Miscellaneous Rumbles

Name the time you fooled people into thinking you were a good guita…


Mine's easy. In 1989 I went to that big southwest guitar show they had in Dallas. That summer i'd gone through a total SRV phase and had learned Cold Shot note for note, complete with the chunk beat and the pick+fingers grabs in the solo. I mean, I could not play a lick in a band or really anything apart from country and folk, but I COULD nail Cold Shot. The reason I remember this so well is because it's also the first time I had ever seen a gretsch corvette (and I didn't really know gretsch at all). So I ask one of those guitar jockeys if I could try it out. He plugged it into something boutique and I played the only song I knew that worked for electric--yes, cold shot. And I am going to brag now and tell you it sounded killer. Low volume but mellow. Well, I look up and I have five or six bluesheads nodding along, actually appreciating it (prolly because it was low volume groove level a la what the cool guys do at guitar shows, heh heh). I got asked where and with whom I was gigging, etc. I just played it dry, muttered that I just was doodling and that only got these guys more convinced I was some new, local talent. But that really was the ONLy thing I could play. I had spent three months playing cold shot and only cold shot and knew nothing else. (simple times). Funny thing is that about a decade later I did the same thing with Rumble in Brighton on a white Falcon in guitar center in Dallas, and that was prolly the only setzer song I could really play. Guitar center still tended to be blues and metal head land so again I drew a few listeners who were absolutely and erroneously convinced I was true rockabilly boy come to life.

Guess I fooled them too.

Then a guy at the desk came over and wanted to jam. And I wilted fast.

Fame is fleeting, buds. Fleeting, I tell you.



I once played so drunk that I fell off the (not very high) stage during a solo and didn’t miss a note. Got massive kudos from the punk rockers but shamed me even age 19 or 20.


I'm still trying to convince myself that I can play.


Every gig played with a band called Love Chunks.

We were horrible, played 40 minute sets with nothing more than an E major with effects, yet, we had a great show, and the other guitar player and myself would listen to what each other were doing, and it worked on a drunken, inebriated level...so much so that we'd get people clamoring after the show, saying this or that...we just wanted some beers.


If that ever happens, I'll let you know.


Somehow I have a reputation (at least to my face) among the relatively small number of people who've heard me play as a better guitarist than I think I've ever demonstrated.

Another sort of fooled-em-all musical moment is a short intro section to a song I recorded with my band maybe 15 years ago, which really sounds nothing like anything else we did. (Though no two songs sounded similar anyway). This bit impressed more than one agent/producer to take a momentary interest in the band (which evaporated as soon as they heard the rest of that song and more material - probably because I sang).

Which brings me to the most magical thing that ever happened to me vocally, when for once in my life I opened my mouth and throat and what came out exceeded my expectations of what I could do. It was after two days of exhaustive manic outdoor activity running a local carshow in the hot and humid height of an Indiana August - the kind of weather where you see the air. I was a drenched sweatpie for two days, with little to no sleep. I was a walking talking wreck.

We had a gig that night, in an old warehouse not a block from the car show venue. Car show was over around 6, I rushed over to load in, more humidity, more sweat, more strenuous to-the-wall living en extremis. (I believe trying to do the same thing now would literally kill me.) By the time we started playing, I was running on nothing but the nervous energy left from that kind of exertion in that kind of weather. For once, we had a good sound man. We sounded good.

I started singing, and it was like choirs of troubled (but pitch-accurate) stentorian mahogany angels leapt mellifluously from my throat. I split every note right down the middle, and every vocal effect I tried worked. Notes I'd had to strain screech and hope for in the past were wide open, effortless, and clear. I could go baritone deep, I could go tenor high. I might even have been emotionally expressive.

For two hours I knew at least what it felt like to be a singer rather than a guitarist/songwriter who recites his lyrics in a pitched voice. I mean, I soared. I can never have sounded better.

Not another soul noticed (not even the band) and it's never happened again.


I have done a good job convincing myself that I am a good guitar player. The recorded evidence, however, does not concur.


Before fooling others, I would have to fool myself first. And that ain't happening.


This happened to me at a Kaman dealer show in OKC years ago. We were putting in our annual Christmas season order and checking out all of the new products. I stopped at the Shadow pickup display where one of their young clinicians was doing a demo on Shadow's latest offerings. This guy was a really fabulous and talented player who had forgotten more about guitar playing than I'd ever know, really top-flight. He was asking us what our favorite pickup was, then replicating the sound. Before I knew what was happening, he thrust his guitar at me and invited me to try it out. All of these seasoned players who worked for other music stores were standing around waiting to hear me let loose with some musical gem. I stood there like a dummy trying to figure out how to save face and slink out gracefully, but I had no choice. I had to try to look like I knew the business end of a guitar. I quickly faked my way through a chorus of Chet Atkins' "Hidden Charms" (the only other Chet song I can play is "Windy and Warm") and handed his guitar back. He had a look of horror on his face, almost in tears. "Man! all you guys down here can play Chet Atkins except me!" was all he could get out. I thanked him for letting me try out the pickups and beat a hasty retreat, but I noticed all of these appreciative faces nodding their approval at me.


Before fooling others, I would have to fool myself first. And that ain't happening.

– Ric12string

If it please the court, I'd like to submit the following evidence in rebuttal to that statement:

Ya' sure fooled me, Bob.


No such luck here. Everybody sees right thru me. LOL


Nah, I pretty much suck... no need for false pretense of fooling anyone, let alone myself.


