When I was a senior in high school, the staff guy training me told me to learn guitar for club. Whenever he told me to do something I did it. So I went out and taught myself guitar. After a little practice I was playing guitar at club, campaigners and camps. It is a very useful skill.
I quickly came to notice a couple unfortunate club guitar player types… Have you noticed these?
Mr. Abrupt – This person has no idea how to smoothly end a song, or start it. They like to say, "That’s it" after playing the last chord. Like freight train the song stops.
Mr. I-Could-Never-Clap-But-I-Still-Try-To-Play-The-Guitar – This person has a terminal defect that will never improve. No amount of lessons or experience will ever solve it. They are known for getting behind or ahead of the beat. You can notice this person when at some point during the club kids are looking at each other trying to figure out what happened.
Mr. Off-Key – This person does almost everything right except they don’t know how to start a song in the right key. They just need to find one person who can sing the first line right. Here’s a tip, if you start off key… STOP the song and start over.
Mr. Show-Off – My biggest pet-peeve. This person doesn’t realize club guitar is about getting the kids to sing, it is solid rhythm guitar, no more. This person likes to bring more than one guitar to club, always wants to be plugged in, and usually spends the entire pre-club time playing guitar mostly by himself. It is my biggest pet-peeve because they have all the right technical skills down but miss the point of music in club. There is a right time for a little ditty (i.e. Sweet Home Alabama), but they never seem to get that it is not a performance.
Fortunately I never got good enough to be mr. show-off and for some reason I can clap and sing in key (most of the time). What I excelled at is not taking myself too seriously (even with guitar) and always bringing lots of energy. If you do those two things, you will buy time to become solid at all the standard YL songs.
3 thoughts on “Club Guitar Player Types”
this is good. mr. show-off is definitely the worst. how about mr. doesn’t-know-the-words? he saw the song had three chords in it, so he figured he didn’t need to practice. now he’s turned around singing to the lyrics on the wall instead of to the kids in club.
I have a hard time with the idea of mr showoff. I feel like many times yl music leaders disapprove of trying new things or doing songs differently. We live in a time when music is accessible and listened to almost every moment. (the top tv shows are about music as well). Kids see average people getting record deals on American idol I think there is a bit of an expectation for club music to be done well. I’m a new leader in a new club and we do our songs differently from the standard yl form. I have had leaders from other clubs tell me that I’m doing things wrong etc. when my kids are having a blast the way we do it.
Yes its wrong for leaders to go up there with an attiude that they are putting on some kind of personal concert. That goes without saying. But I do think that if we are using a gift that god has given us we should be striving to be as technically excellent as possible. Lets not give blemished lambs.
John, I’m with you that we need to try new things with music in YL! In fact I’m super interested to hear what you are doing in your club. There needs to be a willingness to “experiment”. I’ve tried lots of different things including playing electric guitar more, doing a techno type music club with a keyboard , and even using a DJ with turntables.
The thing I don’t like, even with professional musicians at camps, is the “look at me” performance type person. I don’t like the attitude and it doesn’t agree with the underlying philosophy of our approach to club. I’m privileged to be friends with Justin McRoberts, JJ Heller (and her husband David), Brian Weaver and Brandon Heath and have played and performed with them all the way back to 1996. These are all excellent professional musicians who understand the philosophy of excellence, humility and the place of music within YL.