Adam Rafferty – Guitar and Spirit

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


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!


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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A Personal Transparent Update & 2014 plans

Hey Gang!

I have been a little off the internet radar lately, and I must apologize for a lag in posts, emails, youtube videos and all that good stuff.

It has been a VERY busy time for me actually. I will quickly get you up to speed, and I promise to post & blog from the road over the next few months.

Here is the God’s honest transparent news update that I’d give you if you were drinking a coffee with me right now.

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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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2012 in review

The stats helper monkeys prepared a 2012 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

19,000 people fit into the new Barclays Center to see Jay-Z perform. This blog was viewed about 60,000 times in 2012. If it were a concert at the Barclays Center, it would take about 3 sold-out performances for that many people to see it.

Click here to see the complete report.


How to Kick Butt on Guitar – Creativity Plus Discipline

Being a guitar player is not that different from being an author, photographer, magician or pizza parlor owner.


In actuality – it’s only ONE field…we’re all self-employed entrepreneurs getting our creations out into the world, providing value for people, and earning something in return.

As an entrepreneur, you have to self motivate.  It’s the “long haul”  tactics and daily habits that build into something worthwhile, over time.

Short bursts of inspiration can’t build musicianship or a great career, but a little bit of work every day – towards a worthwhile goal, most certainly will.

I just read an article by my one of my favorite information marketers, Fred Gleeck, and he talked about the writing process…this quote rang true to me as a creative musician.

He says…

The one thing I suggest you do is that you MAKE yourself sit down and start writing every day for a given block of time. Writing is an act of creativity AND discipline.

This is exactly the process  I use in regards to practicing guitar… I use “creativity AND discipline.”

You are the CREATOR, not the CONSUMER

As a CONSUMER, and lover of music – when you listen to your favorite musician or band, it’s as if you are getting the most delicious dessert at a fine restaurant, served to you.

Mmmm yummy!

No work is required.  You sit back, hit play and enjoy watching and/or listening.  Easy as pie.

As the CREATOR of that dessert, you will not likely “feel the feelings”  that the consumer feels!

This is precisely the spot where, for example, little kids at music lessons realize they need to practice and “it’s no longer fun.”

The shiny new thing loses it’s luster, you see the errors and really have to polish your work of art.

A Recent Real Life Example

I recently did a stretch of arranging, videotaping and uploading 9 Beatles tunes  to YouTube. Here’s one of them for your enjoyment – “In My Life”

The Discipline:

As the musical “dessert chef”  I spent, on average

  • 2-3 days creating the guitar arrangement & practicing it
  • 1 day video taping & recording
  • Maybe 1 day more recording the video again after “sleeping”  on the problems of the first taping
  • For each of these 5 day projects I have a delicious 3 minutes to present to the world.

The Creative:

Even though it’s “covers”  some serious “creativity” went into choosing this stretch of tunes, before I even picked up the guitar.

  • I felt it was time to inject some new life into my repertoire, and I love hitting the “bullseye”  musically for my audience.
  • Almost everyone loves the Beatles – so it’s as if I am coming “back from the bullseye”  like a Zen archer. (See my C + Y = R post)
  • With a nice set of Beatles songs, I can maybe do a Beatles DVD
  • I can offer to now teach a Beatles class at a guitar workshop
  • Of course I’ll have more GREAT tunes to play on concerts
  • If people like the videos, they’ll share them socially
  • Maybe a Beatles CD is worth doing…
  • I strove to  get GREAT versions of these songs onto the guitar that really convey the music, better than I’d ever heard…

When I saw what I wanted to achieve, I determined that it would be well worth the discipline and time needed to whip these tunes into shape and make videos, upload etc.

Is there “Luck” involved?

It makes me almost want to barf when someone says “oh you are so lucky – you get to do what you love…”

Are you kidding?  I work my tail off and claim it….it ain’t luck!!!


Hopefully this gives you some “inspiration”  to be disciplined, put the time in daily, and stick to a plan – and achieve your dreams!

Now….git to work!


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!



The Musician’s Cure to Social Media Madness


This last week, I spent a lot of time online, doing my research, keeping up with  social media, new (to me)  sites like and

(does this sound familiar?)

Sites like Facebook, twitter and Youtube are helping me reach fans and book gigs…so I wanted to see “what I’ve been missing”  and how I could ramp things up, career wise.

Oh boy…all I did was make myself nuts!

