Guitar Group Misbehavior

As a long time player, at one time pretty serious, but somewhat lapsed, I still doodle on the git-box. I also belong to a couple of private groups of guitar players on Facebook. While it is mostly entertaining, there are some really fucked up things.


There are occasional threads where someone posts a video of themselves playing. Often they are people learning, or on their journey. I make a point to say something positive, and to help them feel good about themselves.

Seriously, it takes a lot of gumption to record yourself and post it, so go easy on them. We were all novices once, and I was fortunate enough to be a noob before the internet existed.

Alas, the “experts” then dive in and are negative, abusive assholes, pointing out flaws in their skills, their gear, their tone. Really obnoxious. More than one member of the group has left after this onslaught.

Gear snobs


The number of tube amp snobs is truly ginormous. Alas, according to these people all the modeling systems, and solid state amps are garbage. God help you if you have a Line6 Amp. Holy shit, these people are animals.

Of course, I would bet my bottom dollar that most of these people have never really played a good modeling system. Coupled with a decent amp, my Line6 PodXT does a pretty solid job of emulating many classic amps. Plugged directly into my Mac, via my audio input interface, and it sounds pretty convincing. The Eddie van Halen “brown tone” is pretty damn good.

Yes, I have a decent tube amp, but I don’t think that a solid state amp is inferior. In fact, I also have a solid state amp, the versatile Gallien Krueger 250ML, or as I affectionately call it, the Lunchbox from Hell.


And then there are the guitar brand snobs. Gibson is the best. Gibson sux. Fender is the bomb. You are dogs hit if you don’t have a PRS, blah blah blah.

The actual guitar is such a personal choice. Once you get out of the really cheap starter guitar realm, about the $300 mark, just about everything is playable. Yes, a $3,000 PRS Custom is pretty friggin sweet, but a $500 MIM Fender Stratocaster is quite decent.

In fact, even the Fender Squires, and Gibson Epiphones are quite good guitars. The secret is to find a good local music store, who has a guitar tech on hand to do a good setup. $75, and a fresh set of strings makes all the difference in the world.


Then we get to the most ridiculous thing for the snobs to sound-off on . String choice. Both brand and gauge. The amount of grief they dish out over someone using 0.009”s when anyone who is a real player plays at least 0.011”s.

Puh-lease. Play what you like, what feels good. If you like Slinky’s cool. Or D’Addarios or GHS, please, they are just wire.

Of course on an acoustic guitar, there is a lot more of a connection to string type and material.

However, most people really can’t tell the difference in tone or sound between 9’s and 10’s. Yes, if you are going to play a lot of slide guitar, then 12’s or even 13’s are nice. But, for the rest of us, play what feels good. Myself, I play 9’s.


One of the most ridiculous topics I ever saw, was a (quite serious) thread about how you tune.

Not the obvious argument, about drop-D, or detuning a half step (as I do when I really want to play some Van Halen), or how you tune (with a tuner, by ear, with a pitchfork, etc.)

No, the thread was a rant about tuning the A string to some other frequency, like 432Hz, or 445Hz, to “better resonate with the Earth that has a natural harmonic of 432Hz”.

Seriously, it ran to more than 100 comments, with a fair fraction being utterly bullshit. The correct answer is, if you play with others, and a keyboard player in particular, you tune to a standard 440Hz A and deal with your chakras being out of alignment with your homeopathic essential woo.


While I belong to some groups on Facebook and other places on the web that are rational, well behaved communities, I have had some negative experiences. Indeed, the worst experience wasn’t the Guitar group, but an atheist group that began to eat its own. However, the behavior I experienced at this guitar group is/was appalling. The badgering of people who are trying, and learning, the belittling of people who play light strings. The gear snobs who probably have never played a good modeling rig. The brand purists, and their screeds.

Bah, rubbish, all of it. But I stay because occasionally, an outstanding meme will be posted.

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