Oh....I got a couple of stories. First time it happened, I went to the Rickenbacker Confluence in Orange County. I guess it was back in either '09, or maybe '10. I brought along my brand new 360/12 and a JangleBox. Got to visiting with some of the guys in my favorite Byrds tribute band, and ended up being asked to join them on stage. "Cool!" I thought to myself. So we're about to go on, we're plugging in and tuning up. And just as we're set to go, the band leader says "Let's open up with Mr. Tambourine Man." So their Roger McGuinn guy turns to me and he says "You wanna do the riff?" Oh boy!

Then last year I decided to enter the Kansas State Finger Picking Championship. I had to play two numbers. So I had "It's Only a Paper Moon" in C,(Harold Arlen) and "Ragpickin'" (Richard Saslow) in E picked out as my contest numbers. And I won. Fooled 'em again! Got the certificate framed and hanging on my studio wall, and went home a hundred and fifty bucks richer.


Kansas State Finger Picking Championship. I had to play two numbers. So I had "It's Only a Paper Moon" in C,(Harold Arlen) and "Ragpickin'" (Richard Saslow) in E picked out as my contest numbers. And I won. Fooled 'em again!

Well, I'd say when fooling rises to that level, it's as good as the real thing.


I was chosen to play in the Wisconsin State Honors Jazz Band in high school on the strength of playing a truncated version of Django Reinhardt's "Minor Swing." I'd say I might have fooled somebody into thinking I was handy with a guitar, but I've always suspected that I may have been the only applicant. The other example would be my audition to the University of Wisconsin School of Music. I had to play a couple of classical pieces. I did okay at best, but the most memorable part of the experience was that the professor asked me about my fingernails. I didn't understand the question and instinctively apologized for not trimming them better, not realizing that he was asking my why they weren't grown out. I think I was admitted on the assumption that if I could be so utterly clueless and do a passable performance, maybe there was some talent somewhere in me. Joke was on them. There wasn't much talent and considerably less work ethic. After one semester I left the school of music and headed for a B.B.A. in finance.


If it please the court, I'd like to submit the following evidence in rebuttal to that statement:

Ya' sure fooled me, Bob.

– Timthom62

It's an impostor, Tim!

Besides, I know my limitations well. Never exceed them!


We should all be fortunate enough to have such expansive limitations.


Pshaw. Stop. We know better. Every dog finds a bone eventually.



That had me laughing out loud--been there as a vocalist and nope, nobody noticed but me either.

Jim, Ric (and others), erm, I think we'll just classify you as bona-fide and remain resigned to our own limitations.

The chef atkins story also had me laughing-- I know a guy who is studio musician level, is the guy they bring in to 'back up' name bands in big-time concerts to 'fill out' the sound, etc., but the one thing he cannot due is to play a flat rockabilly chug. He just cannot not turn it into blues. Obv, that does not work well on a faster number--and since on all other levels he is an absolute king, it really gets him upset if I play a straight ahead Elvis tune.

Also--sorry for all the typos. Posting from the phone again.




Apparently I have "insane vibrato"


Went into guitar center acoustic room. Guy playing a pearl jam song had four of his friends staring at him in appreciation for his mastery of the song... I walk into their side of the room, grabbed a 1k Taylor walked back to other side of the room while blasting mystery train, faced the corner, sat down and finger picked a medaly of Mystery Train, Built for Speed, two of my compositions, ripped a Johny b good solo in the 1 4 5. And ended it in Emin.. Walked back over, hung the guitar while being looked up n down in total silence.. I think I faked it pretty good That day.. Rockabilly strikes its victim the hardest..Hahaaaahaaa!! Woooo alright!! Geder done...


Only one little instance for me...

Being aware of my neophytic abilities and the desperate need to develop same, I decided to go on a quest to figure out how to play the guitar intro/main riff to the studio version of EC’s “Lay Down Sally”. I chose it because A.) I’ve always liked it, and B.) Even though I suspected (at that time) that it was actually possibly two guitar tracks at once, but it sounded to me like it COULD be played all at once, and C.) It was gonna be really hard for me.

So began the torture. First, internalizing what the actual notes were, followed by figuring out the theoretical way to physically make them all happen, followed by battling my fingers (and thumb, turns out) to make them obey what I tell them, along with minimizing the noise from the extraneous strings in the process. True guitar boot camp for someone at my level of playing (in)ability.

Weeks went by. Progressing at the speed of smell.

One Saturday, I’d worked it all out and now it was down to repetition and developing the ability to both mute and skip irrelevant strings when necessary. And all that Saturday, it sounded like 6 rubber bands. Grrr...

I had a drum gig that evening and on the way there, I realized that the heads on the two particular snare drums I had grabbed were basically done. There’s a GC on that end of town so I ducked in to grab a couple more of what I use (which they didn’t have, of course). Ran into a buddy who was in front of an amp and playing a ‘70’s Telecaster Deluxe they’d just taken in. My bud handed it to me and I figured I’d try “Sally” on it and all the suction would be forgiven coz “heck, guy’s a drummer fer crissake.”

But to my shock, it came out 95% perfect. I had to do it again, just to make sure it had actually happened and shaw nuff....

Not wanting to push my luck, I immediately handed the Telly back to my buddy (who actually CAN play) bought the most similar snare heads I could find, and went to dash off to my gig.

On the way out the door, a fella stopped me and asked if I gave guitar lessons, bless him.

If he only knew.....


Paul Yandell told me that almost every time he and Chet walked off the stage together, Chet would say to him, "Fooled 'em again."


My kids thought I was a retired rock star until they realized that Santa Claus and the Easter Bunny were also lies.


My kids thought I was a retired rock star until they realized that Santa Claus and the Easter Bunny were also lies.

– Baba Joe


Aw, you are joking about Santa Claus and the Easter bunny not being real, correct? Good, I thought so.

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