coming out of the comfort zone

As a teenager growing up in the late 70's and early 80's, I had the opportunity to learn from some of the greatest guitarists of that era. I would put on my favorite albums and try to play the song note for note and I would even attempt the solo of that song as well. Randy Rhoads was my guitar hero and still is to this day. He died in a plane cash in 1982 at the young age of 25. When I heard "Crazy Train" for the very first time I was blown away. The raking of the strings to the monstrous guitar riff intro, incredible. I wanted to be the next Randy Rhoads. Practicing for hours just trying to learn his style I knew that someday I would be able to play like that. Randy recorded 2 albums with Ozzy "Blizzard of Ozz" and "Diary of a Madman". In those days there wasn't "Youtube" or the internet for that matter. I would go to the local music store to try to find music books. What I did learn from this was how to take a chance. Learning an instrument is about taking chances and not being afraid to make mistakes. One has to be able to sit down and not just learn a song note for note but be able to listen to it and understand what is being played, why it is picked like that, guitar and amp being used for that sound or solo. I knew at that stage in my guitar playing career was that I would someday be able to play like Randy Rhoads, if I practiced, had fun while practicing and realized that to get to the next level of playing I would have to attempt the impossible, learn Randy's solos. You can never be timid when it comes to learning your favorite guitar player's style. Making mistakes is part of the learning process and eventually you will nail that solo or riff. Bottom line you can never settle and you need to come out of the comfort zone to get to the next level.


Hi Richard,
I also grew-up in the 70s and early 80's.  And yes I tried to play Jimmy Page's solo in Heartbreaker then and still trying to master it today and still don't have it down.  Bottom line practice makes perfect and you need TIME for practice; - ... a precious commodity.
But unlike days of old we have "Youtube" today with a wealth of musical knowledge and variety of teachers with FREE lessons at the touch of a keystroke.  Wish we had this back then.  I am learning on "Youtube" techniques for guitar playing that I haven't thought of; - ... and I've been playing for 35+ years.  Goes to show you are never too old to learn.  Beauty today is that information is easliy accessible. I visit "Youtube" more than watching TV.  I don't even bother to brush the dust off my old music books anymore.  Besides Internet information is more vast besides the ease of access.
Bottom line is learn as much as you can about the theory of what notes and scales work with a particluar song; - it doesn't have to be note-for-note like the original artist played it on Vinyl; - ... the solo just needs to sound good.  Once you are comfortable with your solo then join a band and play outdoors in one of the many charity events.  Once you start playing in front of an audience your confidence in your abilities increases.  Yes agreed to keep practicing to get better at faster more complex solos; - ... but don't let that get in the way of your current skillset and playing out with a Band.  You gain more skill and experience and confidence by playing out with a Band.
-Albert B.  West Nyack NY


Richard P.

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