Adam Rafferty – Guitar and Spirit

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


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How to Do Outrageous Musical Marketing

I’d like to give you something to think about based on my real life results in terms of getting gigs, magazine coverage, and excellent word-of-mouth promo.

There is zero BS here. Enjoy and please comment!

Concept 1: MUSICIANS HAVE TO MARKET THEMSELVES. THAT MEANS YOU (and me too).

You and I are running businesses, we are not only artists.

A hard pill for many of us musicians to swallow is that we all need to market ourselves.

If this makes you shiver, feel un-artistic, or think I am a fraud – WAKE UP! Any business, no matter what their product or service is, has to market themselves.

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How To Create Info Products from the Heart (and a Guitar DVD Update..)

I recently read an article by a buddy of mine named Rob Cubbon.  He describes the state of mind & spirit he was in while creating a few of his e-books in his post “My Rules of Product Creation.

While creating his first one, he was stressed and it felt like rolling a rock uphill.  In contrast, the second one just “happened”  by itself.  Oddly – the second one which was infused with joy and ease is also preferred by his readers and sells better.

I’ve had the same thing happen when I record CDs under stress, so I know full well what he was describing.

I was starting to feel a similar process regarding the upcoming Guitar Instructional DVD which I plan to shoot later this summer.

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7 Tips for Making a Great Fingertsyle Guitar Recording (and…it’s not about the equipment!)

I just had the pleasure of spending some time in my home studio recording a few solo tunes.

During the past few days I have experienced the range of emotions from elation to frustration, mainly with my own guitar playing.

I’d like to share some insights with you. The following applies to do-it-yourself home recordings as well as sessions where you go to a pro studio.

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10 Tips for Healthy Guitar Practicing

I’m gonna give you some straight talk about practicing guitar and taking good care of your body and hands.

This is especially relevant today since so many people are self taught from videos and don’t have a real life teacher for feedback.

The “He / She Never Stops Practicing” Myth – Debunked!

One of the favorite “myths” that fans and students hold in mind is that “great musicians practice 24 hours a day, to the exclusion of everything else and that’s why they are so good!”

People always ask me how “many hours a day I practice”  and I see that they are living exactly this fantasy of “wow you are a dedicated artist who practices all the time!”

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Rhythm, Pitch and Your Musical Soul

I was thinking about something someone once told me.

“Pitch is Rhythm.”

Huh?

When I sing or play a note, it does not sound like a beat.

When I play a beat it does not sound like a note.

But in actuality – they are the same thing.  Let’s take a look at this…

An “A 440”  is simply a very fast rhythm.  Scientifically speaking we are hearing a wave at 440 cycles per second.

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How To Build Your Own Fingerstyle Guitar Arrangements – Part 1

Hey Gang!

I get asked quite often about how I approach fingerstyle guitar arranging, and suddenly – this simple idea came to mind.

I hope this gives you a little “AHA!”  moment – to brighten your day.

Disclaimer – there is always “more than one way to do it”.  Here’s one approach that I use, 90% of the time.

The Dark Ages Way of Guitar Arranging

Most guitarists come out of a “chord”  approach, which leads to picking patterns on the chord, and ultimately “jimmying”  little melodies on top.

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The Day I Got My Butt Kicked in Harlem

He showed up for his first music lesson with the master, with his saxophone case in hand.

As they chatted for the first time, he told the teacher “I think I am one of the best sax players in town.”

The teacher answered “It would be nice if someone else thought that as well.”

=-=-=-

That’s a true story that one of my teachers, Mike Longo told me.  It just goes to show, that when we are in our own little world, we think we’re pretty good.

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The Pitfalls of Learning Guitar from Youtube

Hey gang, greets from a jet lagged fingerpicker.  I just got back from Singapore and Kuala Lumpur – what a delightful tour it was!

I had the pleasure to meet some excellent young guitar players – and the bizarro moment happened.  Kids who were inspired by Sungha Jung playing my arrangements are playing their little butts off!  Wow…

I was really surprised to see some super talents who’ve been playing only 3 or 4 years.  I met about 3 or 4 young guitar pickers like this and I am sure Asia has a few more than that 🙂

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Commitment vs Flirtation

Hi Gang!  I am back in NYC for a short breather between tours…

On the road recently someone came up to me and said “man, I worked on your version of Superstition for like 5 months and still couldn’t get it perfect.”

My reply was “only 5 months?”

I explained to him that he needs to dive in with a full ongoing commitment and not watch the clock or calendar.

Like this:

I’m gonna play this arrangement no matter how long it takes to learn and practice.  If I can play one note, then I can play two.  I’ll play those 2 until they sound good, then I’ll add note 3.

I’ll do a little every day and it will surely build.  I’ll sand the edges, work on the groove, listen hard, and allow improvements to reveal themselves with time.

I’ll be mindful that my hands feel good and my whole body feels the groove as I play. One day it will sound good.

I’ve been “hammering”  at all my guitar arrangements for the past 6 years – and there’s no end in sight.

