Buying Guitars Online: Setting Realistic Expectations

Buying Guitars Online – Setting Realistic Expectations

Really Great Beginner Electric Guitars

Really Great Beginner Electric Guitars

How to trade-in or sell your guitar to a music store

How to Trade-In (or Sell) Your Guitar to a Music Store

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Last Updated: June 30, 2019

I just returned from a very successful outing where I traded-in an old Classical guitar to a local music store. I’m very happy with how the deal turned out–which I’ll detail down in the “My Actual Deal” section at the end of this post if you’re interested.

While sitting here congratulating myself, it occurred to me: the way I handled this transaction might be useful for those of you who might be considering trading in or selling a guitar to a music store. I take this knowledge for granted because I’ve done it before, but some of you out there might really benefit from this experience.

Why Trade-In or Sell Your Guitar to a Music Store?

Fact is, you will rarely (if ever) get as much money by trading-in your guitar to a music store as you would by selling it yourself. So, why the heck would you ever want to trade-in or sell your guitar to a music store rather than sell it privately?

If you’re like me, you’d do it because the speed, convenience, safety, etc. of trading-in is literally worth money to you. You get to skip dealing with flaky or shady buyers, and skip the hassle, expense, and risk of packing and shipping the guitar. Nowadays, I simply don’t have the time to take pictures, create for-sale ads, haggle with potential buyers, and pack and ship guitars. And god-forbid the guitar is damaged in shipping–which is a whole other adventure you do NOT want to deal with.

So, if you plan to trade-in or sell that old axe to a music store, here’s what you need to know and how you do it.

The Process – How to do it Right

1. Do some price research on your guitar

Before you do anything else, get on sites like eBay, Reverb, Craigslist, and others and see if you can find your exact model being sold elsewhere. Better yet, don’t focus on how much sellers currently have it listed for, but instead try to find ones that have successfully sold in the past. On ebay, there’s a filter to show only guitars that have actually sold, and for how much:

Ebay's filtering options for completed listings

On ebay, these two guitars sold for $750.00 and $1226.00. “Buy it Now” prices appear crossed-out.

If eBay isn’t returning any useful results for you, Reverb.com offers a handy Price Guide at https://reverb.com/price-guide:

Reverb.com's online price database

Reverb.com’s price guide gets better and better as it continually builds data from completed sales.

You can also search for your guitar on Guitarcenter.com/Used. They don’t list guitars that have already sold, but you could get lucky and find your model currently being sold at one or more locations. This is especially useful if Guitar Center is where you’re planning to take your axe for a trade-in:

Check guitarcenter.com's used gear listings

Regardless of whether you sell a guitar yourself to a private party or trade it in to a music store, what matters is how much people are actually willing to pay for it, and there’s no better way to know than by looking at actual, completed sales.

You have to put your personal feelings aside here. The guitar might have sentimental value to you, but music stores don’t care about that. Their only concern is how much they will be able to sell the guitar for after taking it off your hands.

2. Before you go to the music store, decide on the rock-bottom amount you’ll accept

After doing your research, you should have a ballpark idea of how much you could realistically sell the guitar for if you tried to actually sell it yourself to a private party. Now, decide how much less than that amount you’d be willing to accept from the music store. What is the rock-bottom amount you’d feel good walking out of that store with without feeling like you were taken advantage of? To take some of the emotion out of all this, math comes to our rescue.

For our example here, let’s say you’ve come to the conclusion that you’d be able to sell the guitar for $350 if you went to the trouble of selling it privately (to an actual person, not a music store).

Now, you need to do some soul-searching and decide how much less than $350 you’d be happy with. Music stores will generally offer about 50% – 60% (if you’re lucky) of what they think they can sell the guitar for. An optimistic assumption is that they’ll arrive at roughly the same final-sales-value that you did: $350. So, in a best-case-scenario where they offer 60% of that amount, you’d only get $210 for your $350 guitar. Confused? The math looks like this:

$350 x 0.6 = $210

You need to not only be okay with this amount ($210), but be prepared to be offered less. This is where your rock-bottom price comes in handy. Decide how much lower you’d be willing to go and still feel good about the whole transaction.

Got your rock-bottom price? Great. Do NOT tell that number to the music store when you go in. That number is your little secret.

3. Clean and prep the guitar (and case)

Now, thoroughly and carefully clean the guitar and the case (if you’re including the case). Clean it first, then polish it, then install a fresh set of guitar strings. Last, stretch the strings thoroughly and be sure the guitar is in perfect tune before you take it in. They should be able to pull the guitar out and immediately start playing and evaluating it without having to tune.

I don’t care if your guitar is beat all to hell, do your best to clean it and make it look as good as possible. This applies to the case too. Wipe the case down and remove any scuffs if you can, and vacuum the inside. If you hand them a dusty, dirty guitar that has old, out-of-tune strings, you’re just screwing yourself. The guitar store might take one look at your dirty piece-of-junk and say “no thanks, not interested.”

4. Make sure the store accepts trade-ins or buys used guitars

If you have a particular guitar store in mind, first call and ask them if they normally accept trade-ins or buy used guitars outright (whichever you’re planning to do). If the answer is yes, then proceed to the next step. Otherwise, continue calling till you find a store that does. You don’t want to drive all the way to the store and then find out they don’t buy used guitars or accept trade-ins.

5. Go to the music store and tell them you’d like their estimate on the guitar’s purchase or trade-in value

This is it. Showtime.

With your rock-bottom price in mind (remember: never divulge this) and your clean, shiny axe, go up to the counter and tell them you have a guitar you’d like to have appraised. Let them know whether you want to trade it in toward purchasing something else in their store, or if you’re simply wanting them to buy the guitar outright. Some stores may only do one or the other. Sometimes you’ll get a slightly better price if you say you plan to use it as a trade-in toward something else in the store.

Resist the temptation to be overly-helpful and start pointing out cosmetic issues or other minor flaws with the guitar. Let them find those things during their evaluation, and if they don’t, just keep quiet.

However, please do disclose any serious past damage/repairs that may not be obvious. These are things like headstock breaks or refrets.

At this point, they might ask “how much you lookin’ to get for it?” If you can avoid it, don’t give them a number (or a range) even if they press you for one. Instead, say something like “I didn’t have anything specific in mind, I’m just curious to see what you think it’s worth.” They may badger you a bit–perhaps even ask how much you paid for it.

Now, some people are seriously averse to negotiating. Believe me, I get it.

