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Guitar Tales

by Larry

Have you ever told a good fish story?  You know, the kind of one where the one that got away, gets bigger and bigger each time you tell it.  In my conversations with fellow guitar players and musicians, I’ve noticed that there can be a guitar equivalent of the “fish story.”  You know what I mean; bragging that you’ve mastered a song that isn’t so mastered or claiming you can play all the scales using 32nd notes at 250 bpm.   All of us have told one of these stories at one point or might let occasional tale slip.  If you say that you don’t or never have, I’m willing to bet that you are telling one right now.

I’ll admit that I’ve let a few stories pass my lips.  Just recently, I caught myself telling a guitar version of the “fish story”.   I was in a conversation with another musician who plays fiddle/guitar and I exaggerated my daily practice routine.  I let it slip that I practice at least four hours a day or more.  Over the next couple days, I replayed that conversation over and over in my head and wished I hadn’t said that but no one’s perfect.  I do practice quite a bit but lately, I’m lucky to get 40 minutes of practice in, let alone 4 hours.  It’s been pretty busy at my paying job. 

So why do we let out these little white lies?  I can’t tell you why this one slipped out of my mouth.  I would like to think it was my way, subconsciously, to motivate my ass back to practicing more.  Who knows?  I’ll leave that up to the Psychologists or others to figure that out but  I can tell you one thing; I’ve practiced a heck of a lot more the last couple of days just to keep me honest.  Four hours a day?  Well… I won’t go there.  Especially in writing.

So what’s your guitar tale?  Leave a comment and get it off your chest.  You will feel better after you do.

Keep Practicing!

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MacNichol Guitars September 7, 2008 - 9:43 am

Speaking of fish tales and guitars, check out the “fish guitar” at the Larrivee guitars forum:


Robin Easton September 25, 2008 - 9:55 am

I LOVED this story. Not just the guitar “fish” story but the honesty with which you told this. I really admire that, A LOT. I think the biggest thing it does is that the reader (me or others) say, “Oh wow, I’m not the only one. You mean other people exaggerate?” LOL LOL

Your honesty allows for the human in all of us to exist. We get to embrace our humanity in a more loving way, instead of wasting time beating up on ourselves. I like that. Good for you!!!

I think it’s two things. It’s a reflection of what we might really want to do or experience and so yes in that sense it can guide us or is trying to motivate us as it did you. I also think that some people are just natural-born storytellers….and they LOVE to spin a yarn…I’ve had others tell me that about themselves, almost everyone I know. They’ve said how they LOVE to tell a tall tale and it comes out in little ways like you mention here. It never bothers me in other people because I LOVE to hear a tale. See, I loved this story you told. I think it’s delightfully human. Just precious.

Keep up those four hour sessions.
I will too. LOL LOL
Robin 🙂 🙂

Jaan Cohan October 19, 2008 - 1:36 pm

Haha I love this topic… Too true in multiple ways!

I’m an 18 year old guitarist who has played guitar for almost a decade. Being the teenager I am, I’ve exaggerated the truth to obtain the respect and admiration of my younger fellow friends and musicians (there is no problem in stretching the truth if it betters the good of other people, despite lying to one’s self). Saying that I play for three hours a day and religiously play my modes and Circle of Fifths is completely false; I may get in about a hour a day at most haha (school takes a toll on my hectic schedules). Though, I’ve noticed that the younger kids at my school look up to me as a guru or Confucious for guitar and the music world; they practice in hopes of becoming as talented as I am (not meaning to brag or be a showoff)…

Steve Vai is an exception to this rule… He plays atleast 5 hours a day if not more (so did frank zappa).

With all due respect, I play guitar with a passion. I’m not a kid who picked up the guitar after playing Guitar Hero or in hopes of getting laid, becoming famous/rich, or hoping to get a scholarship to college. I play because it’s a way of expressing my emotions and ridding myself of life’s constant stress. Whether I’m playing along to Gilmour, Clapton, or the Three Kings (BB, Albert, Freddie)- exaggeration of one’s ability can somehow….make us better…

Whats wrong with showing off or stretching the truth? We’re no better than the politicians =) haha.

I wish the best to all of the musicians out there in this oh-so-crazy world!

Best Regards, JKKC

Larry October 19, 2008 - 1:59 pm

Vai is a great example of dedication to his craft. This is a guy who would transcribe Zappa songs for practice and the technique, phrasing and soul in his playing reflects it. In the end, your playing will reflect how much you really practice and I think that is why I push the boundaries of truth here and there. It’s a bar that I set for myself.
If you can do it, it ain’t braggin.

Thanks JKKC for the great comments. Also if you like Vai, then check out my post about my friend Hercules. Great guitar playing that I think you will enjoy.


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