5 Tips To Becoming A Guitar Artist

Image by Couleur from Pixabay

Jimi Hendrix. Eric Clapton. Brian May. What do these lads have in common? Well, according to some of the trusted websites online, these men are on top of the list of the best guitar players of all time. They are not only prominent figures in the music industry but legends with their guitars. But these great men did not become the best guitar artists in a blink of an eye. They put hard work, dedication, and passion for their craft. When most were probably relaxing and clubbing, they were practicing hard with their guitars.

This article lists down 5 tips to help you become the guitar artist that you hope for. Read on and take notes, dear protégé. 

1. Choose the best instrument.

A guitar to an artist is like a gun to a soldier. You need the best tool that suits you as you ready for battle. Guitars, depending on the brand, quality, and reliability, vary in prices. If you are really serious on becoming the next Jimi Hendrix, then you might really want to save up for a good quality, not necessarily top of the line, guitar. Do your research, or ask professionals before you buy your guitar as you wouldn’t want to be dismayed when you spend too much on one guitar only to find out something that costs less sounds better and lasts longer.

2. Continue improving in your craft.

Although you might know plenty about guitars and techniques to better improve your playing style, it is always best to continue learning. While there are plenty of videos that say 10 easy steps to becoming a rock star, it is better to let the professionals help you. Trusty Guitar is one of many that offers guitar lessons for beginners and advanced guitarists. With capable and talented teachers or mentors to further guide you, then you have more chances and a bigger opportunity to be a famous guitar artist. As they say, life should be a continuous learning stage, and when it comes to passion, you should always go the extra mile. 

3. Connections.

When it comes to the music industry and artistry, having connections is an excellent privilege. Meeting new people and making friends is the best way to widen your reach and broaden your circle. Who knows the one you might be mingling with today at the bar might be the next big producer who is looking for a new talent to push, right? So go out there, meet new people, and make connections.

4. Expose yourself to more opportunities.

While you are still waiting for that big break to happen, don’t rest on your laurels. Get gigs or better yet join a band. By looking for opportunities to play more, you not only have an income, but you also get to practice and improve more. When playing with a band, you also get to build more connections and at the same time learn with other people who are of your same passion. Create opportunities for yourself, don’t just wait for one.

5. Be ready.

Pursuing your passion may at times be tricky, but you have to be ready with challenges and road bumps along the way. You must always be focused on your goal and set your eyes on the prize.

Guitarist Paul Gilbert Announces “Behold Electric Guitar”

PAUL GILBERT AND MUSIC THEORIES RECORDINGS / MASCOT

LABEL GROUP ANNOUNCE MAY 17 GLOBAL RELEASE FOR

NEW STUDIO ALBUM BEHOLD ELECTRIC GUITAR

View Video For “Havin It” Here: https://youtu.be/V_c0aoOgWVg 
Pre-Order Here: 
http://smarturl.it/PaulGilbert

Paul Gilbert and Music Theories Recordings / Mascot Label Group have announced a May 17 global release date for a new studio album titled Behold Electric Guitar.  The video for the lead track “Havin It” can be viewed here: https://youtu.be/V_c0aoOgWVg.  Gilbert shares, “I finally wrote a song with long guitar solos! It took me decades to stretch beyond my pop song structure habits, and it feels great to be FREE, and just play, and play, and play. The song still has melodies and themes, and those were inspired by the idea that when you have something good… You still want MORE. Havin’ it… don’t make me stop wantin’ it!”

After his recent move to Portland, Oregon, he set out to connect with the best and grooviest musicians in the area, and record an album in his brand-new hometown. Brian Foxworth (drums) and Asher Fulero (keyboards) were both obvious choices to play Paul’s mix of rock, blues, jazz, and pop flavors. When Paul’s regular Portland bassist Kelly Lemieux was unavailable (due to his touring with Buckcherry), Paul reached out to New Orleans bass legend, Roland Guerin. Roland came to Portland weeks before the recording dates for intense rehearsing and arranging sessions.