So, if you get too uncomfortable and find that you simply don’t have the willpower to resist giving a number, then be sure what you say is well above your absolute lowest number. This happened to me the first time I traded-in a guitar. However, I was mentally prepared to be interrogated and therefore inflated my “range” slightly above what I knew the guitar was worth (based on the research I did in Step 1 above).

So, using our example and knowing you could sell the guitar yourself for $350, say “oh… around $350 – $400.” They might huff dismissively or act like you’re insane, but that’s perfectly okay. It’s all part of the game.

In general though, resist the pressure to throw out the first number, if you can.

6. They’ll make you an offer. You’ll act like it’s low (even if it’s not).

Let’s consider a best-case scenario and assume they make you a totally fair offer of $210 (for our $350 guitar). In fact, that’s a really good offer from a music store, because it’s 60% of $350–at the top end of what we were hoping to get for the guitar.

Even if this happens, you’re not going to smile and enthusiastically accept. You’re going to furrow your brow a bit and act like it’s a number you weren’t quite expecting–like it’s a bit low. Don’t act like a total a-hole or act insulted, because (in this case) they know it’s a good offer. Just pause and look introspective for a bit, and decide what you’d like to do next:

  • If you were planning to buy something else in the store that day (e.g. the guitar was a trade-in), ask them if they’d be willing to discount something in the store. Most of the time they’ll be glad to do so… sometimes up to 10%. So, you not only get a fair price for your guitar, you score a little bonus cash. Or…
  • If you were planning to sell the guitar outright to the store, you can simply accept their offer if you’re not comfortable negotiating. Or…
  • If you were planning to sell the guitar outright to the store and you are comfortable negotiating, go for it. If you’re going this route, I’ll assume you know what you’re doing, so I’m not going to try and give negotiating tips in this blog post.
  • Don’t accept the offer and walk away. I’m not sure why you’d do this though after getting a fair offer, unless you had a last-minute change of heart.

Final Thoughts

That’s really all there is to it–this doesn’t need to be stressful or complicated. For this example, I used a fictional guitar valued at a fictional $350, but here’s a secret: it’s not actually fictional. This whole article is based on the exact trade-in experience I just had.

My Actual Deal

As promised at the beginning, here are the details of the actual transaction I just made a few hours ago.

After doing the kind of research I outlined above, I’d decided I could probably sell my 1999 Alvarez Yairi CY116 Classical acoustic guitar myself for about $350 (with hardshell case). However, I didn’t have the time nor energy to deal with private buyers, packing, shipping, etc.

So, I decided to trade it in at a local music store instead.

First, I decided that the rock-bottom price I’d accept was $180. Best-case, I was hoping to get as much as $210 for it (60% of $350 = $210). So, I was thrilled when the store offered me $270! Regardless, I furrowed my brow, looked a little pensive, and (politely) said “Hmm, that’s a little lower than I was hoping for.” Since I needed a Focusrite Scarlett 2i4 for my studio I asked, “If I bought an audio interface today, would you be willing to knock a little off the listed price?” Sure enough, they said they’ve give me 10% off any interface that’s not already on sale.

So, on top of $270 cash (for the guitar) I got a Scarlett 2i4 interface for only $179 (discounted from $199). After all was said and done, I walked out with a new audio interface and a about $74 in excess cash. Bad ass!

Question:

Have you ever traded-in or sold a guitar to a music store? How did it go? I’d love to hear about it in the comments section down below.

Essential Guitar Pedals Every Guitarist Should Have

Essential Guitar Pedals Every Guitarist Should Have

How do You Find Time to Play Guitar?

How Do You Find Time to Play Guitar?

For a couple months straight, I’ve found myself with NO time to play guitar. Between my full-time job, this blog, and all of life’s other priorities I’ve found myself with zero time to pick up my axe, much less set down and get a proper practice session in. Kind of ironic in light of my other post about beating procrastination and drudgery.

So I decided to blast an email out to those of you on my email list and ask how you find time to practice. I got a lot of amazing responses, and I thank all who responded for giving me the kick-in-the-butt I’ve needed. I got permission to publish some of your responses in this blog post, so that others can also benefit from all this great advice.

Let the tough love begin!

Your Advice to Me

Luke responded…

  1. You make time. That’s all there is to it. You have to find the time in a busy work schedule: during lunch, breaks, before work, or after work (if you have your own office).
  2. Get the kids into playing guitar too so you can have some time with the kids and get in your own practice time too.
  3. Get up half an hour, or an hour earlier in the day to have your practice time before the family wakes up.
  4. Conversely, before you go to bed at night take the time to get some practice time in. The wife may not like it, but…
    The choice is really yours. You have to schedule in the time to practice wherever you can squeeze it in.

Robert responded…

I make time. Anything important to you, you have to make time for. While watching the news 6pm – 7pm, I sit in my recliner and practice a bit. No amp, just going over theory or a lick or two. I make it a point to have my guitar-in-hand when the news comes on. I also use it as a way to calm down from work. Like you, I work M-F, 7:30am – 5pm, in Information Technology.

On the weekends, Sunday is laundry day. So, between loads, I practice with my amp before lessons on Monday.

I don’t have kids. Doesn’t mean I have more or less time–I just don’t have those extra curricular activities. I’m married though, and have stuff to do (honey-do) and bills, lawn, cars–same as every one else.

Pat responded…

I’ve given myself a few self-imposed rules and I think these help:

  1. I pick up the guitar at least once a day – no matter how late it is and even if it’s only for 5 minutes – before going to bed. Often when I’ve gone to it feeling just too tired, the moment I start playing my enthusiasm wakes me up and I do more than the minimum time I first expected
  2. My guitars are all on open stands – none live in their case. This means that I can grab one at any time – again even if it’s just for a few minutes. So I often find if I’m waiting on something in the house I pick up a guitar and have a go.
  3. If a session is going to be a decent length, I use online courses and follow them lesson by lesson, rather than jump about to find the bits of interest. This keeps me ‘honest’ and puts some measure into my practice. By being able to measure what I do, I see progress. And that’s the best spur for me to keep going, and makes me eager to get back to the course as soon as I can. It fuels my passion for the instrument. I apply the same rules to learning songs. I pick stuff I really like. So getting it off to a decent level is much more satisfying than trying to learn a song from a book, specified by someone unknown, that just isn’t for me
  4. I think this is the ‘big one’ for me, and I’m not sure it answers your question but here goes. I’m entirely self-taught. I was in my teens, and I still am. In my teens I simply didn’t have the discipline to progress with an instrument. And I think that’s why I never got that far, and put it down for so long. When I picked it up again about a year ago, the discipline was there, along with an undiscovered 30+ years of ‘really wanting to do it’. So no matter how busy a day, I will ALWAYS make time for the guitar. Whether it’s between customers, while my wife is bathing our son, waiting to leave for the school run – now I pick up a guitar rather than veg in front of the TV.

