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How To Hold The Pick – Lesson 4

In this lesson, we show you the proper technique for holding the pick.

Let me just say that this is the way that MOST great guitar players, (including Syn), hold the pick. However – I held the pick “wrong” for 40 years and still managed to play guitar for a living. I started working on holding the pick the right way about 3 years ago, and when I do – I still play at about 70% of my ability. It’s a daily battle for me.
So I would say, if you are a beginner or intermediate – by all means – work on holding the pick this way.
If you are an advanced player and hold the pick differently – you’ll have to decide if it’s worth the effort and sacrifice.
I believe that the ends justify the means. However you can play great – do that.

I will add one last point – if you’re not confused enough already. And that is: A great deal of Syn’s sound, smoothness, tone, speed & fluidity is due to the fact that he holds the pick the way I show you in this video.

GUITAR LESSONS INCOMING!!

What’s up guys?! So I know I’ve been M.I.A. for the past few months… The excuse I’m going to use is that it was pretty hectic graduating college, moving back home to Houston, looking for a job, and then finally finding one and sorting out my new schedule. I made sure I could still have time for my guitar projects which include the covers, original content, and also these lesson videos! In an attempt to increase attendance in this school, I am making a series of videos that I will be releasing either weekly (or bi-weekly.. these lessons take a looong time to plan/record/edit). These videos will be lessons on subjects you guys have requested over the years! But the catch is.. its going to be exclusive to the school!
So here I present the first lesson of the series – “Buried Alive: Guitar Solo Dissection”
As opposed to just giving you tabs to these solos, I take you through the process I go through when I learn solos. The goal is for you to take these concepts and apply them to other solos you would like to learn. I will admit, I kind of knew how to play the first part of this solo years ago but for the most part, I am learning this solo along with you. I show how you can learn these solos by splitting them into segments, using your ear, some music theory, and I also reference some of the lessons on the school for further study.
But I do need your help…
I would GREATLY appreciate ANY feedback you may have. I want to make sure the information I’m conveying is crystal clear so let me know if there is something you’d rather me do differently!
Please feel free to ask any questions you have below! I will try my best to check in every day! Enjoy!!

So, it happened…

Ah, where do I begin? This will be long.
My family vacation this year was up on the Oregon Coast. We decided to drive instead of flying to see some of the sights along the way, including a lot of the beautiful coastline, the Golden Gate Bridge (I did a lot of work travel to San Francisco, but my wife and kids had never been there) and, well… look what happens be to along that coast? Huntington Beach.
“What if?” I thought. I decided I needed to find out. I made contact with Syn about a month ago to put the feelers out there. He was totally open to a visit and suggested I reach out again a couple days before the trip to see if his schedule would allow for a visit. I mostly kept it to myself, being a realist – I still considered it very much a long shot. I hoped that all my efforts and input here on the site would help, and Syn had definitely called me out a few times for them, so I didn’t feel like it would be an anonymous fanboy-type ask. After that first contact, he genuinely seemed open for a visit.
I told my wife Lisa about it a couple days ahead. As expected, she had very little idea who Syn was, or who Avenged Sevenfold is. She’s a pop-music fan, through and through. In fact, when she told my daughter about it on the phone, she said “We might be meeting the guitar player from Sevendust.”
Star was not enthused.
As we were getting close to Huntington Beach, I reached out again, and Syn called me back right away. His day was pretty packed, between a meeting that would not see him get home until about 4:30, to dinner with his family and in-laws. He was gracious enough to make time for us. It was about this time that my daughter got wind of the fact that this was SYNYSTER GATES from AVENGED SEVENFOLD and not “some guy from SEVENdust,” like she thought. She started freaking out a little, and made it clear to my wife that there was a REALLY BIG-ASS DIFFERENCE. In retrospect, I’m glad she didn’t know correctly before then, because I don’t think I could have dealt with Star’s fangirl freak-out for the whole 7 hour drive.
Anyway, he sent me a push-pin for a park to meet him in. He would take the dog (“Pinkly!”) for a walk and meet us there. His time was limited, but I was super-impressed and grateful that he was genuinely going out of his way and inconveniencing himself to meet us. There is literally no way he could ever do this for any fan, or even any member of the site here, who happened to be passing through town. I definitely felt very fortunate.
Huntington Beach traffic on a nice day is a nightmare. This time, it was MY fucking nightmare, because I didn’t want to delay or inconvenience him any more than necessary, and I was dreading the “Dude, I’m sorry, but I gotta go” phone call. It never came. We pulled into the parking lot of a nice park. As I was pulling in, I spotted Syn and Pinkly just getting there. I rolled the window down and said hey, then parked.

As we got out of the car, Brian (switching to calling him Brian now, because it seemed everyone he knows “in real life” calls him by his given name, and it seemed wrong to use “Syn” outside of a music-related venue or situation). So as we’re getting out, Brian is just real approachable, and so I just treated him like many other “internet friends” that I meet in real life – handshake and a hug and “hey man, great to meet you, thanks for coming out.” He was all smiles and introduced himself to the family, then introduced Pinkly (who is ADORABLE, by the way).

