Adam Rafferty – Guitar and Spirit

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

How to Improve Your Guitar Sound – Mentally!

6 Comments

The other night while sound checking for a gig at the Vienna Mozarthaus, I found soundcheck to be very easy.  Then I found the gig to be very relaxed and easy.

It’s not always been like this.  What did I do right?

I’ve had nights where I’ve fought the guitar, overpowered it, beat it into submission and make it do what I want it to do, even if I am drowned in sweat.

Why was it easy 2 nights ago?  Hey maybe after 5 years of heavy touring – I’m finally learning something!

This may sound trite – but it’s quite profound:  I offered no “resistance” to what I was hearing.  I didn’t allow a “mental concept”  to disagree with “what was happening in the moment.”

This meant not worrying about what anyone thought, not feeling that I was “required”  to do a tune I wasn’t in the mood for, and also meant not “planning the next tune”  during the current tune.

It meant “being present.”

My warm up was groovy and easy going.  I didn’t flex all my chops back stage but got playing in a groove so I could dance along, like a well greased machine. Almost as you’d expect a tennis player to warm up.

The “sound”  on the gig was perfect….I simply worked with what I had and listened closely, at each moment and accepted what I heard.  The more I listened and allowed, the better the sound got.

Maybe it’s no coincidence that I meditated 30 minutes in the afternoon.  My daily meditation sometimes gets thrown off when I travel a lot.  But, after seeing how it affected my last gig, I am determined to stay on it for the rest of the tour.

Tuning my mind to pay attention to “what’s in front of me” (i.e. the present moment), rather wanting “something else” gave me peace.  No energy was wasted in “pushing against” the present moment.  I could hear and feel the difference.

30 minutes of silence…try it, you’ll like it!

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Author: Adam Rafferty

Adam Rafferty. Fingerstyle Guitarist. Recording and Concert Artist. Meditator. Philosopher. Lover of Groove.

6 thoughts on “How to Improve Your Guitar Sound – Mentally!

  1. Excellent article Adam!

    I’m a meditating musician as well. I have meditated for years, learning about it and studying it while I was at school in Boston. Of course over time through the years, especially with the 9000 things coming at us all the time in today’s environment can distract us from meditating and staying in the present.

    When I fell out of my meditation discipline, At times, while playing, I’d find myself multitasking thoughts and not being in the present. I always record myself while performing now and I can hear the obvious differences of when I’m “Present” and when I’m not.

    Thanks for sharing. Hope more people receive this with curious hearts.

  2. Excellent article Adam!

    I’m a meditating musician as well. I have meditated for years, learning about it and studying it while I was at school in Boston. Of course over time through the years, especially with the 9000 things coming at us all the time in today’s environment can distract us from meditating and staying in the present.

    When I fell out of my meditation discipline, At times, while playing, I’d find myself multitasking thoughts and not being in the present. I always record myself while performing now and I can hear the obvious differences of when I’m “Present” and when I’m not.

    Thanks for sharing. Hope more people receive this with curious hearts.

  3. Adam, I agree with you wholeheartedly. As a church worship musician one would think this is something we do naturally, but like any situation, if I get caught up in the things you mentioned, I sometimes put team prayer in the backround (which I am ashamed to admit). In preparing for our weekend services, I do try to have daily prayer to ready my heart and mind for the upcoming service. There is no question that when my heart is surrendered to the “bigger picture”, our worship time goes as it should without me distracted by trying to control things. This is not an excuse not to be prepared and ready technically, but to put things in perspective.

  4. Long time fan of your music and your writings. Great article – this reminded me of another concept I have been thinking a lot about recently: http://www.fastcompany.com/1829462/martin-lindstrom-buyology-marketing-branding-creative-thinking-creative-pause

  5. Be present, spot on Eckhart Tolle for guitarists! Easily said than done but that is what it takes to really live!

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