Author Topic: "Hey, can you play something for us?"  (Read 2124 times)

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Offline CT

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"Hey, can you play something for us?"
« on: January 19, 2020, 04:19:00 pm »
At some point there will be a guitar handy, and out of the blue someone is going to ask you to play something, what do you do? I'm interested in how folks approach this scenario, regardless of your skill level.

Offline stitch101

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Re: "Hey, can you play something for us?"
« Reply #1 on: January 19, 2020, 04:59:29 pm »
People don't ask me they expect it from me. The question is usually
Did you bring your guitar? or where is your guitar?
That being said most of my friends are musicians so there is always someone
playings and singing.

So what do you do when asked?

Offline Endureth

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Re: "Hey, can you play something for us?"
« Reply #2 on: January 19, 2020, 09:13:44 pm »
I stand there paralyzed.

Offline LievenDV

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Re: "Hey, can you play something for us?"
« Reply #3 on: January 19, 2020, 09:28:08 pm »
it only happens one a year, when my family at mothers side go on a weekend.
"Did you bring your guitar?"

I gladly and spontanuously jam songs an sometimes some people sing along.
outside, in the sun, with a drink.
Absolutely love that.

Usually start off with "no woman no cry", it's my go to warmup song.
It gives me the reference of what my voice is capable of on that moment; where to put the capo etc.
So it's a calibration moment as well :)

Other moments I played I marketed myself or my band.
Doesn't make me sad, that's how it works.
my band: fb: Point Fifty | Instagram: Point Fifty

Offline J.W.C.

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Re: "Hey, can you play something for us?"
« Reply #4 on: January 20, 2020, 12:10:59 am »
These days, I play something.

At one point, this scenario was a big problem for me. I had been playing guitar for a few years. Most of my practice was on electric, and I had learned chords, scales, et cetera. I knew bits and pieces of songs, but not really an entire song. I could improvise with pentatonics. But typically what would happen is that someone would point to an acoustic guitar in the corner and spring the "play something for us" thing. I'd have to mumble something about needing a band.

The answer to that problem is to make an effort to learn entire songs, and to learn a set of songs that you can play (and ideally sing) on an acoustic. Even if you only know a few, you can deliver when someone says "play us something."

Offline batwoman

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Re: "Hey, can you play something for us?"
« Reply #5 on: January 20, 2020, 03:30:27 am »
I'm waiting for the day I'm invited  ;D

Offline Garfield

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Re: "Hey, can you play something for us?"
« Reply #6 on: January 20, 2020, 12:52:25 pm »
Happened to me just before Xmas and I played all I want for Xmas is you as it was fairly fresh in my head. In the past I've played wonderwall just because it's impossible to forget and most people know it.

Slightly different subject. Last week I went into a guitar shop and was invited by the guy I as chatting to to playing a £4k custom strat. Just for the experience. I went to pieces. None of the songs I've been playing seemed appropriate so I played a few bits of solos, a few licks and gave it back quickly.

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Offline CT

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Re: "Hey, can you play something for us?"
« Reply #7 on: January 20, 2020, 04:05:33 pm »
Interesting comments so far. I figured they would run the gamut.

People that know me have all heard me play, so it's not something new to them. They will be prepared to sing or have brought their own guitar along. For those folks I just try to have something new that I'm working on to go along with what we already play or sing along to. It's the, "I hear that you play guitar", or "Oh, you have a bunch of guitars on your wall" people that I'm talking about here. Suddenly it's "Dance Monkey, Dance", and you're the monkey!

It's really easy to freeze up in these cases, and I have. As a result, I try to have what I call a "bag of tricks" under my fingers. The bag of tricks are short snippets of different riffs and pieces of songs, and I morph them into a medley of sorts to fill about five minutes of time. People's attention spans are such that I wouldn't go too much longer than that. I try to have an electric and acoustic routine in mind, but there can be some crossover. This can serve some other purposes as well such as a warmup routine, guitar checker outer in a guitar shop, and just a goto routine if all you have is a short five minutes to play.       

