So you want to learn how to play guitar. But mostly, you want other people to know that you’re learning how to play guitar. Or maybe you don’t want the whole “learning” thing to factor into it at all? Well, good news! In this simple “How-to” guide, I’ve prepared some tips and tricks to help you make sure everyone around you knows that you totally have a guitar, and you can rock so decently hard at it maybe!
There are different paths you can take on the journey to playing guitar in front of people whether or not they asked for it. A good portion of it will depend on what kind of guitar you choose. For more on-the-go self-assertion, an acoustic guitar might be the right kind for you. If you like talking to pushy sales associates in guitar stores or feel like starting a garage band that will go through five name changes, write three songs and then disband after 4 months, then you might want to go for one of the many electric brands.
There are pros and cons to each, of course. With an acoustic guitar, the pros are that you can let people know how hard you rock at any given time at any given place. The cons are first that it’s a bit harder to rip an awesome solo on the less bendable strings of an acoustic. Second, your listener can get out of earshot if they’re faster than you, and thus won’t be able to give you any positive feedback on that minute long song you wrote for your girlfriend.
While the electric guitar is amplified and thus less easy to run from, you have to be near a power source in order to properly melt faces. This means either lugging around a generator or tricking people into being indoors near you and electricity. If you go with the garage band idea, face melting becomes a much easier task. You can invite friends to your rehearsals and the occasional concert (a rehearsal with about ten more people), provided you have either built up enough of a rapport with them to guilt them into actually coming, or have specialized in enough tantrum throwing to make them know that they can’t skip without invoking your wrath.
NOTE: Significant others are particularly easy to guilt into attending your semi-regular performances.
But let’s say you want to get out into the world and reveal the power of your rock to the general public. Maybe you want to be surrounded by a flock of pretty ladies admiring your newfound Rock God status. Or maybe you want them to appreciate your singer/songwriter stylings. Worry not, friends. I’ve constructed some real life scenarios for you to take your skill set to the public!
Scenario 1: Go to a guitar store.
Volume up to 11 (Ha!) — CRAZY TRAIN
While it’s not of the utmost importance that you play “Crazy Train” specifically, it is of the utmost importance that you do not play more than one or two other riffs, because otherwise how would anyone know how good you are at them? Practice does make perfect, after all! Other recommended hits for you to bust out: “Smoke On The Water”; “Stairway To Heaven” — don’t worry; they may seem dated but they’re still just as loved after the millionth time they’re heard!
It is important to note that under no circumstances should you learn the entirety of each song. Instead, give about 30 second snippets of the most recognizable parts, so that everyone will know how diverse your taste in music is!
Scenario 2: House party? Bring an acoustic guitar
Show the ladies your sensitive side (and then your penis)
House parties are a great way for you to find listeners, especially because even the people who didn’t initially agree to hear your sweet jams will have to hear them! Let them know the error of their ways, and lure them in with something familiar like the popular Oasis hit “Wonderwall.” This song will also most assuredly get the ladies over on your side of the room (the side with your penis). Then if you have a quick tune of your own, sheepishly describe how it’s not finished yet and then unleash it on their unsuspecting hearts. They’ll be impressed with your sensitivity, which is the appropriate time to tell them about other parts of you that are sensitive (your penis).
NOTE: Try to make sure you are the only one with a guitar here. If you encounter more seasoned musicians, they might ask you things like “do you even know how to tune that thing” or “what chord is that,” questions which you are obviously too busy to answer. If this happens, simply explain to them that you don’t view your guitar as just a tool to tinker around with, but that it is an avenue for your soul to express itself. Their stunned silence means their minds have been blown by your super deepness.
Scenario 3: Beach Bonfire
aka Top Gun Volleyball Party
There are a couple ways a beach party could go. If it includes the volleyball, you’re probably better off going with the techniques outlined in scenario two. Should your gathering be more of the bonfire variety, then you are probably among dirty, dirty hippies. If this is the case, the more beat up and out of tune your guitar is, the better. Maybe even take a string off or just don’t replace it when the string’s natural degradation causes it to break. Missing a string will also take care of that whole “being in tune” setback for you, as well. In this case stick to playing various folk, indie or folk/indie songs. It doesn’t super matter as long as they can occasionally break out into group song and dance. “Wagon Wheel” is always a good choice. If at a loss for other songs to play, just play “Wagon Wheel” again.
Scenario 4: Take it to the streets
Whether the streets want you or not
The rules here are essentially the same as in a guitar store, though now you don’t have a free amplifier to project your rock to a wider range of the public. Bring either an acoustic or a small amplifier with you, as your work will otherwise go unnoticed. You’ll have to flag down people who are walking by you on the way to their “work” machine, but you can break down those societal barriers and teach them how to rock again! Get right in their faces and sing all the favorite classics to them, just like you did at the guitar store, but this time slightly longer. For this, you’ll have to actually learn the whole song but never fear, the internet is full of totally accurate and never wrong tablature for you to follow. Trust me, the working stiffs will thank you once you’ve freed them from their corporate shell.
Regardless of the scenario you find yourself in, taking your guitar with you at all times is a good idea. Doing so will instantly quell any doubts that may be expressed about your ability to play the instrument, and its inclusion in modern every day activity (give it its own seat next to you on the bus, or on the park bench) will undoubtedly draw curiosity and perhaps even requests. So get on out there and melt some faces and hearts (and mention your penis)!
- Patrick is a writer and comedian living in Chicago and has seen a lot of jerks playing “Wonderwall” repeatedly. You can check out his drawings and some other writing at his Tumblr. You can also give him some new followers on Twitter @fatfraud.
- Know thy enemy — we’ve got more taxonomy of jerk behavior (and how to avoid committing it) for you! –>