Friday Top: 16 Most Annoying Myths About Guitars and Guitar Players

As voted by UG community.

Ultimate Guitar

This week's traditional Wednesday Question saw the people of UG community discussing the matter of most annoying myths and stereotypes surrounding guitarists and the world of guitars in general.

We received a nice chunk of votes and close to 300 comments, all of which were summed up into a very round number of Top 16 results.

Before kicking things off, here's a nice little prank vote that got a healthy chunk of attention: "Tom Morello can walk into any restaurant he wants to regardless of it being full." *ba-dum-tss*

Yeah. Anyhow, you can check out the full rundown right below.

16. You must start with an acoustic and shouldn't go straight to electric

Kicking things off, it's the idea that one absolutely must master the acoustic guitar before firing things up with an electric.

FateDenied noted: "Urgh so annoying. I still remember when I was a teenager, all those people (that didn't even play a instrument) telling me i should learn acoustic before electric 'because it's better.' When you ask why, no worthy reply, just 'It's better.'"

hayes262 chimed in: "My acoustic kept me from progressing simply because my fingers hurt so bad when I was a teen. Could only practice for like 30 min before I lost interest. Got an electric shortly after and was astounded at my motivation levels and overall learning strides once my effing fingers didn't hurt so damn bad."

Keith Richards: Why It's Best to Start Learning Guitar on an Acoustic

15. You need to be a drug addict to write good rock/metal music

Up next, it's the "only drug addicts make good rock music" thing...

14. Musicians who play covers are the least talented

Not writing original music is not a reason to discard someone as a subpar musician, you folks say.

dewitt noted: "I didn't just download a shitty MIDI file so I could pretend I'm on American Idol. I'm creating music from scratch. Just because it's not the artist you're familiar with, that doesn't make it karaoke."

13. Scooping the mids

Scooping the mids is basically turning down all the middle frequencies on your EQ to 0.


12. We are all a bunch of low-class druggies

You folks agreed that this is a fitting image for this one...

11. Playing fast = no feeling

You folks don't like people discarding players as soulless simply because they play fast. But as you can see further up the list, you also don't like people insisting on "the faster the batter." You folks are not easy to please.

10. 'It's not hard work.'

Yeah you just have to invest countless hours and a lot of money that many guitarists never break even with, easy peasy...

9. Telecasters are for country

Tele is love, Tele is life...

8. Music students can't play with feeling

Up next, you folks frowned upon the idea that studying music makes you soulless. You also hughly disagreed with the notion that music theory is useless.

huesudo2 noted: "The real irony here is the fact that by learning to play guitar, more often than not you're learning a lot of music theory without you realizing it. So the real myth here would be that there are guitarists that don't know their theory."

7. I can play metal = I am the greatest guitarist in the world

Also known as "the myth that lives in most metal guitarists' heads."

6. The better gear I have, the better I will be

In the words of Carl6661: "True that. People need to learn that it's really about the number of flashing lights and VU meters your gear has. /s"

And yes, obligatory video.

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5. You're a guitarist = you can play everything

Alejandro.enduro passionately explained: "Just because we play the guitar doesn't mean we can play any song you ask. 'Can you play 'Stairway to Heaven'? - 'Not really, never learnt it...' - 'OMG how come, it's a classic, hurr durr blah blah blah.' Give me a break, EVERY party with friends, I'm sitting with my buddy jamming. Then someone comes and asks if I could play 'Stairway,' 'Wonderwall,' 'Wish You Were Here' (I can play this one actually...) or something else. If I was given a penny every time someone asks for it I'd have a dollar or two."

4. 'You must have started playing to pick up chicks!'

In the wise words of Iceman10129, "How about because I have a love for music!?!"

3. The faster the better

As machineno7 pointed out, "At some point you lose the essence of the song."

2. Bassists are just failed guitar players

Fuck you, Glenn!

On a bit more serious note, MaggaraMarine said about the whole "bass is best if it isn't heard" saying: "Well, that's basically the same as 'less is more,' which does apply in certain situations. The point of that saying is that most of the time bass is kind of a 'supporting' instrument - it's not supposed to be the main instrument (yes, there are exceptions and it really depends on the music you are playing). It's supposed to make the band sound full and the bassline is also the basis of harmony. As Victor Wooten said, the job of a bassist is to make the song feel good. Most of the time bass should not be the main focus of the song. Yes, there are bassists who can play complex stuff tastefully. But in most music 'bass is best if it isn't heard' applies, in a way at least.

"This doesn't mean the bass should be mixed so low that you can't hear it. It means that the bassist should know his role in the band. The lead part is what should be the main focus, and you should play a bassline that compliments the lead part and doesn't take people's attention away from it. If people are focusing on the bassline instead of the main melody, then you are overplaying. Again, that's just a generalization."

