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You Know You are a Guitar Junkie If...
(C) 2009 Hank Wallace & Chad Barbour
(with many reader contributions)
There are two or three people who play guitar because they can
make money doing so. The rest of us play guitar because it's in our
genes. We eat, sleep and drink it. If you are a member of the latter
group, you will identify with these characteristics of a guitar
- You have a $5000 Les Paul and a $500 car.
- You pick your teeth with 1) a guitar pick, 2) a clipped guitar
string, or 3) a clipped toenail.
- You buy a $2000 guitar and a $9 tuner to tune it.
- You buy your kid a guitar for Christmas and then hog it.
- You have ever said in a band meeting, "All I want to play is
- You have a good paying gig teaching music but you still watch
the inebriated watch you play every weekend.
- You have ever said (while standing in front of your Marshall
stack), "MORE GUITAR IN THE MONITOR."
- You have arrived at band practice only to find your equipment
sitting on the curb, only to think they were not good enough for you.
- You spend Saturday night at the bookstore reading guitar
magazines rather than hanging out with hot chicks.
- You have been to the emergency room after impaling your foot on a
clipped guitar string.
- Your wife has ever said, "ANOTHER guitar?"
- You are still sporting a mullet.
- Your friends think you are speaking a foreign language when you
use the words Fripp, Zappa, or Yngwie.
- You've ever had an encounter with gorilla snot without a sinus
- You have no place to put your clothes because your closet is full
- You're jealous of the homeless guy playing on the street because
he actually got a gig.
- You feel that 'spandex' is a religious term.
- You've tried to convince the guys in the band to learn Girl From
Ipanema just so you could play your sister's wedding.
- You've emptied out one or more abandoned drinks at the end of a
- Your kid's science project includes used guitar strings.
- You named any of your children Eddie, Jimmy, or Stevie Ray.
- Your girlfriend is named Eddie, Jimmy, or Stevie Ray.
- Your spouse knows how to set the intonation on your guitar.
- You have played guitar in the band van on the way home from a gig
- You paid too much for a used car because the salesman said he was
a guitar player.
- You have Hendrix boxers.
- Your dog has a guitar-god silhouette dog tag.
- Your ringtone is some crap you recorded in your home studio.
- You have ever said "LESS VOCALS IN THE MONITOR" (while standing in
front of your Marshall stack).
- Your girlfriend said "It's either the guitar or me," and you kept
- You're irked at kids winning money at Guitar Hero contests while
you slave away in your bedroom over Satriani tabs for nothing.
- Your english teacher compliments you on a well-written term
paper, and you say, "thang you, thang you very much."
- You spend more time tuning before a gig than you do unloading the
- You've stopped the same song at practice more than three times to
adjust your amp.
- You've ever said "This pedal sucks," just to cover bad playing.
- You walk your $5000 guitar into McDonalds so it's not left in
your car, and hold it between your legs while you finish off your
$1.99 Happy Meal.
- You play through your Marshall 4x12 cab in the church band. The music
minister is hospitalized.
- You have to roll your pedalboard to the stage on a dolly.
- You ask for a volume discount when buying two packs of guitar
- Your favorite metal guitar has a pull-cord starter.
- You have clothing that matches the paint job on any instrument
- You have taken sandpaper and a hammer to a guitar in order to
increase its value.
- You have stuck your initials on your guitar's pickguard using
lettering made for mailboxes.
- Your amp is older than your mother. And your wife is younger than
- You're highly offended by that last item, but unfortunately it's
- You're old enough to remember when "googling a Gibson" was
something you did with your eyes at a guitar shop, not with your
fingers on a computer.
- You replaced all the screws in your guitar with 1956 original
- You have ever traded a family pet for gear.
- You think drums, bass and keyboards are just your support staff.
- You missed the birth of one or more children for a gig.
- You get nauseated at the opening riff of Stairway to
Heaven because you played it a thousand times before you were 10.
- You hate having to endure stoned people yelling "FREE BIRD" at your
- You must have a double bed on the road, one side for you, one
side for your guitar.
- You test drive a car by loading your rig in the back, just to get
a feel for the fit, while your wife stands on the hot asphalt.
- As a kid, your lunch money was actually your "allowance to buy
- Your date slaps your face and says "I'm not that kinda girl!" when
you ask her if she'd like to see you noodle your Stratocaster.
- You go to church just to play along with the choir.
- You've ever had to tell your wife, "But honey, they all SOUND
- The Spinal Tap joke of an amp that goes to 11 actually sounds
like a good idea.
- You called in sick from work so you could break in your new guitar.
- You leave your equipment on as a nightlight.
- Your wife has ever smashed your Strat...and you see it as an
upside that at least you get to replace it with an ashe body!
- Your wife has ever said at 3AM while you are playing, "Aren't you
ever coming to bed?" She comes back in 15 minutes and says, "Well at
least turn it down."
- Your psyche has been abducted by astral aliens and told to write
music for them in order to progress the human race, AND they promise
you an eternity of musical princedom in return.
- You have ever used the word "astral" as a submission to a web
- You've fallen asleep lying on top of your bed while holding your
- You've stayed up until 3am to see if you were the top bidder for
a rare guitar on EBay.
- You've had to limit the amount of time you spend on the Internet-
looking at gear, not girls.
- Given the choice between the hot blonde in a bikini and a '57
Strat, the girl doesn't have a chance.
