that if there was one guitarist out there that could get metalheads playing together in the internet world, it would be me.

I did not think much of it as first, except being thankful for the complement, but then the gears in my mind started to turn.

What if they are right, indeed?

Then, I started remembering that one of the main gripes from many guitarists that I meet is that they are not in contact with many other players who just get “it” and are into the same type of music and playing they are into. They kind of feel alone in their quest to play better and don’t have enough feedback.

This explains why my Metal Heroes Summer Camp and The Metal Guitar Retreat are popular destination getaways. Not only the players get awesome personalized instruction there, they are indeed connected with others just like them when they attend these events. And, let’s face it, guitar playing can be extremely rewarding, but sometimes lonely place and not as fun if you have to go at it alone.

With that in mind, I had something up my sleeve last few weeks.

 I’d like to announce and introduce you to Metal Mike’s Metal For Life Online Guitar Program.

This group is like none other before it.

You get an exclusive twice a week videos, a Metal Monday motivation message beginning of every week and a private Facebook group hosted by me for only $19.95 per month!

This program is on-going, so you can join today and start right away. Once you register, you’ll be billed automatically each month. And, you are free to cancel any time with no questions asked.

Guitar playing is a funny thing. I should know as I dedicated 32 years of my life to it so far. Hundreds of thousands of players (sound crazy, but it’s true) saw my online videos and they e-mail me saying “Metal Mike, your video really helped me with a technique or with writing riffs,” or, “What do you use to get that guitar tone?” I love getting these e-mails and I reply to everyone.

But, I also know that jumping around the internet looking at a video here and a video there with no rhyme or reason and getting an answer to an isolated question robs these players of true results. Or, if the results come, it is through a very slow process.

The jumping around strategy is too scatterbrained. In order to truly get better fast, you benefit greatly from a succession of videos geared towards a goal and a commentary on what you might be doing wrong. When you pair that up with a support network of players just like you, well then, you can start seeing that this can bring your playing up to a whole another level.

When you get a destination place to visit time and time again for valuable information over a period of time – results come.

I have created an Effective and Inexpensive way to help you obtain your guitar goals.

You can join me at $19.95 per month!

Here is what we’ll be doing together:

(1) 2 videos each week (Tuesday and Friday) on one topic.

(2) Metal Monday Motivation post on Monday.

(3) Membership in a private Facebook group.

(4) Access to me with personal interaction answering your questions, e-mails and overseeing your progress.

(5) Support from players just like you who love to play metal guitar and want other encouraging people around them.

Guitar videos and topics will include a variety of topics from technique to fortifying riffs to leads to practice tips. We’ll talk about guitar tone all the way to guitar travel tips. And, Monday Metal Motivation will hit you each Monday afternoon with a nice dose of mindset shred to keep your week going.

Note: Each video will come with TAB (Tablature) sheet that you can save and print out later. I understand that many players need time to learn licks and each example will be shown slowly and explained well.

You bet I wish I had this when I was growing up!

I learned the old fashioned way of getting mail-order guitar tapes and trying to learn licks from MTV videos. But, here is 2017, we have a new way of learning the guitar.

And, we are doing this for $5 bucks per week.

Check out what some of my students are saying:

“One quick lesson with Mike has doubled my picking speed” .. Ben S.

“You are a great inspiration and a source of knowledge” .. Sebastian S.

“Having Metal Mike as a mentor has enhanced my playing ability drastically! He was able to point out my errors immediately and teach me techniques like no other guitarist I have ever met” .. Tony G.

“Mike helped me unlock my playing potential to a whole new level by showing me awesome licks, riffs and usable theory. There is no substitute for seeking face-to-face instruction from a world class player who has recorded and toured the globe with the all time greats” .. Alex H.

“Thank you for the lesson. Already writing riffs that are inspiring me again” .. Chris W.

“Mike’s instruction is a perfect blend of classic training and real world experience” .. Charles A.

“I will happily take another 100+ lessons without any thought whatsoever” .. Matt B.

“I’m fortunate to be getting first hand information from the ultimate wizard” .. Rob D.