Shahyd responded…

Well my daily schedule is really busy with studio recordings and band practices and also family time. But, through all those i usually keep the guitar with me while recording songs, also I do my exercises. While spending time with family I play some because they love to hear me play..but my most free and effective guitar exercising time is midnight after 1 or 2.

Ginette respond…

I have time between last dog walk and before the dishes. I am working on new music and I put my PC and phone on charge and get 35 – 45 minutes an evening. When I am lucky enough I can fit an extra hour of practice when the family has left for the day!!

Dave responded…

My wife and I get up at 5:30am each day of the work week. She leaves for work at 6am. I do chores until 6:30am & practice for an hour until I have to to work. Try to play some in the evening if I can, but most is done in the mornings.

Don responded…

All through my life I have always set aside at least an hour a day as a time of reflection (and practice), come hell or high water. There was no arguing with that. Anyone that came through my life knew that–they either accepted it or they didn’t. I mean, what the f**k. 1/24th of you day devoted to yourself is just a drop in the bucket in the giant scheme of things. You come out of your day a better person.

Rick responded…

I’m working for a tech startup which is a very time intensive job. I am the primary caretaker for my father who is dealing with advanced Alzheimer’s. Then there’s my wife, kids and the rest of the family. So what can I do with so many priorities?

I make playing my guitar a priority.

It takes work and commitment, but you can make it work. For me, guitar playing is my primary stress release for all that is going on in my life, both good and bad. I have developed sleep issues since my dad was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s almost four years ago. Playing my guitar helps me clear my mind and helps me sleep. In addition, I am a songwriter and I use that as a method for coping with this difficult situation. Finally, am I at risk of this horrible disease? I don’t know. So I challenge my mind to learn new things to keep it healthy. Learning difficult, chords, scales and even taking up slide are things I look at as tools to keep my mind in good health.

So my answer is playing guitar is one of my priorities. Finding the time? Well, I never sit and watch TV without having my guitar with me. I started doing that years ago. If I only get 10 or 15 minutes, I take them. And, I don’t let the brevity of my windows for playing frustrate me. They all add up because I am mentally and spiritually committed to my playing. That’s my method. Results may vary, so play anyway you can.

Farha responded…

It’s difficult to find time to practice guitar with responsibilities around. I have a school-going kid and it’s mostly my responsibility to make him study or at least be with him when he is doing his school work. But I do, quite literally, squeeze in time for my six strings.

I’ve started getting up early rather than practicing at night with a tired mind. I found it more invigorating, so now I start my mornings with my guitar. I have made it a point to never go a day without practicing. I make sure to make it a priority and mostly practice after my morning walk as well because that’s the time I can give 100% to my practice. So, in a nutshell, there goes not a day when I do not play my guitar. Having said that, still there’s a long way to go. You can also practice while you have 10mins waiting for someone to get ready or you need a break from some office work.

Kes responded…

I know how hard it is to make time when you’ve got so many other responsibilities, so I’ve learnt to look for those hidden minutes:

  • Instead of hitting snooze on my alarm, I get up and use that extra time to practise (of course that only works if the other people in your house don’t object!)
  • I don’t rush after cooking to wash the dishes and clean up the kitchen, I grab a little time to play my guitar (they’re still going to be there in 20 minutes!)


 • I will sit in my kitchen and play whilst I’m waiting for something to cook, or a load of laundry to finish.
  • Sometimes I take my guitar with me when I go to visit my family and play whilst I’m with them.
  • Despite my long suffering boyfriend’s protests, I have been known to put the subtitles on television programs and watch them whilst playing (I love multi-tasking!)
  • Even when I’m on my laptop chatting to friends on Facebook/Twitter etc, I keep my guitar by the side of me and pick it up to play whilst waiting for them to reply.
  • I know not everybody has guitar lessons but having that fixed point in my week acts as a constant reminder that I should try to practise (otherwise I’ll stuck learning the same song for several weeks which I find very frustrating as I have a constantly growing list of songs I want to learn!)

Kevin responded…

I’ll find myself playing while sitting on the couch and the rest of the family is watching TV. Or, I’ll bring the acoustic outside while watching the kids play. One of the best times is whenever my youngest child was taking a bath, I started a habit of either playing my guitar in the bathroom there with him (while I watched him) or I would be doing a chronological read-through-the-Bible series at the same time. I’d play my guitar while watching him play in the water.

For consistency-sake, I suppose I play in my church’s worship team at least every Sunday–so there is that. This helps keep me consistent and used to playing in front of crowds and lots of other people.

So, I’ll play just about anywhere and do my best to bring a guitar with me if I can. I’ve even thought about bringing a guitar with me to work and playing on my lunch break when there is no other time to do so in my day!! (And I got two jobs currently!)

Summary – My Big Takeaways

Again, thank you so much to all who responded–including all those whose emails weren’t expressly featured in this blog post. You all are amazing, and I love hearing from you. The biggest takeaways that I got from your advice was:

  1. You’ve simply got to make time. No excuses. If playing guitar is important to you, you should make time and schedule it as part of your day–just like anything else that’s truly important to you.
  2. Find creative ways to “squeeze in” practice wherever possible. This could mean getting up a little earlier and practicing in the morning, practicing over lunch break, or using little 10 – 15 minute windows of time to squeeze in a few scales or licks here and there.
  3. If you’ve got time for TV, then you’ve got time for guitar. Instead of watching TV, play guitar instead or play guitar while watching TV if necessary.

Question:

How do YOU find time to practice guitar? Please let me know in the comments section down below. I’d love to hear how you juggle life’s priorities and still make time to play guitar.

Guitar Practice - How to Beat Procrastination and Drudgery

Guitar Practice: How to Beat Procrastination and Drudgery

Last Updated: Nov 18, 2019

If you’ve been playing guitar for at least a few years, then you’ve undoubtedly had times where you’ve procrastinated rather than practiced. Now, I’m not talking about putting off guitar to do legitimate tasks like laundry, housework, feeding the kids, etc. I’m talking about doing crap like Facebook, video games, television, etc. when, deep down inside, you’d really rather be playing guitar.

Sometimes, guitar practice just feels like a drag

Oh god, legato exercises again!?

Another thing you may have encountered is what I’ll call “drudgery.” In other words, you kinda dread the idea of practicing or, when you do practice, you just aren’t getting much enjoyment out of it. Maybe you’ve fallen into some kind of rut or “hit a plateau” that makes guitar practice feel like a boring grind.