Like many musicians, or managers or “labels”  I’m scratching my (bald) head wondering what’s next, and will the sites I’m signing onto even last?

Some sites will be here to – stay (for a while)  while others will bite the dust like Myspace.

My head started to hurt.

Questions like this plagued me this week (don’t worry – this post will end happy…)

Some of my personal issues:

  • How can anyone hope to compete with a Youtube channel with millions of subscribers?
  • To get more hits & views, must I simply play every crappy cover song I can think of, in incredible voluminous amounts?
  • Will Youtube yank my videos / channel, since I still am doing covers?

then…my personal hell….since I get asked for tabs of my covers constantly…

  • How the hell can so many guitar instructors out there sell tabs with ZERO licenses in place, and I choose to go the high road and get licenses, am I an idiot?
  • Will social media change, because right now I don’t want to know about someone’s cat barfing…so I “shut off” and others do too.
  • Where is it all going?  And am I wasting time trying to figure it out?

The irony is…(drum roll please)

By asking these questions I was simply “creating my world”  and seeing the world as “I am”  not the way it is.


What appeared to be “out there”  was “in here.”

This is kind of heavyweight information  when you think about it.

I create my world and you create your world, minute by minute, whether we complain and worry, or whether we rejoice and give thanks!


I picked up the guitar.

I decided to start  learning a new tune….”IMAGINE”  by John Lennon.  It was time to be a musician and not a social media manager for a few hours.

After hours of ironing out an arrangement, I uploaded it to Youtube:

This video was done with NO end result in mind….only “love”  in mind, honest to God.  I wanted my fans to have something nice and soothe them.

I fell completely into the song, the lyrics, the tone of the instrument, Lennon’s voice, intention, and so on.


As I walked out into the street in NYC after uploading the video and  I felt “all my troubles seem so far away” 🙂

The pain, headache, uncertainty and frustration I was feeling were GONE.


I found myself in a “bliss”  state.

Immersion into music, with no thought of “what I’d get out of it”  is what got me there.

I saw after this that I have the personal power to choose one state or the other.

THAT’S BIG!   Do you get this?

What I previously thought “the world was doing”  was MY creation.

My NEW (forgotten) mantra “I am responsible for 100% of my life.”


Once I dropped the video onto Youtube, Facebook and Twitter – it was something useful that people wanted to share.

That’s the way to use social media!  (I.E.  that’s the horse before the cart…)


Social media is a pipeline.

Garbage in, garbage out.

Good meaningful stuff in, good meaningful stuff out.

The lesson….offer something good….really good and everyone wins.


My Formula for Musical Audience Connection “C + Y = R”

I know I am making a very bold statement here about “musical success”  but I am speaking to you 100% earnestly and from life experience.

If you are in search of a wider audience, greater appreciation with your current audience, and maybe even a better “way”  to make a living as a musician, this will interest you.

I am about to help you remove a HUGE block and change your life….yes that’s right.

As they say, “if the show fits, wear it.”

I am going to teach you about my formula…

“C + Y = R”

But first…the proof.

In the last 6 years I’ve increased my joy, my feeling of aliveness, number and quality gigs and overall lifestyle due to this formula.

I’ll present you with the info, and then you decide.

I hope that by the end of this post, you’ll have a new understanding about connecting emotionally with your audience.

When you “connect”  emotionally to people with your music this is the start of all good things for them and for you.

Gig bookings, more students, more connection to your loved ones and yes (gulp)  more money, can come to you from doing what you love – playing music.

Maybe you are student and money doesn’t matter, but the RELATIONSHIP to your listeners still does.  This post is all about emotion and connection….money is just a potentially nice side effect.

Your audience can be your husband, wife, kids, friends, neighbors church group or even a club or concert audience.  This applies to you whether you are a hobby player or pro player!

This “C + Y = R” formula was (and still is) used by artists and bands like:

  • The Beatles
  • The Rolling Stones
  • Michael Jackson
  • Prince
  • Led Zeppelin
  • Chet Atkins
  • Tommy Emmanuel
  • Adele
  • and more…

Let me paint you a picture of how life was before “C + Y = R”

Years ago I played every little  gig I could.  I taught relentlessly, and it was as if my dreams of being a concert and festival performer just refused to become a reality.

I could hardly pay my rent!  What was I doing wrong?

Then, I learned solo pop arrangement (my first Youtube Video was “I Wish” by Stevie Wonder) and a “flood” of activity started.