One and that sums it all up from Greg D …

“I feel like I have learned more in the past 4 lessons than last 2 years on my own”  

Read On!

This is an ongoing program, so you can sign up today and jump right in. You can go back and check out any materials we might have covered before you joined as well. Purchase the first month here and we’ll set you up for a recurring monthly billing of $19.95. Once you register, you’ll receive a welcome e-mail with further instructions.

Remember that you can cancel anytime free and clear with no questions asked. 

If this sounds like something that you feel is designed to help you go after your goals go to my Metal Heroes Academy site HERE and let’s rock.

Metal For Life!

Success In Opposites

I have been thinking on an interesting observation lately. The idea is that much of success lies in the acceptance and being comfortable with opposites of where you want to be. Let me explain.

Let’s take a look at something I know well such as practicing your instrument. In order to become great at a guitar you have to have a final goal. It is something you strive for. The end goal for you might be the ability to play fluid, effortless licks in front of lots of people. But, that end goal needs an opposite which is the daily task of practicing and building up your abilities. The opposite is where you want to be versus what needs to be done now.

You can not obtain the final goal without breaking it down to daily steps. But, your daily steps very possibly won’t lead you in a desired direction unless you know what the direction of the final destination is.

So, the success lies in the ability of operating while seeing the distant possibility and what needs to be done now. You accept the two points and are conscious of the stretch in-between.

Let’s take a look at another example where the opposites work, perhaps with a slightly different twist.

If you want to ask a person out successfully, I really think you have to be ok with getting rejected. You can see a clear “want” and the “fail” scenario here. You have to be ok with it. The more you accept the possible opposites outcome of where you want to be, the higher your chances are of success.

In my own life, the greatest gains were obtained when I went after something not caring if I loose. One of the materialistic examples of this is when I wrote a check in the amount of my yearly salary to buy a car that I always wanted. On top of that I did not even care if something was wrong with it. You can call it stupidity of being young (there might be some truth to it) but that is the point, you see? I was ok with either outcome. Most people would not take that chance. The vehicle turned out great and has quadrupled in value since the day I bought it.

Here is another case from my own life. I made a decision growing up that I was going to give my all to practicing the guitar in order to ultimately become a full time metal musician. I said to myself that I am ok with failing as long as I know what I gave it my all. So although I can not say that I never thought about it; I was completely ok with sitting in my basement playing while missing out on Summer days at the beach or making very little money for a long period where some of the people I knew were getting real paying jobs and setting up their life on much more socially accepted terms. I went for my goal and accepted the opposite result.

Once again, this approach has not let me down. I’m going to cap it here and leave the above with you.

I hope this will give you some ideas to think about. Horns Up.

Ready, Set! Wait, What?

 

Hey musicians! Are you in the habit of announcing your projects and then not finishing what you set out to do or promised?

We all go through this. We get excited about an idea or a project and want to share it with the whole entire world. And, definitely, I have been guilty of this myself.

What I found out, mostly by reading about it, is that our human brain almost gets a morphine like drip of satisfaction when we announce something. It feels good.

The issue is what happens next.

Because of the feel good moment when we announced something of what we were going to do, out initial fire of that inspiration gets a little extinguished. We realize at that time that hard work and problem solving comes next. So, we go to another idea and get the morphine drip. Get my point?

Here’s a tip. Save the announcement until you are ready to roll out your idea in the flesh. This is not always applicable, when you are making an album and want your fans to go along for a ride, etc. However, in many cases it is wise not to announce until you have something tangible to show.

There was a time when I was writing more press releases then “doing.” And, rethinking my approach to the above has truly changed the way I do things now.

 

 

Add Two Legs To Your Keyboard

I really enjoy computers and the internet age. Some of it frustrates me, of course. I was not born into all of this “stuff.” For those of you older than 24 you know what I’m talking about – e-mail, social media, blogging, websites, new business models. Can I just please just play the guitar? No? Ok. So, you learn and get on with it. Same way we learned how to drive a car or raise a child. We figured it out. After a while, this is no different than changing oil in your car. It is something you do. My real saving grace is that I really enjoy being able to communicate and reach many people through the internet.

However, this online based connectivity is a dark turn for many musicians.