I know that these are issues because 1) they happen to me too and 2) I get questions about them all the time. I struggle with procrastination nearly every day, and the feeling that practice is drudgery sneaks up on me at least a couple times a year. These are common issues for all guitarists.

So if you thought you were alone, you’re not.

I’m going to tell you what techniques I use to deal with these two demons. I can’t guarantee these will work for you, but in talking with other guitarists I’ve discovered that they use the same (or similar) techniques to overcome procrastination and drudgery.

This post contains affiliate links, meaning, if you click through and make a purchase, I may earn a commission. This is at no additional cost to you. Learn more.

Dealing With Procrastination

Isn’t it bizarre and ironic that, even though we love playing guitar, we sometimes don’t do it because we either consciously or unconsciously procrastinate?

Bedtime rolls around and you realize you didn’t even touch your guitar that day because you wasted time watching TV, messed around on Facebook, or played video games instead. You feel guilty, and promise yourself that you’ll practice tomorrow. However, tomorrow comes and the same thing happens again. It happens to me too, all the time. So, here are some things I do to combat procrastination…

Stop trying to boost your motivation (to practice)

Trying to increase your motivation or “psych yourself up” to play guitar is, at best, hit-or-miss. As anyone in the exercise industry (especially designers of exercise-related software apps and wearables) will attest, trying to reliably and predictably boost motivation is nearly impossible. Motivation is a mysterious, slippery thing, and its ups and downs don’t always make sense. I used to try to boost my motivation by watching guitar videos on YouTube. Sometimes it worked, but most times I just ended up watching videos instead of practicing.

I like to say: “Don’t motivate; facilitate.” In other words, rather than doing things to try and motivate yourself to play guitar, focus instead on making practice really, really easy. Like, stupid easy.

How do you do that? Read on…

Make practicing guitar really, really easy

If your guitar is under the bed, in the closet, or simply inside the case, you’re less likely to play it than if it’s out, accessible, and ready to rock. Every little bit of extra physical effort you have to exert–even something as simple as having to plug the guitar cable in–is just one more piece of friction that increases the likelihood that you’ll procrastinate instead of practicing.

Essentially, you have to make playing guitar physically easier than procrastinating.

Have your music, guitar picks, etc. out and ready to go

Reduce barriers between you and your practice by keeping everything out and ready to go

So, if possible, have your guitar out on a stand in a spot where you can easily grab it at any time. Have a guitar pick wedged in the strings, your music books (or whatever you’re working on) right there and open, etc. Make guitar so easy and accessible that you basically have to TRY not to grab it and strum a few chords every time you walk by. If it’s an electric guitar, leave the cable plugged in and have your amp volume already set where you’ll need it. All you should have to do is pick up your guitar, flick on the amp, and play.

On power switch is all I have to hit

I have a lot of complicated gear, but I’ve got it all wired in such a way that I only need to hit one switch to turn everything on

One last tip: when you finish playing each day, get your guitar and gear prepped and ready for your next practice session. Wipe the strings, tune the guitar, and make sure your amp volume is where it needs to be. That way, all you have to do next time is grab your guitar and start practicing.

Create an inviting, inspiring practice space

To the greatest extent possible, create a practice space that feels really good to you–one that inspires you and draws you to the guitar. For me, this means having a dedicated practice space that is very clean, organized, and ergonomic. After years of chaos and messiness, I was finally able to buy a studio desk (pictured below) that neatly holds all my rack gear. Everything’s finally ergonomic and within reach, and I have plenty of room for sheet music, a midi controller, computer, etc. Not to mention, the desk just looks really cool!

It’s now a space that calls to me, and pulls me toward the activity of practicing:

My guitar practice & recording space

No more frustration of messy cables and clutter. I’ve finally created a bright, clean, ergonomic space that truly inspires me

Now, I understand that not everyone has the cash or the space for such a desk, but you get the idea: create a space that pulls you toward the guitar and inspires you. Designate a corner of your apartment for a music stand, amp, chair, and your guitar. Hang a picture or two of some of your guitar idols in that corner. Maybe you prefer a darker room lit only by candlelight or purple-colored LED’s. Do whatever inspires you.

Make your procrastination activities less convenient

I alluded to this one earlier…

The main reason we procrastinate is because those other activities are simply easier than playing guitar. Just grab your phone and with a simple tap of your thumb you can launch Facebook. Tap, flick, scroll… easy. No other physical or mental effort is needed, and before you know it you’ve wasted 30+ minutes doing nothing of real value.

Now, guitar on the other hand. If you’re like most, you’ve usually gotta stand up, walk across the room, open the guitar case, plug in the guitar, tune it up, yadda yadda. It’s way more work than launching Facebook and checking your feed.

The same can be said of whatever your procrastination activity is–whether video games, television, or something else. It usually takes less effort to engage in those activities, and we humans will often gravitate toward an easier task than a harder one, including tasks that are mentally easier.

So, the trick here is to make your procrastination activities less convenient. For example, if you’re like me and Facebook is your issue, then log completely out of the app whenever you’re done. That way, you have to enter your password every time. Simple concept, but you’d be surprised how effective this can be. That tiny bit of extra necessary effort can be just enough to make you think twice. Or, you could take it one step further and also delete the app from your phone when you’re done:

If Facebook is a problem for you, then delete the app

If Facebook causes you to procrastinate, try logging out or completely deleting the app from your phone when you’re done

Now, whenever you want to use Facebook you’ll have to go to the app store, download and install the app, then log in. Sheesh. It’d be easier to just grab your guitar, which is already all set up and ready to go, and practice for a bit.

Use this example to think of ways you can make your particular procrastination activities less convenient. What little things can you do to make them just a tad more difficult than playing guitar? If it’s television, try unplugging the power cable, or unplugging the Roku, AppleTV, etc. If it’s video games, try unplugging your game controllers and putting them in a drawer.

Use reverse-psychology on yourself

Instead of telling yourself you’re going to “set down and practice for 2 hours” and attaching all these lofty expectations to the activity, tell yourself “I’m just gonna strum a few chords, then I’m done.” If it’s one of those days where you don’t feel like you want to practice, then tell yourself you’re “just going to mess around for 2 minutes, and that’s it.” Then, proceed to do exactly that–with every intention of stopping after only 2 minutes.

I can’t tell you how many times I’ve used this technique, only to find myself 1-2 hours later… lost in musical bliss. Oh sure, sometimes it does only turn out to be 2 minutes–there are days when I’m just not feelin’ it. However, most times it ends up unexpectedly stretching to an hour or more.

