Guitar Hacks Spotlight: András (nexion218)

In this installment of Guitar Hack’s Spotlight we would like to introduce you to Andras! Most of you may know him as nexion218 within the community. András’s contributions to the community have been incredible and we’re proud to announce he is the first in our community to earn the Rock Star badge! 

Enjoy getting to know him, and don’t forget to congratulate him on his Rock Star status!

Tell us a little about yourself (name, where you’re from, favorite food, pets, etc.)

My name is András, you may know me from the forum as nexion218. I am from Hungary and currently live in Budapest. By profession I am a molecular biologist working in a pharmaceutical quality control lab. 

Food? We have an on and off relationship … But if I really have to choose something, it would either be some Mexican or TexMex style, smokey-spicey-hot, or something from my grandmother’s kitchen. Her meals always make me feel at home and put a smile on my face. Other than that, I tend to view food as a “necessary evil”. I know, I know… I’m weird. 

Pets? More like the Love of My Life, the Apple of my Eye, Daddy’s Favorite, the reason I wake up every morning (both figuratively and literally): Bandika, the cat. I am infatuated with that adorable hellspawn. :smiley:

When I have some time between my work, practicing, and keeping the cat happy, I really enjoy tinkering with my guitars: getting to know how their components work, swapping pickups, learning different wirings, applying small mods, setting them up to ensure the best possible playability. I owe those instruments that much after they are forced to put up with my playing!

How long have you been playing guitar?

I started playing guitar in my teens, somewhere around 16, so it’s been almost 20 years now, but I had a rather long period where I shifted my focus away from music due to some erroneous personal decisions. Around 4 years ago the death of my Mother somehow led me back to the instrument and music in general. Upon re-starting, I realized that I have some awful bad playing habits and huge, gaping holes in my knowledge, so I decided to start from ground zero, treat myself as a total beginner, and try to learn everything the right way, from technique to theory. So I guess that I might as well say that it’s been 4 years. 

Tell us how you got interested in playing guitar – what’s your origin story?

The first song I remember I was obsessed about was “Give in to Me” by Michael Jackson. Back then I didn’t know why I was so drawn towards it, but looking back on it now it’s pretty clear: it’s a straight up rock song with Mr. Hudson on guitars. I still think it’s Slash’s best solo (GnR, Snakepit and Velvet Revolver included). 

For most of my elementary school years that was about it guitar music wise. I studied French as a foreign language from first grade, and since I was showing some promise, my Mom hired a private teacher when I got to high school to boost my knowledge. As it turned out, the guy was a huge metalhead, and the only way he could get me to do my homework was by offering me albums for listening from his collection (surprise-surprise: 14-15 years old boy not interested in doing homework). Upon introducing his incentive based system, the first album he brought me was his all time favorite: Master of Puppets. Next week? Rust in Peace … point of no return! It was only natural that I wanted to learn how to play those songs. My first step was blasting Cliff ’em All from VHS while Mom wasn’t home, trying to mimic on my imaginary guitar Hetfield’s strumming pattern throughout the chorus of Creeping Death. I thought I was already learning something about playing the instrument. Boy, was I wrong! Regardless, I kept bugging my Mother about wanting to learn the electric guitar, but in the beginning she wasn’t too supportive. She wanted the best for me in the long run, which meant university and a “proper” profession, ensuring my future livelihood. 

Obviously, playing guitar wasn’t on the list of approved professions… Besides, most people over here (and I am sure that this is true in every corner of the globe) are convinced that in order to be a musician, you have to be the direct descendant of Mozart or Liszt, be born with perfect pitch, and have 5 symphonies composed by the time you utter your first words. It also didn’t help when a family acquaintance who was singing in a choir proposed that if I am so determined to learn music, I should maybe try drums or something similar, because I was obviously tone-deaf. That’s a nice way to encourage a kid, eh? Needless to say, I was quite saddened and angered. 

Finally, in high school I found a bunch of guys who shared my passion for extreme music (within a short period of time I went from Master of Puppets to Transilvanian Hunger) and we decided to form a Black Metal band. None of us played an instrument, so we split duties over a couple of drinks. I got the guitar, so I talked my dad into buying me a cheap Jackson. I tried learning it all alone, without any help (no internet in the house back then!) with, how should say, “mixed” results.  Thankfully my Mother saw how passionate I was about it and she finally gave in and agreed to pay for a teacher, but only if my grades didn’t suffer. I couldn’t thank her enough for that! Of course I was more concerned with playing fast than learning theory or proper technique so I failed to make the most of my opportunity, but I had fun, and some moderate success, which kept me going until those above mentioned bad decisions.

Who are some of your favorite guitar players?

