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> Worst Guitar Tricks To Pull At A Gig
Josh Adams
post Mar 22 2014, 08:42 PM
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Guido's 'The Worst Mistakes You Can Do In A Solo' got me thinking about what make a bad guitarist in general. One thing that can make or break the deal (for me) is Guitar tricks live. It's not hugely common that people crack out musical acrobatics on stage but still.

I went to a small gig the other day whilst I was in another UK city visiting a friend, I didn’t necessarily fancy a trip out – as much as I like a good concert, even in really small venues -- I just fancied curling up to with some Doritos and some cuddles. Yay for friends!

But I went and unfortunately came away wishing I hadn’t. It wasn’t as if the music was particularly ear destroying – the band were pretty kick ass in all fairness – it was just the egotistical ass of a front man who just wouldn’t stop flinging his guitar (and body) around the place.

My friend disagreed and came back thinking he’d witnessed the second coming of Christ and that this front man was ab-sol-utely certain to be signed in mere seconds. Nevertheless, he wasn’t, at least not when I was there. He then went on to say “I hate it when all guitar players do is just stand there, it’s so boring.”

Needless to say this blew my mind. I couldn’t disagree more. I’m not saying I want motionless robots playing music to me for an hour or so, but there’s a fair distance between “standing still” and throwing yourself round like you own the joint. And clumsily too. This was not stage acrobatics by any means.

Some of my favourite guitar players are those that just “stand there” and (cliché alert, cliché alert) let the music do the talking – sorry I couldn’t help it! For me there’s something really captivating about seeing a man/woman work the strings in such a simple way and still have an audience hooked. I understand live music is special (in part) because of the spectacle and showmanship, but what this guy was doing was just animal, and annoying.

Obviously taste differs between genres: Heavy Metalers will be more inclined towards a big show whereas Shoegazers (for example) would think you’re a pompous idiot (maybe).

Basically, got me thinking. What are the worst guitar tricks to pull at a gig do you think? Might be a contentious topic because - like I said - I know each guitar player/fan has their own special sacred list of things that they think make a great guitar player. Everyone’s going to disagree but it’ll be interesting. Here are some of mine.

Duck walk/Chuck Berry thing

The dude at the show was doing this absolutely non-stop. Half the time I wasn’t sure whether I was at a small-time rock gig or at an army base on “Dress Like a Metalhead Day”. It literally looked like he was marching to and from either side of the stage in front of the commanding officer of rock n’ roll. My friend reliably informed me after the show that Chuck Berry invented this – I now as of that day don’t like Chuck Berry. Sorry Chuck, your reputation has been tainted, that’s probably so judgemental of me!

Spinning around on the floor OR “The Angus Young”

This one is something I have only seen in person once but even that was enough to convince me I shouldn’t have to endure it again. In all fairness, the guy doing it had decided that getting completely trolleyed would be a preferable state to do an hour and a half show in. Fair enough, but think about the fact that if you’re going to be throwing yourself on the floor please ensure you have a wireless guitar. The poor bloke pulled his amp over and smashed the thing to pieces in front of a crowd of about 30 people. The embarrassment he so obviously suffered is something I wouldn’t put my worst enemy through. Most people left not long after, thank god it was basically the end anyway.

Guitar solos over 2 minutes

Once again, completely my own taste and I’m not picking a fight with anyone who feels otherwise. But stop using your guitar as an extension of your own over inflated ego. Whenever I see this I’m transported back to when I was 11 and watching School of Rock with Jack Black and thinking 10 minute guitar solos were God’s gift to mankind! I was wrong, so so wrong. I’m not even sure if this can counted as a trick (finger stamina anyone?) but it’s show-offy and I don’t like it. Moan over haha.

Power Slide

This one is a particular favourite of Tenacious D and Jack Black fans for some reason (my dislike for Jack Black is not hiding well here). Known more widely as “sliding across the floor on your knees” this is something I’m actually quite proficient at myself, as I used to do it at school discos as a child. That doesn’t mean that it looks good in guitar shows though. Like anything, it can be good in fair measurements, but the guy at the show I complained about would use this as some kind of audience pick me up whenever the show’s momentum seemed to dip. What he meant to achieve by throwing himself across the floor – and how he thought he’d take the show to the next level by doing it I’ll never know. I do think performers should be responsive, him doing this constantly proved he was anything but!

Smashing your kit

I’m not sure if this is really a guitar trick (again!) but I saw a compilation of this trick on television recently and it left me completely baffled. I can understand the seasoned moneyed pros taking their kit to town once in a blue moon but rookies and part-timers? Is that not a lot of money? I’ve always wanted to see this in full stadium glory at the end of a show for some reason, but even though it’s not technically a trick I still think it takes some level of *skill* -- if that is the right word? For example, on one occasion in this compilation the frontman went to smash up guitar for it only to break halfway down the neck and the body fall to the floor. Not that dramatic. If you’re going to be making a spectacle of your guitar’s destruction at least make it long and gruesome for us all to freak out at!