- You have all the windows in your vehicle tinted so no one will
know your gear is in there.
- You wonder if you can get a GPS device implanted into your guitar
in the event it gets stolen.
- You know the date codes located on the tube chart in the back of
old Fender amps and which transformers are the best.
- You've heavily modified your guitar with different pickups,
switches and finishes to the point that its value is only a fraction
of what you paid for it.
- You know that 'blonde' is a popular color for a Strat or Tele.
- You've rewired and restrung your guitar only to find that no
sound comes out when plugged into an amp.
- You've had to stop playing in the middle of a gig because the
signal from a trucker's CB radio is coming through your PA.
- You've tried to play a lefty Strat even though you're
right-handed, in a vain attempt to sound like Jimi Hendrix.
- You think anything old is better than the new equipment, and you
refer to it as 'vintage'.
- You bring 3 guitars to a gig- one for your main guitar, one in
case you break a string, and one to use for the song where you play
- Even though your amp is miked and goes through the P.A. you
insist on using a complete Marshall stack for gigs.
- You family gives you a coffee table book on the history of Fender
- You're insanely jealous of your former bandmate who is able to
eke out a living playing- even though you make 10x more money than
him working your daytime job.
- You remember when you were broke, had to play for drunks and drove
a beat-up van- and refer to that time as the 'good old days'.
- You have gotten into heated arguments over which rock guitarist
is the best of all time.
- You've seriously considered quitting your day job and building
guitars for a living.
- You try to come up with an original design for the peghead of a
- Your garage has been converted into a recording studio.
- You know the difference between EL34, 6V6 and EL84 power tubes
and what amps use them.
- You've stabbed your fingers numerous times while trying to remove
- You've ripped the upholstery and headliner in your car with your
Anvil guitar case.
- Even though it's 100 degrees out you roll up all the windows when
you go somewhere so no one will steal your guitar.
- You have a guitar in every room of your house.
- The sofa is crowded with guitars and you sit on the floor to
- You don't want a "Round 2" with a supermodel, because you feel a
song coming on...
- The accessories and modifications you have added to your guitar
are worth three times what the guitar cost new.
- You buy a guitar on your wife's birthday.
- You've been in every pawn shop for 200 miles looking for that
- You have a revolving charge at the local guitar store.
- You've played till your fingers were raw just to shout out "I've
got blisters on my fingers".
- Your homepage is AZ Chords.
- Your screen saver and wallpaper are your guitars.
- Tweny-five years ago, when calculators came out with tones from
the numeric keypad, you learned how to play "Smoke on the Water."
- You carry picture of your gear in your wallet, but none of your
wife or kids.
- You can estimate the age of a guitar by sniffing the case.
- You bring extra picks to a gig only to be able to throw them in
the audience as often as possible during/after solos.
- You have more project guitars than actual guitars.
- You buy any and all speakers you happen upon thinking they might
be good for guitar.
- You feel uncomfortable when you can't identify a pedal on
- It's impossible to throw away any tube.
- Having an extra set of strap buttons lying around constitutes
sufficient motivation to build another guitar.
- You are more concerned that the color of your pickguard properly
matches your guitar than whether your shirt matches your pants.
- You've resorted to wearing all black because it leaves you more
time to think about guitars.
- You have 16 "practice" amps.
- You see cars and think, hmm, that would make a nice strat or tele
- You cut your finger on the razor blade you're using to scrape the
"made in China" sticker off the back of your new $50 Strat copy.
- You use a magnifying glass to make sure your string height settings
are absolutely exact.
- You have a collection of gear stickers in a shoe box from 30 years
- You remember the names of more guitars you've had than girlfriends.
- You can't look at any object without thinking how would it sound
with strings on it.
- You put the new 9 volt batteries in you pedals and the used ones
in your smoke detectors.
- You keep a guitar pick in your wallet.
- You've gone to the music store to try the guitars knowing full
well you have no intention of buying anything.
- No matter the location or event, if there is ANY stringed
instrument laying around, regardless of how many strings are missing,
you will pick it up, adjust the tuning and play "Smoke on the Water."
- You can play all the songs on the do-not-play list in the music
- You can recall guitars that you no longer own better than you can
recall old girlfriends.
- You read all these articles and search the web for others...
- Change the pots, caps, and pickups 10 times a year only to come
full circle and then start the process all over again.
- You walk into a guitar store for picks and walk out with a deposit
on a guitar you can't afford.
- You are friends with the owner of the guitar store.
- You can say, let me get my other Gibson or other Fender.
- You've tried every guitar pedal there is and finally decided that
all you need is a good amp.
- Your weekly routine is to chew the calluses off the ends of your
- You carry at least one pick to use when you go to guitar stores,
because their picks just aren't the same.
- You eat Raman noodles three times a day to afford new gear.
- You would rather buy new gear than pay the bills.
- An education is optional to you, so long as you know how to play a
- You've already decided what your next guitar is before you've
bought the first one.
- You know every model of guitar by your favourite manufacturer and
can instantly tell whether it has stock pickups.
- You've debated selling your house just to afford that '62 original
- You can't understand why people play bass when they could play
- You haven't gone anywhere in several years without having a
pick on you.
- You write your own songs and belive they are great.
- You can't recognize the cries of your own child but you can
identify your favorite guitar player's tone.
Suggest your own guitar junkie trait:
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