Take tiny actions in the direction of guitar practice

As with anything, the biggest barrier to getting started is… well… getting started. Sometimes, taking 1 or 2 very small actions toward doing something you’ve been putting off is all that’s needed to open the floodgates and bust through procrastination.

This could be an action as small and simple as grabbing your guitar pick and rolling it around in your fingers. This is exactly why I’ve always got a guitar pick in one of my pockets: If I can just get a guitar pick in my fingers, even if I’m away from my guitar at the time, it’s very likely that I’ll follow through and set down to practice at some point.

For you, maybe just setting down in whatever chair you usually use when you practice will do the trick. I use this one too. If I can just plant my butt on my deliciously comfy Pork Pie drum throne in front of my studio desk, it’s highly likely that my next action will be to reach to my left and grab my guitar. Then, it just snowballs from there.

My Pork Pie drum throne

Tiny actions, like planting my butt on my Pork Pie drum throne, greatly increase the likelihood that I’ll follow-through and practice

Essentially, your doing the guitarist equivalent to what people do when they need to write a paper (or a blog post): they force themselves to get at least 1 word on the page. A writer knows that those first few words are the hardest, but once they’re on the page it’s highly likely that they’ll get into the groove and keep writing.

Dealing With Drudgery

Let’s face it, as much as we (normally) love playing guitar, sometimes practice just feels like a grind. There will always be days like this, and there are a few things that I do to to combat this feeling.

Find little ways to make practice a pleasurable experience

If the thought of practice itself bums you out, find ways to make the overall activity pleasurable:

  • Fix a favorite drink or snack to enjoy while you practice
  • Find a pleasurable location somewhere outdoors
  • Reward yourself afterward with something else that you enjoy
  • “Set the mood” with interesting lights, candles, incense, etc.
Sipping some espresso during guitar practice

Sipping one of my favorite beverages during practice serves to make the experience more enjoyable

I love gourmet coffee (my favorite is Portland Roasting’s Dark Sumatra). So, if I’m practicing in the morning I’ll always have a hot cup (or three) of coffee or espresso. I don’t drink alcohol much, but when I do my favorite thing is Belgian ales. So if it’s an evening practice I’ll sometimes have one of my favorite ales to sip on during practice.

Back when I was in music school, I would often practice outside somewhere on campus (with coffee). I carried that habit with me later in life too, and still enjoy practicing outdoors if the weather is good and I can find a spot that gives me enough privacy.

Little perks like this can at least make the time enjoyable, even if the actual music or techniques you’re working on aren’t.

Try shorter practice sessions

Rather than thinking you have to set for 3+ hours, consider cutting it back to only 1-2 hours. Since you’ll have less time, focus more intensely on fewer things. Instead of trying to practice everything under the sun in one big 3-4 hour session, practice only 1 or 2 concepts in a 1 hour (or less) session. In fact, by practicing for a shorter duration, you may find that you want to practice more. The net result is that you might find yourself practicing more consistently on a daily basis. It’s better to practice every day for an hour (or less) than to practice for 3+ hours only a couple times a week at sporadic intervals.

Of course, if you practice for a shorter duration, then naturally…

Don’t try to cram too much into one practice session

I split up my guitar practice the way bodybuilders split up their workout routines. They work certain muscle groups one day, other muscle groups the next day, cardio on another day, and so on.

Instead of trying to cram a million different topics into a single practice session, I only practice 2 – 3 major concepts per session–and sometimes only 1 concept if I’m really digging into a particular topic or trying to learn a new song. I usually only have about 1 solid hour to practice each day. The demands of my adult life simply don’t allow me to practice any more than that. So, I set down and focus very intensely on only a couple concepts in one practice session.

The way I “fit everything in” is by practicing 2-3 concepts on Monday, 2-3 other concepts on Tuesday, and so on with concepts being repeated at certain intervals. Perhaps I’ll write a detailed blog post on my practice method/routine sometime, as I get a lot of questions from people about how to structure their guitar practice. I can’t say mine is necessarily correct, but it’s worked well for me over the years.

Try a rut-buster

If I get into some kind of serious rut or feel I’ve hit some kind of guitar plateau, I’ll seek out a teacher and take a few in-person or Skype lessons. I’ve also done a couple year-long memberships on JamPlay.com, and even purchased a few online courses on specific techniques and topics. For example, I’m strictly a metal guitarist, but recently purchased a $25 Jazz Fusion course that’s given me months of material to practice and a ton of new ideas.

These occasional rut-busters have been invaluable to me over the years, and have served to inspire me and break me out of whatever funk I’ve fallen into. I’ve heard from many beginners who’ve had great success with apps like Yousician or gamified learning platforms like Rocksmith. Give ’em a try and see if they work for you, then let me know down in the comments at the end of this post.

“But Bobby,” you say, “why pay when there’s a ton of guitar stuff on the Internet for free?”

Oh sure, I use free stuff too, but I’ve been playing guitar long enough that I know how to cherry-pick the good stuff and ignore the other 95% that’s crap. The topic of “free stuff on the Internet” is an interesting one because there’s an unexpected downside to having so much free content at your fingertips.

The Internet can be an amazing resource for free information, but only if you know what’s quality, what’s crap, and how to consume only what you need when you need it. Otherwise, you’ll quickly find yourself feeling overwhelmed, hopeless, or suffering from a serious inferiority complex. Being exposed to everything all at once can cause analysis paralysis, where you have so much information that you end up doing nothing or making no progress.

For some people, seeing an 8-year-old who can already shred like Paul Gilbert is incredibly discouraging. I’ve seen budding guitarists actually quit playing guitar after seeing one too many of these child virtuosos.

So, instead of flooding your brain with all the free crap the Internet has to offer, consider purchasing something that’s actually structured and paced, or seeking out some type of personalized instruction (in-person or via Skype), at least while you’re new to guitar.

Take a break

What!? Isn’t this the exact opposite of everything I’ve been saying up to this point?

The reality is, sometimes you genuinely should take a break. Every now and then, it’s healthy to NOT play guitar for a day or two if you just don’t feel like it. Don’t feel guilty, go see a movie, hang out with friends, play some video games or just watch television.

I skip days here and there, but my general rule is that I never go more than 2 consecutive days without practicing. Over the years, I’ve discovered that if I skip more than 2 days in a row my technique genuinely suffers and I start sliding backwards. So, I’ll sometimes skip practicing on a weekend, but when Monday roles around I’m back at it.

I once took an 11-year break, which I definitely do NOT recommend, but that’s a story for another day.

Question:

Have you ever struggled with procrastination or found that guitar practice feels like a grind? I’d love to know, so tell me in the comments section down below.

