Wednesday Question: Biggest Guitar Fail Ever

Show us the worst playing mistake made by a renowned axeman.

Ultimate Guitar

They might be guitar gods, but even the most renowned players out there have a tendency to screw up from time to time, occasionally resulting in some hilarious onstage fails.

Squeaky notes, bad timing, sloppy playing and just full-on dreadfulness, that's the topic of this week's discussion. To make it official, the Wednesday Question for today is:

What is the biggest guitar fail ever?

An important note before we begin - we'll be focusing on famous and renowned players here, so no Lil' Wayne or Fred Durst or any of that stuff, legit axemen only. Of course, you should accompany your suggestion with a video proof.

As for the standard rules, same stuff as always applies - only one suggestion per comment, vote up the ideas you support and vote down the ones you dislike. We'll sum up your votes by Friday and bring you another traditional UG Top 10. Let the dreadful showdown begin!

305 comments sorted by best / new / date

    That face at 0:25 is like "YOU READY FOR THIS!??!" it just makes what happens 100 times more funnier.
    greif hammer
    Oh and this classic James Hetfield moment when after the "One" war scene intro tape he started playing "Fade To Black" instead. Luckily Kirk was on the ball and just joined in with his solo, so they just played that song instead haha.
    Actually knowing his sense of humor, I'd say it might have been a joke ; )
    No it was his mistake, they were making fun of it and actually put on the setlist fot their next gig One (not Fade to black)
    Definite gaffe, but the intro kinda works for this one as well. [no pun intended]
    dave mustaine sounded a bit cringey trying to shred like the mad kat with a symphonic orchestra with his ear bleeding rendition of the flight of the valkyries
    After hearing this for the first time I though aha I've been tricked with a Dave mustaine shreds video. I then looked for the 'real version' to no avail
    But Dave just wanted to be like Yngwie Malmsteen for moment. I mean with that classical stuff.
    DJ ashba Sweet child of mine at the golden god awards was pretty dreadful and a massive guitar fail
    My favourite thing about this is how the poor fuсk just has to deal with it until the end of the intro so they're all just looking vaguely uncomfortable till the verse.
    Not only does the guitar sound atrocious but Axl Rose sounds like an old lady on her deathbed.
    At least he sounded better during the solo. Axl sounds awful the entire time.
    Is that even real? I don't want to believe that it's real. This can't be real! What even is reality any more?
    I've listened to every year's golden gods awards and I haven't heard any artist that sounded good, their equipment at goldn gods just sucks...
    Sounds like the song being played through the speakers of McDonalds Happy Meal Toys.
    whole band is probably tone deaf or something..
    Well they clearly all noticed, and he switched guitars during the verse, so I'm gonna say no.
    greif hammer
    Well it has to be Nigel Tufnel's wireless unit getting radio interference while playing "Sex Farm" at the Airforce base doesn't it? Tried to find a video, but no luck sorry.
    So hilarious how at the end they've obviously just given up and simplified the riff for him!
    It kills me that he said "second one starts on this one, and then that one" not E then G then A.
    Just ANY spin without straplocks
    Watch from ~1:15 and keep an eye on the guy on the right
    My idols
    Wow...I'm kinda hoping he was just trying to be funny...otherwise I feel really really bad for him
    Synyster Gates falling mid-solo
    Here's one of Zacky screwing up a solo, there is one out there where Syn forgets the entire intro to Buried Alive
    I think the real fail is how Syn's guitar is unaudible then how Zacky broke a string.
    Unconfirmed, but I heard somewhere that a string broke in that video. Still, you should be able to transpose, atleast.
    It's Syn screwing up in that one not Zacky
    No. Because when Zacky ****s up Syn continues playing, his guitar is also way more quiet in the mix for some reason.
    matteo cubano
    i'd like to see the rest of this performance, was his string just out of tune?
    No, he's playing it with a slide, which doesn't take a much to sound out of tune.
    Krist Novaselic bass throw during VMA'S The Nirvana Bass Throw (1992 MTV VMA's):
    I'm going to declare this one awesome because afterwards he stumbled backstage and disappeared. He was later found drinking champagne with Brian May
