Transcript for the Piece Audio version of Guitar Face
Everybody knows the guitar face, the expression a rock guitar player makes when he or she has embarked upon a solo. I say she for the sake of inclusiveness, but I have never actually seen a woman make a guitar face. I suspect the ability or desire to make a guitar face may not be in the female DNA.
Be that as it may, the New York Times has informed me that “[a]s a way to promote a video-on-demand guitar instruction show on cable television called "Guitar Xpress," the company that owns the service, Rainbow Media Holdings, recently came up with the idea of holding a national ‘guitar face’ contest.”
You send a picture of your face as you’re playing guitar to the company, either through e- or regular mail. Your rictus will then be judged by a panel of people who have been there, including surf guitar meister Dick Dale, former Byrd Roger McGuinn and J. J. French of Twisted Sister.
The folks running the contest have apparently given a lot of thought to it, and have broken down guitar faces into distinctive types: “the pout, the pucker, the catfish (open mouth), the heavy squint and the full-face wince.”
Categorizing the facial distortions of rock stars is, of course, a perfectly good hobby, and is the sort of thing that people with too much time on their hands should be doing, along with making a list of their tee-shirts, and logging every instance on the SIMPSONS in which Homer says “D’oh!”
But where is the science in this, the hard science? Are there comparisons to be made, for instance, between bass face and guitar face, drum face and guitar face, game face and guitar face? What is a game face, by the way? I’ve never heard a satisfactory answer to that question.
Is there a control group? People who make similar faces while eating waffles, say, or mowing the lawn? What about those poor unfortunate expressionless guitar players, who just stand there and let their guitar do the mugging?
And why do these faces occur in the first place? I suspect there are several reasons. Showmanship, for one. Showing off, for another, you know, letting folks in the cheap seats see just how hard you’re working. And also: I don’t know why, but women really like it. Strange as it may seem, women are often attracted to an ordinarily normal looking guy squinching up his face like he’s being poked with a dull stick while sniffing ammonia and rotten eggs. Maybe it’s guitar face envy, I don’t know. All I know is if you can wince and play a musical instrument at the same time, you will be a babe magnet. Just don’t make a guitar face while you are playing air guitar. That is a total turn off. Believe me, I’ve been there.Back