George Lynch Reveals How Much He Practices and Why He Occasionally ’Walks Away’ From Guitar

While appearing recently on the Cooper Talk, guitar virtuoso George Lynch discussed his playing skills and how he keeps himself in proper guitar-playing shape. When directly asked whether he practices a lot and “what keeps you being this guitar legend,” Lynch replied (transcribed by Killer Guitar Rigs):

“Well, I used to practice a lot. But then the record company started, like, making me do all these interviews during my practice time, so I didn’t really have time to practice because I had other shit to do, pick up the kids, pick up the dog from the vet, and I have to go do the other thing… Just kidding.”

On a more serious note, he continued:

“It really does depend on how much I put into it, just like anything else. But since I do a lot of recording and a good amount of touring, I’m getting my practicing.”

Dead Or Alive- Terry Ilous and George Lynch Feat: AON- All Or Nothing #dokken #80srock #rockmusic

“And yeah, I practice because nowadays, with all the internet stuff, you know, I do Instagram, and I do Patreon, I’ve got to keep content. I’ve got to keep creating content. That’s usually guitar-related content. So I’m doing lessons and things like that. So that keeps me busy.”

“I teach, I’ll do some of these things where… I forget what they’re actually called. But you know, it’d be Paul Gilbert and myself, and five or six other legends, great, amazing guitar players.”

“And when we do these things, where a few 100 people sign up and it’s this whole workshop for a week. So that’s intense, you’re playing guitar 12 hours a day.

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Discussing the issue further, Lynch pointed out how important it is to, as a musician, distance yourself from your work. The goal of this is not to get blinded by what you’re doing, which can end up with some pretty uninspiring results. He added:

“And I’m in the studio lot writing and recording. And, at some point, I gotta make sure I don’t get to the point where I just get uninterested because I’m just playing so much, I’m not even exciting myself anymore with what I’m playing. [Laughs] It’s just kind of keep doing the same thing.

“So sometimes I walk away and I do other stuff. And then when I come back, it’s all fresh and new and exciting and I’m playing and I’m getting off and what I’m playing and I gotta keep that balance.

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This brings up a few other points worth mentioning. For instance, what kind of guitar player one wants to be? In George’s opinion, there are two ways you could go but he’s still trying to find this “balance” and get the best of two worlds. He continued:

“If I can have one or the other… Like, what kind of guitar player would you rather be? Would you rather be that guy that just sits there and wood sheds eight hours a day, like Eddie did and just be totally inside your playing and consistent and at 100% capacity all the time?

“Or would you rather be that guy that’s maybe not always technically 100% there but you’re having fun with it? You’re getting off on your own ideas and you’re playing and you’re almost hearing it or like, like the fan would hear it, where you’re getting off on your own playing…

He concluded by adding:

“I try to be somewhere in the middle there. [Laughs] And that requires you to walk away from it sometimes.

George Lynch - MTV Headbangers Ball (2011)

Even after all these years, Lynch is still one of the most respected electric guitar players of all time. What’s more, he’s still around despite the huge hit that the whole “shredder” movement took with the emergence of grunge back in the early 1990s.

In a last year’s interview, George looked back on how he was affected by these massive changes in rock music and the industry as a whole. What’s more, he explained how it felt “embarrassing” to admit that you’re a professional guitar player back in the 1990s. He said:

“You know, I’m figuring I’m one of the very few [lucky people] that have been able to have a career in doing what I love – and hopefully what I’m pretty good at — for my life.”

George Lynch - Creating riffs and licks using shapes from the Blues Scale

“And, there’s been some rough periods, especially in the ’90s, when it was kind of embarrassing to say you’re a guitar player. ‘Well, what do you do for a living?’ [in quiet, mumbling voice] ‘I play the, erm, you know…’ ‘Excuse me, what was that again?’”

“And you intentionally downplayed your solos and stuff. I just did one-note solos like ‘Cinnamon Girl.’  I’m exaggerating, but yeah. So I’ve learned to just weather the storms, and the peaks and valleys.”

“It was a great experience and continues to be. I look at it like an adventure. Instead of punching the clock, every day I wake up, I don’t know what’s gonna happen. There’s challenges and all that, but I’m all right with that.”

Photos: Toglenn (George Lynch 2009)

  • David Slavkovic

    David always planned for music to be nothing more than a hobby. However, after a short career as an agricultural engineer he ended up news editor at KillerGuitarRigs, senior editor at Ultimate-Guitar.com, as well as a freelance contributor to online magazines such as GuitaristNextdoor and brands like Sam Ash.

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