With the band complete, Paul enlisted legendary producer and engineer John Cuniberti. John is well known for his work with Joe Satriani, but Paul was primarily interested in John’s expertise with “one mic” recording. Paul explains, “It’s so easy to make albums with overdubbing and editing these days, but I really prefer playing live and just getting the music to sound right because the musicians, the songs, and the performances are good.” After hearing Paul’s band, John recommended a few more mics, but still agreed that the music worked best as live performances with no overdubs. “There is not one overdub on the record. Everything you hear is four guys jamming, listening to each other, and making room for each other. The music almost mixes itself that way! And it’s just a great mindset to have. When you know that you won’t be fixing or adding parts later… It keeps your mind very active to get things right!”

The complete track listing features “Havin It,” “I Own A Building,” “Everywhere That Mary Went,” “Love Is The Saddest Thing,” “Sir, You Need To Calm Down,” “Let That Battery Die,” “Blues For Rabbit,” “Every Snare Drum,” “A Snake Just Bit My Toe,” “I Love My Lawnmower,” “A Herd Of Turtles,” “Things Can Walk To You.”

Paul Gilbert will be touring globally to support the release. Confirmed North American appearances include:

5/31                 Westland, MI                                      The Token Lounge

6/02                 Cleveland, OH                                    Music Box Supper Club

6/06                 Ardmore, PA                                       The Ardmore Music Hall

6/08                 Poughkeepsie, NY                              The Chance

6/09                 Annapolis, MD                                   Rams Head On Stage

6/11-13           New York, NY                                    Iridium Jazz Club

6/17                 Nashville, TN                                     City Winery

Guitarist Paul Gilbert talks about Great Guitar Escape 3.0

Paul Gilbert is probably best known as the guitarist/co-founder of the rock group Mr. Big a band who dominated the airwaves in 1991 with their acoustic ballad “To Be With You”. After the group broke up in 1996 Gilbert embarked on a solo career while also performing in numerous other side projects and groups. Paul recently announced the 3rd installment of his “Great Guitar Escape” which is set for late July. Media Mikes had the chance to speak with Paul recently about the upcoming event and what those who attend can expect.

Adam Lawton: What can you tell us about the recently announced Great Guitar Escape 3.0?

Paul Gilbert: It’s the most fantastic, inspirational and unforgettable guitar event of all time! There will be concerts every night, Seminars every day and lots of opportunities to jam. It’s just going to be great mix of good food, the California coast, and great times with people who love the guitar.

AL: With this being the camps 3rd yr are there things you have planned which weren’t possible during the camps previous 2 sessions?

PG: The first two Great Guitar Escapes were both really great, so I don’t want to make any drastic changes. The biggest difference would be the location. The Cambria Pines Lodge is about halfway between L.A. and San Francisco, so it’s an easy drive for people who live in California. But for the last two camps, I had people fly in from South America and Russia, so I know that nothing will hold back guitar players who really want to rock.

AL: Can you tell us a little bit about this year’s guest counselors and how you went

PG: Andy Timmons and Bruce Bouillet are both incredible guitarists that I’ve spent a lot of time with. Bruce and I played together in the band, Racer X, and Bruce toured in my band when I did Joe Satriani’s G3 tour. He’s a monster player, and a great teacher. Andy is an Ibanez endorser like me, so we’ve played together at a lot of Ibanez events, and of course, Andy was at my last Great Guitar Escape camp. He’s one of my favorite guys in the world to jam with. He’s somehow intimidating and generous at the same time. I’ve met Kiko Loureiro several times over the years, and he’s always been super cool. He can play a lot of different styles, but I’m happy that he’s getting a taste of big gigs with Megadeth. Dave Ellefson, who plays bass with Megadeth, is from my generation of musicians, so he’ll have a head start on the songs that I’ll be playing in the jams. And Bumblefoot has a reputation for being creative and surprising… and still rocking hard, so I’m excited to finally get to jam with him.

AL: Is this camp designed for all level of players or is it geared more towards advanced players?

PG: The GGE is good for anyone who wants to get motivated. You can sit back and enjoy the concerts and seminars, or you can plug in and join the jams. We’re all there, in person, so I like to be flexible enough to work with anything that people are interested in. Also, my idea of “advanced” has really changed over the years. To me, an advanced musician is not necessarily somebody who can play fast or complicated, but just a person who can sound really good. I could talk about this sort of thing for the next 10 hours, so I’d better save it for the camp!