My view (largely) is that I feel all too often guitar tricks are used by people who have a very cartoon view of what rock music is. Acoustic people out there are largely spared from experiencing a lot of these dramatic disasters. But if you’ve any stories of – I don’t know – players trying to use their guitar like a chello or something, it’d be funny to hear!
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Hexabuzz
post Mar 22 2014, 08:57 PM
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I remember many, MANY years ago seeing Yngwie Malmsteen live (with Billy Sheehan and Talas opening!) and could NEVER understand why he would do the "swing the guitar on the strap 360 degrees around the neck" trick...

Seriously?
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jstcrsn
post Mar 22 2014, 09:04 PM
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QUOTE (Hexabuzz @ Mar 22 2014, 08:57 PM) *
I remember many, MANY years ago seeing Yngwie Malmsteen live (with Billy Sheehan and Talas opening!) and could NEVER understand why he would do the "swing the guitar on the strap 360 degrees around the neck" trick...

Seriously?

the money shot is at 1:16
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Hexabuzz
post Mar 22 2014, 09:10 PM
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QUOTE (jstcrsn @ Mar 22 2014, 03:04 PM) *
the money shot is at 1:16


YES!!!!

Love it! Thank you for that!
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Cosmin Lupu
post Mar 23 2014, 10:41 AM
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Hehe! Very nice collection here smile.gif

For me, a good show is a good show whenever what you play is expressed in your music, in sounds and also visually. There is of course a threshold that some folks, in their wish to 'give the folks a show' often go over. For instance, when I was performing with one of my previous bands, I used to be a stage monkey because that's how the music went - a combo of metal and dancehall/reggae grooves. People loved it and the energy got to them. That was the music smile.gif When I perform with my band now, I tend to jump around when the case asks for it, but the music is much more lyrical and contemplative most of the time, so I am not so out of the leash with it. Balance is of the essence and also following the musical message smile.gif


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Josh Adams
post Mar 23 2014, 11:20 AM
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QUOTE (Cosmin Lupu @ Mar 23 2014, 09:41 AM) *
Hehe! Very nice collection here smile.gif

For me, a good show is a good show whenever what you play is expressed in your music, in sounds and also visually. There is of course a threshold that some folks, in their wish to 'give the folks a show' often go over. For instance, when I was performing with one of my previous bands, I used to be a stage monkey because that's how the music went - a combo of metal and dancehall/reggae grooves. People loved it and the energy got to them. That was the music smile.gif When I perform with my band now, I tend to jump around when the case asks for it, but the music is much more lyrical and contemplative most of the time, so I am not so out of the leash with it. Balance is of the essence and also following the musical message smile.gif


Aha! Now Metal with dancehall/reggae grooves is something to move around to! I wouldn't blame anyone for throwing themselves around to that! Things like Ska and 2-Tone as well, that sort of sound is something that demands to be shaken at.

I agree though, follow the musical message and you can't go wrong.

This post has been edited by Josh Adams: Mar 23 2014, 11:21 AM
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Cosmin Lupu
post Mar 23 2014, 11:44 AM
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Glad we agree mate wink.gif That's the way in which everyone should regard stage showmanship and a performance in general. I use to scour the venue before the show so I can see where I can run to, jump from and how long my cables should be smile.gif


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Caelumamittendum
post Mar 23 2014, 11:48 AM
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QUOTE (jstcrsn @ Mar 22 2014, 09:04 PM) *
the money shot is at 1:16


Ahahahaha laugh.gif


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Guido Bungenstoc...
post Mar 23 2014, 12:41 PM
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Cool topic, Josh. Nice that I could inspire a bit here. :-)

One of the worst thing is when a guitar player(could be another musician as well) just doesn't show any small nice reaction when the audience is clapping after his great(?) solo. This happen sometimes too if a musician is introduced by someone on stage. I mean just standing still there, turning around or beeing apathetic is totally ignorant to the people.
I hate that! :-D


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Darius Wave
post Mar 23 2014, 01:24 PM
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For me it's a matter of atmosphere on the gig. When I don't feel a good connection with the audience it's hard to bring any motion...now when there comes some chemistry it make me move naturally and it's not a matter of jerking off....just something that's happens because of the audience smile.gif

But of course...I never enjoy when player makes much more "stage behavior" then he pays attention to his playing...


