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Discussion in 'Bad Dog Cafe' started by braveheart, Jan 17, 2020.
No problem at all. Some johnny cash tune, country roads and off you go!
"I'm sorry, I don't play acoustic guitar."
If its one of those REALLY terrible guitars(small junk acousticwith open tuner setup and ALWAYSone to three missing tuning keys...), I tune backwards my norm and ignore 2 skinny strings, then play some gibberish with power chords, depending on mood and situation. Maybe some Ramones, or make a joke put of Closing Time, When I Come Around, etc all being the same song.
If its something interesting, I'll play whatever to keep messing with it;
In high school my friends little brother brought thier grandfathers guitar from his dads glass shop, to ask me if it was valuable. Open the case and it's a Mosrite. Just because of how pleasantly surprised Iwas, I ran through all the Johnny cash he asked for.
At that time, those were worth roughly $400ish, and some of the Japanese fakes were actually better than the real things to play, depending on condition. Told him he would be better off keeping it in the family since it wasn't worth a small fortune or anything.
Not proud of it, but in my younger days I had a habit of shaming people. In guitar store:Metal guy would make fun of some kid and I'd deliberately shred through the solo of what they were trying to play while "tuning " the guitar the kid was messing with.
Some pretty boy at a party murdering some laminated top acoustic says "hey, dont you play?" In a confrontational way, they got something rockabilly with a bunch of fills n frills.
Mostly, people making requests just want to see something, and they'll tell people you're "an amazing musician " if you get through the intro, first solo, and chorus of Wish You Were Here.
Know a comedian? Ask to hear a joke.
Know a magician? Ask for a magic trick.
Someone works at Walmart? Ask wtf about the lines/a return/deals (totally happens)
Know a guitar player? Ask for a song.
I don't know why people do it, but they do it.
I enjoy playing guitar still after two decades, so I don't mind requests. It was weird years ago when skeptical acquaintances needed an explanation on how the calluses eventually just became thick skin.
Do you only enjoy playing when you deliberately set out to play for someone?
I like medium size rooms and a band behind me. A dozen or less people is weird, and more than 80ish I stop making eye contact or interacting with specific people in attendance because I lose track of them.
Frankly, the only time I want a bunch of people watching me is when I have a guitar in my hands...
I personally like trying to find ways to make a ****tty guitar sound musical
For situations like this I'm working up The Masochism Tango by Tom Lehrer......"I ache for the touch of your lips dear/But much more for touch of your whips dear/You can raise welts like nobody else/So let's dance to the Masochism Tango".
They won't ask for another one!
I retired in June of this year and due to some personal stuff going on I made it clear that I didn't need or want any party or special recognition. Well, I was called down to the reception one day and was brought into the cafeteria were the entire team was assembled and gave me an incredible send off. Well, I was blown away to say the least. We had lunch, there were some speeches and when I thought it was over a guitar case appeared. Here's what was in it-
All 125 associates signed a Yamaha FG820 acoustic. I was stunned by the gesture. Of course came the chants to "play something"!!! Well I can sing a specific style of song but it certainly doesn't make me Paul McCartney. To make it more interesting 95% of the crowd was Hispanic. So I played a verse and a chorus of "Dos Tacos" (which I have stolen from the Texas Tornados) which had enough of a Spanish flair to bring down the house! If you find yourself in that position just make sure that you do a song you know cold. Sing it with spirit and you'll pull it off.
12-bar blues basic shuffle.
It's so forgiving of the guitar you can play it on a First Act plastic toy guitar. And so easy to remember.
For a better guitar you can throw in some turnaround licks.
This is/would be my go-to.
BUT... sometimes the Horror is not witch song to play... sometimes the horror is that I am not in the mood or maybe too much beers or you are in a deep conversation and no, sorry not now. Or somebody is playing and is not really skilled and you don't want to overwhatever that poor guy
Then I say... what's your job? I am a painter, would you paint a door in this party just because you have some brush and paint? no shure, but for me is the same
man if you played the heisenberg song... LEGEND!
I refuse to play "right on the spot" unless there's an electric guitar, a 100 W amp, and a Metal Zone inbetween.
