Bear With Us: An interview with professional guitarist Sam Russell

Bear With Us: An interview with professional guitarist Sam Russell

Welcome back to Bear With Us, our interview series that answers questions like: who uses Bear? How does Bear fit into their work or play? Do they prefer coffee or tea?

We’re on a mission to ask these and other burning questions from interesting people. Then we share their answers with you.

Professional guitarist Sam Russell took time out of traveling, running a guitar school, and looking this badass to share how he uses Bear to juggle it all. Read on for some ideas on organizing your business and personal life across tags and multiple notes, although Sam’s scorching style secrets remain shrouded in mystery.

Tell us about yourself and what you do for a living?

My name is Sam Russell, and I’m a professional guitarist. I write and release music, teach students how to take their playing from a beginner level to advanced level, and also teach them how to compose their own songs.

My two current projects are working on an instrumental guitar album and launching a teaching website to help rock guitar players become more advanced players.

How about for fun?

What I do for a living is what I do for fun! But in addition to that, I love reading, traveling to new places, and spending time with my friends having a good bonfire with a beer or two. I’m also a fan of long distance hiking.

How did you hear about Bear, and how long have you been using it?

I first heard about Bear as a recommendation from an author I followed several years ago. He mentioned he used Bear as a tool to help organise his notes for books that he wrote.

After looking into Bear, I jumped on board and have loved using it since.

How many notes do you have?

I currently have 395 notes and counting.

Can you share a little about how you organize notes in Bear?

I organise my notes by tag and sub-tag. The parent tag will be the broad category (e.g. travel or business), and the sub tag will be specific ideas related to the parent tag.

So in my travel tags, I have a tag for each country (e.g. Portugal) and also activity (e.g. surfing). A particular note may contain more than one tag (I like to keep them under the title) depending on what it’s relevant to.

This means that some notes might be referenced by two tags in the left hand menu.

How does Bear fit into your workflow? Do you use it in certain places, or for specific tasks?

Click for a (possibly?) never-before-seen look behind the curtain at how Sam works!

I have three main uses for Bear:

  • Tracking to do items / planning out projects. If I’m working on something for my teaching website, I might sketch out a course in bullet points, then have “to do” items for creating certain parts of the course, like shooting video, editing video, etc.
  • Keeping notes. This is simply having a note for a particular topic, then adding some text with what I did and anything I need to be careful of tomorrow. I use this for things like tracking my guitar practice, or taking notes on text books that I read.
  • Creating a database of ideas / information. So when I see somewhere cool to travel to, I’ll make a note of it. Or when I see a Korean drama I want to watch, I’ll add it to a “Korean Dramas” note.

What is one of your favorite tricks or features when working in Bear?

My favourite thing is the user interface! It’s just easy and intuitive to use, which I love.

I wouldn’t call myself a “power user,” so I don’t think I have any particular tricks, apart from maybe leaving it open so it’s always there to use / reference.

Now for some other questions

What has been your hibernation routine for quarantine?

Being a guitar teacher, life didn’t change that much for me. I started teaching my students on Skype and Zoom while building my teaching website.

I was quite fortunate in that my work was not affected!

I get up, take a short walk, have some coffee and read for a bit. Then I’ll practice/compose for the morning, have lunch, sometimes work out, and teach in the evening.

Do you usually prefer the book, film, comic, or video game? Why?

That’s hard! My girlfriend and I have been really into Korean dramas lately. I also love the Heavy Metal comics, and can’t put down a good book!

Coffee, tea, or something else?

It’s got to be coffee. Black, no sugar.

Where can people follow you online?

Anyone interested in improving their rock guitar playing can see my latest lessons at

If you want to see my music, you can do so on YouTube or Spotify.

Anything else you’d like to share?

Thank you for the interview, and thank you for creating Bear!