Dealing With Guitarists

Discussion in 'Band Management [BG]' started by MarcTheRogue, Jul 18, 2013.

  1. MarcTheRogue


    Mar 27, 2013
    So I've been trying to get a music project started with my brother, who is a guitarist. He is a phenomenal player; a great soloist and everything. The problem, however, is working with him.

    He has been playing for 15 years and still doesn't know his keys. He honestly couldn't play something in the key of G even if his life depended on it. This has been a serious problem for writing, since he can't find lead to match any of the chords that he plays. It just sounds.. jumbled. However, when I try telling him this, he gets boisterous and defensive. Then resorts to yelling, cursing, bigoted insults, (begins with f, rhymes with baguette) and sometimes threats if he takes it far enough. I try teaching him, but he assumes that just because he has been playing for 15 years and I have been playing for 3 that he knows more than me by default.

    He always has this "my way or the highway" attitude that just kills it for everyone. To him, everything has to be metal. Everything has to have distortion. And most importantly for him, everything must have double bass drums. But it doesn't stop there..

    I was using Guitar Pro to write out a riff that he gave me. A sort of heavy blues riff. The disagreement came when he tried telling me that his riff was in 4/4. I was a bit bothered by this, because 1) he doesn't know music theory whilst I do, and 2) the riff he made was subdivided into sections of 14/8, then 10/8, then 9/8, then 12/8, then 3/4, then 4/4, then 12/8. I even counted it off for him by physically clapping and it didn't fit. He then got frustrated, called me some derogatory names, then shut the door and left.

    Eventually he came to his senses when our drummer finally had confirmed that he wasn't writing in 4/4. I can tell that he too is getting tired of my brother's unwillingness to compromise on extremely minor ideas that he knows nothing about and his overinflated ego that makes him think that he is the best guitarist in this town. Sure, he can solo, but what's the point if you don't know what you're doing?

    So TB, what should I do? Should I continue trying to work with my brother and try teaching him to the best of my abilities, or should I just leave him behind for someone who is going to be less argumentative?

    Also, how do you deal with guitarists that act this way? Any stories worth sharing are always welcome.
  2. mcarp555

    mcarp555 Guest

    Jul 14, 2013
    While I've worked with some great guitarists who don't know a lick of theory, nothing in your post seems to justify your comment above. He certainly doesn't sound like he's phenomenal or great. Just stuck in his own little groove and not interested in yours. It's not your job to teach the world; I'd drop him like a hot potato.
  3. manuletroll


    Jul 10, 2013
    I'd definitely stop trying if I were you, there are enough good musicians out there. It'd be a shame if you were to persist and poison your relationship with your brother because of that.
  4. MarcTheRogue


    Mar 27, 2013
    I guess I should have put in a little annotation when I said "soloing." As in, soloing and soloing alone.

    If it's just his soloing and a mind-numbingly simple drum beat, it sounds great. But adding real humans behind it, it sounds very forced and clueless.
  5. Go work with someone else - but he’s your brother, so help him whenever you can or whenever he ask for help.
  6. derrico1

    derrico1 Supporting Member

    Apr 12, 2005
    Charlottesville, VA
    Doesn't sound like his pride won't let him value your teaching right now. It may be that he's the kind of player who will never want to attempt anything if it threatens his sense of already being some sort of master of his instrument.

    OTOH, it may be that he just can't value what you're offering, because it's freely given and he doesn't see it as a scarce resource. Start working with other bands and other guitarists, and down the road his attitude might change.
  7. nojj

    nojj Guest

    May 20, 2013
    Seen this happen countless times at open stages, many times at auditions.
    Young (or older) hopeful puts in a lot of time in his room, making ... how shall I put this.... interesting noises.
    Shows up absolutely clueless about structure, and rudiments.
    They don't know any songs, at best a fleeting glimpse.
    What's worse, they have absolutely no clue on band cohesiveness.
    When they play, you play with him, he doesn't play with you.
    Often they're socially backward, and get upset, even enraged when you offer some tips and suggestions.
  8. MarcTheRogue


    Mar 27, 2013
    Pretty much described him word for word right there. I mean, part of reason he does this is that he doesn't have time for any learning is that he works 11 hour shifts. Still no reason for him to be rude.

    Also, this is a thread for you guys to tell how you deal with guitarists. Have fun. :D