The real issue is not about guitar….it’s about “commitment” vs “flirtation”.

I can feel in me when I “flirt”  with something vs when I totally “commit.”

Things like playing chess, fooling around with electric bass or drums – and even figuring out other guitarists riffs – these are fun things that add richness to my life – but it’s flirtation.

Playing slow scales, practicing my arrangements (and now learning easy Bach Preludes on the piano) and 30 minutes a day of meditation  are “commitments”.

Because they are “commitments” I can relax and breathe as I do the work.

I don’t try to practice everything in a day.  I am mindful of relaxation in my hands, neck, shoulders and I don’t “overdo”.  The fact that I plan to spend the rest of my life on this stuff helps me chill out!

(Please note – I am not saying you have to be a pro and spend hours a day.  You can be a hobby player and commit to practicing a piece of music in the way that I am saying.)

Only after a good long period of time do results show.  There’s a sweetness to knowing and feeling that I’ve (you’ve) accomplished just a little something by coming back to it again and again.

The moral of the story is….hobbies are ok, flirtation with stuff is fun and ok – but committing is also ok too.

The opposite of immediate gratification is one of the sweetest satisfactions in life!  Don’t miss out.

Know where you stand – and if there something you early really want, put it in your focus and never look away!  The “out projecting” of your vision will in fact, create the “thing”  or experience in real life.


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What is Your Musical “Slam Dunk”?

Greets from the road!

Each tour has an outer experience  and  an inner experience.  This tour has been especially wonderful in terms of the inner journey.

Outer stuff: The shows, posters, Facebook posts, and fan interaction, travel, making new friends, etc.

Inner stuff: What’s going on inside emotionally, reaching for artistic goals, new melodies / tunes that become a fresh “soundtrack”  of the tour, where I stand on my scale of inner peace, etc.

The last few gigs have been quite satisfying on  the inner plane, and here’s why –  I am experiencing a new level of “harmony”  between my playing on stage and my core values.

Here are some guidelines which hopefully will stimulate some ideas – and please feel free to disagree with me:

Becoming the Artist You Are Supposed to Be

You can’t get the deep satisfaction I am describing through imitating someone else. (You may have to start there, but that’s not the “goal”…)

Others may inspire you, but the gem and the gift to the world is YOU in your full honesty.  It might feel fragile and unfamiliar to you at first to accept the idea that YOU are valuable and precious, but it’s special and that’s what I’d want to hear from you.

The big question you need to ask yourself is “what is my musical slam dunk?”

Examples:

  • For some, speed is their slam dunk – and that’s fine. If so, then do it to the max!
  • For some, introspection and a meditative atmosphere is their slam dunk, and that’s fine too. Go for it!
  • For some, being perceived as the “best” is the slam dunk.  Be careful here – as this has more to do with “perception”  than “the music”  and can be an ego pitfall.
  • There are many possibilities – so just be clear on what has meaning to you, musically.

Be clear on what your values are, and work at them day by day as you practice.  If you are blown about like a leaf in the wind, imitating someone one day, then something or someone else the next day, or employing a “gimmick” – you can’t get to this deep satisfaction I am describing.

Or if your slam dunk is “A”  but you are doing “B”  because you want others to accept you, you’ll probably never achieve the artistic heights you could – because being an artist is a 360 degree full on, HONEST endeavor.

If you are a beginner or a young person learning who you are and just starting to play, be clear on what you like about other people’s music as you learn the craft of music.

This can be tricky when you are under a teacher’s guidance – as students tend to adopt the likes and dislikes of their teachers.

Just be honest.  What do you like and what do you dislike?  It’s all ok!

My “slam dunk” is a combination of things…

  • I want people to hear clear melodies, groove along with me, and get a “variety” of tempos, textures, keys and musical styles along with some friendly entertainment.
  • I want to hold people’s attention.
  • I want to see my audiences true bubbling enthusiasm, smiles and beaming faces after the gig.  I know when people are really touched as opposed to just offering “obligatory applause.”  I want to really tickle them!

After two separate gigs people told me they felt a “warm flow” come over them during my gig as their smiles beamed.  Dang, that’s what I’m talking about!  I made people feel good – that’s evidence of my slam dunk!

Knowing what I don’t like helps too. 

While this may sound grumbly and negative – I am clear on these points.

  • I don’t like being bored by a performer or by the music.
  • I don’t like if I can’t tap my foot for at least some of the concert.
  • I don’t like when a musician tries to “impress” and forgets about groove and melody.
  • I don’t like “too much”  of one thing, it dulls my senses.
  • I don’t like when a performer hasn’t practiced enough.
  • I don’t like when someone is too “careful”.
  • I don’t like music that wanders and has no recognizable melody
  • I don’t like when I see someone simply imitating someone else, (although I give beginners a break regarding this!)

Only honesty with your own values combined with diligent work of slogging it out day by day, will ultimately bring about a deep, meaningful experience for you and the audience.

What are your values, musically or entertainment wise? (be honest!)

What’s your slam dunk?