Later, I’d find that even on a small gig I could get the room’s attention and sell a ton of CD’s by playing “I’ll Be There”  by the Jackson 5.

As if by magic, a whole audience of talkers would fall into silence and then applaud wildly after the song , as if it were some sacred ceremony sprinkled with gold fairy dust.

Why on earth did these little “ditties”  turn heads, get people to shut up…when I could spin out endless jazz standards that only served to be “background music?”

I’m not dissing jazz.  I am calling out musicians who overlook the all-important connection to the audience.  Jazz can and should have that, and in it’s heyday – it did.

Back to the Stevie & Jackson 5 tunes….

I knew I stumbled on something deep after years of toiling away.  Why did these tunes make life better?

Here’s my formula.

C + Y = R

Cover Song + You = Relationship

By playing a well known song, you access something ALREADY existing in your listeners mind, rather than teach them something new.

It’s like telling a little kid a bedtime story they already know…it provides a degree of security & comfort.

Rather than  “confront” with new information – you give them the “warm fuzzies” by accessing a “corresponding”  reality that they already know.  As a result…

THEY FEEL GOOD and become open to YOU!

Very Important – and the Catch 22

In order to do this properly, you must be VERY honest with yourself because your “cover”  songs must be infused with true love and dedication.

You have to let these ideas “sneak up”  on you – otherwise they will feel “hollow”  and “loveless”  to you & your audience.

I know this because I have learned tunes that did not “vibe”  with me.  As a result, I basically never want to play them.

Use your head and your heart together when learning cover songs.

If you infuse the song with your love, your dedication, your touch, and your sound – it becomes an easy vehicle for you to connect with your audience.

They get to feel the love, warmth and passion that you have put in over hours, weeks maybe years.

They react to the “human-ness” you give them….

By doing this you build “R” – relationship.

By making it easy for them, you are communicating to them that YOU want a RELATIONSHIP and are taking the first warm friendly step towards them.

What About Original Songs?

Of course you should play your own music too.

Once your RELATIONSHIP is “activated” with C + Y = R  your audiences will be open to your original music or more obscure tunes.  Once you have bridged the gap, almost anything can go!

On the surface level it sounds like I am saying “play cover tunes”,  and yes every wedding band does that.

I’m saying something deeper because it’s based on giving and not taking.

Make the RELATIONSHIP the priority in your performances.

For example – if I play for school kids, I’ll play a popular tune like “Billie Jean”  so they feel “hey this guitar player guy is cool”  and they’ll then feel open to my offerings.

Were I to barge into a school and play all originals – how long could I keep the attention of high schoolers?

The point is this…3 or 4 songs deep – everyone feels groovy and THEN I can say “Hey gang, here’s one of my tunes.”

Imagine for instance you have never heard my tune “Ciao Bella”.

If I come out and play
1. Billie Jean
2. Superstition
3. I’ll Be There
4. Ciao Bella

You’d likely be MUCH more receptive than if I played 3 originals, and then a 4th. (I speak of the general public.)

For some this would seem “un artistic”, but for me this allows greater possibilities to have a hungry audience for my own music and compose more music.

But Rock Stars Don’t Play Covers…Why Should I?

Actually they do if you think about it.

And – The Beatles and Stones started as blues bands covering Muddy Waters and Chuck Berry tunes…and slowly brought their tunes in…

Big rock groups are expected to play their “hits”  in concert before they launch into the new album material.

Could You Imagine:

  • a Bon Jovi concert without “Livin on a Prayer?”
  • a Led Zeppelin Concert without “Stairway to Heaven?”
  • a Stevie Wonder concert without “Superstition” and “Isn’t She Lovely?”

Of course not.

Pull your audience in with well loved songs FIRST, and then anything can happen.

You are still free to play what you want…only you are in a better position to do so.

I bet you’ll be closer to being a flourishing and successful musician if you use  C + Y = R.

“Try it, you’ll like it!”


P.S. The All-New Volume II “How To Play Stevie Wonder for Fingerstyle Guitar DVD”  launches tomorrow June 27, 2012.

If you want to try out your C + Y = R  with 4 great new Stevie tunes (Isn’t She Lovely, Higher Ground, Cherie Amour, You Are the Sunshine of my Life), I’ve laid them all out or you in video lessons and written guitar tabs!

