"マーティ"

“Ok, so what do the little squiggles in the title mean, Andy?!!” It’s Marty Friedman’s name in katakana, the Japanese alphabet used mostly for translating foreign words. Hello again, it’s TheAndySan here with 5 tips on how to be a better guitar player. These can be applicable to anyone who plays music, but for the intents and purposes of this article, it’s about guitar players.

Tip 1 – Stretch out your ears. No, I don’t mean physically stretching your ears (editor’s note: TheAndySan does not condone any acts of ear mutilation. Seriously, don’t do it!!), what I’m talking about is expanding what you listen to. I suggest delving into every kind of music that you can. Sure, not all of it will be good, but I’m positive you’ll find a player or two that tickles your fancy. For example, I’m not a fan of country music, but I love Vince Gill. I think he’s an amazing singer and one heck of a guitar player to boot! By expanding your musical library, you’ll be able to break out of ruts much easier than by just listening to the same-o same-o music, incorporate unique techniques such as pre-bending which will help to mold your personal playing style, and you’ll be more well-rounded as a musician. You’ll be surprised as to what kind of music your guitar heroes listen to. My main man Marty Friedman, for example, listened to KISS and The Ramones when he was first learning to play guitar. Later on, he got stuck in a rut and began to listen to foreign music. While he was living in Hawaii, he would listen to a Japanese radio station that would play enka music. I’ll try to explain enka music in the form of an analogy: Enka music is to Japan as country music is to America. It’s very ethnic-sounding. Ok, so my explanation is pretty sucky. Here’s a video clip of one of the greatest enka singers ever, Misora Hibari, performing “Ringo Oiwake”:

Tip 2 – Value those with more experience. You’ve probably seen them popping in the music store: the old geezers who can blaze on guitar. Some people would brush off guys like them since they’re “too old” and “uncool”. Not me, boy! I’m asking ’em questions, watching them play, and gauging their skills. I highly recommend that you take note from guys who have more experience, even if they are uncool old geezers lol!

Tip 3 – Join or start up a band. I know that several professional musicians started their first band when they only knew one chord (*coughTomMorellocough*). Even if none of you guys know how to play anything, being around other people will generate ideas and will better encourage those ideas to be exacuted.

Tip 4 – Don’t bite off more than you can chew. I’m not trying to sound discouraging, but what I mean is that, for example, if you try to master the solo for Tornado of Souls in its entirety and expect to play it spot-on by the end of the day, chances are you’ll fail miserably. However, if you break the solo into sections and begin mastering each section one at a time, you’ll have a much higher chance of not only playing the whole thing, but to play it flawlessly. Also, if you’re just learning to play guitar and you want to learn a very technically challenging song like Far Beyond The Sun by Yngwie Malmsteen, you’ll get very discouraged. Learn the basics like power chords and a couple scales before tackling a tough song like that. And, of course, break it into parts when you do sit down and learn it.

Tip 5 – Don’t cave in to peer pressure. One of the main reasons that popular music stagnates before “reinventing” itself is that it tries to “cookie-cutter” bands. In other words, they try to make every band sound the same in hopes of repeated financial success. It never quite works out, does it? Although he’s very VERY overused, Kurt Cobain is probably one of the best/worst examples of what the music industry can do to an artist. At that point in time, hair metal was the name of the game and anybody who wanted to be somebody slipped in to some spandex, slapped on some makeup, fluffed their hair and POOF! You were popular. After a while, people got tired of watching different guys doing the same old things that all the other bands were doing. Then along comes Kurt, a guy who was living in his car and applied to be a dog kennel cleaner right before the album Nevermind turned the music industry on its ear. Then came Soundgarden, Pearl Jam, Alice In Chains, etc. And then people got sick of listening to grunge all the time. Now, it’s emo music. Every band is supposed to sound like Fall Out Boy because Fall Out Boy is a highly successful band. BOLLOCKS!! If bands would just be themselves, people would be able to relate to them and success will naturally come.

Well, I’m gonna get me some shuteye so I’ll see you guys later. Good-night!

TheAndySan

P.S: It’s been 1,508 days since I had a website.