Adam Rafferty – Guitar and Spirit

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


How To Record Guitar For Youtube Videos

Hey Gang,

I wrote a post on this 2 years ago, but I have refined my guitar recording technique.  The old post is here.

At the bottom of this post I will list the equipment & software I use….

There are MANY ways to do the same thing.  I do only one, but it is very easy & fast.  I like NOT using a laptop for these recordings…because the fans create background noise.  That’s why I use a ZOOM H4.

For a CD recording I would use better gear (interface, laptop, several mics), but as I have to be my own video & audio engineer I want to make things E-Z!

If you have ideas, or a better way to do it that could enlighten readers – please comment below – Thanks!

This is a 2 part Video series – Total Viewing time 17 minutes.

Equipment & Software Links:

Maton Michael Fix Model Guitar –

Canon Vixia HF M40 –

Flashpoint Lights with Stands – I use 2  –

Oktava MK-319 Mic:

RODE NT5 Mics (I have a stereo pair):

ZOOM H4 Recorder (newer model available):  

Apple Macbook:

Audacity Software:

Garageband Software:

iMovie Software:

Enjoy and feel free to contact me if you have any questions!



1 Comment

If Paul McCartney Can’t Read Music, Why Should I?

I hear this often from students and guitar fans.

And I am into a 2nd Venti at Starbucks.

I am Venti-ing.

I get very disturbed when a young student tries to “shirk”  away from the work because one of his or her heroes can’t read music.

Often, accomplished musicians who can’t read music will “put down”  musicians who can read – and bolster their own position  of illiteracy with the voodoo of…

I know something’ because I don’t know nuthin…and if I learn too much, I might lose the sumthin’ I gots….

I have played with many great musicians who thought their illiteracy made them special.

It’s their musicality that made them special – not their inability to read!!!

Let’s review the options….

  1. Yes, you can be a great musician and not read. DISCLAIMER:  Some of my favorite musicians couldn’t or don’t read music.
  2. You can be a musician who reads and misses the point of music, YET strays from the “feeling aspect”…not good!
  3. But – how’s about option 3? – Be a GREAT musician AND READ!!!  Like Bach, Mozart, Dizzy Gillespie, John Coltrane, Beethoven, Chopin, Andres Segovia….yeah, all those dudes and dudettes! (the list goes on….)

Why Learn to Read?

(By the way, I will always include tabs on my DVD’s – so don’t worry…I’m just trying to push you to new heights….)

You have to be able to “see music”  in your inner vision. Stevie Wonder is a perfect example of a guy who understands the HECK out of harmony & melody without reading (for obvious reasons.)

Back to the Beatles…..Paul McCarntey and John Lennon have (and had)  a super-duper musical IQ, and PLAYED THE PIANO.  And they heard and sang melodies with shapes, arcs, and that told a story.

So – Why is playing just a little piano important?

Once you play chord voicing and harmonies on a piano – you’ll start to see them moving as “melody lines”  not chord grips the way a guitarist would normally think of.

Listen to the backup vocals that the Beatles use.  That’s the piano influence!

The piano can cure many many ills – and your music will have an intelligence in it.

You should strive to know music on all these levels:

  • Your Ears
  • Your Voice
  • Your Eyes
  • Your Touch
  • Your Intellect

Can Adam Walk the Walk?

Hear for yourself – and you be the judge!

I did not “write”  this arrangement on paper  – but this is highly informed by the ability to read and understand music – and understand harmony in a pianistic way.  A typical “guitar chord approach”  would never produce this result.

Please compare the sound of these 2 videos shown below.

I was able to listen intently to the Beatles original, hear the melody, the band orchestration, the backing vocals – (and by the way, there are choir harmonies in just the backup vocals, each verse with a different chord inversion!  Those pesky Beatles!)

Many people with can of course sing along with the original Beatles melody in their car, or even strum & sing this one….but if you want to be the nutty professor of fingerstyle (like I do) ya gotta dig, dig dig deep and pick apart the “parts.”

Reading music is just a way to have a “birds” eye view of what’s happening.

What Should You Do Next?

  • Find a piano or keyboard  and start plunking on chords – ASAP.  Don’t try to be the best, or perfect – just get started.
  • Get an easy reading book and just do 5 minutes a day.
  • Keep making music that sounds and feels great.

Now…git to work!!!


What’s More Important – Musical Essence or Technical Perfection?

Here’s a peek into my mind as to how I craft something musically for solo guitar.

I recently arranged the Beatles “Michelle” for solo fingerstyle guitar  and while I feel it could be way better ‘technically’….it looks like people are digging it, from the comments.  (thanks Youtubers!)

It is very far from perfect – but it feels good!  There’s a different “perfection” in the good feeling I am talking about.

I am not tooting my own horn, please understand!  I  am talking about the overall sound and feeling of the piece, and I wouldn’t have posted online  it unless it had that “little piece of magic.”

Of course, guitarists will ask me for sheet music, because they want to learn the arrangement, and that’s all fine and good….it’s very good!!!

But there’s a secret as to where the answer lies.  To get the sound of the song….well, it ain’t on paper!

It’s not in the chords, or where I put my fingers.

First, I listened closely to the original Beatles version for the songs “essence”…the life, the personality and gut feeling for this musical “entity”  called “Michelle.”

Inside, I am singing the song…and every note, bump scrape, slap and mistake I make – has to aligned with the “Michelle” essence.  I had to “become” the song…and wait patiently until the fingers tell the story.

(Further proof that life is an “projecting”  outwards of our inner vision! )

Actually I don’t even see what I am doing as an “arrangement” …I’m just trying to sing you the song – with my fingers.

It’s the same thing as when a painter steps back from the canvas and takes the whole thing in.  It’s almost like you have to look with fuzzy blurry vision, rather than obsess on the “perfect shadow cast by the cherubs little finger.”

Get it?

In regards to “essence vs technique”….

  • Essence wins – with the “people” –  They can hear the SONG!
  • Technique wins in school.  You get a good grade, and then reality strikes!

Gut, intuition and exploration are the tools needed!

Wow…it only took me 37 years to figure this out – that something  imperfect can have a deeper perfection ….when we see (or hear) it in terms of the big picture.

Rock on!