Whether you’re in a band, busking, playing round a campfire or just practicing in your bedroom, its not always easy being a guitarist.
We’re a pretty competitive bunch, but here’s a list of things we can all agree that we hate.
Tune Up / Shut up.
You’re about to start band practice, you’re pumped, in a great mood, everything is finally plugged in and the beers are at a safe enough distance from anything that can cause an electrical fire.
You hit the first chord and notice that you’re out of tune. No problem right? Just a quick fix.
Unfortunately you’re bandmates don’t see it that way, and you’re only halfway through tuning the A string before you realize the bassist is using this opportunity to loudly work on his slap technique, the singer has decided to tell you all about his weekend through the microphone and the drummer is well, being a drummer, and still crashing his way through the first song oblivious to what the situation is.
Thinking of starting a band? Buy a tuning pedal because you’re gonna have zero chance of hearing yourself tune-up.
What do you mean you don’t know any Ed Sheeran?
Eventually, you’re going to find yourself in a situation where there is a group of people in a room with a guitar in the corner. One of your friends is going to put you on the spot and tell everyone how wonderful a guitarist you are, leading to you getting pressured into playing something.
Get ready for some odd requests.
Suddenly it’s going to seem like you wasted all of those months practicing Hendrix and those strange Jazz chords you’ve been trying to learn when a room full of people are quietly disappointed that you don’t know how to play the latest Justin Bieber song.
Everyone Thinks They Can Play Guitar
Much like the previous situation, even if you do get to do your thing, play a few cool riffs or some sweet finger picking that delights the group of people that have circled around you…
Dave from next door wants to have a go next, and he learned 5 chords back in 2004 that he’s going to strum through for the next 20 minutes.
The worst thing is, he’s going to get exactly the same amount of respect and recognition as you did.
Not only are you going to get compared to other musicians in your extended friend group, but some people are also going to find comparisons in popular music with whatever you write.
“Yeah, I mean it’s really good but you’ve essentially just ripped off that Nirvana b-side that you’ve never even heard”
Guitarists have a remarkable knack for antagonizing each other. Whether it’s petty squabbles between bandmates over who gets the solo, or whether it’s some of the stupid things they say (I’m sure I’ve probably annoyed a few people with my whining) there’s always something.
Everyone’s a guitarist, and they’re all looking for bands, and as most guitarists can’t accommodate 20 blokes with 6 strings things just aren’t going to add up and unfortunately finding a decent drummer is going to be a pain.
We all know it’s fun to joke about the caveman at the back, but getting the right sweaty bloke who feels hitting things with sticks is his calling can be a complete pain in the arse.
Guitar shops can be lovely, wonderful places with high-quality merchandise and friendly staff. They are heaven for guitarists as long as you’re just browsing or picking up some strings. Its when you’re actually there to buy a guitar that the problems start.
Expect to be plugged into a super loud amp and have everybody stare at you while you strum through a few chords to try and get a feel for your potential new axe*.
Also, there’s usually going to be a 12 year old child prodigy sat across from you flawlessly shredding through a mega impressive song and adding greatly to your anxiety.
It takes forever and the first few times you try it you’re going to break at least one.
Despite the cost of having to then buy another new pack, its also probably the most dangerous task for a guitarist to undertake. Everybody has a story about cutting their fingers or nearly taking an eye out.
Also expect of a lot of re-tuning for the first week or so after putting new strings on.
The Guitar Doesn’t Make The Guitarist
Drummers are usually judged by their abilities on whatever they play, a good kit, a cheap kit, some old barrels or some pots and pans. Even Bassists tend to be more forgiving of each other for what equipment they use (God forbid you use a pick though!).
Guitarist’s however, seem to put way too much worth into what is being used.
Having a Les Paul and 15 pedals doesn’t necessarily make a good Guitarist in the same way that turning up with an old ‘hand me down’ Squire is going to mean you suck.
*Bonus: People who call a guitar an axe.