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What do you play when you are asked to play something?


The title says it. A person comes over and sees you guitar on the stand/wall. "Oh, you play? Great. Play *something*."

What is your *something* and how do you approach it? I have always struggled with the fact that the electric guitar makes for a pretty rubbish solo instrument. It works well in a band context, poorly alone, imho. Of course, if you are Steve Stevens or some other monstrosity like that you are able to produce sensible music on a solo electric guitar but I ain't no Steve Stevens.
I have always envied the acoustic players who have some fingerstyle skills their ability to produce self-sustained music. They are fine in these situations.
My fingerstyle is horrid.

So... I have a couple of backing tracks in my looper (a few easy rock classics, some improv backings) and I fire that up and noodle over it in a more or less horrifying fashion. You?

Edit: Oh, and don't get me started on people who can sing! Those have it easy. Just strum bloody chords and sing some Dylan and everybody is happy.
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I play one of 600 songs I know - with out ay accompaniment - some time I sing. Why do you feel the need to impress? People are accepting - and often delighted - as long as you play with confidence.
It is not the need to impress, it is a struggle not to suck :) I mean, I feel strongly debilitated by the lack of a band/Cubase. Maybe that actually says something about my playing that should be addressed. On the other hand, I think this is not terribly uncommon in electric players of lower skill levels.

Ed DeGenaro

Silver Supporting Member
I had the same issue unless there was a singer around....until a few years ago i went busking and learned some songs as solo guitar/chord melody like VH Jump, Prince 1999, i enjoyed that enough that i added solo Django stuff and started to work a bunch of things out that way....While My Guitar Gently Weeps, All You Need Us Love, Fly Me To The Moon, Harlem Nocturne, Summertime, Somewhere Over The Rainbow etc...
Which in term led me to be better if playing under a melody...which in turn helped me with my soloing.


Depends on who's asking. The first minute or so of Crazy Train a la the live Randy Rhoads version is pretty fun, recognizable, and doesn't really need accompaniment.

Then there's always Eruption or the Star Spangled Banner, or just hit some random chords with bits of melody in between...

Nobody wants to hear me sing.


Well, most my focus is on jazz these days, so it's pretty expected that a jazz guitar player can play songs. If you can't, then you know what to work on. And I have a lot to work on...

But leaving that aside and assuming people don't care about jazz as usual, if people wanted to hear 'rock stuff', I'd play the riffs to...

Bark at the Moon
Mr Crowley
White Lion Wait
Couldn't Stand the Weather

Nice rhythmic stuff that stands alone.

You're probably right that nobody wants to hear anybody noodle in Eminor pent for 10 minutes.

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