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Ulrik
post Mar 23 2014, 05:46 PM
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I know I posted this before, but it's still good


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Opossum
post Mar 23 2014, 09:29 PM
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Why is it so acceptable for jazz and classical musicians to play such long creatively expressive solos - but not hard rock musicians? And the whole long solos are an ego thing. Seriously? Some of the best musicians in the world are hard rock players. Masters of classical and jazz and yet they choose to express themselves in the rock medium. Are they supposed to just "make it quick" because... oh yeah I forgot, the educated music world is right, hard rock is of a lesser quality - not worthy of such long winding passages.
Or maybe - because radio set the parameters early on. Songs should be over in four minutes or less. People of another generation expected and accepted this. They grew up on Judy Garland and Bing Crosby. Look how much has changed.
First of all, traditional radio is done. So why are we still following these rules? Club music solos go on forever. Bluegrass solos can be quite lengthy. Irish, Gypsy, Tango, even Jam Rock; But not Hard Rock? Is it because the audience doesn't have the attention span to stick with a long solo? Well that's sad.
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Cosmin Lupu
post Mar 24 2014, 08:30 AM
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QUOTE (Opossum @ Mar 23 2014, 08:29 PM) *
Why is it so acceptable for jazz and classical musicians to play such long creatively expressive solos - but not hard rock musicians? And the whole long solos are an ego thing. Seriously? Some of the best musicians in the world are hard rock players. Masters of classical and jazz and yet they choose to express themselves in the rock medium. Are they supposed to just "make it quick" because... oh yeah I forgot, the educated music world is right, hard rock is of a lesser quality - not worthy of such long winding passages.
Or maybe - because radio set the parameters early on. Songs should be over in four minutes or less. People of another generation expected and accepted this. They grew up on Judy Garland and Bing Crosby. Look how much has changed.
First of all, traditional radio is done. So why are we still following these rules? Club music solos go on forever. Bluegrass solos can be quite lengthy. Irish, Gypsy, Tango, even Jam Rock; But not Hard Rock? Is it because the audience doesn't have the attention span to stick with a long solo? Well that's sad.


Frankly speaking, when I say that a solo is too long, I am referring to any genre. A solo can be a story within a story, but if you don't have a story to tell and if you only play around with scales and arpeggios, things can get boring regardless of the genre.

When I was a kid I was skipping everything to the solo now I skip the solo almost all the time, because in 90% of the cases it's either a display of skills or it doesn't say anything ...Each to his own, I guess wink.gif


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Josh Adams
post Mar 24 2014, 07:55 PM
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QUOTE (Cosmin Lupu @ Mar 23 2014, 10:44 AM) *
Glad we agree mate wink.gif That's the way in which everyone should regard stage showmanship and a performance in general. I use to scour the venue before the show so I can see where I can run to, jump from and how long my cables should be smile.gif


Thanks! Thank god your one that looks at what you're doing, I won't condone any behaviour that doesnt resemble the safe precautions you took sir wink.gif

QUOTE (Guido Bungenstock @ Mar 23 2014, 11:41 AM) *
Cool topic, Josh. Nice that I could inspire a bit here. :-)

One of the worst thing is when a guitar player(could be another musician as well) just doesn't show any small nice reaction when the audience is clapping after his great(?) solo. This happen sometimes too if a musician is introduced by someone on stage. I mean just standing still there, turning around or beeing apathetic is totally ignorant to the people.
I hate that! :-D


Oh totally agree, but there's a fine line isn't there? I guess it all comes down to taste. Maybe I'm being judgmental in viewing every charismatic guitar player (+ everyone who acknowledges the crowd) as an egotist -- probably. But yeah, there's a slim chance that maybe I'm not a t**t and there is actually a secret universal rule to guitar playing. Maybe.. but probably not haha!


QUOTE (Darius Wave @ Mar 23 2014, 12:24 PM) *
For me it's a matter of atmosphere on the gig. When I don't feel a good connection with the audience it's hard to bring any motion...now when there comes some chemistry it make me move naturally and it's not a matter of jerking off....just something that's happens because of the audience smile.gif

But of course...I never enjoy when player makes much more "stage behavior" then he pays attention to his playing...


Yes! And I think the best performers are the ones who harness that sense and channel it into their playing. Couldn't agree more.

QUOTE (Opossum @ Mar 23 2014, 08:29 PM) *
Why is it so acceptable for jazz and classical musicians to play such long creatively expressive solos - but not hard rock musicians? And the whole long solos are an ego thing. Seriously? Some of the best musicians in the world are hard rock players. Masters of classical and jazz and yet they choose to express themselves in the rock medium. Are they supposed to just "make it quick" because... oh yeah I forgot, the educated music world is right, hard rock is of a lesser quality - not worthy of such long winding passages.
Or maybe - because radio set the parameters early on. Songs should be over in four minutes or less. People of another generation expected and accepted this. They grew up on Judy Garland and Bing Crosby. Look how much has changed.
First of all, traditional radio is done. So why are we still following these rules? Club music solos go on forever. Bluegrass solos can be quite lengthy. Irish, Gypsy, Tango, even Jam Rock; But not Hard Rock? Is it because the audience doesn't have the attention span to stick with a long solo? Well that's sad.


