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Why Do Players Look At Their Guitars When Playing?


capmaster

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Just thought about my experiences with unexpected failure of stage lighting during three decades. :P In fact, all of my bands rehearse regularly in the dark due to these incidents. This also makes us aware again and again how loud we REALLY are, and how bad loud AND wrong may appear to the listener... [biggrin]

 

Any ideas are appreciated. For bringing full florescence to your fantasy, there are a few suggestions provided in the poll. Please feel free posting your personal imaginations. ;)

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They are checking for extra sustain :P

 

Lol.. I donno.. I guess its just checking your position and admiring your own skill (or lack there of for some of us :P :))

 

And yes.. as I voted.. just staring at their beautiful guitar.

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They are checking for extra sustain :P

 

Lol.. I donno.. I guess its just checking your position and admiring your own skill (or lack there of for some of us :P :))

This could be why they offer Les Paul guitars with extraordinary beautiful tops. So there is a reason for staring despite of having already found all the possible sustain [rolleyes]

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I check my hand positioning, pick position etc all the time. Last thing I want to do is either drop the pick (done that a few times because jazz III's are tiny) or pick the wrong string/have my hand at the wrong fret. It's always so dark on stage that I need self reassurance that I'm doing it right

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When I had my guitar shop in Las Vegas, a lot of the guys playing at the hotels would bring their guitars in for repair.

Anyway, I would get the occasional complaint that some times they would have trouble playing when the stage lights went down during the acts, so I asked one of the guys I got to know over time if he would let me experiment with his guitar.

We removed the fret board, and installed fiber optic lights at each fret marker on the top edge of the neck.

We installed a light blue fiber optic light, and he loved it. Only one we ever did that way, but he said it worked great. That was back in the early 70s and I am surprised I have seen it sense then. One of his remarks was that even with the lights up, he could see the lights on the neck out of the corner of his eye, so he did not have to look directly at the neck as much.

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Cupla things for me...

 

First, for kinda the same reason that even when I'm singing a song I've done for 50 or more years, I prefer when recording or whatever, to have a hardcopy of the words there.

 

Yeah, that's kinda a backup but I'm always kinda a backup nut. I'll add I do the same making speeches even though I'll not do them word for word. I don't have "the map" in a straight instrumental, but it's just kinda a double check of hand positioning...

 

I've noted that more than a few exceptional guitarists far beyond my talent and skill, tend also to do the same - perhaps to the point that the body is most familiar with that performance geometry regardless that they may not at all need it.

 

m

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starting off it's a natural place to rest one's gaze when not comfortable with being on stage. a bat habit one should get over ASAP.

 

I always look down when making a significant switch of hand position, and when playing solos.

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I checked back at some pix my lady "shot" of me at various venues the past year. It seems when I'm doing a vocal I'm at least mostly lookin' at the audience, when I'm doing a pickin' bit, I'll tend to look at the guitar neck, even if it's gettin' a start with stuff I'm also pretty much doin' behind the vocal. Hmmmm.

 

m

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I'm usually looking to see where I could maybe play the next chord that would be different from other guitar player or keys. If I have time, that is. Usually singing or goofing off or playing cymbals with the headstock, no I never really had lots of time to look at it. Discipline is first and foremost, learn the songs as though you can't see the neck, because most of the time you can't.

 

rct

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The same question applies to piano. In my prime I could play piano with my eyes shut. That is now gone unfortunately. I practice that on guitar to feel my finger placement. There are lots of reasons why people may look at their guitars, but there are betters reasons not to do it.

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Um, like, to see what they're playing? Or is this a trick question? :unsure: [biggrin]

 

Early in my career, I discovered that you could look at the fretboard and see what you are playing. I adapted that from what's called "looking at what you're doing." Like, where I learned that if you look at the ball you can kick it better.

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.

 

I don't have much of a repertoire on guitar, but on one thing I do play, I need to look intently at my flat picking, which requires a lot of hand-eye coordination. I'm not talking about just "strumming," but picking a single string, then a strum, then a back-strum, then picking another string, etc., all pretty fast. It's hard enough hitting the right string
with
looking.

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