Tonika - Soviet Guitar

Tonika – The “Worst Guitar Ever”

In the electric guitar’s short history, there is a single instrument that has earned the title of “the worst electric guitar in existence.”1 The Tonika was the very first solid-body electric guitar manufactured in the Soviet Union, and its legend has made it into a collector’s item for all the reasons we’d usually pass on an instrument. It was forged in secrecy behind the iron curtain, in a cold, nondescript factory in Leningrad some time in the late 60s when Cold War tensions were at their highest. Unfortunately, unlike their space program, the Tonika was not a source of national pride for the USSR.

Tonika Guitar

Before I give any bad impressions, I want to let it be known that the quality of electric guitars in the USSR was improved over time–during the 80s, there were at least ten different factories producing unique models. It’s just that the Soviet era of guitars evolved in parallel but without any influence from the Western models we’re all familiar with – which makes the entire offshoot from the family tree fascinating.

Tonika Guitar

The Tonika was the first prototype designed by Soviet luthiers, and it was a noble attempt considering the lack of inspiration available at the time. Due to the USSR’s strict travel and trade policies, and a general disgust for anything American, there were very few electric guitars from the Western world from which they could draw from. Maybe that could explain the absolutely mental body design–nowadays, Strandberg calls that “ergonomics” though.

The body and neck were made of beech wood, and the fretboard from ebony.

Tonika Guitar

The original Sverdlovsk models had two single coil pickups, whose components were glued together, and the bolts extended downward next to the magnets. The bolts can be moved closer to the string to increase the volume, but the pickups as a whole cannot be adjusted. The pickups were wired through a four-way switch to change their configuration.

The guitar’s output is a 5-pin jack that made it impossible to link up with anything other than Soviet amplifiers (barring modification). But before we get all hypercritical about it, let’s marvel at the possibilities it opened up – mono / stereo output, phantom power, and some people even theorized that the design was anticipating MIDI-like functions. Of course, the Tonika itself didn’t utilize any of these options, but it did make a path for later models to go down.

Tonika Guitar

The bridge was a sort of Bigsby-ish Tune-o-matic Frankenstein contraption with a centered tremolo arm on a spring loaded plate that could pull the strings back and forth on a roller.

The neck was bolted on, and had what is widely considered to be one of the most uncomfortable profiles ever. It’s a very thick neck with a tiny radius.

Tonika Guitar

Now, this guitar gets a lot of bad reviews that I don’t believe are entirely justified. The electronics were shoddy, the body is hilariously malformed, and the construction quality is lacking (though the paint job is said to withstand temperatures up to -30° C). One scathing review of the Tonika described it as an “unplayable super-heavy guitar with sick body shape, thickest neck you’ll ever find and sound suitable for anything but music”2.

Tonika Guitar

But this is an instrument designed by Lunacharsky Factory of Folk Musical Instruments, the oldest and most experienced instrument-making factory in Russia. This was the first electric instrument designed in the Eastern Bloc, and it was done so from scratch. Leo Fender and Les Paul had tons of designs to improve upon, since the Frying Pan designed by Beauchamp and Rickenbacker had already set the wheels in motion.

Tonika Guitar

In my opinion, the luthiers who designed the Tonika were extremely talented to have come up with a fully functional electric guitar that somewhat resembled and played like an instrument from America that had 35 years of previous innovation to lean on. Unlike Fender and Rickenbacker, these Soviet luthiers remain unnamed to this day.

Tonika Guitar

With green pickguard

Tonika Guitar

With red pickguard

One final note: Since the original versions of the Tonika are so rare, it’s very difficult to find any media about them – therefore, most of what you see here is the next (very similar) Tonika model manufactured in Sverdlovsk. I haven’t seen too many people playing these guitars and screaming in agony for its horrendousness. Take a look on YouTube and see for yourself – they sound pretty good to me!

Videos of the Tonika in Action

What do You Think?

I’m curious to know what you think of this beast. Is it a collectible jem or a monstrosity that’s better suited to a museum? Let me know in the comments section down below.

References

  1. http://www.meatexz.com/cheesyguitars/guitars_ussr.html
  2. http://www.cheesyguitars.com/tonika_egs650.html

Joel Bennet

Written by Joel Bennett

Guest Contributor

Joel Bennett is a luthier from the UK, trained in the US, and currently living in Mexico without any tools. Go visit him over at his website: www.electricherald.com.

 

Is the Future of Guitar... Minimalist?

Is the Future of Guitar… Minimalist?

This post contains affiliate links, meaning, if you click through and make a purchase, I may earn a commission. This is at no additional cost to you. Learn more.

Being someone whose interest in guitars only began in the late 90s, I missed out on the ridiculous inventions that came out in the 70s and 80s that never seemed to catch on. There were a lot of metallic and fiberglass contraptions that made bold claims about the future of the electric guitar – but as far as I can tell, wood has prevailed in remaining the foundation of every great instrument (things like the Hofner Shorty have managed to carve a niche though).

Lately though, there seems to be a trend toward more minimalist designs. Quite a number of boutique guitar manufacturers are coming out with guitars that incorporate more metal, superior ergonomics, and doing away with familiar hardware and appendages that they deem extraneous. Most importantly, the trend is all about less wood.

Let’s take a look at a few of the more extreme guitar designs out there.  I present these super-ergonomic, minimalist, and sometimes woodless wonders for your viewing pleasure:

Strandberg

Visit Strandberg Guitars

Let it be known that this company is becoming very popular right now, and has a lot of well-known endorsees using them as their primary instruments (including one of this generation’s appointed guitar gods, Plini). All images courtesy of strandbergguitars.com.

Strandberg Guitars

Strandberg’s unmistakable, distinctive body shape and headless neck design.

Strandberg multiscale 6-string

Strandberg multiscale 6-string

Strandberg multiscale 7-string

Strandberg multiscale 7-string

Strandberg multiscale 6-string

Strandberg multiscale 6-string

Their inclusion in this article is to highlight the trend. This is how it starts…first they lop off the headstock and run the body through a lawnmower to remove excess weight that was a huge problem for 90lb screamo kids to lift. Next… well, you’ll see.

Etherial Guitars

Visit Etherial Guitars

Etherial Guitars is a company that hasn’t sought to reinvent the wheel, but they’ve certainly given it a makeover. All images courtesy of www.etherialguitars.com.

