By Charlie Doom
Illustration by Eric Hunter

Want to make it big? We asked some of the biggest guitarists on the planet for their best career advice.

Joe SatrianiKnow Your Instrument
You have to know all the notes on the guitar, you’ve got to know all the scales, you have to know all the ‘chords’ and make sure you do that stuff as much as possible.” – Joe Satriani

Larry CarltonLose Your Ego
“Put your ego away! When you go into a recording session – be a servant. You’re there to help someone make their music. The session isn’t really about what you think, although you want to give all you can as far as your ideas are concerned, but it’s up to the producer and the artist to decide how they want their song to be presented to the world. So be humble and be a servant.” – Larry Carlton

Mike SternDon’t Give Up
“Just keep playing. Don’t give up — no matter what happens. It’s a joy to play music and there are challenges. No one can ever take that from you but yourself. So, keep playing and play from the heart.” – Mike Stern

Brian AubertNever Compromise
“Don’t compromise on anything and don’t listen to anybody who tells you how to do things or how to get successful because all that’s bullshit. There is no equation to how it works.”  – Brian Aubert

Richie KotzenTake the Money
“The only deals with companies I’ve ever made that really worked in my favor were the ones that offered significant advances. It is the only tangible commitment they can make to you in the beginning. Most of the time if someone is talking big that’s all they’re doing – talking. If someone says, ‘Well, we want you to be involved, but we have a limited budget…’ start looking for the door.” – Richie Kotzen

Brian BellBe a Consummate Musician

“If you’re going to pursue guitar, then do it with everything you have. You must become a servant to the music — a slave to your passion. Music has to become your life.” – Brian Bell

Wayne CoyneTake the Road Less Traveled
“It can be scary to leave your life behind you — your friends and family, everything that comforts and encourages you. But it’s a choice you’ve got to make at some point. Do you stay where you’re at or do you take the road less traveled? I say, take the road less traveled and never look back.” – Wayne Coyne

Robben FordMake Sure You’re Always Learning
“Listen to other instruments, learn chords and songs and learn to play some blues for god’sake.” – Robben Ford

Embrace the Power of Quitting
George Lynch“Don’t quit your day job.” – George Lynch

“Find a good drummer and don’t be afraid to quit at any moment!” – GWAR

What advice do you have?