Learn it. F#ck it. Make it your own

For better or worse, I’ve rediscovered shredding. It took up many of my teenage years and a significant amount of my time at university. Then the realities of working life ensued. And now it’s back. But as a result of this, I’ve also rediscovered one of my favourite pieces of guitar playing advice.

Any time you learn an exercise, learn it and then just totally fuck it. The way you decide to fuck that thing is the way you’re going to develop your own style.

– Marty Friedman

This beautiful little nugget was uttered by Marty Friedman (Megadeth/Cacophany) in the midst of one of his irreverent ‘Full Shred’ lessons. In fact, it’s even more elegant in the video [watch here].

What he’s driving at so beautifully is that you can learn the rules every damn day of the week, but you can’t live by them all the time.

Obviously what he’s saying is directed at guitarists but it works for any creative medium. Even, you know, writing.

Not a day goes by that a dozen hundred and a half posts on writer advice pops up. Some of it’s great, some of it’s average and some of it, well, let’s just say it’s there.

And advice is great. Yay learning. But if we all go and follow the same advice, the same rules, everything’s surely going to be a little…same.y

So I totally agree with the fine Mr Friedman. Learn the rule. Accept the rule. Then fuck it.

Always be innovating.