Etherial Guitars

Etherial Guitars makes extensive use of materials like carbon fiber, aluminum, and stainless steel

“Our main goal is to challenge the tradition of timber construction by working extensively with carbon fiber aluminum and stainless steel.” – Matthew Brown, Owner, Etherial Guitars

Etherial Guitars

Etherial Guitars

Etherial Guitars

Electrical Guitar Company

Visit Electrical Guitar Company

Not a very creative name for an electric guitar company, I have to say. Did they even consider how difficult it’s going to be for people to find them on Google? However, they’ve got some cool looking instruments. Like Etherial Guitars, their main purpose is to eliminate wood with extreme prejudice. All images courtesy of www.electricalguitarcompany.com as well as their Facebook and Twitter pages.

Electrical Guitar Company

Kevin Burkett’s Electrical Guitar Company was “born out of total admiration of the aluminum instrument world”

On Electrical Guitar Company’s website they state: “With aluminum, you are capable of generating some of the most beautiful tones. Conversely, you can create some of the harshest sounds ever imagined.”

Electrical Guitar Company

Electrical Guitar Company

Electrical Guitar Company

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Teuffel Guitars

Visit Teuffel Guitars

Now we’re getting into the super-minimal stuff. Ulrich Teuffel was one of my choices for “most creative” luthiers in an anoterh article I wrote for Ultimate-Guitar.

Teuffel Guitars

Closeup of the Teuffel Birdfish guitar

Teuffel’s Birdfish and Tesla models actually have a few big-name players taking them on stage, most notably Billy Gibbons and Kirk Hammett. Apparently, the Birdfish was selected by Guitarist Magazine in Britain as “one of the most important guitars of the 20th century.”

Teuffel Tesla

Teuffel Tesla

Teuffel Birdfish

Teuffel Birdfish

Teuffel Niwa

Teuffel Niwa

From Teuffel’s website: “This design not only allows unlimited tonal possibilities, but also results in a very lively and percussive tone.”

Gittler Instruments

Finally, we come to this monstrosity.

“We finally really did it. [falls to his knees screaming] YOU MANIACS!” – George Taylor, Planet of the Apes

Gittler Guitar

The Gittler Guitar is manufactured entirely of 6AL-4V aircraft grade Titanium

The Gittler is the “Skeletor” of guitars. It’s got a titanium frame, interchangeable plastic neck profiles, and all tuning is done at the foot of the bridge rather than on the non-existent headstock. And it also has…well, not much else really.

Gittler guitar tuning machines

Tuning machines

Striking minimalist design

Striking minimalist design

Back side of the Gittler

Back side of the Gittler

Plenty of videos of the it being played on youtube though, for anyone doubting that this thing is actually an instrument! It’s safe to say that if you have any preferences for fret size and fretboard radius, this is clearly not the guitar for you.

Is it a Bright Future – or a Grim One?

I’m a purist when it comes to guitar design – wood is an absolute must for me. Even if you don’t subscribe to the idea that the wood influences tone and you believe it’s an ergonomic hindrance – I’ll stick to my guns for the aesthetic value alone.

Having not played any of the instruments in this article (yet), I’ll say this: they definitely look interesting. And the intentions behind their innovations are all perfectly valid – whether or not they actually improve upon the electric guitar’s form, I do not know. But if history has proven anything, it’s that only a fraction of a percent of these things will stand the test of time.

What do You Think?

We’ve looked at some crazy stuff in this article. What are your thoughts? What do YOU think guitars will look and sound like 20 – 30 years from now? Let me know in the comments below.

Joel Bennet

Written by Joel Bennett

Guest Contributor

Joel Bennett is a luthier from the UK, trained in the US, and currently living in Mexico without any tools. Go visit him over at his website: www.electricherald.com.

 

Lauren Passarelli

Interview: Lauren Passarelli Answers YOUR Guitar Questions

Guitar Insights by Lauren Passarelli

Lauren Passarelli is author of the Guitar Insights eBook series

This post contains affiliate links, meaning, if you click through and make a purchase, I may earn a commission. This is at no additional cost to you. Learn more.

This week we’re joined by Lauren Passarelli, a guitar professor at the Berklee College of Music since 1984, JamPlay.com instructor, and author of two Kindle ebooks: Guitar Insights (minor tweaks, major results) and Guitar Insights, Myths and What Matters. Lauren is also a Beatles’ expert, performer, songwriter, recording engineer, record producer, and the list goes on and on. I consider her one of the hardest working women in music, and I’m thrilled she’s carving out some time for us here.

When Lauren and I first got in touch, we’d discussed possibly having her do a standard interview–where I ask a bunch of questions that I think would be interesting and informative. Then I got an idea…

Rather than asking her my questions, what if I asked her your questions?

So, I put out a call for all of you to send me your questions, and what follows here is a list of your questions and Lauren’s answers to each.

Introducing… Lauren Passarelli

Lauren: Ellooooo everybody. Thanks for having me, Bobby. Thanks to everyone for submitting their questions. Interestingly enough many of your questions make up the topics I wrote about in my Guitar Insights ebook series. Here we go…

1. As compared to young students, is it possible for “older” students to acquire the same skillset in the same span of time?

Lauren: Anyone at any age can play well if they spend time playing. There are so many free resources, and it’s more fun now then ever to learn anything you’re interested in anytime of day. One of the best guitar websites I’ve ever come across for resources and cool videos is jamplay.com/card.

You can get guitar lessons 24 hours a day for a week, free with this code: 55DB3375AA.

2. Is it really necessary to learn more than the basics of the music theory in order to create a hit song?

Lauren: No. Most hit song writers do not know any theory. Music is made up of frequencies, energy, and sound waves, and those frequencies translate into feelings and emotions for us as we sympathetically resonate with the sounds we like. That’s what goose bumps are from. Like choosing favorite visual colors, you don’t have to understand art or how paint gets combined to create individual colors. You just pick what looks good to your eye. Songwriters pick what sounds good to their ear. Try this: Put your fingers on any instrument and noodle around for sounds you like. Use your ears, please yourself. It’s my favorite way to write.

3. For someone who knows zero music theory but wants to learn, what would you recommend starting with?

Lauren: Your favorite songs. Basic guitar books of your favorite artists. Videos teaching how to play your favorite songs. Alfred’s Basic Guitar Method, Book #1. Google “basic contemporary music theory.”

4. How much music theory does a ‘leisure player’ like me need to know? I was told I need a decent grounding in music theory if I’m ever going to progress beyond a certain point.

Lauren: None. Not true, especially if you have zero interest in the science of why music works. Music, sound, came first. The language and how to analyze music came after. If you find yourself wondering why is this chord called A and this one called A- (minor) then, you can google and find out, and on and on. There’s no end to any subject or how you can connect the dots for yourself in your understanding. Follow the fun and you will gain much knowing.