    Yeah. This was a rough time for EVH. And this IS real
    This should be a staple video: "Kids, there's a reason why you shouldn't do drugs!" If I remember right, he barely had any teeth back then due to the drug and alcohol abuse.
    Not sure if this counts but its worth showing
    "...And you wrote...Threeve. A combination of three and five. Simply stunning."
    Kerry king trying to play the mouth for war solo at metal masters. go to 2.45 or so
    Not as bad as I thought it was gonna be, but even still if you get Gary Holt and Kerry King to perform, you let Holt play the solo every time!
    This is not as bad as Dave Mustaine's trying to play the Cemetery Gates solo
    But as far as I know that performance happened when Mustaine was in the middle of retraining his arm. Meanwhile Kerry King is just a hopeless lead player besides maybe the "War Ensemble" solo.
    The thing is, Both of these cases are them putting their own spin on the solo...Kerry King made the solo sound slayer-ish, and Dave Mustaine made the solo sound Megadeth-y. It doesnt mean it is a fail by not playing note for note the original.
    Chris Poland and Dave Mustaine utterly destroying the intro to Good Mourning/Black Friday in New York in 1987. Mustaine: "Something's not right" *points at Chris*
    Dragonforce LIVE @ Novarock 2013 - Through the Fire and Flames
    Haha that one is pretty bad
    Pete Townsend impaling his hand on is whammy bar - How has no one mentioned this yet
    I'll go with Tom Delonge:
    John Fruciante was pretty bad right before he left the band in 1992, mainly casue of his heroin addiction. He screwed up the tempos in many songs..
    They say he ****ed it up intentionally as an anti-fame protest move but he was definitely high. Both could be true.
    im sure this has something to do with him and the singer not getting along, I think he may be doing it intentionaly.. EDIT: yeah, and he's high...
    A fail isn't someone purposely playing the song wrong because he was against fame, just sayin' On that note I'm glad that John is even around after seeing images of him from 1997/98
    Sounded like he did it on purpose. Just listen to his background vocals and the over-the-top distortion sound.
    John was very angry, they played Stone Cold Bush right before it and Anthony kicked John, hard. This was the refenge of John, he knew Anthony had problems with singing the song, especially this slow.
    ROCKwith noMOSS
    Ya i was actually going to post this vid, along with the Stone Cold Bush performance. He did a HORRIBLE solo on Stone Cold Bush. Anthony talked about this incident in his autobiography, awesome reed and insight on this sort of stuff. What I think is a REALLY COOL possible connection to this is John Frusciante's song "A Firm Kick". His lyrics and title of the song seem to really point to this situation and possibly him and Anthony's crumbling friendship at the time. And its just a plain awesome song!
    This is actually not a fail at all, just a totally different way of playing the same chords!
    Nope, he screws up quite a bit. Mostly seeming to forget which part he needed to play. Very sloppy.
    If it wasn't for the fact that we know he was an addict, or close to an addict, at this point in his life, we would all just think it was an "artistic choice" to play it this way, as many artists play their songs differently live. especially the extremely popular ones people always want to hear.
    This is not a fail. He purposely played this way. And to be honest it sounds awesome.
    It wasn't even his fault. I won't count that as the "biggest fail ever" at all
    I agree with Zaqq. Regardless of Tom Delonge's guitar skills or thereof lack of, his guitar would have cut out anyway in this incident.
    I reckon this still counts. Admirable handling of the situation though!
    People keep saying this about the nominations. Since when does something not being your fault make it not a failure? The DJ Ashba one wasn't his fault, either...
    Shit, didn't read the paragraph about "no Fred Dursts".
    Really, that's so interesting. Tell me more. How's Melissa by the way, last I heard she was laid off, nice to know she found a new job.
    ...did you not read the article?
    Well, no I didn't. It was so easy to mention that Fred Durst video that my emotions beat my prudence. Anyway... there you go:
