Why comparing yourself to other guitarists is bad news for your playing, creativity and mental health

Young man using smart phone while sitting at home with guitar in background
(Image credit: Cavan Images)

Best of 2021: For all the horrors of the pandemic, one of the silver linings has been a surge in collaboration. We’ve seen lockdown collabs between some of the biggest names in guitar – from Eric Johnson to Brian May – and a host of phenomenal all-star shred videos.

A few months back, I was asked to take part in one of these solo jams. And I was pretty pleased with the lead I put together. It had a few flashy moments and, at least to my ears, it felt like my note choices told a story over the backing track provided.

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Michael Astley-Brown
Editor-in-Chief, GuitarWorld.com

Mike is Editor-in-Chief of GuitarWorld.com, in addition to being an offset fiend and recovering pedal addict. He has a master's degree in journalism from Cardiff University, and over a decade's experience writing and editing for guitar publications including MusicRadar, Total Guitar and Guitarist, as well as 20 years of recording and live experience in original and function bands. During his career, he has interviewed the likes of John Frusciante, Chris Cornell, Tom Morello, Matt Bellamy, Kirk Hammett, Jerry Cantrell, Joe Satriani, Tom DeLonge, Ed O'Brien, Polyphia, Tosin Abasi, Yvette Young and many more. In his free time, you'll find him making progressive instrumental rock under the nom de plume Maebe.