AL: As we start to see more and more interactive camps taking place how do you go about keeping things fresh and making your camp stand out above others?

PG: There are some musicians who are best known for what they do visually. They’ve got the best leather jacket, the most explosions in their stage production, or just an astounding number of consecutive good-hair days. I’ve got legendary musicians at my camp, but they are legendary for the way that they play. And they’re good people. No bodyguards or attitudes. Just a great time being immersed in music, and the guitar.

AL: What other projects are you currently working on outside of Guitar Escape 3.0?

PG: I’ve got a new solo album coming out soon called, “I Can Destroy.” Kevin Shirley produced it, and it turned out great. The opening track is called, “Everybody Use Your Goddamn Turn Signal,” and I think I might actually save a few lives, if people heed the message of this song. I’m also nearing my fourth year with my online rock guitar school for Artistworks. I’ve recorded nearly 4000 Video Exchange lessons, and I’m still having a great time, so I’m going to keep going. And later this year, I’ll be going on tour with my solo band to play my new songs, and my favorite songs from my previous albums. Life continues to rock!

For more info on Paul’s Great Guitar Escape 3.0 you can visit http://greatguitarescape.com

 

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World Air Guitar Champion Eric Melin talks about his title and the competition

We’ve all done it. I certainly know I have. I’ve done it in the shower. I’ve done it in the car. And more than once I’ve done it in front of 20,000 people at a concert. And so have you. The IT I’m referring to is playing air guitar. Guilty as charged, aren’t you. Well hang your heads, dear readers, because one person in the world does it better than anyone: World Air Guitar Champion Eric Melin.

I’ve been lucky enough to have been able to call Eric a friend and a colleague for over a decade. Like me, he’s a film critic for several outlets, including his own very popular site: www.scene-stealers.com.

I have to admit that it’s much easier for me to interview an Oscar winning filmmaker then it is a friend. Question four, below, came out of my mouth so mangled that we both laughed when I told him “that was a horrible question…I’m sorry. It will look better in print.”

Just back from Finland, “Mean” Melin took some time to speak with me about his title and the future of the competition.

Mike Smith: How long have you been playing air guitar competitively?
Eric Melin: Competitively? Five years. Ironically my work as a film critic led me to it. I saw the film “Air Guitar Nation,” which was a documentary that came out in 2006. I didn’t see it until 2009 when I caught it on Netflix. When I saw the movie I thought, “Oh, shit! I’ve been doing this pretty much all my life anyway. I should try to do it on stage in front of people.”

MS: I was going to say…everyone has at one time or another played air guitar but it’s really a lot more than just miming the pick moves, etc. What all goes into a performance?
EM: There are three things that are judged in air guitar, both in the US and the World Championships. There’s technical ability, which is what you just talked about. It’s not the most important thing but, believe it or not, you want to make it look like you’re actually somewhat playing a real guitar. The second thing is stage presence, which is what I call the “Wow” factor. You really have to come out in character…you have to get the people excited that you’re there. And the third thing they judge you on is air-ness.

MS: When and where did this…I hate to use the word craze…gain notoriety? Where did competitive air guitar start?
EM: The World Championships started in 1996. The event that I just won was the 18th Annual Air Guitar World Championships. It’s been going on for a very long time. As documented in the movie “Air Guitar Nation,” it really got started in America in 2003. What happened was two guys from America – Kriston Rucker and Cedrick Devitt, who are now the co-commissioners of US Air Guitar – found out that there was such a thing as a World Championship in Finland and they went there. They realized there was no U.S. representation! How could the country that invented rock and roll not have a representative at the World Air Guitar Championships? They set up a couple of shows in New York and Los Angeles that year to remedy that and find a champion. By the time I found out about it and signed up in 2009 there were already (28) cities sponsoring events. It expanded from two to twenty-eight cities in five years.

MS: In going through the list of this year’s finalists…they came from all over the world. Finland, of course. Germany, Belgium, France, England. Are the performances influenced by their home countries? You’re very dramatic on stage…a lot of big moves. A lot of Pete Townsend and heavy metal head banging. We’re all of the performances similar?
EM: This was my first year at the World Championships after five years of competing in the U.S. Air Guitar Championships. I learned a lot more about the international style this year.