He asked a bit about each member of the family and our vacation plans, and then invited us over to sit down at a park table. He took Pinkly off the leash, telling us he’s old (13) and more than a little deaf. Pinkly wandered a bit, and then settled in the grass behind Star, who LOVES all dogs dearly. Brian was only ever distracted from our visit by making sure Pinkly was safe and near. He gave us his full attention and acted like there was literally nothing more important in his life in those moments than visiting with us.
He spent a good deal of time telling my family how awesome I am, and how much of a huge help and influence I am at this school – which, as you might have guessed, scored me UNLIMITED COOL DAD POINTS. Thank you, kind sir!

He asked me if I had a favorite album, and I told him honestly – The Stage. From the crazy opening lick to the ending spoken word with Dr. Tyson, I was absolutely head over heels in love with the album – I pointed out how much I loved that they took SO MANY “out there” chances, and that – for me, at least – they all just WORKED. I told him that the lyrical content – which I’m not usually big on – hit home for me, as well.
Then he asked me if there were any weak spots for me in the catalog, and honestly again, I said that I felt like HttK was an amazing collection of great SONGS that didn’t make for my favorite album – that if I had shuffle on, and anything from that album came on, I thoroughly enjoyed it, but that I just never listen to it front to back like I do with most albums. He understood where I was coming from and listened intently and enthusiastically to everything I had to say, and I probably rambled a bit (I’m prone to that, I know – I’m doing it now, no doubt, as well).

We talked about Matt’s voice and recovery (a much bigger deal than expected, and Matt’s doing fantastic), and then I asked about the new album. That’s all I’m really going to say about that, because it was here, talking about that, that Brian was most excited and most animated, and at some point, he will share that with all of you. It’s simply not my place to take that joy of sharing away from him. I will say, he excited me for the album, and for Matt’s voice, and the direction overall. I doubt he shared anything “secret” with me, but still – I don’t feel like it’s my place to take that from him. He will post in here or give an interview when he’s ready.

We took some pictures, and let him go without keeping him too long. I’d been expecting 5-10 minutes, and I think we were somewhere between 30 and 45 minutes – I wasn’t keeping track, but it was unhurried and we covered a lot of ground. We took pictures, and he even pulled my wife in for a picture, which she didn’t expect or seek (I mean, he’s not Madonna, you know?). Wife and daughter both commented later that he “smelled fantastic,” so I need to find out what cologne he was wearing :). Everyone found him gracious, respectful, and very NICE and KIND and GENUINE. Pinkly is a happy and friendly little guy, too.

All in all, it was an amazing visit, and more than I ever hoped it would be. I made a post about it on my personal FB and IG, and a few aggregates re-posted the IG stuff, which made me stop and think, and also kind of made me feel bad. I guess I’m still a little naive about some things online (which kind of surprises me), and I certainly never stopped to think something like that might happen. My FB is fairly locked down, so I knew that would not be a problem there, but I’m newer to Instagram, and I’ve never had something like that happen there, and it made me feel off – I certainly wasn’t intending to “use” Syn for likes or shares or anything like that, and that others would just take my personal memories and repost them like that gave me pause.
It made me stop and realize, if nothing else, that while many of us do (or have in the past) chased fame, and considered the “ups” of being famous, we don’t often look at the downsides. Syn is lucky (and smart) in that he is surrounded by family and local friends in his hometown that he’s known all his life. People outside the entertainment machine who keep him grounded and real, in a world where everyone you meet is more likely to be a vulture who only wants to take from you, without regard for consequence. I certainly don’t think he’s lonely, but it gave me a brief perspective into how someone famous could definitely feel that way, and I found it unsettling. Imagine meeting new people – every day – and having to default to the assumption that they only want FROM you, without any real care FOR you. That he can remain so grounded, humble, affable, and giving of himself in the face of that makes it all the better.
I’ve heard said many times that one should never meet their heroes or idols, for they will always be disappointed. I am here to tell you personally from my own experience that if you are presented with the opportunity to meet Syn/Brian, you can do so safe in the knowledge that the guy we see posting and commenting in here is exactly the guy you meet. In fact, from now on, I expect everything he writes here, I will read in his voice in my head. If it were possible to think more of him, I certainly do after meeting him, outside the “world” of entertainment and music and all that. We never even talked guitar.
TL;DR: If you get the chance to meet Syn, do it. You won’t be disappointed. He kinda fuckin rules.

