Over Christmas Mrs Rocker and myself visited my brother in laws place in North Co. Dublin. Knowing that there might be music at some stage, I packed my acoustic guitar. It has strings that are almost totally shot but lack of time before the trip meant they were not changed. A clip on tuner completed the packing.
What I (re)learned from the day is that a very basic rig (acoustic guitar) can be a crucial part of a family party. A few 'basic' open chords and a repertoire of a few well known songs goes a long way. In fact it was all that was needed on the day. My singing, if it can be described as such, is limited and my attempts at songs were laughable at times but when singing a half remembered song, the blanks were usually filled in by someone else so the song got finished. Even if it was not exactly as on the record! It is great when others volunteer to lead a song, easier now as the lyrics can be found online via a smartphone.
We guitarists spend a lot of time fretting over the most minute details of our equipment. Which is the 'best' amp, the 'best' distortion pedal etc. This may be required if we set out to play on stage but in a family situation, is totally unnecessary. The simplest tranny amp and electric guitar or an acoustic guitar is normally enough to play sing along songs like The Boxer, Neil Diamond songs, almost all Country songs and a lot of pop songs too. And all the better if you know the signature licks, try Smoke on the Water on acoustic guitar. Believe you me it works.
So my immediate mission is to learn a few songs in preparation for the next get together. I will probably bring one of my electric guitars and a small amp next time. The volume control works downwards as well as upwards! A clean sound is all that is needed most of the time. Easier on my fingers too as the acoustic guitar strings made my fingers very sore. A small price to pay for a great evening. Making music is fun if we are prepared to let ourselves go and get out of our comfort zone.
Insanity: doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results. [Albert Einstein]