20 Situations Every Guitarist Knows

Here's a "just for fun breakdown" of 20 guitar player situations that I'm sure many of you guitar players out there can relate to. In this light-hearted video, I cover everything from crazy gear issues, to people who drive you nuts, plus I've included ideas about practice, guitarist life issues and gig nightmares... 


A guitar string needs to be replaced, but you don't have the right string gauge anywhere. This happens once in awhile and it really stinks. That's why it's always a great idea to keep a few extra packs of strings handy at all times!

Ever have an issue with your guitar in where, no matter how hard you try, you can't seem to get your guitar in tune. Is it old strings? Poor intonation? Who knows, but that puppy won't tune no matter what! Tune to take it in for a once over from your favorite guitar tech.

Ever just get your amp repaired at the shop, and then you take it to a gig, only to be plagued by further issues? It happens, and it sucks when it does.

Repairing amps is always a roll of the dice, that's why I generally don't bother anymore. If an amp starts having serious issues I generally retire it and just move on. The costs of repair shop fees are just too high to risk bothering with repeat trips to "try" and correct problems.

Tonight's the big night. That gig you've been waiting for is really happening. Too bad you're going to have to do it sick because you just came down with the flu. Guard your health people.

Take excellent care of yourself. You probably can't stop yourself from ever becoming sick again, but you can take steps toward peak daily living so as to prevent it.

The gig starts in 15 min. and you're stuck in traffic across town. This does not need to happen. Leave early, get to your bookings way ahead of time. Sit around and wait if you have to, just be there ready to play when the clock strikes at your start-time. You'll feel more relaxed and the people who booked you will appreciate your dedication.

How come when we play a mistake it seems to get programmed in there just as easy (maybe even easier) than as when we play the correct notes? In fact, it seems as though mistakes get rooted even deeper in our minds than when we play ideas properly. It's a crazy thing about playing, but it's something that we for sure have to live with!

Have you ever had that experience in where you practice something, maybe it's a lick or your barre chords, practiced over weeks and weeks but you don't seem to get any better? It's awful, but this is how it goes. You can play a guitar idea for days and weeks and months without seeing progress, however one day - boom - there it is!

I really think that this is one of the worst. This is all to do with when a piece of your integral gear dies, (like a main amp, mixer or mic), but then when you try buying a replacement, your local music center doesn't have it in stock.

Now, you have to order it and you're out of business for a few days. This is awful, but I'm seeing it happen more and more these days. Not sure why stores are keeping inventory so low, but it sure sucks when you need a piece of gear and it's days away!

Okay you've been hired to sub in a band on a weeked that you had no gigs - great! Sounds like easy money, the band's leader will be emailing you the set-list and all the MP3's for the music they do. This is fantastic.

The only problem is that days go by and there's no email. You call, you text you email them and nothing. What's going on here? They forgot, or just didn't bother, or it was all a lie, (there are no MP3's and charts - there never was). Looks like you're going to have to "wing it."

You were asked to do a gig for $90 but they were really slow in getting back to you on confirming any of the details. Then, you're asked to play a gig that pays a $100. And, the communication is great, there's even (evidently) a "contract." You decide to drop that $90 gig and run with the higher-pay. Right on...

But wait, at the end of the night, your singer comes up to everybody in the band and says, "guys, there was a little bit of a mix-up about the pay, are you all okay with $80 instead of $100?" Yeah, this happens more than you think (for a million different reasons). It sucks, but you just got taken by a "roll-back" scheme. No more gigs with that singer!

In every local music scene (at different periods along the way), there are musicians who seem to be performing on all of the bigger studio and live projects. They're busy players in the local scene and the impression is that, if you hire them to work on your project, what they'll provide will be totally awesome.

In a lot of cases (not in all - but in a lot), these people will not live up to the expectations that you will have of them. They'll often show up unprepared and sometimes they will even act uninterested. It's awful when it happens to your project... on many levels, but just keep in mind that the "top-guns" in your local music scene may not live up to their stature once you hire them for your project.

You are signed and sealed for a Saturday night at the hottest club in town. A dream come true for your band... This is a big deal, you made it in the front door of the club that is THE most happening in town.

Only thing is that on the big night  - your piano player and singer show up late! You were supposed to start at 10:00 PM, but it's 10:20 PM and the dynamic duo are nowhere in sight.

When they do show up, they are stoned and they act like idiots and the club manager is noticeably pissed off. When this happens it's usually death for the band. And, the players who screwed up won't be playing in the local scene much longer.

