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August 12, 2009

2009 Tom Hess Instructional Clinic Tour

Mike will be joining Tom Hess, Zack Uidl, Randy Johnson, Paul Kleff and Nick Layton on a clinic tour in the Midwest and the East Coast. If you live in any of the cities below, come out to the FREE clinic, learn how to play guitar better and walk away with cool FREE gifts.

The dates are shown below. More information about the tour (exact times and locations) are on this page

Mike Philippov interview with Shred Academy (

The direct link to the interview is here

What steps have you taken to forge a career in the music industry?
Currently I am writing and recording music for two albums. The first one is my upcoming debut solo CD, "Reflections" and the second one is an album that I am writing together with a great metal player and songwriter, Dave Cardwell ( Both albums will be all instrumental and will feature music in the neo-classical and progressive styles. I am also going to be playing on a Compilation CD, “Chronicles-City of Sound” to be released later in 2007. I also co-manage and run an instructional website: as well as teach guitar privately and through clinics.

As far as what I did to get started, one of the most important steps for me was to join Tom Hess' Music Careers Mentoring Program. The things that I've learned in that program redefined the way I approach my career in some huge ways and helped me get off the ground. Anyone interested in a music career must check this program out!

What advice do you have for people looking to get into the music industry?
Many musicians make the mistake of spending all of their time only polishing their musical skills, but completely neglect studying the music business. This is one reason why there are many musicians who are great musically but cannot make enough money with their skills. Of course, it is important to work on the musical skills, but studying music business is equally important for becoming a music pro. Nowadays it has become easier to search for resources and advice on music business. If you can find a successful musician to take lessons on music business from, that will be a very smart thing to do and will save you A LOT of time and frustration! Other than that, be determined, motivated and ready to work really hard for your success. But success will come if you work on it the right way.

What are the pressures in the industry and how do you cope with them?
One of the benefits of being an independent artist is that there are no pressures on me by anyone other than myself. This is good from a creative and artistic standpoint. However, the biggest obstacle for me right now is lack of time to do all that I want to accomplish. This is probably the one thing that all professional musicians have in common! It’s a great place to be though, being a professional musician sure beats any other kind of job!

During your formative years, what sort of practice regime did you have?
During high school I played and practiced 4-7 hours a day on most days. I was always highly organized in my practice, and would write out practice routines for myself every day and change things that were not bringing results. I also had the opportunity to study with some truly amazing teachers that helped me tremendously in getting my playing together. In 2003 I had a consultation on virtuoso guitar technique with Ney Mello, and in 2004 I started studying music composition, improvisation and virtuoso playing and music business with Tom Hess and he has been a tremendous sort of wisdom inspiration (musically and personally) on many levels. In 2005 I began attending Indiana University Jacobs School of Music to study music theory, ear training and music composition. I firmly believe in studying with the best teachers that you can find and practicing constantly. I was also always very motivated and passionate about everything to do with music and guitar. I believe that the above mentioned things (strong desire, great teachers and lots of practice) contributed the most to me developing my skills.

What advice do you have for beginner and intermediate players who are trying to achieve a highly advanced level of playing?
Find the best teacher(s) that you can and practice constantly! Surround yourself with the music that you love to keep your motivation and desire strong. Find out about proper practice methods and apply them every day to develop your technique. If you plan to write your own music and/or learn to improvise, then study music theory and develop your Aural Skills (ear training)! The more you practice the faster you will get to your goals, so make time for practicing something every day!

Who are your most significant musical influences?
I have many influences in various areas of music, so I can break them up in different areas of musicianship:

For composition: George Bellas, Tom Hess, Vitalij Kuprij, L.V. Beethoven, J.S. Bach, Ennio Morricone, Fryderyk Chopin, Dream Theater, Symphony X

For guitar technique: Rusty Cooley, Theodore Ziras, George Bellas, Paul Gilbert, Shawn Lane

For phrasing: Tom Hess, Andy Laroque, Mike Walsh, Vinnie Moore, Marty Friedman, Jason Becker.

There are many more, but this is my top list. All of the above players and musicians are incredible!

What gear do you use and (more importantly) why?
I love Ibanez guitars for their playability, tone and feel. I use an Ibanez RG 42. I like this model a lot because of the neck through body that allows great sustain. Sustain is a huge part of my sound and tone. I use Seymour Duncan Metal Live Wire Pick Ups for the same reason (they are the hottest pick ups around!). I like the tone and feel of D’addario strings (I use string gauge 0.10-0.46). The string action on my guitar is incredibly high, higher than that of any other guitarist I’ve ever met. I do this also for sustain. Also the string tension is pretty tight to fit my playing style and the strong pick attack that I like to use. As for amps, I like the sound of Peavey 6505, the rhythm tone on it is very heavy and tight! For my lead tone, I like the sound of the guitar recorded direct through a pre-amp and I do not use an amplifier or mic the guitar when recording lead.

Talk about the process of recording your album. Are there any tips and trick that you could pass on? How did you choose the other instrumentalists (if you did).
For recording, one of the most important things is to have your music ready to go! The other is to have some idea of the sound/tone you are going for before you start recording. Otherwise, you are going to spend a lot of money in studio costs (if you record at a studio) by changing things around to experiment with different sounds. The other option is to buy your own gear if you can afford it and learn to use it yourself (which can be frustrating at first but has its advantages over recording at someone else’s studio)About other instrumentalists, I worked with an awesome bass player from Milwaukee, Ben Kuzay to play bass on a tune that will be featured on the Chronicles-City of Sound compilation release. Ben is an awesome player technically and has a good sense of counterpoint and melody. Check out his myspace at:

What parts of your playing reflect your personality and self expression most accurately?
Interesting question… I would say that my phrasing and harmonic ideas are pretty strong in reflecting my personality. However, this is a never ending process, as any self-expressive artist knows… I am always working on bridging the gap between all my musical skills and complete self-expression. The art of self-expression is one of the most important things I have learned from my friend and mentor Tom Hess during my years of lessons with him.

What are you trying to achieve compositionally?
As I alluded to above, self-expression and personal fulfillment are my two biggest musical goals. I am not interested in writing music for the whole world to like. I would rather write the music that fulfills me personally and artistically. I believe that if the music is truly expressive and creative in the artist’s own unique way, then there will always be enough people to like it for that music to get noticed.

How can the readers get in touch with you?
My websites are: and My e-mail is:
I always respond to e-mails, so don’t hesitate to write to me.