While this page is titled as being about me, it's really more about you. Yes, you. You, reading this now. I'll explain what I mean in a minute, but first, it'll help if I do talk a bit about myself, so that the rest makes more sense.
My name's Tom Garman, and I'm Chief Antagonist at Guitar Antihero. I specialize in helping responsible, improvement-seeking guitarists master their frustration and overcome personal setbacks, while finding greater levels of personal power in their lives and the world around them.
Yes, I know that's a mouthful. And yes, that's what I do.
You either landed on this site intentionally or by some random, freak occurrence, and since I don't believe in coincidences, I'll go ahead and tell you a little bit about myself and what you can expect here.
I'm a professional guitar instructor, musician, recording artist, writer, a member of the National Association for Music Education (NAfME), an endorsed artist with Dean guitars and G.H.S. strings, and according to some, an all-around rogue and ne'er do well. I've taught hundreds of guitarists worldwide, and by pursuing methods of Aggressive Mastery, I can help you achieve your own playing goals, too.
I believe in giving the middle finger to much of what's considered the "right" way to do most things, and I'm pretty unapologetic about it.
Conventional wisdom is seldom very wise, and Guitar Antihero is the result of my intolerance for the cookie cutter, assembly line school of guitar playing (something I not-so-affectionately call the "Monkey Method"), and deciding to do something about it in a way that exceeds my limited, personal reach. So, I did.
And here we are.
My first guitar was a Harmony Les Paul knock-off with a silverburst finish, and after what seemed like an eternity of wanting to quit, and after asking the eternal question of "Why doesn't mine sound like Slash or Joe Satriani?" a million and a half times, I decided that conquering an open position C major chord was just too daunting a task, and I'd had enough.
I remember telling my Granny I was going to quit with all of this guitar shit: it was just too hard, there were too many things to do and remember, it was too confusing, I wasn't going to get it anyway, and I wasn't going to beat my head against the wall with it anymore.
I also remember her telling me that it was my decision, and was completely up to me: that's when I realized it WAS completely up to me, and there could be another way, outside of what I was being told I had to do to get to where I wanted to be.
I'd never really done much in the way I was supposed to, or in ways that most people did anyway, so I decided to do things a bit differently and think a little less "inside the box" with it all.
I managed to nail that impossible C chord, and things started to turn around.
I stopped accepting failure and endless wheel-spinning as being good enough.
I stopped fucking around, and got to work.
I found a good, competent instructor (a few of them, actually), signed up for private lessons, and started becoming more of who and what I wanted to be for a change, instead of following what everyone said I should be doing.
I immersed myself in whatever materials I could find, fell in love with the guitar again, and become obsessed with finding what works and eliminating what doesn't.
I've taught professionally for around 20 years or so, played professionally for longer, have been able to record, tour, lose some hearing and brain cells, meet and hang out with many righteous and wicked folks, and snag a few endorsement deals in the process.
I've also trained privately in different Chinese martial systems as a "closed-door" disciple, pursued the academic study of philosophy, received formal Daoist/Taoist training, and have become an avid student of everything from folklore and mythology to religion, behavioral science, and human potential ... and along the way, I've learned there are many, many ways to skin a proverbial cat.
In fact, most of the conventional ways we're told to do things usually yield less effective results than those methods and systems that color outside the lines and sometimes might seem counterintuitive.
But that's enough about me. Like I told you before, all this is really more about YOU than me anyway.
You see, great guitar playing really isn't just about playing guitar. Believe it or not, it's actually got very little to do with the guitar.
That's because good, real guitar playing is a legitimate path to personal empowerment, and it extends far beyond just putting your fingers in the right places and making cool sounds.
Increased confidence, analytical and lateral thinking, hand and eye coordination, physical and mental dexterity, sharper senses, greater awareness, and a closer relationship with our inherent creative impulse are just a few often overlooked benefits of being a real guitarist.
The guitar is a tool; a vehicle, through which we find this personal power and develop our distinct, unique Creative Character.
Some people choose painting, others choose gardening. Some choose architecture, others choose poetry.
People like us choose planks of wood and wire. Or, perhaps more accurately, those planks choose us?
The point is this: regardless of the tool and medium used, the desired result is essentially the same. It's not all about what people think it's all about.
However ... the only sure way to accomplish the above (and retain those abilities) is by pursuing a rugged, results-oriented path of Aggressive Mastery, not the passive mediocrity peddled by most resources and accepted by most players.
You must aspire to be, do, and have more than you do now. Boldness and force of Will win the day here.
This truly runs counter to what you'll likely find on most guitar-themed websites and other resources, whose primary purpose often seems to be rah-rah cheerleading along the lines of "The guitar's for everybody with a passing interest in it!"
Well, that simply isn't the case. In fact, despite what these sources tell us, that idea is demonstrably false.
How good are the players you know who have a mere passing interest in the instrument and bettering their grasp of it? I bet they're about as good as the people I know with the same level of interest and commitment, and we both know how much that really is.
Not everyone is cut out to be a real guitar player, and that's okay. Not everyone is cut out to be a pastry chef either, and it takes a certain kind of crazy to obsess over those aforementioned contraptions of wood and wire. For those of us who are, though, the rewards are definitely worth whatever we sacrifice to get them.
But, I have to say it again: following a rugged, results-oriented path of Aggressive Mastery is the only true method of acquiring levels of creativity, personal power, respect, confidence, and most any other desirable attribute we can accomplish via the guitar and its secrets.
If you're still reading this, I'm going to go ahead and assume you're someone who's also that certain kind of aspirational crazy; a fellow traveler and Brother or Sister, if you will. Since this is the case, I want to help you.
And, I'm going to help you.
While the views expressed here are mine, they have merit. And yes, of course I'm biased. I'd be lying if I said I didn't feel my way was more effective than not, and I'd be stupid and/or fraudulent to promote a methodology I knew didn't work.
Fortunately for us both, that's not the case. I know what we do here works. Period.
Hopefully, you care enough about your own playing and your own situation to be similarly biased. After all, whether it's winning your personal guitar battles or anything else worthwhile, nobody's gonna do it for you.
Nobody's gonna do it for you, but people like me can help point you in the right direction.
Like I said at the beginning here, there can be another way.
Go ahead and grab your complimentary copy of my guide to 5 steps for finally getting control of your playing, and avoid the issues that plague most players when you click the link below:
That's my gift to you for being here, and I really hope you put it to use in your own guitar playing, as well as other areas of your life where the same principles apply. Remember, it's not all about moving our fingers and making noise, right?
Thanks for reading, and I wish you success and victory in fully being who you want to be with your own playing endeavors.
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