The bottom line is show up way before stage-time and start the gig early or "right on time." The manager of the club will really respect that and hire you back in a heart-beat.

Playing a guitar solo can be a tough thing to master. There's a lot going on and it's much more than just learning to apply a few licks and scales.

That's why you need to keep doing it day after day and night after night. After hours and hours are in on the neck and you get down your feel for timing and for holding a groove, you start having more and more soloing success.

But, there will come a break-point. A point at where the solo just "happens" and you fly through your ideas on the guitar neck. Everything just clicks and you play a killer lead guitar passage. One day when you least expect it - you just simply NAIL it.

14). WHERE (am I supposed to play)?
Unfortunately, most of the private functions we end up playing at are not booked out by professionals. Also, I've learned that many so called "professionals" are nothing of the sort. Their directions and ability to make sure the musical talent hired show up at the correct area can be terrible.

You might be hired to play at a function where they say "just show up and play at the garden path." Sounds simple doesn't it. Then, when you show up, you have no clue where this "garden path" area is.

When you ask the mangers on-site about where the "function" is being held, they look at you like you're from another planet. Make sure you get good directions and maybe even scope out the place that you're playing at prior to event day. Call ahead and clarify things in advance. It will make for a far less stressful ordeal on gig day!

Sounds crazy but it's actually quite common that a venue does not clarify what they would like to see the band wearing on the day of the function. Many country clubs and private clubs won't even allow you in the front entrance if you're not wearing dress pants, dress-shirt and a tie.

If you're not properly dressed, you might find yourself driving back home to dig out the correct attire, so be sure to clarify exactly what you're supposed to wear. If there's formal wear (like a Tux and Bow-tie), make sure you ask way ahead of time. Never assume anything when it comes to dress codes.

Nowadays, I make it a point of always having 3 computers and a lap-top with the same software that runs my company. You never know when a computers primary hard-drive may pack it in (and they tend to do it at the worst of times too).

My computers are on all day (and most of the night too), so I make sure that when I'm working on a big project my files are always backed up to a separate drive and to a cloud server as well. Today's musician needs confidence in their digital hard-ware, soft-ware, and all of their critical working files. Nothing can be left to chance on just one computer any longer. Not in this era.

If you work in a mid-size music scene, every few years you'll start hearing about some, "new guitar repair" GURU, who's supposedly just amazing!

The stories will float around about how fantastic they are at doing this and that, but in all honesty until you've had your guitar in to someone for a repair, you really don't know what they're going to be like. Some are really good, some are really awful - sadly some are LUNATICS... Most never live up to all the hype you'll hear about them.

You've heard all the stories and from all the teachers in your past who've harped on and on about practicing with a metronome. But, have you done any metronome practice? Have you ever turned on a metronome? Have you perfected playing to a "click-track?"

Amazing things happen when you turn on the "magic of the metronome." It's a powerful tool in your musical and rhythmic arsenal. And, until you learn of it's magic power (to perfect your time and technical skill), you'll never know what amazing groove skills and phrasing abilities that may lie ahead in your musical future.

19). VINTAGE GEAR (Will it Work?):
I can't tell you how many times I've been told to "leave your amp at home," because, "I've got a piece of amazing vintage gear that's going to blow you away!"

Well, I've been fooled enough by these people, so I always pack my amp in the trunk when I head out to a session - no matter what people tell me.

Vintage gear requires tricky high maintenance skill to make it perform. Remember that a lot of that "classic vintage gear," is actually as old as the hills. Just read some of Joe Bonamassa's Instagram posts to learn how finicky vintage gear can be. And, even though he's an expert on it, the issues vintage gear presents can be a session-ender in no time flat.

So, when some producer, or engineer, or studio owner tells you how totally absolutely "killer" their "1960 Fender amp" is, and how you can just leave your 2017 Mesa-Boogie at home, maybe you'd better think twice and pack that Mesa in the trunk of your car - just in case.

If you play the club scene enough you'll experience the "fun" of dealing with a club lock-down by local Police because some idiot pulled out a knife or a gun during a fight.

Remember, it's a bar and these are creatures of the night for the most part. There's a lot of crazy people who visit bars. These are not average people, like your neighbor Jim who's generally in bed by 9:30 PM.

Bars attract the night-crawler crowd and they tend to like to play rough. These types enjoy hanging out in smelly rooms till 2:00 AM. They get drunk, they get stoned in the parking lot out back, and many have weapons.

So keep in mind, if a bar goes into "lock-down," generally you can escape through the kitchen. It's been an escape route I've used on more than one occasion! Sometimes escape is also possible through the "Beer Vender" too!



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