    This isn't his fault. He switched properly, I think his distortion just failed to kick in, either via techs backstage or some sort of built-in distortion. Anyway, not a fail because not his fault and he played it off easily, even making a joke about it later on.
    I've had a similar problem, no pedals, techs or whatever else involved. It can happen simply when you get a piece of dirt or dust stuck in your pickup selector switch, switching it back and forth like he did makes me think that's what the problem was. Nonetheless the outcome of it was pretty horrendous, so I guess it's still a pretty big guitar fail. =P
    Have an Epi Elite LP [which is in every other respect an awesome guitar for the money], and that happens all the time with the toggle - gotta flip it back and forth a few times to switch. Really need to swap that out for a new one....
    It looks to me like his pickups had a loose wire so the output was low when he switched, leading to very low overdrive. That's why he had to slam the switch a second time. I could be wrong though. Maybe his techs were handling effects and missed their cue.
    This might be appropriate
    Lou Reed's entire album of guitar feedback for Machine Metal Music
    The guitar feedback, and the album itself was intended to be awful, so it doesn't count as a mistake. Had it been made with all seriousness, then there might have been something behind the talk.
    It was an experiment but Lou Reed has said it was a serious album and not a joke
    Sad(?) to inform you, but it was exactly released as a joke - In the liner notes he claimed to have invented heavy metal, while later claimed that he had placed sonical allusions to Beethoven's works in the album and therefore had tried to persuade RCA to release it under Red Seal (Their classical label). That's just the tip of the iceberg of strange statements he made about it, most of them contradicting each other. The entire album was a grudgingly performed joke, out of contractual obligations. He's not even trying to perform Poe's law whenever he is asked about it in interviews and alike, and if he is then he's doing it very lazily, so I don't see how you could ever have interpreted him to consider it a serious album.
    QOSA - Songs fot the Deaf
    its not guitar playing, but what yoko does here should count as a fail
    Decent fail but the great part is Krist helping out with the singing 0:40
    To people who are posting lil wayne READ THE GODD*MN ARTICLE!
    I'll go with this one
    They should do greatest Guitar Recoveries after this. That would be nice to see
    Classic) Russian band called "Coliseum"
    When Jimmy Page was drugged to the gills during some type of Zeppelin tribute (Clapton was there and had a look of bewilderment in his eyes). Page could barely play and he looked as though he had no control of his fingers during the solo of Stairway to Heaven.
    He's been that way ever since when playing that song for some reason.. Watch the Celebration Day performance of it to get the idea.
    Or this one from 0:30
    Solo @ 17:47. I cringe every time.
    On a separate note, Hetfield's vocals are amazing here.
    Ah hell, I'm having trouble posting the video. here's the link instead:
    Manowar can't decide which key to tune play in different keys on this Sabbath classic! Thank god they claim to be the loudest band in the world so we can't hear the noise of the late Ronnie Dio turning in his grave!
    Dave Mustaine playing Vivaldi's Four Seasons. His tone is terrrible and the piece is sloppy as hell. I love Mustaine but god damn that was painful to watch.
    Dave Mustaine butchering the living crap out of a Pantera track, destroys the solo whereas the Petruccinator nails it. Kinda makes Daves playing suck more during it. Also I swear to god that half of these comments are failed Pantera covers :')
    Not actually a playing or technical fail, but it is painful to see all these guitars falling down.
    Jimmy Page, Live Aid '85.
    I normally don't comment on these articles but I think this would count? Kirk Hammett accidentally kicks a kid. Right around 24 sec mark
    The way Chris Shifflet's guitar is mixed at live Foo shows. You can hardly hear him
    #t=273 I wasn't the first on to post this, but it was the frist thing that came to mind. Not only is i major technical **** up, but it's also ****ing hilariously "saved". This is one of their greatest concerts i m o, along with the epic speech made by Daron. Seriously watch this, most moving speech I've heard
    Opeth live at Royal Albert Hall during Lotus Eater
    Man, this performance was pretty good and I remember being mad disappointed when I was watching the DVD.