Guitar face is a phenomenon that plagues anyone who picks up the guitar. Guitar face could be defined as the act of making an unusual face whilst sententiously playing the guitar but believe me, the word “unusual” is an understatement because this curse can make us guitarists look ridiculous. In this article, we’re going to take a little look at some of the best (and worst) examples of guitar face in a vein hope that it will make us feel better for how stupid we look when we’re doing something complex or indeed something not complex with our guitars.
Joe Satriani GUITAR FACE
Joe Satriani is both one of the greatest guitar players of all time and a personal hero of mine. We guitarists adore his liquid legato lead guitar work and his melodic approach to instrumental guitar composition. He taught some other greats how to play guitar and I’ve personally learned a lot from watching both his performances, and his guitar lessons online. One thing I’ve never seen him teach though is these faces that he pulls while performing. I wonder why.
B.B. King GUITAR FACE
The master of blues guitar himself. B.B King. This was the first example of guitar face that I ever noticed. This is probably the only example of guitar face in this entire article that makes me smile with joy and you just know by looking at the images that there’s an example of the world’s most perfect vibrato on display there.
Slash GUITAR FACE
DO NOT let the big black hat, glasses and curly hair distract you and don’t let the impeccably awesome guitar playing distract you either because the legend that is Mr Slash is no stranger to a goofy guitar face as you can see in the above pirated image. Maybe GNR stood for GuitarFace N’ Roses… Okay maybe not but what a guitar face!
Steve Vai GUITAR FACE
Steve guitar virtuoso Vai isn’t just a master of the greatest instrument in the world. He’s also a master of guitar face. The guy that brought us that guitar with the handle on it also brings us a nice variety of guitar face examples. I’ve seen a few from Steve over the years and they can certainly be diverse. Steve Vai is also the only guitarist I’ve heard and seen teach the art of guitar face too so honourable mention for owning it.
Carlos Santana is another guitarist with a huge amount of weird guitarist face images to choose from and I must say, that one on the right tickles me as much if not more than any other image here. Santana pioneered the fusion of rock n roll and Latin American jazz and ultimately became recognised as one of the greatest guitarists of all time. He was even ranked 20th on Rolling Stone’s greatest guitarists list. He’s gotta be top 10 at least for masters of guitar face!
We all know Eddie Van Halen as unquestionably one of the greatest guitar players in the history of the universe. He’s inspired an untold number of guitarists all over the world. He gave us epic guitar tracks like Eruption and he gave us that playing guitar with your mouth open face. He is also immortalised in a US patent.
The guitarist who many consider to be the greatest of all time, Sir Jimmy of Hendrix certainly was no stranger to the exciting world of guitar face. His guitar facial expressions are almost as versatile as his legendary skills with the guitar. Like the guy needed to be great at anything else guitar related. Is there literally nothing that this man couldn’t master with a guitar?
What’s that? You want to learn how to play a Jimi Hendrix song on guitar? Okay well if you insist. Go here and you can do just that.
Stevie Ray Vaughan
What’s that? You want to learn a Stevie Ray Vaughan song? Okay well if you insist. Go here and you can do just that.
Enough with the plugs. Although seriously, it took an age to TAB out Pride and Joy… Anyway. The guitarist/musician that brought us the aforementioned Pride and Joy and the incredible album that hosts it entitled Texas Flood is also the guitarist/musician that brings us such goofy guitar face examples as the ones seen above. Stevie you’re a legend and your blues guitar playing is immense but these guitar faces prove you’re human.
Thin Lizzy guitarist Gary Moore is another guitar player who has an epic encyclopaedia of insane face pulling images that are only a quick google search away. Gary is another one of the guitarists in the list who’re going for the gold medal. He’s certainly got a bad reputation for guitar face and if you don’t believe a word, just check for yourself because some of the images will bring any guitar fanatic out in a cold sweat. Yes, I’m doing puns now. I guess we better move on before the sun goes down. Are you ready?
(I work to a minimum word count).
The Swedish shred sensation Yngwie Malmsteen is basically what you’d see if you were to attend a pantomime about someone who plays guitar quickly so it only makes sense that you’d see the odd theatrical facial expression now and then when watching him. I’ve seen a lot of video based Yngwie performances and funny guitar faces are commonplace.
More examples of guitar face
Let’s change up the format for the final part of this article and simply enjoy some more great guitar face images. Which one do you like best? Don’t let me know anywhere. I’m not interested.
Joe Bonamassa & Brian Jones
David Gilmour & Brian May
Chris Martin & Angus Young
Prince & Thom Yorke
Did this little look at the impact that guitar face has on the greats help you to feel better about how stupid you look when playing guitar? No? Me neither. I look in pain sometimes when I’m playing something moderately complex and to be honest, my lazy eye doesn’t particularly help matters. I guess it’s something that we should embrace or maybe we should work it into the show because let’s fact it, our guitar face isn’t going anywhere any time soon. I thought it would fade in time as I gained more experience but that is definitely not the case at all. I’ve tried borrowing from Vai and Satriani in particular but I’ve just come to accept over time that I’ll always look like a **** when playing guitar (and so will you).
Don’t forget to check out some more Eat Sleep Guitar Repeat content such as this article on forbidden guitar riffs or this recent lesson on guitar warm up exercises. Or, you could have a read of my series on guitar tips and advice starting with the last entry which you’ll find by following this link.
Hello. My name is Ryan J Mellor and I play the guitar. I’m also the creator of Eat Sleep Guitar Repeat. I’ve ben a guitarist for many years and my guitar playing has been described as “above average”. My guitar and music knowledge is somewhat impressive but most importantly, I have a passion for creating great guitar and music related content.