Guitar Hacks – Love ‘Em or Hate ‘Em?

Hey Rockstars!

One thing you need to know about me is that:

I break rules.

After receiving some hate mail from guitar purists about our Guitar Hacks, I got to thinking and began to wonder why some people are SO precious about learning guitar by the book.

Of course, there will always be the purists who want to disregard anything that doesn’t follow the same guitar method that they (or someone they respect) learned, but some people can be so closed minded…not realizing that not everyone can pick up a guitar a play successfully with the same approach.

Horsepuckyb

 

Tubab

It makes me very protective of you and your playing and I kind of go into “fight mode” on your behalf because I know that sometimes you might need to see a guitar concept from a different angle in order to REALLY get it.

And the haters just seem so closed minded….taking their guitar skills for granted, forgetting what it’s like to struggle, and unwilling to consider any unconventional approach.

Maybe they feel threatened that there could’ve been a faster way to learn and maybe they wasted time slugging it out?

Well, I don’t want them getting their hate on for Hacks (aka “Hack Hate”) affect your attitude towards learning like this and I DEFINITELY don’t want it to discourage you from trying a potential solution just because it’s not widely accepted.

 

The Blind Leading The Blind

And I should also mention that there are a lot of good people who give their opinion in a way that’s meant to be nice, and they DO mean well, but is also unproductive advice for a lost Beginner or Struggling Guitarist.

Practice A Lotb

 

 

Means Wellb

 

First, I want to thank these guys for the words of encouragement. They are good guys.

But the problem with this type of advice is that maybe their approach of “just practice until you get it” worked for them, but if you’re not able to switch chords fast enough and are getting increasingly frustrated every time you practice, is hearing “just practice more” really all that helpful?

I doubt it.

 

These Guys Rock!

My best advice for you is to keep an open mind when it comes to learning…especially guitar.

It will help you find a solution that’s best suited for YOU so much faster…

Like these Guitarists did…

Inspiredb

So easyb

VHb

Rhythm Sectionb

Musically Challengedb

Sweet Lessonsb

Great lessonsb

Appreciationb

58b

See? That’s the kind of appreciation I can appreciate and I know that these guys will achieve their goals much faster, not just because they followed my training, but because of their attitude.

 

Background & Breakout

A little background about me:

13 years ago I decided to be a professional musician. I also decided that if that was going to happen, then I shouldn’t be spending my teens flipping burgers at Burger King, but I should start earning a living with my guitar right away.

And it just made sense to teach because it would help make me a better player through repeating the basics over and over to clients and because I would have a guitar in my hands all day. I was self-taught and only started a few years before this, so I needed all the help I could get.

So I got a job at a local Toronto studio and I started teaching by the book (mostly because I didn’t want to lose my job), but I hated it…

…and so did my students.

It was just so boring and so slooooooow….no adult wants to play “Mary Had A Little Lamb”.

I knew that my students were capable of playing much more and achieving their goals of playing their favourite songs much faster…

…all I had to do was approach things a little differently.

So I quit my job, started advertising on craigslist and Kijiji, and began teaching a series of shortcuts I developed that would help my clients play complex sounding material fast….no matter what I had to do:

Weird analogies, strange names, temporary chord replacements….whatever it took!

That’s when I really started to see the incredible results my clients playing (and mine too) in days and weeks rather than months and years!

I realized that people were in desperate need of a fresh approach to guitar…

…and that’s when I fell in love with Guitar ‘Hacks’.

 

What are Guitar ‘Hacks’?

First, I’ll start by telling you what they’re NOT.

See, I think that a lot of people assume hacks are an easy way out or the lazy approach to learning and playing guitar. As if we’re dodging doing the hard work.

Quite the opposite actually.

A great Guitar ‘Hack’ is a unique approach, exercise, story, analogy, explanation, or temporary version that aims to help a guitarist quickly learn/play material that’s beyond their current level of playing.

These little troubleshooting gems are single-handedly responsible for helping over 1000 Beginners & Struggling guitarists play complex material FAST.

Sure, maybe the guitarists didn’t know all the details or proper names of what they were playing right away, and maybe they used different fingers than you’re supposed to use…

But they could PLAY!

And isn’t that the most important part?

At least it was for them.

From there, I always give them a  choice:

  1. Use the new ability and confidence to convert the hack into the more conventional version (ex. turn the “Super Glue C” chord into the regular C chord).
  2. Learn more Hacks and play more advanced stuff.

Some guitarists would use the Hack as a troubleshooting step and then moving forward with conventional material (until they hit the next roadblock).

But I’d say 80% opt for the second option. They keep telling me they just want to have fun and PLAY guitar…

…and that playing guitar like this makes them feel young and confident again and also helps them escape the stresses of the day….not to mention, it saves a hell of a lot of time!

So if my clients are happy, then I’m happy. 😀

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The Truth Comes Out

So that’s really why I wrote this article.

I want you to know that after coaching guitarists for over 13 years, touring the world as a professional guitarist, and studying Accelerated Learning & Teaching methods in depth…

My conclusion from over 1000 guitarists between the ages of 5 and 75 is that different people need and want different things when it comes to their guitar playing.