MS: I know when we spoke earlier you had mentioned that you had planned on retiring from the competitive circuit, win or lose, after the World Championships. Is that still the plan?
EM: I did decide that this would be my last year. But, after winning, I changed my mind so I could fly back to Oulu again next year because I had so much fun! So I will actually compete to defend my title next year!

Five Finger Death Punch's Jason Hook talks about new album and his signature M-4 Sherman guitar

Jason Hook is the guitarist for the heavy metal group Five Finger Death Punch who in the coming months will be releasing their 4th as yet untitled studio album.  More recently at this year’s NAMM convention held in Anaheim, California Gibson Guitars unveiled the Jason Hook signature M-4 Sherman guitar which is the first guitar to bear Jason’s name. Media Mikes was able to talk with Jason recently about the creation of the guitar and several of its aspects.

Adam Lawton: What was your first exposure to Gibson guitars?
Jason Hook: I remember reading the back of the Kiss “Destroyer” album where it said that Kiss uses Pearl drums and Gibson guitars because they want the best. I think that was in 1976. At the time I think the whole band was using Gibsons. I didn’t get my own Gibson until I was in my late 20’s. I bought it in Canada sight unseen. I think I paid about $900 for a used custom. I didn’t know anything about the guitar before I got it. I probably should have held on to that one.

AL: How did the opportunity come about to do your own signature model Gibson?
JH: I know several people who work at the company so I would periodically check in with them. I play explorers which not a lot of people play. I thought that this would be a good lead in to help push this through. It took me a little while to get that point to the right person. Everyone wants something from Gibson so they are very selective about what they give away and who they help out. I had to be patient.

AL: What was it that drew you to the Explorer model?
JH: I own several Les Paul models and they are great guitars however I developed a nerve issue with my right arm. On the Les Paul model there is a hard binding that comes across and falls under that right arm. This was causing my arm to burn while I was playing and really bummed me out. Idecided to try the Explorer and it was perfect.

AL: How much of the design process were you allowed to be a part of?
JH: Surprisingly they wanted to do exactly what I wanted to do. I started off asking them if I could do certain and things and they told me it was my guitar I could do what I wanted. They didn’t resist any of my crazy ideas.

AL: Can you give us the specs on the guitar?
JH: Everything is based off the stock Explorer. I changed the rosewood fret board to a granadillo fret board as it is a very hard and dense wood with not a lot of grain. I wanted a lower profile fret that was also wide. I looked all through the factory but couldn’t find what I wanted. After asking if they had anything else they showed me the wire that’s used on the Zakk Wylde Les Paul’s which was perfect. I literally stole the fret wire out Zakk’s material stash. (Laughs) We are using locking mini Grover tuners which is something different. We also did a bevel on the upper wing of the body as well as

scooping out a portion of the lower wing which allows the player access the higher frets. For pickups we are using a Seymour Duncan JB in the bridge and a Duncan 59 in the neck. Other than the special paint scheme the last thing we did was this special wiring harness. This idea came out of when I was still painting guitars in my garage. I would take the pick guards off to paint the bodies and there is  this channel that the wires sat in. I looked pretty gnarly the way it was so I started looking around and found some plastic conduit that I got at Home Depot to wrap around the wires.

AL: When you showed them the wiring what did they think?
JH: They told me that I didn’t have to have that in there as they could route the guitar differently so there would be no channel. I wanted to make it interesting. I think the more bizarre something looks cause people to take notice. I am a big fan of Eddie Van Halen and the stuff he did in the eighties. He was using these pieces of shit guitars that he was making in his garage but, he still played better than everyone else. (Laughs) That I thought was really unique and I said that if I ever got to operate on a professional level I was going to do something similar. My explorer was supposed to be the most unique, ugliest, beat up thing I could create.

AL: Can you give us an update where you are at with the new album?
JH: We are about 65% done. We are shooting for a deadline that is at the end of April, early May. We are working hard every day on this thing. I am at the phase now where I am laying down solos here at my home studio. Generally the first portion of the recording process I am writing and working on rhythm stuff. It’s not till the last quarter that I switch over to doing the other stuff.