Offline brianlarsen

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Re: "Hey, can you play something for us?"
« Reply #8 on: January 20, 2020, 04:28:38 pm »
My wife said 'play me something' when I started;
I obliged with whatever I was learning.
She stopped asking  ::)

I've been invited to a 70th birthday party early next month and everybody who wants is invited to play/recite something.
I'm contemplating a debut  ;)

Online close2u

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Re: "Hey, can you play something for us?"
« Reply #9 on: January 21, 2020, 10:08:41 am »
Go for it Brian! :)

Offline LievenDV

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Re: "Hey, can you play something for us?"
« Reply #10 on: January 21, 2020, 01:11:28 pm »
I'm contemplating a debut  ;)

yes; this is your cue!
make it happen :)
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Offline embishop

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Re: "Hey, can you play something for us?"
« Reply #11 on: January 30, 2020, 06:15:44 pm »
My go-to songs are 3 acoustic EC (Nobody Knows You, Layla, and Tears in Heaven), and a drop D version of Honky Tonk Woman. I like your thoughts on having an electric and acoustic routine in mind though Clint, as yes there is crossover but some are better suited for one or the other. I went to a music night at a friends a few weeks ago and 1 of the songs I learned before I went was Hit Me With Your Best Shot, an easy JG lesson. Maybe it was the folks attending but it was a great song to play because it seemed like everybody joined in and sang. I like to play stuff that has a bit more for complicated riffs, but it was right fun to play with everyone singing! :)
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Offline brianlarsen

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Re: "Hey, can you play something for us?"
« Reply #12 on: January 30, 2020, 06:22:23 pm »
yes; this is your cue! make it happen :)
Go for it Brian! :)
Ha! I never responded to this-
Yes, it will happen and I have taken the liberty of butchering Tom Waits' lyrics of Chocolate Jesus for the occasion.
I think I have persuaded my wife to join me performing a duet, but we haven't practised yet.
I may even throw her a curve ball by throwing in harmonies to a song she doesn't know.
Watch this space...

Online redrhodie

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Re: "Hey, can you play something for us?"
« Reply #13 on: January 30, 2020, 09:53:20 pm »
I had this happen in the most unexpected place. I've told this story before, so feel free to ignore me if you read it then.

My friend Michael, who always wanted to see me play live, had a stroke and was taken off the ventilator. My two friends and I rushed to see him one last time in hospice, as he only had a few days to live. Michael was my biggest fan, but had never seen me play live because I don't.

I thought about bringing my guitar, but chickened out. Then, when we were in his room, strangely enough, the music therapist who works in the hospice showed up. I'm 100% sure Michael made that happen, even though he was in a coma. He was special. His brother said that was the first time she had been in his room, and he'd been there for a week. So weird, but so Michael. Before I knew what happened, she left the room and came back with her guitar for me to play.

I kind of froze, but then I picked it up and just started finger picking as we talked to him, telking him why we loved him so much. From there, I just started singing one of my original songs. It was super difficult because I was crying. At times I had to stop singing and just played through it. My two friends were also in the room, and Michael's brother, and I think we were all crying.

It was awful and beautiful, and I'm so glad I did it, but regret not being prepared with a Madonna song for him. Haha. She was Michael's favorite singer.

Anyway, the only way I was able to pull it off (I think it went as well as it could under the circumstances) was by practicing so much. So my advice is just play your most comfortable song, one that isn't a struggle, one that you can play inside out, because if your brain freezes, your fingers will still run on autopilot.



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Offline Alex6strings

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Re: "Hey, can you play something for us?"
« Reply #14 on: January 30, 2020, 11:05:43 pm »
I say, no, I wont play for you.   I'm a guitar player, not a performer, I play guitar for my own and a few close friends enjoyment and or seduction depending on the case,  and the friend.

Or something like that

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"Hand me a guitar and I'll play the blues, it's the place i automatically go"  EC

Offline brianlarsen

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Re: "Hey, can you play something for us?"
« Reply #15 on: January 31, 2020, 09:28:28 am »
I've told this story before, so feel free to ignore me if you read it then...
It was a powerful story then- and it still is.

Some people create/interpret music so skilfully that even strangers appreciate it.
I'm unlikely to fall into that category.
I enjoy the process of playing for myself, but also the potential for entertaining those around me- family and friends (incl. the forum :P)

I won't be as comfortable with the song or performance as I would like, but what's the worst that can happen when surrounded by kind gentle folk at a 70th birthday party?
I'll let you know  ;)

Offline CT

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Re: "Hey, can you play something for us?"
« Reply #16 on: January 31, 2020, 01:57:07 pm »
Inspirational story @red. It speaks to the power of music.

