How To Look Cool While Playing Guitar On Stage

In this lesson you will learn how to look cool with your guitar on stage while performing.

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All I'm about to share with you comes from my experience. My fails and my performances. This is the post I would have wanted to see when I was starting out. I'm hoping to help all the people out there to look cooler and more confident on stage with guitar or bass.
  • Learn The Songs What do you mean learn the songs? I already know them. Learning the songs means that the songs you play, you can play with pure confidence and without worrying about missing a note or failing. Learning the songs means that you don't have to think about playing, the songs are in your fingers.
  • Steps To Learn The Songs: 01. Learn to play the song. 02. Learn to play the song Blind (not looking at guitar at all). 03. Learn to play the song while Moving. (So you won't be just standing in one spot on the stage) So all of this leads to... Confidence. When you are sure that you can play the songs in any condition, you aren't nervous how it sounds or looks like.
  • Body Positions Well, now that you've mastered the songs. What now? Do I just stand there in one spot and look down? Well, your first performance might go like that, well, mine did. I'm going to give you some things you can try right in front of the mirror. Go, GO! Get in front of a mirror.
  • Lower Your Guitar Get a strap. Don't continue unless you have a strap for your Guitar. OK, I think this is a pretty common thing that every guitar player should know. Lowering your guitar makes you look cooler, trust me. I always like to get some examples when I learn, so here you go. Slash (Just look how Cool it looks while it's low, although he's not moving)
    Daron Malakian (It's low. Also note the movement he can make whilst playing)
    Kirk, James (They have their guitar low, moving slightly)
    Those 3 are the perfect examples to learn from. So how low should I go? The lower you go the more uncomfortable it is for you to play, but the more cooler you look. I'd recommend to have the top of your guitar body near your belly button, this way it looks cool, also not too uncomfortable.
  • Spread Your Legs Man! There is nothing more to say than to spread your legs. You'll look like a nerd with your legs closed, just relax and have your legs apart from each other. This will make you look a lot cooler. NOTE: look at those links I gave you, the same rule applies there. They all have their legs spread.
  • Move Dude, It's Getting Boring Here. Now that you already look cool, what do you do? You move, if you can move while playing you will look like a freaking badass, trust me. So what does moving mean, you ask? Just go crazy, go along with the flow of the song. Some things to try out, Headbanging (not too hard), waving your guitar in the air, do everything you can not to stand in place, this will make you very cool. This also depends on what style of music you are playing, you don't headbang to blues. Or do you? Once again for examples go look at the videos of Daron Malakian and Kirk/James.
  • You Also Have An Audience Dude! Communicate with the audience, look random people in the eyes, sing along (or at least pretend you are singing), clap, do everything to get the crowd going. If there was no audience, why would you perform anyway? Also when you get nervous which you won't cause you have all the songs in your fingers, don't care about what others think, This is the biggest problem at first, but it will pass. I hope that my lesson helped you guys. Things To Take From This Lesson In Short - Learn the songs you perform blind and while moving. Gives you Confidence! - Wear guitar around the belly button area. - Spread your legs. - Move around the stage. - Look at the crowd, in peoples eyes, they are the ones you perform to! - Play around with your guitar (wave it, jump with it) do what you can.
  • 29 comments sorted by best / new / date

