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I’ve been so busy with my blog in the past few months, that I haven’t had the desire to write new music at all.  However, as I post the final The Last Of Us transcriptions (there’s probably one more), I’ve been inspired to play my guitar in a writing capacity — with the objective of releasing a new album this fall.

As I work on about 50 riffs and song ideas, I can palpably feel myself getting better at playing the guitar.  So much so, that a couple realizations emerged:

Learning other people’s music is defensive guitar playing

As the old adage goes, everything works, nothing works forever — so goes learning guitar. Although enjoyable, when you are constantly learning other people’s music, you are in a defensive mindset when it comes to playing your instrument.

It’s so obvious, I can’t believe I never thought about it until now.  When learning a particular tune, your progress is measured by how well you can play something — that someone else created.  Although it’s a great (and essential way) to build a base level of skill, you’ll never really be as good as the artist of origin.

If you persist in this manner, you’ll never move out from behind the eight ball with regard to your musicianship.  The goal is not simply to learn Clapton or Santaolalla.  The goal is to create your own material, drawing upon your influences — whoever they may be.

Creation is the natural state of a musician 

In my last post, I was honestly feeling as though I had tapped the limits of my guitar playing.  No sooner did I write that — that I realized the key to ascension from the base of the pyramid is creating your own material.

As I played through my own songs and riff ideas, I could literally feel myself getting better at playing the guitar. That sensation is the confidence of playing what is emitted from your soul, rather than trying to remember another person’s riff.

The crazy thing is, I’m so prolific on this blog that I actually worked myself into a musician’s depression.  If you think about it, I’m in a constant state of assuming the identities of other musicians, leaving no room for my own.

Duh?!?! Creating my own material gave me a sense of identity — and my guitar playing is back on offense.

What if I’m not good enough to write my own songs?

When I was 13, my guitar teacher Mike taught me Iron Man for our first lesson.  That was enough for me to go home and experiment with how power chords would sound all over the neck of the guitar!

So lets take the pressure off.  I’m asking you to only experiment with concepts you know.  Simply take a chord shape that you’re familiar with, and slide it all over the neck.  Investigate how it sounds.

There’s no better to way to understand the instrument, than exploring it yourself.  Who knows, you might come up with a cool riff! Creation is the natural state of a musician, no matter what your skill level.

How to Play ‘Home’ by Gustavo Santaolalla from The Last Of Us

This is an all-in-one arrangement for Home by Gustavo Santaolalla from The Last Of Us score.  It’s actually two or three guitar parts wrapped up into one piece.

Home is an intermediate to advanced guitar piece that definitely has a couple tricks to it.  Namely, you need to be able to hold a perfect B minor chord for extended periods of time.

You also incorporate your thumb to press the G note at 1:02 of the video, and at 1:28 — you have to be in a B minor shape at that point. 

Home is in standard tuning. Good luck, the tab is available below:

Home — Gustavo Santaolalla (Tab)

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Matthew's dad, Jennifer's husband, bass player - New Invisible Joy, YouTuber, short-film composer, creator of modern content for guitar.