Welcome My Fellow Lazy Guitarists

Musical genius doesn't always have to be about theory and technique. After all, music is art. It's about the story it tells, the effect it has on the listener, the things it doesn't tell, the way it makes you feel, and that's usually never covered in a music class. I'm gonna give you tips, tricks, advice, and articles about guitar playing and the modern music world without all the technical bullshit.

So bypass the $25 a week guitar lessons, forget the online instructional videos that take forever to say nothing, and let's just focus on the shit that really matters. This site will cover everything from starting and keeping a band, perfecting that awesome tune you just wrote, choosing cover songs for gigs, and how to write songs beyond power chords without getting lost in a giant chord book.

This site is specifically written for guitarists, so theres no need to interpret lessons that were written for beginners in music theory and not the beginning guitarist. All written just for you...

James The Great

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Stage Tricks: Why you shouldn’t do them and a list for those who ignore the warning

We've all seen this before, some punk ass guitarist pulls off this sweet solo behind his head and between his legs with his tongue while the bassist swings the entire thing around his body and back between every single note, jumping ten feet in the air...

Well maybe not to that extent, but still, you catch my drift is. The fact remains that there are still some pretty sweet moves out there that wow us at one point or another. In all honesty, stage tricks can make or break a performance (save a few truly amazing bands that have such brilliant songs they could sit down and still make it the best show you've ever seen)... Most bands don't need flashy gimmicks or tricks, stage presence is simply enough, and I assure you that nothing will replace amazing stage presence. But for those that simply don't care, here are some other options.

  1. The Hardcore "Swing Around the Body and Back". I think it looks neat sometimes. Other times it makes the perpetrator look like a jerk. Basically, you take the guitar, swing it clear around your body, and back again. Pretty self-explanatory. But if you're gonna try this, make sure you're damn careful because this can completely waste your guitar and your body if not done correctly. First of all, try starting with a light guitar, and either shovel out the money for some strap locks or buy some duct tape. You need to make sure the guitar is nice and secure. Secondly, practice this in a nice big open space. Don't improvise this on stage because this simply cannot be a spur of the moment thing if you've never done it before. And PRACTICE. And please, don't over do it.

  2. Solo Behind the Head. This one is alright I guess. Pretty simple, you put the guitar behind your head and solo away. Relatively easy given the right amount of practice, check this kid out. If you're freakishly tall, make sure you check the ceiling space in your gigs before attempting live. Try to go with a light guitar and remember NOT TO BALANCE ON YOUR HEAD. If you really want to end the night with a bang, then yeah, go ahead and have an ambulance come to the show to wheel you away, that'll keep them talking. Otherwise, remember to balance on your shoulders. Lastly, playing chords will be relatively difficult, so try and stick with solos and smaller licks and riffs.

  3. Talented Teeth and Tongue Trick. The trick to this one is that there really is no trick. Its all illusion. Unless you want to lose your teeth or make out with some dirty strings, it's all illusion. Granted, yes, many players actually do this with their teeth and tongue, but I don't advise this. Instead, just turn up the guitar towards your face, and let your fretting hand do all the work. The strings will taste like crap, so just give the illusion and remember to stick your tongue out like a maniac afterwards, and your audience will never be the wiser. Good Ol' Mr. Hendrix is one of the most well known users of the tongue and teeth, with the exception being that he actually used his teeth.

  4. The Windmill. Simple, fun, and most times effective. Best for use towards the end of a song or in a progression where there are small pauses between chords and notes. You can stand up straight, or spread your legs out for power, and just swing your arm around, reminiscent of a windmill (hence the name). Signature move of Pete Townshend. One of the easier stage tricks out there.

  5. The Power Slide. Another popular one with Mr. Townshend. Easy as hell, just find some room, grab some momentum, and slide down the stage. Don't have to explain this one much at all.

  6. The Levitating Guitar. I've seen this one done a few times by local bands, and the band sucked beyond belief so I won't give them the pleasure of free advertisement, but the first few times he nailed it perfectly, and the final time, he dropped his axe, making a douche of himself (he's just so smug). Anyways, basically, this trick is where you remove the strap and hold your guitar by nothing but its whammy bar. Now you'll probably need a light guitar and a very snug whammy bar, and make sure not to do it for too long or you'll probably break the guitar. I can't find an example of this one so you'll have to use your imagination, but its a decent trick.

  7. The Angry Guitarist. Popular in the 90's, now a little pretentious. But nonetheless, if the glove fits, wear it. Just take that little puppy and smash the hell out of it. I suggest using something cheap, like a guitar you don't necessarily need. Just don't over-do it. You might find your credit card bill getting a bit too high.

  8. The Duck Walk. Kind of hard to explain, but we've all seen it at one point or another. The guitarist balances on one leg and jumps backwards a few steps while still playing along with the rest of band, usually with his tongue out at a ridiculous length, and head banging. Popular with Angus Young.

  9. Making Sweet Love. Thurston Moore of Sonic Youth has done this numerous times. You basically put the guitar between your legs, knees on floor, neck protruding from your crotch, and bring it up and down like you're making love to it, while still maintaining the song.

  10. Chicken Solo. I've seen maybe a few small-time bands attempt this. Basically the guitarist sits on the shoulders of maybe the singer and the guitarist plays some unbelievable solo as the singer, or whoever is beneath the guitarist, is dancing around, as seen here.
Other than that, the best thing is to play your songs the best you can. If attempting some insane stage trick is keeping you from playing the song, then forget it. And REMEMBER, stage tricks cannot make up for stage presence. If you like, dance around a little, but there is no shame in standing still and playing a damn great song.

No comments: