Calling All Musicians

It’s an interesting (and slightly annoying) misconception that all musicians play guitar. I can’t count the number of times that someone has called for the attention of all musicians and then posed a question about guitars, something about which I know almost nothing. No, piano, tuba, clarinet – those are my instruments of choice. Not every musician is a guitar player.

13 thoughts on “Calling All Musicians”

  1. Here here! I know just what you mean.

    I play Bass Guitar, but it’s not guitar. Also, I hate that people just want to pick it up and learn it, but they don’t know anything about it. It takes years to get good at Guitar, and a true passion.

    Music is an art, just like painting, and not everyone can do it just because they want to pick up a guitar to be cool.

  2. I have SpamHamburger hands with Snausages for fingers. So naturally I can’t play acoustic or electric guitar.

    I am however, a bass guitar player.

    Back when I was playing regularly with a band, most people though only hear the word ‘guitar’ and figure I was one of the guys up there soloing my heart out.

    Depending on how hot they were, I sometimes didnt correct them.

  3. No offense guys, but bass guitar is still guitar. I’m with you, Jim. Can we get some brass??? I play guitar, just because I think every serious musician has at least dabbled with it, but I am first & foremost, through & through a Bone man! When God invented music, He started with the trombone ::ducks away from lightening::

    Brass is King, but there are so many other musical instruments out there that just sound sweet! Guitar should not be given exclusive attention. I love a good symphonic band. Eastern music is pretty cool. And, of course, if Brass is King, then Jazz is the Duke!

  4. And what about vocal musicians? Before you all go and excommunicate me – yes, I KNOW that “anyone can sing” and I agree that not everyone who sings is truly a musician. But, as was mentioned above, neither is everyone who picks up an instrument. (I wouldn’t consider myself a musician, personally, although I have played at being an oboist for 12 years and have pecked at pianos for even longer.) There are certainly some vocalists who put as much practice, effort, and art into their singing as any good instrumentalist would.

    Jazz is great fun, Violinists are amazing, a good pianist can create almost any mood, and I love to hear the yearning melodies of a well-played oboe – but my personal favorite music style is still the old-fashioned A Capella Latin vocals that can make any moment feel sacred and eternal.

    I’ve never really even liked guitars. (Or brass, either, for that matter – sorry Mike.) I do have to agree, though, that a bass guitar is still a guitar, just like a bass drum is still a drum or a bass clarinet is still a clarinet or bass trombone is still a trombone or string bass is still a string-and-bow instrument . . . they are the same instruments, with the same physics involved, just lower range.

  5. You know… I take resentment to the fact that people call Bass Guitar is still a guitar. Sure, it looks similar, and they both have strings, but they are played differently.

    I wasn’t putting down Brass, or Woodwinds, or any instruments, but I thought we were all rallying against the every musician must be a guitar player stereotype.

  6. I guess people assume that all musicians play at least a little guitar because it’s such a common instrument. I mean it’s not every day that someone walks up and says,”Hi, I play the sitar and the bagpipes!” People are just so used to hearing about the stupid guitar that well, hey you’re a musician and you must be able to play it!
    What gets on my nerves is that if a girl tells somebody that she can play the drums, they think that she’s talking about the djembe or something lame. No….

  7. Yeah, women in music usually get the short end of the stereotypical stick. I’ve been some women who can outplay any guy on a drumset.

  8. Also – yes, you are right – we are “rallying against the misconception.” I only said something because I thought it was ironic that the first three people to respond were all guitarists. (At least, according to my understanding of the definition of “guitar” – a stringed instrument with a long fretted neck played by plucking or strumming – and the bass guitars I’ve seen before, which certainly seemed to fit that definition.)

    I apologize for any resentment I might have caused by my comments. You have me intrigued now . . . what makes a bass guitar not a guitar? Why do they call it a guitar if it’s not one?

  9. Just to be fair to everyone here, a bass guitar is a guitar – but it’s also played very differently from a regular guitar, since you don’t strum it; you pluck it. Basically, when people think of guitars, bass guitar is the last thing they think of. Most people think of the guy sitting on the picnic table in the park singing folk tunes, or sitting up on stage playing country music or blaring metal and jumping off speakers. Very few stop to think about bass guitarists because the type of instrument it is necessitates a more background role that is much less dynamic. So, in that sense bass guitar really is a different instrument than the electric or acoustic guitar. I believe that’s the point Stu and Michael were trying to make – and correct me if I’m wrong, fellas. :)

    Now, that aside, back to the rallying against the all-musicians-are-guitarists stereotype. Ain’t it annoying? ;)

  10. Thanks Jim. It’s alright Mandie, I wasn’t upset, just trying to fight all evil misconceptions!

    I understand your side of things, they are both fretted instruments with strings, and usually similar body styles. However, if I had to pick up a regular guitar I wouldn’t be able to play very much besides some very very basic things, and it’d sound horrible. However, I could pick up an upright bass and probably could do something with that.

    Look up a video of Flea from the Red Hot Chili Peppers playing Bass, and you’ll see how different it is from a guitar.

  11. And what about groups like Stomp or Blue Man Group? Do they qualify as musicians? They don’t often use “traditional” instruments from any category. :-) Had to just throw that in the mix.

  12. LOL . . . Stomp (if it’s the group I’m thinking of) is percussion, and Blue Man is percussion . . . so yes, definitely they are musicians! That is a good point. Percussion tends to be thought of as “background noise” rather than as music for its own sake – and also tends to be stereotyped as just the drum set, when it is a much broader category.

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