#1
Being a good guitarist is more than just playing guitar. Here I introduce you to some methods I have been using for years to fool people.

You spend five hours a day playing your guitar. You run your scales, master your legato, your two hand tapping would make EVH blush. So why is it that every time you see a band playing at a bar with a guitarist with only a smidgen of your technical ability he is the centre of attention, garnering the praise of all the punters in the crowd?

Wait a minute. Isn?t that the band that you tried out for the other week? The same band that said ?don?t call us, we?ll call you?? The same band that was witness to your smoking 32nd note Lydian masterpiece solo?

Yeah it is, and you got smoked because the guitarist on stage knows how to fake being better than they actually are.

It?s not a hard thing to do. I should know, I?ve done it for years. I?m the first to admit to being an ?average? guitarist (actually, I?ve been practicing a lot lately and now would call myself an ?above average? player, but that is another column in the works). Despite being average, I would get a lot of people, drunken punters, other musicians, women, all approach me after shows proclaiming how good I am. Like most of my ex-girlfriends, I?ve been faking it all along. And now I am going to teach you how to do the same.

Over the next two columns, I will share with you my five secret tips to help you Fake Being A Better Guitarist. We?ll start today with tip #1 an #2.

1. Decent equipment is a must and look professional

Sorry boys and girls, it?s time to spend some money. A picture is worth a thousand words, and when it comes to music your image is worth a thousand notes. There is nothing quite as satisfying showing up to a guitarist cattle call with your Marshall half stack on a trolley as you pass all the little Peavey Bandit combos and the like. Straight away you give the impression that you know what you are doing.

But this is not just about your amp. Guitars, effects, leads, the whole lot. This means guitar cases, if you have multiple effects a decent pedal board system set up and ready to just plug in. You need to look somewhat professional without looking like a complete tosser.

It?s even more important on stage. Standing on stage with a nice looking guitar and a cool backline is confidence building to say the least. Plus it makes you look damn sexy to boot.

This doesn?t mean spending a fortune though. I have an amazing sounding Fender Twin, but it stays at home while my Marshall AVT150 half stack hits the road with me. The half stack with my Epiphone Les Paul with classic tri-tone sunburst finish and some decent threads make me look the business.


2. Learn to sing

I can?t stress this enough. An average guitarist who is an average singer will get more gigs than an awesome guitarist who sounds like a dying dolphin. It makes you are more versatile, worthwhile musician for any band if you can step up to the mic and sing as well. It makes you look like a musician, rather than just a guitarist. It?s also a hell of a lot of fun.

Of course, some people just cannot sing, and this is you then don?t try to. Be honest with yourself on this one. If you can?t sing and you try to then you just look like a fool. And looking like a fool will not make you look like a good guitarist.

A good way to improve your singing is start singing along with your favourite artists. It?s a cliché, but start in the shower / bathroom with a small stereo cranking out some of you favourite songs. The natural reverb will make your voice sound better and give you some confidence (it?s an old studio trick to feed a wet mix back to the singer as they are recording). Then progress to the car while you?re driving. It?s private and you can just belt it out while you are in between your normal routine. Then the hard part comes. Listen to some music with harmonies and try to sing the different parts. I found Alice In Chains is especially good for doing this. And finally add harmonies to songs that don?t have them.
When you are confident you can do that, then, and only then, try to sing when you are playing. When you can do that (and that will take a while) you can start to think about doing it with your band.

Wrap Up

So there are the first two tips, looking the part and learning to sing. These two things alone will make you look more like a real musician and come across as a real guitarist. Remember that being a guitarist is more than just playing well, it is a persona, a way of being. By rounding out these other facets of your guitarist personality, the way others will perceive you skills will rise dramatically. Next time I?ll look at the next three tips and by then you?ll be able to fake it just like that guitarist on the stage.

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WookieGTB is actually human. WookieGTB likes guitar. WookieGTB likes attention. WookieGTB is so old that he is already doing reunion gigs.

More WookieGTB at GuitarToyBox - Cool guitar gadget news for guitar geeks
#2
I wanna learn guitar for myself, not for others!!!!!!! So why do I need to fake it!!?
#3
i needed that so bad
VAN HALEN - March 13 at the Izod

Quote by xchiefx
What kind of idiot mows the street
#4
Not trying to offend in any way, But I would consider any band I saw using an AVT stack a complete joke until I heard the music.

Just my opinion.

Other then that, Great tips. One thing to remember for lead guitarists, don't try to shred while singing. Play some powerchords while singing, and save your faster riffs for when you can concentrate on your guitar. If you try to play very difficult/fast things while singing, your attention will get drawn between the two, and your guitar as well as vocals will suck, But if you do the two at different times you will sound great.
#5
Quote by chase312
Not trying to offend in any way, But I would consider any band I saw using an AVT stack a complete joke until I heard the music.

