It’s a bad boy musicians cliche. You grab a custom Gibson by the head of the neck and swing it roundhouse at your attacker. You’ve seen it in many concerts, in Hollywood films, and on TV. As I write this, you can imagine the guitar detonating. It’s enough to make me, a teetotaler, drink. But, a guitar is not a weapon.
However, almost every folkie who has wound up playing seedy bars, not-so-scrumptious play dates in basements, or facing the wrong drunk at four AM knows that the guitar is often the first contact with the enemy.
So, the question becomes how to defeat your opponent without ruining your means of making money.
Before going into more subtle techniques, let’s disabuse the more obvious method of swinging the guitar’s body. As we have already noted, while deadly, this results in a badly damaged guitar. Ouch! Consider the shape and construction of the guitar; the neck is its weak point. However, the broad bottom makes the perfect object for thrusting directly into the softer parts of a drunken home boy’s face. Strategic use of the button on the base can result in wounds requiring a plastic surgeon’s care. Use the twisting and pulling motions with caution; significant soft tissue damage is inevitable.
Other objects available to the guitarist are the strap, picks, and sheet music. First, let’s consider the strap as a quick and easy method of applying a garrot to the neck of the opponent. Next, we should consider our picks; used as sharp objects to stab or scratch. The unguarded drunk will undoubtedly have trouble explaining them at home, ” you got these how?! You damned liar!”
Even loose sheet music can be hurled into the face of an attacker to distract momentarily while you flee the stage. In short, you have many defensive and offensive options as a guitarist.
I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention that having a friend with an escape car running is preferable to facing Sheriff Vinny, the drunks’ cousin, who happens to be the local law.
Good luck, and pay closer attention to where your bookings land you.