1. Guitar players get laid easily


0. Slash is a real person

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75 comments sorted by best / new / date

    Vunter Slaush ka pushka, spieler in mein shushka
    Then who was the SLash that come to play at my birthday? One of our parents. Then who was the lead guitarist of Guns'n'roses? One of our parents.
    You guys are ten years old and you just figured out that Slash isn't real? Oh my God. My parents told me Slash wasn't real when i was 5.
    I just want to amend 2 a little, I write very intricate bass for my music (I'm not a bassist but I do know how to play most of the instruments). I dislike when it is turned so low it can't be heard or have to strain to hear it. A well wrote bass line can bring out the feeling of a song.
    That's not what #2 is getting at, though. #2 is looking more at bassists who try to go the "Flea plays the national anthem" during a verse.
    Totally Agree on the Tele thing. Picked my first one up this year, it has a lot more balls than I thought it was going to have. That Bridge pickup!
    The telecaster is insanely versatile. Especially if you pop in some noiseless pickups. Although the twang will always lend itself to country/southern rock/blues
    I find the twang pretty good for progressive metal, both clean and distorted tones.
    14 is actually the other way around. It can be far harder to perfect a cover where as an original song you can make "mistakes" and tell people that's just how you wrote it. Don't believe me? Go look at the heated debates that are invoked in discussions about classical performances.
    original music is actually easier, because whatever you compose its probably its something that is on your skill level, using the skills you know and can pull off easily, so its never gonna be something that you have a hard time doing
    This can go either way really. I feel like covers are easier because you have a set-in-stone song to learn. With original music, at least in my case, I find it more challenging to fit everything together perfectly as I hear it in my head and it takes a lot longer to assemble.
    I try to develop instrumentals that are beyond my ability... at least by a little bit... thus requiring sufficient practice to pull it off and eventually record. However, that is how I PRACTICE... I need to challenge myself and do it through composition.
    Similar situation. Improv chord progressions with nifty little lead fills, wife couldn't care less. Play opening notes to Green Days 'Wake Me When September Ends' and she goes oooh.
    "Telecasters are for country" HAHAHAHA fuck you
    I think Elliot Easton said it best when he said "It's Impossible to Tell Lies on a Telecaster". - That guy used one all over The Cars records for everything from Rockabilly to Punk to Metalish sounding stuff, and always sounded great.
    I think in the "Stranded" video Joe is using his signature Charvel. In this video however, he still gets that kickass tone from a proper single coil Telecaster. Incredible.
    Is scooping the mids really a popular thing among bedroom guitarists? I've never played with a band and I can't stand scooped mids.
    I personally think that you can get a good tone when scooping the mids, mostly because of Pantera.
    Arfing Thumb
    I might be the only one here, but I always disliked his tone. But that's just me
    yeah, i really hate his tone, but mostly because it inspired even fizzier and more scooped tones
    I hated his tone on Vulgar and it's part of the reason why I was never a huge Pantera fan in general. The solo to Walk is a great example because once Dime started soloing in that, there wasn't enough presence with Rex's bass and Vinnie's drumming to hold the song together at that section.
    Mountain Trash
    I don't know, he was running solid state amps, and Rex was a big part of that mix. I don't "believe" they were scooped as much as they sounded.
    May actually be true, that being said I still feel like Dime really showed how a good tone doesnt always mean a nice tone if you know what I mean
    Mountain Trash
    Absolutely, whatever his settings were, I loved his tone. One of my all time favorites. Legend.
    keep in mind dimebag boosted the the sh¡t out of his mids before scooping
    Misconception - guilty of it myself. Truth is, Dimebag had a LOT of mids in his sound, they just were in certain places of the EQ so it did not sound like an AM Radio - typically in the upper mid range.
    Mountain Trash
    No its not really, all it does is give you a little more base which in your tiny rooms sounds a little beefier (is that a word?) because its just you alone. You need mids for a good cut. in my opinion anyway.
    Not just your opinion. The guitar, by nature, is a midrange instrument. In a conventional rock and setting, kick drum, snare, toms, and bass guitar make up the bass frequencies, while the vocals and cymbals are the treble and presence frequencies. If you don't have sufficient mids, you just won't be heard well when you play live.
    Mountain Trash
    Couldn't agree more, step on another band member's frequencies is like mowing another mans yard. Not to mention it jacks up the mix overall. I never understood the scooped mids, if you want that thing to bark you have to feed it.
    Scooped mids are something some teenagers get into when they first get into the heavier forms of metal - I remember it being a HUGE thing when I was in high school. But those in the know - those who sounded best, were the ones who were not doing that and EQing for the performance rather than their own ears.
    i've actually heard more instances where the guitarist dialed in way too much mids, getting that unnaturally warm, honky sound. it's all about balance...
    On many amps I think it sounds better to push the mids high and cut back on the gain for the sounds-heavier-than-it-really-is-crunchy-chunky lamb of God Metallica tone. Yes!
    Mr. Baloonhands
    Totally agree with the myth about getting laid easily. Sure being able to play guitar is something to talk about, but it's not enough to seal the deal, especially if your as socially awkward as I am :/
    Regarding the bass comment: I think the real issue is the misconception that certain instruments are "lead" while other instruments are "just support". It's a bad generalization. And when you throw labels like those around, people's pride gets wrapped up in it and it turns into a pissing contest. Especially if it's a group of teenage guys who all want to be the next Kirk Hammett. Instruments are exactly that: instruments. They have no inherent value or importance until you play them.
    I actually dressed up as Slash at my school's 'dress up as a fictional character' day. And I won first prize
    Arfing Thumb
    My parents made me learn playing an acoustic guitar before I was allowed to buy an electric one. Didn't make sence to me either, because I only wanted to play electric. After playing an electric guitar for a longer time I caught myself at playing more and more acoustic. I actually ended up almost abandoning e for a.
    Have I missed something with the Tom Morello joke?
    Arfing Thumb
    Will knowing enrich my life?
    So, you know what the joke is?
    Would you be open to the possibility of explaining it if called upon?
    A while ago, Tom Morello walked into a busy restaurant and asked to be sat along with a bunch of people he brought with him. As the restaurant was at capacity, Tom was turned away. Tom went on a Twitter rant and the owner heard about it and told Tom to essentially fuck off.
    Was that the end of the matter or does Tom still rage against the cuisine?
    He apologized on Twitter. I'm sure he is still pretty salty about it.
    Haha, well, I just realised I could've clicked a link at the top of the page that would've taken me to the original UG article about Tom Morello and the restaurant. Thanks for the explanation anyway. Sorry for wasting everyone's time.
    >You folks don't like people discarding players as soulless simply because they play fast. But as you can see further up the list, you also don't like people insisting on "the faster the batter." You folks are not easy to please. Well said UG. I honestly can't believe this whole slow vs fast shit is still a fucking argument in 2016 because time and time again there are guitarist who can prove that you can work both and also in context of the song. I don't hear violin, piano players or saxophonists arguing about this crap but it's still visible in the guitar community for some reason.
    If your fingers hurt that much from playing acoustic that you're not able to practice, your technique sucks. Telecasters are for country music,...and whatever else you want to use them for. They're versatile guitars that sound great in a number of genres. Playing faster at the right time without being sloppy creates excitement and builds tension. Then dial it back. Finally, we live in a world in which even acoustic guitars have gone electric in order to get a decent mix. So with different guitars with different body types and different pickups running through different cables into different pedals and amps with different speakers, it is important to be aware of how your gear sounds and how to dial it in. So while having better gear won't make you a better player, there's a lot of physics going on and as a musician you have to be aware of as much of it as possible.
    i tell people to learn on a classical and an electric because of the finger issue...then get an acoustic setup for extra light strings. At some point you gotta learn it but its not like youre going to be out impressing people right away so most of youre playing with be in your room with an amp.
    I would just like to put a caveat to Number 6, because it's right the better gear that you have won't make you better; but the right gear for you will. Now I know some people feel really comfortable playing on anything but, from my experience as a teacher and guitarist myself, that is not the case for most. What I'm talking about here, more than anything else, is the guitar neck. Some people like the neck contour to be a certain way, or the radius of a certain degree, or thickness to the neck in width or depth, or have a particular way the like it finished. I have found that this makes a significant difference the the players comfort level with the instrument and thus effects their ability to play it. So, I always recommend students that are looking at buying anything beyond their first beginner's guitar to go spend some time playing everything you can get your hands on for a while and see what feels best to you and make note of the things that you like and don't like about any guitar you pick up to try.
    The number 11 thing. I mean I've heard players who play fast or players who play well... sub par speed that give amazing feel to it. Ive just heard more fast players play without feel. Also music student myth is because of Berklee Funk
    For me the "bass in the mix"-stuff is one of those "this is how you mix"-things I don't like, because it's almost a dogma in certain genres. The bass is in the background is fundamental in so many styles, and taking it upfront and let the guitar do the accompanying chords, can completely change the feel, and bring a melody way more to the center. Considering how many genres have the "bass in the background"-stuff, this is a real opportunity for sonic exploration in my opinion.
    I disagree with the "bass shouldn't be heard" thing, one good contrary example being Come together. I also depends on the genre (what do you make of dub or post-punk prominent bass lines ?).
    I didn't really mean that bass should only be a "supporting" instrument. But the thing is, in most music it is, and if you are playing that kind of music, it's important to know your role. Good bassists can play tasteful basslines without taking away from the lead part. And of course there's music where bass plays the lead. As I said, it was just a generalization. In most music the bass is not the main focus and bassists need to know their role in a band. They need to be careful not to overplay. "Bass is best if it isn't heard" shouldn't be taken literally. But there is some truth to it (in a similar way as there is some truth to the saying "less is more"). In most music bass is in more of a supporting role and it definitely should not be the main focus. As I said, this doesn't mean it should be low in the mix. It is more about what kind of basslines you play.