Why is the guitar the coolest of all instruments? Ok, so sometimes air drums or air keyboard may be called for but above all else guitar is head and shoulders above the rest, too cool for school.
So yeah, some of the greatest musicians of the last hundred years have been axe players. It is fair to say the 20th Century was the guitar century, it was the century guitars went electric; and lest we forget, the Fender Stratocaster, possibly the most iconic of all guitars (Sorry Les Paul fans), turns 60 this year.
Can you imagine Jimi Hendrix on jazz flute? Woody Guthrie on accordion? Slash on piccolo? No, the guitar is king.
Why, though, is this the case?
Well, take away for some the pressure of being lead singer and we have a single spotlight position, right at the front. To relying on machinery and not human vocals, which can waver, add a killer solo and you have fans riveted to every movement of your hand… and adoringly singing along to what you play.
No other instrument quite does this, sure a kick ass drum solo can rock, and a Hammond organ blast in a middle eight can be awesome, but none so more than lead guitar, not even bass or rhythm.
Think of any song you have heard or gig you have seen; if it is contemporary it will have, more than likely, a filler and spotlight moment for the six-string. You have probably played along with it, and that’s why guitar is so cool. Even with air guitar you can give anyone the impression that you have playing down so tight and cold, the confidence you flourish is above reproach, you can’t fuck up air guitar. You just can’t.
Ok, so I am predicting many of you who read this have a guitar that you can’t play. Fine, no problem, it does make a lovely looking conversation piece but, hell, what a waste. Imagine the reaction you would get if you wielded it like Keith Richards. Okay, so you don’t have a lifetime to learn to master it, or the inclination, but three chords do make many a rock song. Three, that’s all, a couple of tiny movements of the fingers and you could be the coolest guy in the room with an entire repertoire of songs (3 chord arrangements do open up hundreds of song possibilities).
So be cool and swish at nothing if that’s what you really want, but if you really wanna look and be cool, pick the thing up. Learn D, E and A and you have all you need; all that’s left is your rock stance and that’s up to you.