Wipe down your fretboard, grab a pick and turn your amp up to 11! That’s right kids! It’s International Guitar Month! Every April, guitarists and music aficionados from around the world gather physically, virtually and mentally to recognize both the instruments and the talented musicians who bring them to life.
There are plenty of special events and concerts taking place around the world this month, but here are some ways that you can celebrate International Guitar Month right now from your desktop or smartphone.
01) Watch 100 Guitar Riffs (A Brief History of Rock N’ Roll)
Even if you don’t play guitar yourself, you’re sure to get a kick out of watching this clip. In just one take, Alex Chadwick, from The Chicago Music Exchange, chronologically plays 100 famous guitar riffs giving you a 12-minute history of rock n’ roll.
02) Learn the Story Behind Lucille, BB King’s Famous Guitar
How many guitars do you know with their own name? Not only does B.B. King‘s guitar have her own name, but Lucille even has her own Wikipedia page.
In 1949, very early on in B.B. King’s musical career, he performed at a dance hall in Twist, Arkansas. During the performance, two men started fighting and knocked over a heater setting the venue on fire. Everyone evacuated the dance hall, including King.
But once he was safely outside, he realized that he had left his $30 Gibson guitar inside. King risked his life and ran back inside to retrieve the guitar. King made it back outside safely, but two people perished in the blaze. It was later revealed that the two men who started the fire were fighting over a woman named Lucille. King named the guitar he saved from the fire, Lucille, to remind himself never to do something that stupid again.
King owned many guitars over the years, mostly variants of the Gibson ES-355, but has called them all Lucille. In 1980, Gibson created a modified Gibson ES-355, called the Gibson Lucille, in honor of B.B. King. It was followed up in 1999 with a smaller version called the Little Lucille and again in 2005 with an 80th Birthday Lucille, in honor of B.B. King’s 80th birthday.
You can find a song called “Lucille,” that tells the story of the famous guitar, on B.B King’s Anthology 1962–1998 album.
There you go. You now know the story of Lucille.
03) Admire a “Les Paul Guitar” Autographed By… Les Paul?!
Frank Radice, former president of The Emmys and MethodShop contributor, has also recorded and/or performed with The Righteous Brothers, Peaches & Herb, Band From TV, Stephen Tyler (Aerosmith) and many others. Over the years, Frank has added a few unique pieces to his personal guitar collection. One item of note is a 1960 Les Paul classic re-issue guitar autographed by the godfather of the electric guitar himself, Les Paul.
We asked Frank Radice to tell us a little about this rare collector’s item in his own words:
I had the honor of playing for Les’s 90th Birthday party at the Gibson Artists space in New York City. Also playing with me and the Jay Stollman All-Stars; was Jose Feliciano (A great rock guitarist: Fact!) Stanley Jordan, and Mark Pender from the E Street Band and Conan O’Brien‘s house band, The Max Weinberg 7. Les came in, listened to us for quite a while, cut the cake and then signed the guitar for me. Les and I had known each other for years. We first met when I was the executive producer of Entertainment News at CNN. I was also an on-air correspondent for CNN’s ShowBiz Today when I interviewed Les about his many contributions to the music business. Years later, I interviewed him again as a Director for Entertainment Tonight. And finally as a producer for ABC News Nightline. Needless to say, I saw him often at The Iridium in Manhattan. His legacy will last forever. That memory, for me, lives in his personal signature on my Black Beauty.
04) Tell Us About Your Favorite Guitarist or Bassist
- “Who is the best guitarist of all time?”
- “Who is the best bassist of all time?”
05) Read An Interview with a Talented Guitarist
MethodShop had the privilege of interviewing legendary metal guitarist “Lips” from the band Anvil. Check it out.
06) Buy Tickets to See A Loud & Raw Rock N’ Roll Concert During International Guitar Month
Sorry Rebecca Black, Ashlee Simpson and Justin Bieber fans. There’s nothing like seeing a concert with real and talented musicians. People who can play their own instruments live with a singer who can sing without being auto-tuned or lip-synced.
07) Learn How To Play Guitar
It’s one thing to listen to music, but learning how to play just one song on guitar can open up a whole new reality and appreciation for music. Go beg, borrow or steal a guitar from a friend and look up some basic guitar tutorials on YouTube. Bob Dylan‘s “Knockin’ On Heaven’s Door” is a good song to start with with. It’s slow paced, has a simple chord progression (only 4 chords!) and is fun to play.
08) Watch The Movie “This Is Spinal Tap”
If you’ve already seen it, then re-watch it and memorize some Spinal Tap quotes like “these go to 11.” And if you’ve never seen Spinal Tap, then you are in for a treat. This mockumentary of a metal band on the decline was deemed “culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant” by the Library of Congress in 2002 and was selected for preservation by the United States National Film Registry. There’s also a sequel called The Return Of Spinal Tap.
09) Learn Some Guitar Trivia
Here are some quick guitar related facts that are sure to impress your guitar and music friends during International Guitar Month:
- Epiphone was originally a Greek violin company. They made banjos from 1923 but in the 1930’s changed to guitars. Epiphone was the only banjo company to successfully switch to guitar production.
- Les Paul had a car accident in 1948 and asked the doctor to set his arm permanently in a guitar-playing position.
- In 1950, Leo Fender devised a strength and durability test for guitar necks, which was balancing a neck between two chairs and standing on it.
- A Gibson solid body with no serial number is from the year 1952. For some reason, Gibson didn’t use serial numbers in 1952.
- A Fender Stratocaster is carved on Jimi Hendrix‘s tombstone.
- Glen Hansard from The Frames has played the same acoustic guitar from his childhood so much that it has holes in it from strumming.
10) DavidMeShow’s “Best Guitar Improvisation Ever”
DavidMeShow has a very popular YouTube channel. One look at this video with over 24 million views below titled “Best Guitar Improvisation Ever” and you’ll see why. I’m still not sure what has more talent, his hands or his face.
- This Acoustic Bacon Guitar Looks Delicious.. Even Though It’s Raw
- Remembering A 1980s Classic: Steinberger Guitars
- How To Turn Your Old Kitchen Sink into a DIY Slide Guitar
- Watch 40 Wild Birds Play A Les Paul Electric Guitar
- Heidi Klum Strips Down To Her Underwear For Guitar Hero Commercial
- Man Without Arms Plays Guitar Perfectly With His Feet