Remember this: money and opportunities flow through people.

Many musicians out there think that they can hide behind a keyboard, send tens of e-mails or newsletters and never leave their house to the place that the strongest connections take place – the real world.

I’m not saying that communicating via e-mail is not important, because it is. However, it is not enough. It is certainly not enough without face to face contact.

What hurts musicians and artists in general in this is that let’s face it – most of “us” would love to stay in and work on whatever is occupying our mind and clicking on the switch to go out and socialize is painful.

But, as an important lesson, please remember that it is essential. You must develop your skills and the more you chisel them out, the more you’ll enjoy staying in touch with the people you find interesting. Through real connections … interesting projects and opportunities will flow.

I find it absolutely best to make 1 heartfelt connection versus 1000 nice to meet you acquaintances. Keep that in mind. It is quality versus quantity. In the age of what can feel like an impersonal world, real connections feel better than ever before. Use that to your advantage. It is hard to succeed as a musician if you dislike talking to people. And if you truly do, work on that skill because it is essential for a career.

Why Is The World Obsessed With A Secret To Success?

I went to a book store, looked over some magazine covers and man, just reading the covers made me tired. Secret this, secret that, must haves …

I’m not going to take on the world here – let’s just talk about the guitar.

Are there secrets that would make you a better guitar player or a musician? I don’t know. As a matter of fact, upon thinking about it – I don’t think so. Sorry to burst the secret finding bubble. I know, how unromantic. And, a month before Valentine’s Day, too!

I know posts like these aren’t often the most popular ones. Someone said if you want folks to dislike you – you tell ’em the truth. This is for the brave few and since you are on my page, I believe it might be you, too.

The good news is – you are now burden free from finding a secret and you can get to what you know needs to be done – picking up the damn instrument and spending some time with it. Harsh truth, but please read on. You see, there is no magic box where the secretive professional players trade advice. If your neighbor plays better than you, chances are he practices more or has played guitar much longer than you. With some exceptions, talent is not that much misplaced. If you like the guitar a lot – that IS your talent telling you to pursue it further. Develop it more. The more time you spend with it, the more and more you’ll enjoy it, too.

There are some good laws though that I like to follow.

Want to know a good one? The idea of delayed gratification is a good one. I know, sooo unlike 2017! Metal Mike what’s up with this blog, anyway!
Well, here’s one important thing that I picked up. That is that many successful people were able to delay the gratification for a bigger prize. What are you willing to give up right now for a better return on your guitar playing later? As a young player are you willing to miss some Friday and Saturday nights in favor of diminishing the gap between you and the players who are better than you?

Less Instagram = More Metalgram! (Yes, I just made that up.)

As an older player, are you willing to invest a couple hundred bucks a month in guitar lessons versus buying rounds for your pals at the bar?
In this aspect, I was almost cruel to myself in my younger days. Every single dollar and I mean every single dollar was spend on lessons and new gear when I felt I needed it. I missed many Summers, parties and friends while locked in my room studying music, theory or Randy Rhoads. While many of the kids I knew in school were at the beach partying, I was home … playing. I saved my lunch money and bought guitar pedals with it. I woke up before school and run home after school so I could practice. This is not to impress anyone, but rather to impress upon you an image of delayed gratification might look like in perhaps strong cases.

This type of task is tougher these days because information is screaming at you everywhere including dinner trays at the airplane, WTF. You put down the dinner tray to eat and you see an ad for something. Seriously? lol. But, I digress. We want things FAST today. And, just for the record, when you are young you want everything fast, no matter which decade you live in. That is no secret anymore. But, you must remember about the kid right now in his room without an iphone in his hand who is shredding the hell of his guitar. These guys or gals will always be there no matter what is happening. I can spot them a mile away. Some people are naturally wired that way, some have to figure it out and hone down forcefully on what’s important.

As a side note, please don’t always think that playing in front of 5000 people is the only success. This is where you turn off the internet and take a breather. If you are living an adult life and you have a guitar is your hand 4-5 evenings a week while enjoying the heck out of it – this sounds pretty successful to me, too.

Think about it. Now, go knock 2017 out of the park.