Allowing someone else to jam with my guitar?

Discussion in 'Band Management [BG]' started by Matthew_84, Jan 3, 2015.

  1. Hi TB'ers,

    I need some of your opinions on my feelings about a situation I'm struggling with (sorry in advance for the long rant):

    For the last year or so, I've been jamming with a three-piece hip-hop band (myself, drummer, and an MC/Bandleader). The MC is one of my wife's best friends and was one of the very few people at our wedding of less than 50 people. The drummer is his cousin.

    There are no gigs, and not even a setlist. Just every every few weeks we get together and improvise - I'll usually come up with a bassline or melody, drummer will come up with something that matches, and the MC will freestyle along with.

    Several months ago I bought a beautiful, top of the line MIM Fender Stratocaster. I decided to bring it to one of our jams, where it was just the three of us, in case I felt the urge to play it instead of the bass, or in case one of the other guys wanted to try it out. The MC has an amazing gift for knowing what sounds good, and is usually pretty decent on any instrument the first time he picks it up. Even if the drummer wanted to play the guitar, the MC could hop on the drums and we wouldn't lose a beat.

    One thing I should mention about my Strat is that it is not tuned to standard guitar tuning (EADGBE), it is tuned into perfect 4ths (EADGCF). In order to achieve this, I had to get to lower tensioned B/C and E/F strings. I did this so that I could learn one fingering for a major triad, and apply it anywhere on the fretboard. Also it made more sense to me - the bass is still my main instrument, and I didn't want to spend too much time on the guitar learning the fingering for every chord.

    Two sessions ago, the bandleader texted me and asked me to bring the guitar again so his guitarist friend could come along (who is apparently amazing at the guitar, yet doesn't own one? :eyebrow:). I didn't feel comfortable with the idea... Sure, I'd be there to oversee everything, but the C and F string would likely have to be re-tuned back to B and E, which would then have to be re-tuned to C and F, which annoys me a bit, and I'm just not too comfortable with the idea of someone else using it. Also, I like to keep my gear in pristine condition and I'm a little OCD about it, which is surely contributing to my negative feelings about the situation.

    I ended up cancelling the jam, saying that something came up.

    Soon after, I did get unmotivated to play (really not related to this at all), and I didn't pick up my bass for a few weeks.

    He texted me again for another jam session, but it also came with a request to bring my guitar for the same guitarist. I was even less in the mood to comply, since I wasn't even motivated to play bass on my own, so something came up again and I backed out.

    Last night, he texted me to come for next week... No request to bring my guitar was made yet, and I don't know what to do if he asks. I really do want come to the jam session, as I am now very motivated in playing again, and I look forward to it, but I'm still not comfortable with someone I don't know playing my Strat.

    Truthfully, I feel like a pretty big baby about this situation. I'm clearly not able to share, and I feel pretty immature with it all, but it is how I feel.

    Anyways, if you stuck in this far, I really appreciate it, and I'd really like to hear your opinions (positive or negative).

  2. INTP


    Nov 28, 2003
    Dallas, TX
    A lot of people have trouble saying, "no", and you seem to be one of them. Think of the cost of not doing so vs. setting the boundary that you are comfortable. You subconscious is driving your conflict aversion, and you're missing out on opportunities to jam with close friends.

    Just be honest and tell him you don't want someone else playing your guitar.

    You have the right to say "no".

    It's your guitar. You don't owe an explanation and don't have to justify your decision, so don't spend time trying to explain yourself. IMHO, engaging in such a conversation only dilutes your point.

    You have the right to say "no".

    You owe it to yourself and your friend to be upfront instead of allowing this to become an unspoken wedge in your friendship.

    You have the right to say "no".
  3. Winfred


    Oct 21, 2011
    You gotta talk to the BL. Tell him everything, be honest, be nice.

    I know it's tough when friends and or family members are involved, but you gotta do it.

    It's your gear.

    And what kind of guitarist doesn't own a guitar??? That's a huge red flag.
  4. shaft311


    Apr 13, 2010
    Mt. Juliet, TN
    It's ok to say no. You have every right to set boundaries about your person and your property.

    I do not loan out instruments. I'm too picky about them, and it's easier to deny someone than to try to get money out of someone who's borrowing the instrument in the event something happens.

    You have to think about why they need to borrow in the first place. Why don't they own their own? Chances are it's because of money. That means if there is damage or something else happens, they're not going to be able to pay for the damage. A scratch to some is no big deal, whereas to me, I'm livid when my property gets damaged due to someone else's negligence. It's easier to just say no ahead of time. There are plenty of deals on Craigslist and other people who lend out instruments. I'm not one of them.
    Imaginary Pony, zontar and Matthew_84 like this.
  5. Thanks everyone for your input so far. I agree with everything... And yes, I am one of those people that have a hard time saying "no".
    TalHaz likes this.
  6. I agree that it's ok to say no, man up and tell the guy you don't want anyone playing your guitar, and then deal with the results.