I just usually play "The Loop" by Rory Gallagher, or some other easy instrumental with some quick riffs. I don't sing for s&&t, so if they press me much further, I'll try and sing something and that usually puts an end to it.
This. Small groups of people can be intimidating. Bar full of folks with a "five peice, band looking at the back side of me" no problem.
To the OP: The fact that you can do something like play guitar and sing amazes people that can't. Most people can barely get their name out in group of people. Don't hold back, sell it! Just having the guts to do it is at least 50% of the equation.
I play a wide variety of genres and styles, both acoustic and electric, and I tend to think (and practice) in terms of set lists, so I just pull up a mental set list of 2 or 3 appropriate songs and go for it. I don't sing, so after 3 songs people have probably had enough anyway. IMO, the worst mistake you can make is to noodle around on new things that you're working on. You'll just look incompetent. Play what you know.
"La ciudad se llama Duke, Nuevo Mexico el estadoooe......."
Blooze Wank in G is my "go to" song.
It seems like playing guitar is really an ordeal for some of you. I assure you, it needn't be. Relax and have fun. That's the whole gig.
Anyway, some things that may or may not help:
1. Guitar is not a contest.
2. Guitar is not a skills demonstration.
3. No one cares to sit through solo speed licks.
4. Internalize those, and you'll be fine.
5. Guitar exists like any other instrument to play songs.
6. Learn some songs.
7. You don't need to "warm up" (I don't even know what that is on guitar) to play simple "pop" songs or a simple blues in E or A or whatever is your favorite key.
If it's really some kind of ordeal to play, learn a simple gracious way to decline. You know:
- thanks but we're having a nice convo and I don't want to be the center of attention.
- thanks but I just rescued a litter of 9 pit bulls from a rogue pack of wolves that was trying to cross-breed and take over the city, and I'm really tired.
- you know, I pulled weeds all day and I can barely feel my hands
- **** off, jerk face
Any of those, really.
If a guitar is really messed up I fall back to open tuning and that helps.
There's a pretty broad range of songs I know by heart, many of them going back to junior high and high school when I was the lead
singer in bands. (I wasn't especially good then or now, but I can sing in tune). But I sure do wish I had a lot more songs
memorized in my head for these occasions. I have a friend who isn't a particularly good player or singer, but he knows a TON of
Beatles songs by heart- guitar part and all lyrics-- and so this always makes him the life of the party.
I should probably learn TV theme songs like the Brady Bunch. Most Americans at best will know the chorus and maybe one
verse of a song. So if you want everyone to sing along you need to bring lyric sheets. But most Americans of a certain age can
sing songs like the Brady Bunch and Beverly Hillbillies theme songs from beginning to end, with gusto.
In contrast I spent 6 months living
in Brazil and I was amazed at how you could have a big party of folks of all ages and they would all know the lyrics, top to bottom,
of a TON of songs, and sing them really well. And the guitarists knew all the changes even though they had lots of jazzy,
bossa nova style chords-- not your typical
3 chord folk, country, or rock by any means. These songs were more like jazz standards, but with a Brazilian vibe.
If you don't sing AT ALL, not even when the occasion calls for it, then it's harder. A couple of good fingerpicking ditties that you can
do in standard or open tuning could be the ticket to success.
I would assert that in these scenarios, you can compensate for ability on guts alone. Confidence, moxy, 3 chords, and at least a vague memory of 2ish verses of Ring of Fire can make you come off as "someone who coulda went somewhere"
The same can't be said for every song, but who requests SRV after handing you an acoustic they forgot the owned?
My guitar “thing” for years was to be the guitarist in a 4- or 5-piece band fronted by a female singer. None of the songs I knew worked on solo guitar, they needed the drums, bass, synths, and the chick out front. It occurred to me years ago that if someone handed me an acoustic and asked me for a song, I had nothing.
Now I keep two songs - Michael Penn’s “No Myth” and Joe Jackson’s “Is She Really Going Out With Him?” - up my sleeve for just such occasions. Sadly, they don’t occur very often.
If there are ladies present I do "Gulf Coast Highway". Otherwise "I'm Just an Old Chunk of Coal" or kinda Johnny Smith version "Fly Me to the Moon".