Let’s see … I think I have to start with Hetfield and Mustaine. Not necessarily because of their skills or knowledge, but because of how influential their playing was to my own playing and musical taste. Of course Kiko … His off the charts playing is one thing, but he has the most direct impact on my playing and everyday life by teaching and sharing his knowledge with us, so that makes him a real special one for me. Guthrie Govan, Jason Becker, Marty Friedman… I guess not much explanation is needed here, right? Dave Davidson of Revocation. That guy is a special breed too: a Berkley jazz guitar graduate who’s playing some of the heaviest and most complex metal around. Oh, and Selim Lemouchi most definitely belongs on this list too!

What are you hoping to accomplish with your guitar playing?

Hah, good question … I rarely think about it, if ever. I believe I just want to have fun, be able to translate my emotions and feelings into music and have it as my temple and refuge. Maybe I’d like to stand on a stage again one day, but definitely no regular gigging or touring. I feel too “old” for that, and knowing myself, I don’t think I’d survive more than 2 weeks on the road… :smiley:

Is there a particular technique or concept you struggle with most?

For me I believe it’s the mental part and extreme lack of confidence. When it comes to technique, I’ve found that following Kiko’s advices and being honest with myself (“Oh, I can do this at 150 BPM!” yeah, but it sounds like shit, so go back to 130) makes things relatively easy. After all, it’s “just” muscle movement. Don’t get me wrong, I still suck bigtime and it’s obviously not going to change overnight, but I can see, feel, and hear that perseverance pays off. 

I often find myself trying to duck the Phase IV of the Workout. It’s a real struggle because of the ingrained “I’m not good enough, why bother?” mentality I (used to) have. But to nobody’s surprise, perseverance pays off again! 

The more I manage to force myself into doing it, the more I manage to come up with some usable riffs or licks during that part of practice, and it’s becoming less and less of a struggle. 

Recording things with my phone when I find something that I deem decent helps a lot too, because the next time I’m about to cheat, I can easily remind myself with proof in hand that, “Hey, don’t be an idiot, look at yesterday’s recording, you’ve found a nice lick! Why not do it again today?”

What kind of gear are you currently using these days?

I’m a huge Jackson fanboy! So I have quite a few models from their roster: a Pro Series King V, which I slightly modded with a Nazgul/Sentient set (originally it had a JB/’59) and a Hollow Point intonation system, a Pro Series Soloist with a Distortion set, a Japanese made Dinky with EMGs and a Pro Series WR7 with DiMarzio Imperiums. The latter is a Dave Davidson signature model and it was my first 7 stringer. Not so fond of signature models these days, but I loved the specs (it’s the only 7 string model with a Warrior shape) and given how much I like Davidson’s music, his signature on the truss rod cover didn’t keep me from buying it. I also have an E-II Horizon NT7 with EMGs and an Evertune bridge, plus I still have my LTD KH-202 I played my first ever gig with some 17 years ago. By the way I’ve just decided to turn it into a “punk” guitar the other day with stickers and a set of Black Winters with white bobbins in the black guitar to give it this cut n’ paste vibe.

My amp is an old 40W Hughes&Kettner Edition 1 solid state combo, I use a Korg PitchBlack Poly tuner, a Boss NS-2 (slightly modded for faster gating), a KHDK Dark Blood and a Digitech Obscura Delay, all of them powered by a Voodoo Labs Pedal Power.

What gear is currently on your wish-list?

I am proud to inform you that I am free of Gear Acquisition Syndrome as of December 2020. J Though I’d love to have something in the future along the lines of an EVH 5150, H&K Tubemeister or Triamp, maybe a Mesa TripleRec, but given my strictly bedroom guitar hero status it is totally unnecessary and overkill. Besides, I don’t think my neighbours would approve of a 100 W tube amp through a 4×12!

How did you discover Guitar Hacks?

I believe it was through Kiko’s youtube channel.

In what ways does having a community like Guitar Hacks benefit you as a player?

For starters, there’s the obvious: many like minded people obsessed with guitar in one place … That can only be good, right?  There’s always someone who has the information I’m looking for or who’s willing to help out. 

Also, it is a nice middle ground for my lack of confidence and craving to play with other guitarists/musicians: we can trade licks and learn from each other, but nobody’s sitting here watching my shaking fingers grab all the wrong notes while sweating profusely of nervousness. :smiley:

It’s motivating really… There are guys applauding you, offering constructive criticism, helping you, teaching you, learning from you. Even Kiko takes part in the discussions. If that’s not enough motivation to get better, then I don’t know what is.

What kind of content from Guitar Hacks would you like to see in the future?

I loved the recent quiz on modes! I’d love to have more of that! Some collabs would be great too, or fun contests in a kind of “homework assignment” format. Oh, and definitely more participants in the Lick of the Week Club! 😉

Sorry, absolutely no social media, and I plan to keep it that way… But I try to find some time to hang out at the Guitar Hacks forum every day, and I will most definitely share any noteworthy output there!

If you like, tell us where we can see more of your stuff (social media, webpages, etc.)


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