5. Besides music theory, what are some fundamentals needed for learning guitar?

Lauren: Great beginner books. You have to physically be able to coordinate your hands and fingers to play so beginning books that give you finger exercises and the, “how to play”, give you the tools to develop ability.

6. What is the best way to practice scales, arpeggios, and chords to see how they relate to one another–how the forms can link together up and down the fretboard?

Lauren: A Modern Method for Guitar by William G. Leavitt vols 1,2 & 3. Read every word and every note and play through every page. It will teach you everything you want to know.

7. What would you recommend for starter recording equipment? I’m a teenager and don’t have a lot of money, but would like to try recording things.

Lauren: Get a copy of Garageband and an interface, or stand alone tape recorder, or use your phone’s voice recorder.

8. Do you think one has to find a good teacher to be their best on guitar? Or can self-taught people reach their full potential, especially in this day and age where you can find a lesson for anything on the Internet?


Lauren: The same work needs to be done whether you learn on your own or with a teacher. It’s up to you. It will be the same material. You can find it all on your own or have guidance with a teacher.

9. I’m learning acoustic and electric at the same time. Should I concentrate on one and get to a certain level before I think about picking up the other?

Lauren: Both at the same time is fine and deliciously fun.

10. How can I tell if I am a “good” guitarist or not? For example, I can play many scales and chords but am still unable to play songs by ear. I still need a chord sheet and rhythm pattern help to play songs.

Lauren: Record and video tape your playing and listen. Do you sound like the professionals you listen to? When you play scales and chords do they sound like music? If you play something many many times you will eventually memorize it. Learning to play music from hearing recordings is a whole other skill.

11. I have still not picked up speed. Is it okay if I am playing right but not fast?

Lauren: Speed is only one dynamic to be concerned with. Playing well – accurately, in tune, and with feeling – matters more.

12. Is it okay if I am good at rhythm but can’t play lead very well, or vice versa?

Lauren: It’s fine. It’s fun to do both. Experiment. Jump in. Start with easy songs and work at making your own playing sound like the guitar playing that’s inspiring you. Branch out to the new. Fill in the holes of your understanding. Use guitar books, the internet, watch and listen to great guitar players.

13. What’s the best method (or delivery system, perhaps) to relearn music theory and sightreading for guitar?

Lauren: Depends on your learning style. The info is the same. Lessons, books, and videos.

14. What are important things to know both before & after attending the Berklee College of Music?

Lauren: The more you know about music and your instrument before Berklee the further Berklee can take you through their curriculum. Berklee has always accepted absolute beginners as well. To succeed at Berklee, requires hard work, commitment, and willingness to open your mind to new ideas and ways of making music.  As it happens, the very same things are required for success in music after Berklee!

15. What careers are available to someone who graduates Berklee? I’ve always been discouraged from going to music school because I’ve been told there are “limited career options.”

Lauren: Most employers just want to know you have a college degree. It’s often not important what the degree is in. For music students of course there is Performing, Music Therapy, Teaching, Recording, Composing, Arranging, Producing, Copyist, Manager, Personal Assistant, Music Lawyer, Tour Manager, Publicist, Booking Agent, Stage Manager, Music Publisher, Live Sound Engineer, Instrument Building, Instrument Repair, Sound Design, Music Promoter, Music DIrector, Music Conductor, etc.

Look closer at the skills and ability to focus on details that a trained musician receives, those skills can be applied to anything. Musicians make great Computing, Telecommunications, Theater and Museum mangers, and so on. Really the main question is, what do you enjoy doing all day and in what environment, and who do you enjoy working with?

16. Music schools traditionally turn out very technically and academically proficient musicians. However, many music legends throughout history have had flawed technique and little or no formal music education. What can music schools do to encourage more original (or experimental) thinking among students? Are those two things at odds?

Lauren: Phil Collins and Bonnie Raitt both said to me they wished they could have attended a college like Berklee. Sting’s son, Tuck Andreas’ niece, and Paul Simon’s son have attended Berklee. There will always be natural musicians who can play and write songs but can’t communicate or notate music. They will always need interpreters who do understand music to be in the band and to rehearse the band, or to speak with the musicians or recording engineers. Natural talent is only enhanced with more knowledge; it doesn’t disappear. They don’t cancel each other out. Flawed technique brings fatigue and injury over a lifetime. There’s no reason to have bad technique with all the guitar information available.

17. There are many ways to learn guitar now via electronic media: Internet, YouTube, Apps, Software, and even Video Games that teach guitar. During your time as a professor, have you seen any signs that these things are actually helping guitarists learn better and/or faster? Do students seem better prepared when they come to Berklee now than they did… say… 20+ years ago?

Lauren: They’re all great teaching tools. The material is vast, but the ability to assimilate it is usually the same. Students at Berklee have always been accepted because of their talent, not just their head knowledge. Students in some ways are the same, eager for experience, open, and coming from a variety of backgrounds. Malcolm Gladwell speaks of putting in your ten thousand hours to become great at something. No one would put that kind of time into anything unless they loved it and had passion, talent and joy from spending time doing it.

18. What are some tips for getting (and keeping) the creative juices flowing?

Lauren: Going back to the well of what inspired you to play or write in the beginning. Diving in and listening and learning how to play your favorite music, learning new ways to approach subjects you’ve neglected or left behind. Finding ways to make yourself proud everyday. Learning new instruments, joining or starting a band. New repertoire always brings me new surprises. More musician company.

Didn’t See Your Question Here?

Do you have a burning guitar question that wasn’t answered here? Put it in the comments below, and maybe we can convince Lauren to come back again soon to answer them!

 

4Guitar.com

About Lauren Passarelli

Guest Contributor

Lauren Passarelli has been called the music world’s wonder woman for being a songwriter, performer, arranger, producer, recording engineer, owning a record label & being a Berklee College of Music Guitar Department Professor. A multi instrumentalist, singing & playing many parts on her own records, she has two CDs with arranger, Cindy Brown, under the band name; Two Tru, and seven CDs on her own. Her music has been featured on daytime TV: CBS, NBC, & WGBH. Lauren also recorded other artists including: Ruth Mendelson, Kate Chadbourne, Crave, Thaddeus Hogarth, & Jane Miller. Pat Metheny has called her a great guitar player. Lauren’s early musical influences were: The Beatles, James Taylor, Stevie Wonder, Carly Simon & Fleetwood Mac. New Englander’s know Lauren as, George Harrison, having toured with Beatles’ tribute bands. Visit her at laurenpassarelli.com.

 

Flying With a Guitar as Checked Baggage

Flying With a Guitar as Checked Baggage