Usually around this time of year we can turn on the TV to see Charlton Heston, clad in his red robe, his white beard flowing as he parts the Red Sea and leads his people through as Pharaoh’s men approach on horse.
Spoiler Alert: Moses wins.
I’ve always liked the way that Heston played that role. He was larger than life, compassionate and caring, yet ballsy enough to say the coolest things like “Pharaoh! Let my people go!”. (Throw in “you damn dirty ape”, and that would be best movie line ever…)
So in keeping with the season, I have been charged by the Powers that Be to bring to the faithful readers the following lesson.
The 10 Guitar Commandments
1)Thou shall not cheap out on a tuner.
Playing the correct chords on out of tune strings is like teenage foreplay. Sure, your hands are in the right place, but the result is disappointing and no one will want you to play again. Make sure you always start with an in-tune guitar.
2)Thou shall not covet thy neighbour’s picks.
Everyone plays a guitar in a different way. Find your style, including which type of picks to use. Whether light or heavy, try them all…don’t just settle for what your friend is using.
3)Thou shall not overshred.
Guitar is an essential part of many types of music. Be aware of what it is that you’re playing, and play respectfully. Pick your time to shine, because overplaying during a song can be distracting and annoying. And, kinda douchey.
4) Honour thy fellow players.
Over the years, we will have the opportunity to play with people who are way more skilled than we are. Appreciate this when it happens, and remember it down the road when a novice looks to you for some playing time / advice.
5) Thou shall not kill.
OK, I know it’s the same as one of those other commandments, but this one still applies. There is no guitar playing in prison. Just sodomy. Lots of sodomy.
6) Thou shall broaden thy horizons.
Do you know who Beppe Gambetta is? Liona Boyd? Thanks to YouTube and other fabulous sites (like loudguitars.com) you can open your eyes – and ears to many different styles. Soak them all in – they will affect the way you play.
7) Thou shall play for love.
An old song tells us to ‘sing like you don’t need the money, love like you never get hurt and dance like nobody’s watching’. I would add that you play for love, because if you do it for any other reason, it will reflect in your playing. (Remember, learning the guitar to get chicks is still playing for love. You’re welcome.)
8) Thou shall not hide behind thy gear.
There is a misconception that sloppy playing can be compensated for with effects and fancy gear. Well, it can’t. It will sound to the audience like sloppy playing with effects played really loudly. New effects and gear are always a great enhancement to playing, but don’t rely on that to make you sound better than you are.
9) Thou shall not fear the question.
Ask, ask, ask, ask, ask! When you’re learning – and even when you’re a seasoned pro, ask when you have a question. Guitarists by nature are givers – we love to talk about gear, techniques, chords…you name it. So when you get stuck, don’t be afraid to look for an answer with the players around you.
10) Thou shall make a silly guitar face.
I know what you’re thinking…I would NEVER make a silly guitar face. But you will. Embrace the face, just try to reel it in a tiny bit so that you don’t end up as content in a “Funniest Guitar Faces” Facebook page.
So now that you know these, you may live a true life, filled with happiness, harmony and love.
Pharaoh, let my people ROCK!
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