  • Some people learn by following a classic curriculum that they believe worked for their peers, their coach, and/or their favourite guitarists (the belief in the curriculum is usually what drives their progress).
  • Some people need a variety of methods to understand how the guitar works and also like to have a variety of songs and styles under their belt. Playing a full song isn’t as important to them as is playing a lot of riffs.
  • Some people learn well on their own and then ask for guidance when they hit a wall or plateau.
  • Some people struggle until they hear that ONE metaphor that makes the whole thing click.
  • Some people get it right away and only need me to hold them accountable to practice more often.
  • Some people need to learn a hack before learning the conventional approach.
  • Some people want to break all the rules and make up their own.
  • Some people live and breathe guitar.
  • Some people are weekend guitarists.
  • Some people just want to show off their latest riff to their friends

And this is only scratching the surface on the different types of guitarists I’ve encountered and continue to encounter. I think that no matter what type of guitarist you are, I want you to understand that there is ALWAYS a way for you to get the results that you want on your guitar.

So I guess the part that really baffles me about the Hack Haters mentioned above is that they think that everyone learns with the same method and they refuse to accept that there can be multiple roads that lead to the same destination.

Their comments almost make it seem like everyone else has pay for the hard work they had to put in.

Now don’t get me wrong.

Playing guitar successfully after a long struggle is something to be proud of.

I just know there’s a better (and faster) way.

No pain no gain DOESN’T apply to the guitar.

 

Is Rockstar Mind For You?

This article (and this website) was created for those of you who understand that learning is an ongoing process with many styles and approaches and that sometimes you need to explore the unconventional before you can attempt the conventional with confidence.

From there, you can decide what to do next.

And it really all depends on what’s most important to YOU at the moment:

  1. Do you want to understand how to play the guitar quickly so you can effortlessly play songs, riffs, and solos after a long day at work (no matter what level you’re starting from)?
  2. Do you want to study guitar by the book and have the benefit of knowing that you are doing it “properly”?
  3. Or are you not sure right now and you need some guidance?

If it’s the first one, then just know you’re in the right place. At Rockstar Mind, we’ve got you covered with the best Hacks & Accelerated Methods for understanding how the guitar works and playing your favourite songs ASAP.

If it’s the second one, then unfortunately Rockstar Mind may not be the right fit for you. Although we always mention how our guitar hacks relate to the conventional approach (and help you convert it to the conventional), you may feel like our out-of-the-box approach to learning is a waste of time.

And that’s totally cool. You may need a different, more conventional style and we wish you the best of luck in your playing!

Finally, if it’s the third one, then I would say check out the site and if you like what you see, then stay a while. There’s a lot of awesome stuff coming your way!

I should also mention that we will be recommending other cool sites we love that you can check out in addition to Rockstar Mind in case you want to mix and match both the conventional and unconventional methods.

 

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Our Mission

In a way, this article is like a mission statement for the site and your entire Rockstar Mind experience.

At Rockstar Mind, our mission is:

  1. To help Beginner Guitarists realize their dreams by playing their favourite songs ASAP (no matter what it takes).
  2. To save Struggling Guitarists from giving up on their dreams by showing them that they CAN actually play if they just simplify their approach and think outside of the box.

 

Conclusion

With that said, I’m curious to know why you play guitar? What is your goal? What inspires you to keep playing? What are you hoping to get out of this learning experience? What style of learning do you prefer?

And, most importantly, are you a Hacker or a Hater? 😛

Please let me know by typing a comment in the chat box below.

I look forward to hearing from you.

 

Thanks for reading and talk soon,

signatureSteveakaVØID

About Steve (aka VØID)

Steve (aka VØID) is the owner and head Guitar Coach at Rockstar Mind. He is a self-taught guitarist for 20 years and a professional guitarist & Major label recording artist for 10 years (touring the world opening for and performing with big name acts such as KISS, Hinder, Finger Eleven, and Our Lady Peace). Most importantly, he has been coaching struggling guitarists for over 15 years to quickly overcome their playing obstacles and play their favourite songs on guitar. After his father was diagnosed with Stage IV Colon Cancer, Steve put his music career on hold to become his primary caregiver. He created a fundraising initiative called VØID Cancer where he uses proceeds from every sale to create new programs for patients and caregiver. All in his father's honour. Connect with Steve (aka VØID) on Facebook.
About The Author

Steve (aka VØID)

Steve (aka VØID) is the owner and head Guitar Coach at Rockstar Mind. He is a self-taught guitarist for 20 years and a professional guitarist & Major label recording artist for 10 years (touring the world opening for and performing with big name acts such as KISS, Hinder, Finger Eleven, and Our Lady Peace). Most importantly, he has been coaching struggling guitarists for over 15 years to quickly overcome their playing obstacles and play their favourite songs on guitar. After his father was diagnosed with Stage IV Colon Cancer, Steve put his music career on hold to become his primary caregiver. He created a fundraising initiative called VØID Cancer where he uses proceeds from every sale to create new programs for patients and caregiver. All in his father's honour. Connect with Steve (aka VØID) on Facebook.