There are duplicate pics, and multiple shots, so here’s the gallery:
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Advice to improve a lot

Hello guys, as you know, we re in summer holidays, and it gives me time to dedicate myself to music. And, you know, until school starts again, I would like to make great progress in my playing. So I would like to question you, whats the best way to improve REALLY. BUT first, would like to introduce myself for those who dont know me yet. So, Im Marlyn Voe, Im 15 years old and i play guitar since I was almost 10. Started with classical guitar and when I was 14 I changed to rock music and started with eletric guitar. I was in my local music school, but in last summer, they closed, and I got into this school. I dont really know a lot of music theory, I know the basic stuff. I guess I can say Im an intermediate guitarrist, hum, I can alternate picking and tapping, but no sweeps yet XD I dont dont know if I can say something else to help you answer my question, BUT, whats the best way improve my playing? Sholud I be focused more in the tecnniques? Practise all of them? Or should I play hard songs to help me improve? Or maybe get into more music styles, beside metal? Finguerstyle? Or improvise w backing tracks? Scales? I dont really know, Im a little bit lost , and sooner the school is starting, and I really wanna improve a lot this summer, bc in chool time, is hard to find time to play, as you must know (especially in 11th grade 🙁 )
So will be waiting to read all your answers, all of them will help me, because I dont know what to do. Thank you very muchhhhhhh.

My journey with Avenged Sevenfold.

So, I got to know a few of the people here but I realized that I know nothing about you and vice versa. This post is to tell you a bit about myself, and my journey with Avenged Sevenfold and hopefully you guys can share a bit about your life so we can get closer and know each other better (even a few sentences).
This is a bit long, I don’t expect you to read it, but I just wanted to share it with you.
I’m Kfir, 27 years old, from Israel, Married to Bosmat. I’m a software developer in CheckPoint (Cyber Security company), and a Gamer.
I started playing at my school at age 15. The school was a religious boarding school (Jewish), so I’ve spent most of my time as a teenager out of home. We were not allowed to have smartphones/computers/MP4 and stuff like that. This is where the music came. I got my first guitar, spending most of my time after classes jamming to metalcore music (bfmv, escape the fate). In the last year of school I started to walk in my own path, got long hair (which was prohibited) and did w/e I felt was right. After school, there was military. At the age 18 we have 3 years of military duty to serve. I couldn’t play that much anymore, but jumped on every chance that I had. 3 years passed by and I’m out of the army. A month later I started to chase other passion I have (Gaming/Computers/Science) and started my Computer Science and Math degree. My journey with Avenged Sevenfold begins there. One day, I met my wife at a tribute show for Slipknot. After few days she introduced me to a weird band called A7X. God forgive me, I hated them SO MUCH. Every time she played it at home I was laughing and telling her it’s bad. From here and there, after 2 months of relationship, we booked our first-ever live show of Avenged in London 2013, exactly for our 6 months together.


A dream comes true – her favorite band for a decade. Oh the thrills, excitement, laughter and cry. Zacky broke his guitar, fiction live on stage, Johnny throwing us a pick. We couldn’t ask for more, indeed a dream come true.
After we returned home, I got my first SG custom S guitar. I was a rock star. I sucked so much and I was the happiest.

3 Years passed till our next show. This one was the most important one. There were 2 goals for that show. Get recognized by Avenged to come to Israel, and to propose on that one. This was Vienna 2017. We were a group of 50+ people from Israel flying with Israeli deathbat flags to win the heart of Synyster and the band, singing and jumping from the VIP on-stage. I’ve spent the half year before the show trying to make the proposal on stage, sending messages to the management – what is the best way to propose on our favorite band’s show. Unfortunately, even though they did want to do help me, due to a tragedy happened few days earlier at a show, I couldn’t make the proposal the way I wanted. Regardless, the show was breathtaking from the stage perspective.

We got to talk and laugh with them and the funniest thing – my wife asking for Zacky’s pick and he was like, But I’M PLAYING.

He did give it to her at the end of the show. When the show was over, they jumped to our stage area and got pictures with all of us, even though they were in a huge rush. Johnny can’t stop drinking.

Best day. I couldn’t propose there either. I did it when we were out of the arena, with picks and drum sticks in my hands.

We got married a year later, dancing to warmness on the soul and at that time, it was announced Avenged Sevenfold is coming to a show in Israel. Fuck, we did it.
We already booked tickets to Graspop 2018, because fuck, why not spend our honeymoon in a fucking metal festival, front row in an A7X concert. The festival was 4 days before the show in Israel. We landed the night before.
The show in Israel, there were such emotions, they are finally here. I cried for third of the show screaming my heart out. After hearing about the Israel show, we had to show some appreciation, so we came with a big Thank You flag.



Syn – Thank you for noticing and sending thank you back at us. This was the greatest show of them all. Really no words can describe how we felt that night, there was something different in the air. The journey we went through, from complete strangers to unseparable.
Few months ago Syn released his Black Moon. I already had a guitar. We JUST bought Syns acoustic because god it is beautiful. But I knew in my heart I can’t let this one go. I had the need to give back a bit, for my last 6 years of music, family, happiness, sadness, madness and love.

And then I came here, starting my journey as a student and a better guitar player, learning from my Idols everything I ca. At the end of the day it always felt like a big family, a part of something bigger.
I Hope I didn’t bore you :)

Syn Gates custom shop guitars

Since everyone is pretty hyped about the Black Moon guitar, you guys should definitely check out the Instagram page and official website of the music store Drumguitarcityland, because they have very interesting Synyster Gates USA custom shop guitars for sale (f.e. a Joker guitar). And since they are USA ones, these are probably the best Syn Gates guitars when it comes to quality.

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