Okay you've kind of changed my mind on that one. True, I wouldn't think twice about a jazz solo. But then - like what's been said - I'm not (in general) a fan of big solos. Regardless of genre. Perhaps my criticism of guitar solos comes because I listen to guitars waaaay more than I do sax or brass etc.

Hmmm.
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Hexabuzz
post Mar 24 2014, 08:41 PM
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QUOTE (Opossum @ Mar 23 2014, 03:29 PM) *
Why is it so acceptable for jazz and classical musicians to play such long creatively expressive solos - but not hard rock musicians? And the whole long solos are an ego thing. Seriously? Some of the best musicians in the world are hard rock players. Masters of classical and jazz and yet they choose to express themselves in the rock medium. Are they supposed to just "make it quick" because... oh yeah I forgot, the educated music world is right, hard rock is of a lesser quality - not worthy of such long winding passages.
Or maybe - because radio set the parameters early on. Songs should be over in four minutes or less. People of another generation expected and accepted this. They grew up on Judy Garland and Bing Crosby. Look how much has changed.
First of all, traditional radio is done. So why are we still following these rules? Club music solos go on forever. Bluegrass solos can be quite lengthy. Irish, Gypsy, Tango, even Jam Rock; But not Hard Rock? Is it because the audience doesn't have the attention span to stick with a long solo? Well that's sad.


I guess, to me, it's about whether a solo is saying something about the song and the music, and not just a way of being self indulgent or showing off - regardless of genre...

I guess I'd rather have 4 notes and 10 seconds of true feeling and melody than 4 million notes and 10 minutes of aimless wandering as your audience wanders away and/or falls asleep...

Yes, music is about feel, and exploration, and improvisation, but when it's also about a performance, as opposed to reaching inside yourself and getting lost in the notes, then there should be a compromise between what YOU want to do, and what your audience DESERVES to hear...

There's room for both, but if I'm paying, show me your best and most inspired moment, and save the next 15 minutes for your bedroom...

Just my ¢0.02
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Headbanger
post Mar 24 2014, 08:52 PM
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The worst trick must be smashing your own gear or setting it on fire...I mean...that would be sad!!! laugh.gif


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Todd Simpson
post Mar 25 2014, 03:26 AM
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Laughed my head off smile.gif He tried it without strap locks. Nice smile.gif He just lets it go and picks up his other guitar. hehehe.

QUOTE (jstcrsn @ Mar 22 2014, 04:04 PM) *
the money shot is at 1:16



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Cosmin Lupu
post Mar 25 2014, 09:23 AM
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QUOTE (Hexabuzz @ Mar 24 2014, 07:41 PM) *
I guess, to me, it's about whether a solo is saying something about the song and the music, and not just a way of being self indulgent or showing off - regardless of genre...

I guess I'd rather have 4 notes and 10 seconds of true feeling and melody than 4 million notes and 10 minutes of aimless wandering as your audience wanders away and/or falls asleep...

Yes, music is about feel, and exploration, and improvisation, but when it's also about a performance, as opposed to reaching inside yourself and getting lost in the notes, then there should be a compromise between what YOU want to do, and what your audience DESERVES to hear...

There's room for both, but if I'm paying, show me your best and most inspired moment, and save the next 15 minutes for your bedroom...

Just my ¢0.02


Everything should come with experience smile.gif But experience is gained when you learn from your mistakes and even better, from the mistakes of those around you wink.gif But there's a lot of people that never learn... sometimes, I am included too smile.gif


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Guido Bungenstoc...
post Mar 25 2014, 11:38 AM
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QUOTE (Todd Simpson @ Mar 25 2014, 03:26 AM) *
Laughed my head off smile.gif He tried it without strap locks. Nice smile.gif He just lets it go and picks up his other guitar. hehehe.

what a dumb idiot, haha

QUOTE (Josh Adams @ Mar 24 2014, 07:55 PM) *
Oh totally agree, but there's a fine line isn't there? I guess it all comes down to taste. Maybe I'm being judgmental in viewing every charismatic guitar player (+ everyone who acknowledges the crowd) as an egotist -- probably. But yeah, there's a slim chance that maybe I'm not a t**t and there is actually a secret universal rule to guitar playing. Maybe.. but probably not haha!

Oh yes. theres's always a fine line and matter of taste. ;-)


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post Mar 25 2014, 12:12 PM
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QUOTE (Todd Simpson @ Mar 25 2014, 03:26 AM) *
Laughed my head off smile.gif He tried it without strap locks. Nice smile.gif He just lets it go and picks up his other guitar. hehehe.

brilliant ... 2:36 “Thats the second time thats happened” ohmy.gif


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