    "the C and F string would likely have to be re-tuned back to B and E, which would then have to be re-tuned to C and F"

    really?....that's why they put tuning pegs on a's a 20 second process to re-tune.
  7. If its a friend that i know, i loan my gear without any issues. But if its someone i don't really know (like on a whim or in a gig) I always ask this question : "Can you afford to repair it if you break it?" You'll be surprised how many people give the guitar back to you.
  8. cronker


    Feb 13, 2007
    I'm slightly lucky in that being lefty, no one ever asks to borrow my basses. But even if the situation were different, I wouldn't let other people use my gear.
    The way I see it, I have put a lot of work time, money and effort into acquiring and looking after my equipment. If someone is as keen as I am to be a musician, then they surely would do the same.

    Also, I want to be the only one who is allowed to play badly on my gear.
  9. c_maj


    Jun 24, 2011
    Las Vegas, NV
    I would've said no also. I'm very particular about my instruments, especially since I have them all set-up for me in particular.

    I tune all my basses in 5ths. My 5-string in particular (tuned FCGDA) has a hybrid mixture of heavy and medium gauge Kalium strings; so the neck, bridge, and pick-ups have all been adjusted to accommodate not only the strings but also MY playing style. So for me it's not "just" a turning of the tuning pegs, it's a whole set-up issue. Maybe I'm being too deep - but that's just how my mind thinks.
  10. T_Bone_TL


    Jan 10, 2013
    SW VT
    Say no. Your guitar, your bass, your amp, your cords, your boundaries apply. There is absolutely no need for you to "share." Takes but a moment to screw things up, and if the person doing the screwing up isn't you, it's bad. Borrowers generally don't treat instruments as well as owners do. Standard sign (which may assume too much about the wives of tool borrowers) in many shops goes something like "you can borrow my tools if I can borrow your wife."

    If you wanted to, you could suggest that if Jam Host Man wants to have a guitar available for "Mysteriously Guitarless Guitar Player" he could buy one inexpensively at Rondo, or spend as much of HIS money on that object as he might care to for that purpose.
    Imaginary Pony likes this.
  11. zontar


    Feb 19, 2014
    There are people I will let play my guitar or bass, and others I won't--depends how well I know you-and how dependable & responsible you are.
    Rocker949 likes this.
  12. BIG97BEN


    Sep 12, 2011
    Richmond VA
    It shouldn't be a big deal to tell them no. If they make it a big deal then they are ones being weird, not you. All the good points for not lending out your gear have already been made. Say no, enjoy the jam, it sounds like a pretty cool project.
    Downunderwonder and Matthew_84 like this.
  13. FretNoMore

    FretNoMore * Cooking with GAS *

    Jan 25, 2002
    The frozen north
    There sure are a lot of strange band leaders people on TB have to suffer, I'm glad our band doesn't have one of those.

    Just say no, if the BLs guitarist friend wants to sit in (and what's up with that in the first place) he should bring his own guitar.
    Imaginary Pony, smogg and Matthew_84 like this.
  14. cronker


    Feb 13, 2007
    This. Ever had to rent gear? There's a good reason a lot of those old beat up Peavey's are still the norm. People don't treat anything as well if it isn't their own.
    smogg likes this.
  15. I get concerned when my wife loads things into the back of my Jeep ("But, a car is just a *tool*!" Ugh.). I wouldn't have a problem declining the opportunity let someone play one of my instruments. If you want to be avoidant about it, go to the jam and claim to have forgotten all about the guitar, as it's not your regular instrument?
  16. RustyAxe


    Jul 8, 2008
    Wow. Just tell the guy you're not bringing your new guitar for his buddy to play. Tell him to tell his buddy to bring his own guitar. Done. No drama needed, just plain communication.
  17. bolophonic


    Dec 10, 2009
    Durham, NC
    A guitarist without a guitar.
  18. mikew31

    mikew31 Supporting Member

    Oct 5, 2008
    Superior, WI
    ...isn't a guitarist
  19. tjh


    Mar 22, 2006
    I have a couple very inexpensive basses that play very well/sound decent, and those are the ones that go with me when I suspsect my stuff might be in a lot of hands or treated less nicely than I would prefer ... if I am supplying the amp, a $100 Peavey goes with ... I don't have to worry about things that way, and everybody enjoys themselves ... the better stuff stays home on those trips out ...

    JMHO ...
  20. buldog5151bass

    buldog5151bass Kibble, milkbones, and P Basses. And redheads.

    Oct 22, 2003
    As others have said, you have the right to say no.

    Especially as you do not know this person, you can say no.

    Especially as you had the guitar modified, you can say no.

    Especially as this "great guitarist" can't seem to locate his guitar (once happens, but this is a huge red flag).

    As Nancy R. told us, just say no.