OBITUARY Guitarist RALPH SANTOLLA: 'To Master An Instrument Requires Suffering'

OBITUARY guitarist Ralph Santolla (also ex-DEICIDE, DEATH, ICED EARTH) has issued the following update via his MySpace page:

"OK, first off — I don't know or do any picking excercises! I'm not into that stuff at all. To the people that keep asking 'how do you play arpeggios?' the temptation to post a video on YouTube of myself playing a bunch of arpeggios and saying 'thusly" is almost too strong to resist. It's a stupid question, not to insult anybody, but the answer is so obvious that it makes me almost burst into flames every time I read one of those emails. As with the fast picking stuff or anything else that I've ever played on guitar, I do this: I decide what notes I want to play, then I work on them, LISTENING to what it sounds like, until it sounds like I want it to. Sometimes it takes years. The point is, I don't know ANY secrets about playing guitar, and there's no fairy dust that you can sprinkle on your guitar (or yourself, if that's how you roll) to make you good or great. To master an instrument requires suffering. It is also a process, not something that can ever be finished. In other words, everyone working on it in the world is on the same continuum (?), just at different points along the way. So if you REALLY want to play great, there's only one way — work. It's like trying to take down a mountain with a toothbrush — you can never finish, just scrape a little more every day. That's what I do.

"Having said that, here's a small piece of advice that will instantly make you more musical, and bring out more of each person's unique sound immediately: When you play or practice (any instrument), start and end your phrases before and after the bar line, or the 'one.' Starting and ending phrases within the measure all the time sounds very amateurish, and is especially a bad habit of a lot of metal guitarists,. Try it, and don't spill your beer in the process, another rookie move."

"Betcha Can't Play This" with Ralph Santolla:


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