Guitar Zen: What the Matrix Taught Me About Guitar!

Keanu Reeves defelecting obsticles in The Matrix

“There is no spoon,” those famous words that Neo said in The Matrix. But how can this phrase be applied to guitar playing?

You may think I’m crazy, but I think that this is completely relevant to Guitar playing. In this scene a young boy appears to bend a spoon, however he then tells Neo that it is not the spoon that bends it is only himself. So I say to you “don’t try and bend the strings, but bend the space around the strings.’ My attempt to dispel you all from thinking I’m crazy probably hasn’t worked yet, but stay with me.

It’s All in Your Head

The thing I’m really talking about is mindset. Put yourself in Jimi’s shoes for one second and you might start to understand what I’m going on about. When a guitar was in his hands he could conquer anything. Any bend. Any slide. Any hammer-on or pull-off. Anything. But why was this? Practice? Partially. Musical Influences? Slightly. He was god? Probably not.

Practice Will Only Get You So Far

The main reason he could achieve his guitaring excellence was because of one thing…Belief. Without this you will never achieve anything. This works for guitaring, but can also be applied to careers, relationships and so on. There might be a few sceptics out there umming and arring. But let me ask you this … Who practiced more Hendrix or Vai? Everyone’s answer should be Vai. You’ve all heard about his 30 hour workout right? But then if I asked you who was a better guitarist the response might be more equal and might even favour Hendrix more.

Jimi Says Believe

The point I am trying to make is that practice, hard work and determination can get you so far but the common denominator with all the great guitarists, as with Hendrix and Vai, is Belief. With belief comes practice, hard work and determination. This is where I think of my own guitaring and the hurdles that are stopping me from improving. When people ask me if I play guitar I usually have two responses; I used to play, or, that I’m not very good. Both of which completely lack any self-belief. So before, when I was analysing what I needed to do to improve my playing; more practice, learn a new scale, a new riff. What I really needed to do was believe in myself. Without believing in myself I cannot and will not improve. Ever!

So, do you believe in yourself? Is there a spoon? Because if there is you really need to rethink your reasons for playing guitar.

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