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      Minivirus2
      Worth while advice for any rookie, but never, and I mean NEVER , sling your guitar down so low that it lessens your playing ability. What's the point in trying to look cool if you sound awful. Personally, I'd rather watch the guy with his guitar at his nipples (Protest the Hero comes to mind) and plays flawlessly, before watching the guy running, jumping and bouncing around the stage with his guitar to his knees who can't play the song right.
      daniel.kPL
      My first thought on that article was that it is pointless , but after few days, when I came back and read it throughout I see some potential in these advices. 99% of them sound obvious, but we all know that the most obvious stuff is the most problematic, right? Concluding, good job - any begginer should read this before going onstage.
      Rensa
      *NOTE FROM AUTOR: Also relax your shoulders, this makes a big difference, if you hold squeeze your shoulders together you will not look confident, so look out for that.
      TheGroundZero
      I bet John Petrucci AND his fans disagree with the low-slung guitar theory. Aside from that, not a bad article. As much as no one wants to admit it, we all want to look cool on stage. Good info!
      jkielq91
      I dont think hang the guitar low is necercerely true. My tips would be: -Spread your necks, with your knees bent and your back straight to give a strong, confident and powerful stance. -Relax your back and shoulders. -Feel the beat of the music and move to it naturally. -Make good eye contact with the band and the audience. -Use a guitar that suits you, but is comfortable. I see people hang there guitars low when its bad for them and they are struggling to play purely because its low and look like idiots.
      Rensa
      The thing is, i've seen alot of guys in bands just looking down and not even moving at all. I wanted to help the begginers to look cooler on stage, they don't have to lower their guitar, they just can.
      Rensa
      It's more about stage presence than the performance itself. If the crowd sees you do what you love, you're a winner. Me and and my band were standing totally still when we first performed, we were so nervous, that's why i wrote this article. I want people to get a good start
      baumaxx1
      That being said... stage presence is good. Some obvious points, but I guess reminds people what to do with mostly valid points if they want to improve their stage presence.
      Macejko
      There is no manual how to be "cool" on stage, dont be stupid. You gotta feel it, its natural when you thrash whole place to the ground and headbang your head off. If you dont, this article wont help you, you will just look stupid :/
      baumaxx1
      Just have to say that the lowering your guitar advice is dangerous. Go as low as practicable... but TBH, Hetfield and Daron have theirs stupidly low if you're playing anything semi technical. SOAD or rhythm guitar isn't going to be that demanding, but look at Tosin Abasi play.
      That's not going to happen low. Also, watching SOAD play at Soundwave this year, Daron raised his guitar and it was the best I've seen him play. So basically, playing around your nads isn't going to do your playing any favours and is physically and ergonomically quite bad for you potentially leading to injury. Just remember; has anyone ever said:
      Man AAL were good; if only they lowered their guitars to nad level... that would make the show better.
      ? No. People want the music, lol. Hipsters even do the opposite and wear their guitars really high and some people are fine with that image. It's all just personality and there's no winning formula.
      Deathro
      I don't like the lowering the guitar idea at all and it "looking cool" is an opinion. Go with what feels best with you and don't alter your style to look "cool" for this guy who you probably won't have a conversation with.
      JenoUnion
      "How to look cool?" Who cares...if you can't play, you can't play! There are so many musicians who don't play with their guitars low that are phenomenal performers and put on a great show. That's what really matters, not looking cool. This should be the *last* thing on your mind when you pick up your instrument
      SamTh0
      W0w thanks .. im still an amateur in guitar i hope someday i could be a good guitarist ,haha .., and quite this article really boost up my confidence xD and inspires me
      Rensa
      baumaxx1 wrote: That being said... stage presence is good. Some obvious points, but I guess reminds people what to do with mostly valid points if they want to improve their stage presence.
      Thanks for critisism bro
      Tasbir
      if i try to keep all these things in mind while playing on the stage... yeah that would surely be a total mess. #Best Advice# Just go out there and shred ur ass off motherf***ers. Don't f**king give a F**k on anything else!
      Rensa
      JenoUnion wrote: "How to look cool?" Who cares...if you can't play, you can't play! There are so many musicians who don't play with their guitars low that are phenomenal performers and put on a great show. That's what really matters, not looking cool. This should be the *last* thing on your mind when you pick up your instrument
      Have i said, that you have to follow those tips? I just wanted to help people look cooler. In my experience most people are so technical, they don't do any mistakes. BUT they just stand there looking down and doing nothing, but staring on the fretboard. The main point of this article is to show attitude, you must have great stage presence. I DID NOT say you have to play bad, i just wanted to help people who had problems with stage presence...
      adodin
      I've now played guitar in a bunch of different context from a punk/metal band to an indie one to solo and group folk sets. Speaking from my experience this'd be my list: 1) Learn your songs so well you can play them without thinking. 2)Pick or write songs that you love and have emotional weight 3)When you get up there just relax and have fun 4)Connect with the audience, communicate that emotional weight but first and foremost, Keep 'em entertained thats what you're meant to be doing. (If you've done the first 3, 4 should come quite naturally) I don't really think its worth worrying too much about specific movements and stances to be honest as long as you can learn to relax a bit on stage it'll be a lot more organic and entertaining
      tedwattenbarge
      I will also imply that KNOWING HOW TO PLAY THE SONG so good that even if someone wakes you up from sleeping you will still know it.. you have to be sure that you know how to play the song 100%, and for moment forget the crowd that is watching you...
      gateway01
      I've gotta friend that plays his guitar low. I always HATE borrowing his straps because I CAN'T PLAY THAT LOW. And if you watched John Petrucci, Tosin Abasi, Javier Reyes, or even that guy from Protest the Hero, they all play with a high-slung guitar. If you can play the song flawlessly (and it's a thrash metal song) then sre, but otherwise, seems useless.
      Natrone
      My advice is always to make yourself comfortable and be loose and into the music. For me, that means the lowest part of my guitar near the belt and dancing around all over the stage. Also, in terms of performing, having energy and stage presence are both far more important than talent.
      cjog210
      Keeping your strap low isn't always the best thing to do, unless you practice with your guitar that low. You want to keep the guitar in the same position as you practice in. Playing the song well is more important than stage presence.
      circulogi
      just put your guitar on the ground and strum with your feet. Thats the coolest.
      trubfmvfan
      The strap height depends on : 1. How tall you are (I'm around 6'2" and keeping it at a height which may bother some people doesn't really matter) 2. How comfortable you feel. You can't look cool and then mess up the song. This article really helps me. The first two performances I did with my band were good but nothing near spectacular. Now we look cool and play well too.
      purplexing
      everyone needs to look up the band "the Gazette" by far the most fluid performance without looking cheesy