Adam Rafferty – Guitar and Spirit

All about music, guitar, spirituality, personal development and being happy


Why Achieve Goals?

Greetings Friends!

I am writing to you right now on a delightfully quiet, damp Sunday morning at 6:15 am EST. Life is good. I’m huggin coffee and aside from the occasional car alarm or Bollywood Hip Hop drive-by-car-stereo-blast, it’s quiet here in NYC 🙂

Last week I finally shot the video to my Stevie Wonder Instructional Guitar DVD and I edit tomorrow…but this post is not about beating my chest, alpha male style, and getting you to cheer me on. I have an inquiry about the whole nature of achieving goals.

It’s gratifying to knock out goals and see one’s visions take shape in the world. But why? The more one does “winner” type things, the more one (I) become addicted to the elation of achievement.

Is it an addiction? What’s happening here? What’s the point of goals, accomplishments and so on? Will it ever end? Can’t I just relax into the moment and simply “be”?

Don’t get me wrong – accomplishing things is the coolest thing ever. To place an image of an achieved goal in the drop box of my mind – and watch it spring up like a flower is unbelievable. It’s like playing with the mechanics of the universe!

Maybe I’ll never be able to answer the “why”. However – one of my heroes, Lester Levenson explained the following. (You can find audios of him on youtube).

In the achievement of goals our inner resistance comes up. The “can I do it?”, the doubts, the anger, the impatience, the feeling that something is too big, too small – or even that “this is easy”, “I’m the best / the worst” (ego), “I’ll show them”, “I’ll never be able to”…the point being – our deep emotions get unearthed.

The overcoming, releasing and understanding of these emotions ultimately are the lessons we need to learn. We come up against our own resistance and ego. Goals help us shine the light on our inner junk and see it for what it is worth.

Food for thought.

Have a wonderful day y’all. Love you.




Youtube Recording Technique for Guitar Videos


I recently posted 2 walkthrough videos showing how I do all this.  Check them out, and read this post here as well.  This is an update even more trial & error, so I hope you get something out of it!


Hey friends! After several requests, I figured I’d write this once so that it is easily accessible, and hopefully will save at least one of you some hours of frustration.

In case you’ve not met me or been introduced – my name is Adam and I am a fingerstyle acoustic guitarist. Youtube has been a blessing in so far that is has connected me with fans and other guitarists around the globe…I mean, I have walked into new countries and people say “you’re the Billie Jean guy!”

Pretty cool! This type of exposure was only formerly possible with a huge record deal. I have people in St Petersburg, Korea, France – all of whom can watch my vids seconds after an upload.

But enough about that –


Here’s what we will cover:

1) sound recording
2) video recording
3) editing
4) uploading, file formats etc


1) Sound Recording

Ok, DO NOT use the camera for sound. It will suck, period.

You’ll need a good condenser mic, and I have had the warmest results with a large diaphragm mic more suited for vocals. I would never use that (at least I think) on a record, but for a big fat mono signal it sounds good.

I have had very very good results with a Studio Projects C3. (see end of article for new updated gear)

The mic is the heart and soul of the sound you’ll get.

The software simply massages the signal. Even Garage Band is fine, once you get a good sound – so don’t sweat the software. You will need some basic audio software though.

I use Digital Performer and I get the sound into the computer with a MOTU Ultralite interface. I got pretty good at editing in DP and I find I can slice with precision more easily than in Garage Band.

I did do a few videos when I was in Europe recording with a handheld ZOOM H4. The sound was tinny, as they are different mics – but I’d like to try it with a condenser mic (you can plug one into the H4).

One option I have not checked out are usb mics. If you have software but no interface, you may want to investigate these…that way you need no inteface.

2) Video recording

Previously I recorded to DV video cassette and imported into Apple’s Imovie, but now since I have a laptop with a cam I record video with my laptop.

The downside? The footage takes up lots of space. The upside? I am more mobile – so if I travel I have my video kit, and they look pretty good.

3) Mixing & Editing Sound

I fix my mistakes in the audio. I don’t make many, but when I do, I don’t want to get into that “start again, start again, etc” in search of perfection. Well I do get into that, and it is maddening, so eventually I find the most musical take and fix small things.

Of course it’s spot edits so I don’t screw up any syncing with the vid.

Usually I will do the following to the guitar (mono)

– boost level
– add compression
– eq, usually bring up bass & treble
– add reverb

When I am done, I’ll output an .aiff file (same as .wav)

4) Imovie Work

I’ll then sync up the souped up audio with the video, totally turning off the sound that’s with the video file. This was easier in the old imovie, but I try to always push out of my comfort zone and learn new software.

As well, in imovie I will boost the audio level again. This just takes experimentation. You can check another Youtube vid and see where the level of yours would sound good.

Add titles, and the movie is done.

5) Outputting the file

There are many articles on Youtube Settings, and then of course youtube upped their limit from 100mb to a gig…so here’s how I export the file. Remember, you can output a big (less than a gig) file since their servers will do the compression & squashing of your file.

Some of my vids look better than others, as I have experimented a bit…

Here are my Imovie settings, and there may be better ones out there:

Compression: H.264
Quality: Best
Frame Rate: 30
Frame Reordering: Yes
Encoding Mode: multi-pass
Dimensions: 640 x 480
Scale: Letterbox

Format: AAC
Sample Rate: 44.100 khz
Channels (Stereo L R) – who knows, I may record in stereo someday
Bit Rate 128 kbps

Here’s what those settings and techniques yielded…Enjoy!!! If you know better than I and see a horrible mistake, please enlighten me, there is always room for improvement!

– Adam


Hey Y’all – Update. I am on the road and finding great results using.

RODE NT5 Stereo Mics
Mixing in Garage Band
And – you can output up to a 2 gig movie now for youtube

Same concept – marry the spiffed up, souped up audio with video. Check it out: