#1
I'm not sure if the title exactly describes my problem but here goes..

Basically whenever I just pick up an acoustic guitar around people and they're like "play something!" I'm just kinda like "uhhh...."

I mean most of what I know is like drop d powerchord stuff which may explain why I'm somewhat lost with a standard tuned acoustic. I do know basic open/barre chords, i.e. CAGED but still don't really know what to do with them when put on the spot.

Anyone have any suggestions? (other than tune to drop d and precede to play powerchords, they're really not very impressive on an acoustic)

edit: and to clarify the people, i'm generally referring to musicians (but i guess this also applies to non-musicians)

to phrase this differently: what's your personal first reaction when someone asks you to just "play something"?
Quote by Trowzaa
I immediately clenched my butthole after reading that...
Last edited by vartanspartan at May 17, 2010,
#2
learn all the open chords in standard tuning, that's all you'll need to play 95% of all songs.
#4
ok let's phrase this differently, what's your personal first reaction when someone asks you to just "play something"?

this question is towards everyone
Quote by Trowzaa
I immediately clenched my butthole after reading that...
#5
Depends on what I'm doing. When its a thing for a friend, I might open up and play something I've been working on thats not done... When its for random people I use a stock song, like something that I absolutely know.... When its for womens? Two words. Vocal range.
#6
I feel your pain. I usually don't have songs that everyone knows memorized at the top of my head, so I don't ever play anything in particular. I usually just tell them I don't know anything so they would stop waiting for me to do something, then when they start to go on with their business I just strum chords and play do random crappy licks.
#7
Learn some acoustic songs?

Wish you were here- pink floyd
times like these- foo fighters
Little wing- jimi hendrix
stairway to heaven- led zeppelin
betterman- john butler trio
drive- incubus

You get the idea. Usually non-musicians who say "play something" usually expect something well known. Alot of guitarists i know get annoyed about these kinds of people, i don't really understand why. Basically any acoustic song you like is fine.

Edit- My first reaction would probably be me thinking about what sort of song they'd know. Then I'd play one which I'd know. Being around these kinds of people really make you realise the importance of knowing full songs, they tend to lose interest if you just noodle aimlessly.
Quote by dmtransmutation
What the Grunge-haters think is just mindless musical nonsense, in reality is the restoration of the old rule of harmony to not write an entire song in one tonality/key
Last edited by Elden G20 at May 17, 2010,
#8
Quote by vartanspartan
ok let's phrase this differently, what's your personal first reaction when someone asks you to just "play something"?

this question is towards everyone

depends on who asks
sometimes i just play some acoustic song everyone knows oasis beatles that sort of stuff
when im trying to impress people with my guitar mastery i play some classical music
beethoven,bach
sometimes i play some songs i wrote (i dont tell them i wrote them till after i finish)
but usually i just improv something
and usually that the blues or some jazzy thing
if i get an electric guitar-shred
#9
When someone asks me to play something... I do just that. I play anything. I make up chord progressions on the fly. Depending on the person I'm jamming with/showing off to, it'll range from something simple to something classical to something more "jazzy" with the use of extended and weird chords.

I used to have your same problem. I didn't know what to do in Standard tuning... at all. The first thing you should do is write some of your normal music in standard tuning. If you play metal when you play Dropped D, play metal in Standard. This will teach you some chords (hopefully) and it'll help you with getting around the fretboard and learning the notes/patterns/shapes/whatever you want in standard.

After you get used to playing normally in standard, begin learning some of the chords (and chord construction if you don't know it already). And REALLY learn your theory. Learn it like the back of your hand. Have it down so well if I asked you to finish this progression (C - F - ? ) you could do it without even thinking.

That's a very basic question, but it's relevant to what I'm telling you.

So, order of things:

1. Write in standard tuning to get used to it
2-a. Learn chord construction
2-b. Learn chords (remember, major chords have a certain shape in standard tuning that can be moved around, as does every single chord. It's best to learn the intervals for making the chords, but once you recognize that a major chord shape is a major chord (at least with the lowest note on the same string) then you're well on your way to writing... something)
3. Either:
- 3-1. Write songs on acoustic in standard
- 3-2. Jam on an acoustic.

Using this method, I can create GREAT jams out of nowhere. I'll play something and tell the other person "solo over this" and then I'll teach him and I'll do my thing and whatnot.

Using this method, I also figured out the chord progression to Utada Hikaru's Passion (AKA, the Kingdom Hearts song). That's GREAT so solo over (hint: it's in E Major).

QUICKEDIT: I forgot to mention learning some acoustic songs xD That always helps.
Last edited by DiminishedFifth at May 17, 2010,
#10
@supersac
Why does it have to be about impressing people?
Quote by dmtransmutation
What the Grunge-haters think is just mindless musical nonsense, in reality is the restoration of the old rule of harmony to not write an entire song in one tonality/key
Last edited by Elden G20 at May 17, 2010,
#11
If someone asks me to play something I'll either:

Play something I think/know they'll like. They are my "audience" in this case and playing music is about entertaining people.
Or
Do something like, rather contemporary...if that makes senses, like vamp on 9th chords or something, never impresses anyone, but sounds nice.
#12
i play something that i think they would like. usually it ends up being a 3 chord pop song that i can sing along to
#13
I just play whatever pops into my head regardless, sometimes I just make up something on the spot. When I was younger and a little more wet behind the ears it was usually whatever the most recent thing I learned to play was.
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