Coming June 27, 2012…

For More Info Visit


Stevie Wonder Gives the Thumbs Up on the Guitar Arrangements!


Gang, I just got some amazing news….just in time for the launch of the Volume II “How to Play Stevie Wonder Fingerstyle Guitar DVD”…

What I am about to tell you is making me grin ear to ear right now!  I can’t believe it.

A friend and DVD student of mine – guitarist Shaun Hopper was at the L.A. NAMM show and performed solo guitar on the “All Star Guitar Night”.

He had purchased the Vol I of my “Stevie Wonder” DVD series and plays all the material from the DVD. (Shaun is a killer player by the way!)

He performed some of the Stevie Wonder guitar arrangements at NAMM and guess what?

Stevie Wonder himself was there at NAMM, and got word of the solo guitar arrangements!

Stevie and Shaun met – and Stevie loved the arrangements of his music for fingerstyle guitar.  Shaun kindly told Stevie about me & the DVD instruction.

It just don’t get any cooler than that!  Here’s the email & pic….

Hey buddy! Wanted you to know I played the All Star Guitar night in LA. at the NAMM show and stole the show with a standing O!! Thanks to you!!!
I gave you complete credit on the mic in front of 1300 people for teaching the style of Stevie Wonder on the guitar and because of that Stevie had his people come find me today and he wanted to hear more.
I got to play for him and  HE LOVED IT!! I told him I learned from you! Channeling your style made me a one of a kind player at NAMM!! You’re amazing, Adam.

Shaun Hopper and Stevie Wonder

Shaun Hopper and Stevie Wonder at NAMM 2012

Check out Shaun’s Site –

Vol II of “How To Play Stevie Wonder for Fingerstyle Guitar” is coming on June 27…it will have full video instruction & tab booklet for “Isn’t She Lovely”, “Higher Ground”, “My Cherie Amour” and “You Are the Sunshine of My Life”…

Oh yeah – almost forgot!  It will be available at

There will be an introductory offer and limited time package deal (Vol I & II together) on the day of the launch.

Stay tuned – and I’ll see you on June 27, 2012 when the new DVD launches…


What’s in it For Them?

You’re a stone cold musician. You love playing your instrument, (or singing) practicing, writing, doing gigs…it fills your soul and it’s your life’s purpose.

(That’s kind of how I have felt since I was a kid…)

Maybe you even go to music school and get a degree. You work hard and make a CD and now you are ready to tackle the world.

After that, the “great scroll of your life’s plan”  does NOT come down from the heavens to present you with a step by step fairty tale of a music career.  Now what?

The work starts…the “hustle” – finding gigs, making contacts, paying the rent, maybe teaching a little, playing gigs here and there – restaurants, maybe a wedding…who knows…

I’ve been there.

As musicians, we all need to ask ourselves “what’s in it for them?”  Answering this simple question changes everything.

We all want to do “our thing” but to get paid and have a happy, joyous musical existence – we must provide value.  Someone must benefit from what we do.

If you are trying to “make it”  (I love putting that in quotes)  you can’t just indulge in “your thing” and hope that things will magically work out….you have to:

  • Give your listeners a great experience (musically, visually, socially)
  • Give the venue / club / promoter a reason to hire you – i.e. they need to sell something like tickets, drinks, food, merchandise – in order to justify paying you.

I always find it funny how musicians balk at the idea of playing weddings, parties, and also giving music lessons.

In both of those cases – it’s so clear! You are providing value and getting paid for it.  It is worth noting that when you provide value, you get paid!  That’s worthy of a celebration in my book.

Remember – even much of Bach’s music served a purpose  (church gigs, weddings and teaching.)

I see so many musicians out there struggling because they completely overlook how they can “give value” to their customers.

For example:

Joe Music Man spends 99% of his time down the rabbit hole of musical study and expression, writing, recording & cd pressing (which is great).  It costs money and time…

Then when the rent is due, Joe Music Man spends  1% of the time dealing with his business model – and says “it’s hard, unfair and criminal that I have no gigs – and furthermore that musical retard Ms. So-and-So does…”

Chances are that if Ms. So-and-So is “making it”  – she is providing value with their music to the person paying them, moreso that Joe Music Man.  Like it or not, it’s probably true.

This is not to say she’s more talented.  She’s providing more value (probably by getting more people down to her gigs.)

Czech it out!  It’s GOT to be an exchange – you give value and get something in return.

Always ask yourself “what’s in it for them?”