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ourlorderic 03-30-2011 01:32 PM

Guitarist rant
Hi all. Would value your opinion here. Am I being unreasonable or not? Would be nice to have the opinion of an outsider.

Our rhythm guitarist makes me want to shove my drumsticks right where the sun don't shine. He is really getting under my skin. I'm normally a pretty easy going guy but he is really getting to me lately.

I suppose I should tell you everything. Basically our rhythm guitarist is not actually very good at guitar. He is mediocre at best. He is holding everyone back and we all know it. He has to get our lead guitarist to teach him everything during the week. finding a tab and doing it himself is beyond him. Our lead guitarist has to learn both parts of guitar and then teach him. Our Rhythm then shows up for rehearsal playing a pretty sub par interpretation. He never practises, he can't learn a song without help and really he is holding us back. We can currently do about 3 songs tops a week because any more and he would not be able to handle it. The rest of us are quite capable of doing around 7+.

This is not the only thing though. He has just recently got a girlfriend. Now his attitude has become even more flaky. For instance a couple of days ago I sent out a message to the band telling them what we are doing for next rehearsal, what songs to learn, who is doing backing where, asking if anyone has a spare mic, telling them I'm going to make some slight variations to drumming in certain parts so it's more like the live version etc. Just the normal stuff that everyone kind of needed to know for the next rehearsal. You know, knowing what songs to learn for next week is in my opinion rather important.

I was met with the normal reply from everyone confirming they understood. Well from everyone except from the rhythm guitarist. He replied with questions. Questions that I had just answered in the same post. He actually asked what songs we are learning. When I polity asked him to please read the message I received the rather charming reply that was along the lines of "I don't have time to read messages, you are taking the band to seriously, this is not a job and you are not my boss".

That message actually made me want to hit him. If anyone else had said that to me they would of been fired on the spot. Problem is he is one of my best mates. Me him and the lead guitar have been mates for years and years. We hang out every week. I really don't know what to do. If I fire him he will completely disown us. I have asked the lead guitarist to have a word with him because if I did it he would take offence and no doubt quit. That's another thing that's really bugging me. I can't actually say anything to him without him throwing a tantrum.

What do I do? Am I just over reacting? Am I just up myself and is this the way I should expect people to act?

Opinions would be rather nice.

Oh not sure if it's relevant but we are all in our early 20s, cover band, UK and me lead and rhythm have been friends ever since college.

This whole experience has put me off working with mates ever again. Well I say that yet I can't actually imagine being in a band without our lead guitarist. He is very talented, has no real ego, accepts criticism and gives it back. He is just perfect. Same with our bassist (not an old friend but he has become one since working with him, he hangs out with us every week now). I just don't understand why out rhythm guitarist can't be the same. Especially when he must know he is holding us all back. If I was in his shoes I would be bending over backwards to please everyone. Gah! What do I do?

larryace 03-30-2011 02:47 PM

Re: Guitarist rant
Ask him how important this band is on a scale of 1 to 10
If it's anything less than a 10 tell him that is a big problem, not acceptable, you need a 10.
Ask him what you should do if you want/need a 10 and he's not a 10. That puts him in control (saves face) but makes him responsible for his own issue.

If he does answer 10, say..."OK if it is really that important, then there's a problem that needs addressing. We all feel the rhythm guitar part (not him) is lacking". Ask him what are you supposed to do because the rhythm playing (not his rhythm playing) is no longer acceptable and has to improve or else the band will be in an awkward position of having to make changes. Don't lecture him at all. You can state facts, like the rhythm guitar part is weak (not that he plays it weak, it's just weak, leave the word "him" out of it) but mainly, just ask him tough questions and let him answer them. Put him very much on the spot. Let him know that you all feel very much let down musically and what is going to be done about it?
(the fact that you're a drummer, he likely feels you are lower on the totem pole, that's why he can't take any criticism from you, or he throws tantrums, so don't criticise, just make him answer for himself)

Talk in questions not statements, very important if you don't want to lose his friendship. The way you word things is imperative. Don't say "your playing is unacceptable", instead say...we all feel the rhythm guitar portion of our sound is unacceptable. He can't argue w/ your feelings, and it sounds like you are talking about an arbitrary thing, not "his" playing.

PQleyR 03-30-2011 02:54 PM

Re: Guitarist rant
Sounds like he doesn't want to be in the band. Gently get to him to notice/admit this and then take appropriate action. This is the challenge you will face moving from amateur/semi-pro to professionalism. I've seen this happen many times.

ourlorderic 03-30-2011 04:22 PM

Re: Guitarist rant
Thanks guys, that's some great advice.

DrumEatDrum 03-30-2011 06:14 PM

Re: Guitarist rant
Wait.......why is he still in the band?

ourlorderic 03-30-2011 08:04 PM

Re: Guitarist rant

Originally Posted by DrumEatDrum (Post 821022)
Wait.......why is he still in the band?

My thoughts exactly. Pretty much because he is mine and the lead guitars best mates. We hang out all the time and we all get on great. That's why we have put up with him for so long. I did not really mind the fact that he was a bit slower than us as he's a mate and we really wanted to do the band thing with him. But after that comment about taking it all too seriously, not reading the messages and never able to take criticism from me (yet he's first to give it out) I really am at the end of my tether. He suddenly has one to many flaws for me to put up with any more.

We have a gig in a couple of weeks so I can't really do anything yet but after the gig I think I will have to have a talk with him. Thing is no matter what I say he is going to blow up and have a massive argument. I will most certainly use larryace's advice and keep my fingers crossed but realistically I think this will end in him either quitting or being fired. That's a bit of a relief really but if he leaves the band then I doubt he will ever talk to us again.