Just my opinion.

Other then that, Great tips. One thing to remember for lead guitarists, don't try to shred while singing. Play some powerchords while singing, and save your faster riffs for when you can concentrate on your guitar. If you try to play very difficult/fast things while singing, your attention will get drawn between the two, and your guitar as well as vocals will suck, But if you do the two at different times you will sound great.


or just dont shred
Quote by SForbz-Rockstar
You're a bald gopher with wings that lives in the countryside, working on a farm.


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Having sex in a pool full of jello? How strangely erotic. No, not just any sex, butts-*gets shot*

God bless the underdog and God bless the antihero.
#6
Quote by wingedgopher
or just dont shred

or just don't sing. in my oppinion a lead guitarist shouldn't sing unless it's just backup vocals. leave the singing to rythm/singer. or you can be like phil collins and have the drummer sing, but if you're not phil collins, you probably can't pull it off...
#7
The title is pretty disconcerting, but your points are pretty good. Overall, it's a short, but good article

I really need this too - I can only play sitting down and looking pretty clumsy
Last edited by yawn at May 4, 2006,
#8
Quote by Adry007
I wanna learn guitar for myself, not for others!!!!!!! So why do I need to fake it!!?



Well, if you want to stay at home and play in the bedroom, then you don't. If want to make money, then you need to start playing a bit for others.

Hey guys! I just started playing electric guitar should I get a Gabson Lay Pall or a Femdor Startokaster. I like the picks on the gabsons but i like how sweet femdors look. Beforre i get a gabson what company makes them?
#9
^ Yeah, if you want to help others in the sense of providing them with a good time at a show, then you shouldn't be selfish by being boring and dissapointing them.
#10
Quote by wookieGTB
Like most of my ex-girlfriends, I?ve been faking it all along.



Nesessary? Well, funny all the same.

I enjoyed the article. Although most of it is useless to me because I've already got the "looking cool on stage" part down, I think it will be a great help to many new players.
They say the old woman's got the wisdom
'Cause she couldn't read the clock anymore
She said "The numbers don't represent the moments"
Says she don't see what all the ticking's for
#11
Quote by chase312
Not trying to offend in any way, But I would consider any band I saw using an AVT stack a complete joke until I heard the music.



You and me both, my main amp is a Fender Twin, but the half stack with the Marshall logo is very recognizable and has a "cool" and "professional" aura to it. Thats what I was trying to get across.

If anyone thinks this is short, part two is finished. I was trying to keep it around 500 words. Both parts combined are about 1200 words all up. Should I combine them and resubmit?

Open for suggestions for the title if anyone disagrees / has better idea.
#12
i can sing all i want but it wont help me be a better guitarist.
i know that's not what you were talking about but all ican play is chords and power chords and when i play them they sound like the sound isnt clean how can i fix this, i have been practicing a lot and it isnt approving. and when i play my freinds cringe like there ears are being cut off with a butter knife, and i am laughed at.
Last edited by neil-one at May 22, 2006,
#13
All you said was spend money on good gear and learn to sing. Wow, I just summed up your whole article in one sentence. Those aren't good tricks to fake being a better guitarist. If anyone is a gigging guitarist they would probably already have a decent tube stack, guitar, and pedalboard in their arsenal. Also, not to offend you, but an Epi LP through an AVT stack is hardly a professional rig. Lastly learning to sing has no effect on your guitar skill at all. Seriously, Billy Joe from Greenday can sing and play at the same time, but Steve Vai isn't shelling out cash to take lessons from him.
#14
If you want to sound good then just copy what people like. I know a local punk band that just copies other bands. Not only do they do covers, they've started writing their own songs, the first song has the guitar part for the verse/chorus in powerchords that sounds just like I Predict A Riot by Kaiser Chiefs.

Since when in modern day history did the general public care about skill?
#16
Ehhh...sorry mate, but this article is iffy. I mean, sure you have to make a good stage impression, but you make it sound like the guy who got your spot in the band you tried out for knew how to "fake it" better than you. Tell me something...why do you think Kurt Cobain got into Nirvana when there were hundreds of other guitarists, much better than him, up for grabs? Cause he knew how to "fake it?" No. Because he knew what makes good music. So, that impressive Lydian solo you play is going to get you nowhere. Think about it for a while...the guy that took your place probably knows how to write songs better than you, and is probably a more well rounded guitarist.

Also, I disagree with point one. Oh my gosh, it's a Marshall! Let's all bow down to the guitarist with the LP and Marshall! Listen, man. If you think that's going to get you into a band, you're wrong. Any half-decent band with a molecule of brain matter will judge the player by skill, not by amplifier. Unless it's Fall Out Boy.

I agree with number two. Singing is a great add-on. But, how is that "faking it?" If you can sing, you're not faking anything, you're growing into a better performer.