@alex, I would feel a bit silly saying no. I'd rather crash and burn than not try and eek out some sort of interesting sound from a guitar. I won't play a whole song if someone isn't willing to sing though. Hence the concept of the bag of tricks. Just as @BL eludes to, there's a passing chance that someone could be entertained. I'm not sure if this is necessarily a worst case, but you may never be asked to play again in the future. :)

Offline Alex6strings

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Re: "Hey, can you play something for us?"
« Reply #17 on: February 13, 2020, 01:46:15 am »
@CT yeah I get that, and I agree it's a fairly negative answer to just say no.   For me though, that's the answer.    I just do not play for anyone and usually stop if i feel anyones in earshot of my playing.    I can honestly say that my partners over the years are really the only people to hear me play.  On the odd occasion,  if it's one on one and I'm relaxed enough (drunk) i might play someone a tune but very rarely.   A good friend of mine now passed really loved my Tears in heaven cover (she lost a young child to a heart attack)  I recorded it for her but I still don't think I played it for her live apart from maybe the intro. She was a piano player and I remember her commenting, 'wow and without the music to follow'   Guitar playing friends are different, i dont perform for them, but I'll play in front of them if i know them well enough.   I have a yt channel with 3 songs on it but i have a truck loads of songs in my bag.  I'm constantly learning songs that grab me and challenge me but it's not about the end result.  I enjoy the process, learning, getting better but I really dont need anything or anyone else to be involved.   I know, I'm a weirdo.   I'll spend a month learning a complex fingerstyle tune but wont play it for anyone or record it and then literally forget about it.  I played in a few working bands in my late teens and i don't ever remember anything but excitement to play on stage.  Life and adulthood crushed the rockstar out of me.
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For what it's worth, I know i'm missing out on something special and something hmmm real or organic i guess.  Most of my life follows the same pattern so it's me, it's not you Clint..lol.   Hey and my advice to guitar players would be,  play for anyone and everyone and do it every chance you get.  Dont be me.  Obviously I have to be me so the advice is only good for people who aren't me. 
"Hand me a guitar and I'll play the blues, it's the place i automatically go"  EC

Offline CT

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Re: "Hey, can you play something for us?"
« Reply #18 on: February 13, 2020, 03:19:09 am »
@alex, what you describe sounds like being "the master of your domain" (I'm using a Seinfeld reference because I can't just blurt it out here). That's fine for the most part. For me music is a much better ice breaker than small talk.   

Offline stitch101

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Re: "Hey, can you play something for us?"
« Reply #19 on: February 13, 2020, 05:08:30 am »
For me music is a much better ice breaker than small talk.   

CT I can relate to to this. I hate small talk.

I'm also like Alex. I would rather play with other players than perform at a party.
But I rather perform than make small talk. I guess that's why people expect me to play.
They know I hate taking to them :)
I guess I'm a better trained monkey than social butterfly.

 
« Last Edit: February 13, 2020, 05:26:21 am by stitch101 »

Offline Alex6strings

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Re: "Hey, can you play something for us?"
« Reply #20 on: February 13, 2020, 04:32:32 pm »
@alex, what you describe sounds like being "the master of your domain" (I'm using a Seinfeld reference because I can't just blurt it out here). That's fine for the most part. For me music is a much better ice breaker than small talk.   

I know the Seinfeld reference.  ::)  I don't like to think about or even acknowledge it but events in my life whilst serving changed me in my late 20's.  Thinking about it as i have been, the issues I have really aren't about the guitar, or performing or even music. I barely leave the house or communicate with people day to day so I don't know why i beat myself over things like this.  I would like 2020 to be the year I fight back and take my life back.  Anywho.   cheers
"Hand me a guitar and I'll play the blues, it's the place i automatically go"  EC

Offline CT

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Re: "Hey, can you play something for us?"
« Reply #21 on: February 14, 2020, 02:26:14 am »
@alex, I hear ya. Many of us, myself included, are trying to come out of our shell a bit. I appreciate that some of us have a harder shell to deal with. I think you've shared some really nice tracks, and have been very supportive to everyone here, I hope you continue to do so. 

 

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