Still fingers crossed and all that.

Bo Eder 03-31-2011 02:26 AM

Re: Guitarist rant
You can still be best mates, he just can't be in the band. Let him hang out, but he's done playing with you. If you let him stay, you'll all be on a sinking ship together. Just get somebody else and tell him he's been replaced, but he's welcomed to hang out because you're friends.

aaajn 03-31-2011 02:32 AM

Re: Guitarist rant
Cheetah's don't change their spots unless you power wash them.

harryconway 03-31-2011 03:05 AM

Re: Guitarist rant
If he can't pull his own weight, then he needs to go. If the cats in your band don't see this, then maybe you need to find "another" band.
A guy who "throws tantrums" is nothing more than a tall child, and having a person like that in your band is going to be really detrimental.

Pocket-full-of-gold 03-31-2011 03:15 AM

Re: Guitarist rant

Originally Posted by ourlorderic (Post 820860)
What do I do?

I think you already know what you have to do mate.

Everyone else is on the same page and one solitary member feels the need to march to the beat of his own drum? You can't be a little bit pregnant mate. He either wants to be in a band and do the things that everyone else agrees upon, or he doesn't. In this case it's clear he doesn't. Why waste any more of your collective time?

"Fingers crossed" nothing......they'll be crossed forever and your friendship will go down the drain along with your patience. If you want to remain best mates with him.....ditch him....and fast.

And don't be put off working with mates due to one bad experience. The bass player I've worked most with over the years. Numerous bands together etc etc, is my best mate and we've been as thick as thieves for 25 years. We don't always work together in every band we've played in, but there have been many where we have and it's always a joy making music with him when I do. I still catch up with him regularly to this day.........it's not always bad.

ourlorderic 03-31-2011 02:44 PM

Re: Guitarist rant
Well I saw him last night and I guess our lead guitarist must of had a word. He was talking a lot about band stuff, showed us some covers of covers that really fit into out set, told me he had been practising all week and was generally pretty much what I expect from processionals. He was high spirited and gave some very productive input. Our lead guitarist even brought up that he needed to take another look at the intro of "Welcome To The Jungle" and he took it on the chin and said he would sort it for Fridays rehearsal.

I was very pleasantly surprised. Will have to see how his performance is on Friday but maybe the message has sunk in. Although if after this gig he starts reverting back to his old ways then I will have to have a talk with the band about the possibility of finding a new guitarist.

I will be keeping a close eye on him and I don't honestly think this new attitude will last but we have to keep him for the upcoming gig anyway so this will be a good time to just observe I guess.

*Sigh* I honestly thought that all the stories of guitarists on this forum were just really rare bad experiences. I never expected this from one of my best mates. Still live and learn.

Stalwart_Pandora-Chris 04-11-2011 11:35 PM

Re: Guitarist rant
Same story with my band too mate, it's actually making me think that my band could be terrible. Rhythm Guitarists? Let downs :/
our Rhythm guitarist (who is me and the lead guitarists best friend) recently got a girlfriend too and he's been like "Oh, I feel ill. I can't make it to practice" when he is fit enough to stay on the phone for 4 hour with his girlfriend and cover Noah And The Whale songs on guitar.
This thread is really like my band too. I'm actually going to have a word with him right now, he's not practicing any of the songs we want to do because Noah and The Whale is more important to him. If he keeps it up, he'll be packing his guitar in it's case and leaving :) that's fine with me, and we'll be searching for a new guitarist.

drumr_102 04-12-2011 12:03 AM

Re: Guitarist rant
I've had those exact problems with different guitarists from different bands and needless to say I'm not in a band with them anymore.
I'm not friends with any of them either sadly, but it kind of made me realize they treated my friendship the same way. (Flaky when they had girlfriends and pissy attitudes)
I'm sure your situation is unique though and I'm not telling you to ditch your friends because being in a band is less fun without friends...

Good luck and I hope things work out!

Davethis 04-12-2011 12:16 AM

Re: Guitarist rant
deport his ass to a band that doesnt care in the same way that he doesnt care -
problem solved - everybody happy

ourlorderic 04-23-2011 01:48 AM

Re: Guitarist rant
Just thought I would give you an update. Well we had our gig and it went great. No better than great. It was awesome! It went so well. I learnt quite a bit as well (mainly that I am never going on stage without a towl again, holding onto my sticks was the hardiest thing I have ever had to do. Soooo sweaty. Also make sure I double check I have my stuff before I leave, I forgot the damn Cowbell!).

The guitarist had learnt all his bits. The whole thing was just...well tight. Perhaps it was just stress that made everything a bit bad for a while (his parents our having some problems I believe).

I'm still going to get our lead guitarist to have a word with him but I hope that this ends all the silliness. We were all so pumped after the gig. The audience rushed the stage to shake our hands and were actually demanding more songs even though we had just done our encore.

Sorry sounds like I'm bragging but well I guess I am a bit. Best gig ever.

Here is an extract if anyone is interested:


It's a mash up of Enter Sandman and Don't Stop Believing. The original song is by Rock Sugar. Well worth listening to if you have never heard it. Will mess your mind up so much.

Anyway thanks for all the advice.

(Oh and if you do watch it bare in mind that this singer was just a stand in. We lost our singer a month or so before the gig so the girl very nicely offered to stand in. Her first time ever on stage so was a bit nervous. She did a great job but I can't see us keeping her on for various reasons)

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