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Scottish and Celtic Music Discussion
Gie's A Shot O' Yer Guitar Mate!
Posts: 1647
Posted: 07-Jul-2008 20:17
Your sitting there in a session cradling your "baby," in your arms when some inconsiderate twat, too lazy to take his own guitar fancies showing us how good he is. He looks around and his unfocused eye alights upon your cherished instrument. "Gie's a shotty yer guitar mate, " comes the request. What to do - do you meekly hand across your guitar, or do you refuse?

I've given a "shotty" in a moments weakness on two or three occasions. The first time, the guy thrashed it as if he wis Ronnie Broon, the second time, the guy de-tuned it , sang his song, and then handed it back to me - it was my turn after all. Luckily my guitar has a built-in tuner, but I was not best pleased to say the least. So from now on, unless I know and trust the person, the answer will be no, and if they think I'm an ar***ole, I don't care, because at least I'm the ar***ole with a guitar. :)

Blackford John
Posts: 221
Posted: 07-Jul-2008 21:07
Hi Rob,

I've been in the same position - broken strings, scratched/bashed guitar.

For years I have politely refused to lend my guitar to anyone unless I knew I could trust them. Sometimes you get some verbal, but better that than serious damage done.

I usually explain that due to past experiences I do not lend my guitar to anyone. That way its the old line of "its not you, its me"

the cat
Posts: 687
Posted: 07-Jul-2008 21:29
Yep, painful one for lead players too. There's nothing worse than a random punter asking to use someones guitar, 9 times out of 10 the tunes are ruined for a start. People are often ignorant of the value of decent instuments.
Nìall Beag
Posts: 2237
Posted: 07-Jul-2008 22:42
When Am Bothan (the Edinburgh Gaelic club) was held in the Meadow Bar, we occassionally got drunk monoglots wandering up at the end of the night when folk had gone home. One night a couple of Irish guys were playing their uillean pipes when this woman came up and asked for a shot.

"I'm very musical," she said, "I can play the guitar. It can't be that hard."

One of the guys tried to explain that they were quite expensive and delicate. But of course she said she would be careful. (Don't they all?)

Anyway, so I pointed to the pipes and explained that the instruments were custom-made and the pipe connecting the belows and the bag were "plumbed in" to fit the player, so they were made to fit "those fat bloaters" and wouldn't fit her. Now the guys were both pretty slim, so the combination of subtle compliment and prime b*llsh*t distracted her enough that she dropped the subject.


On the flip-side have you ever gone into a session where you're not known, drunk, and asked for a len o a guitar? Even if you're drunk enough to do it, you're not likely to be drunk enough to be surprised at the answer.

It's a genuinely embarassing experience, even when you've got so much alcohol in your bloodstream that embarassment seems impossible....

Posts: 47
Posted: 07-Jul-2008 23:25
The same thing happens when someone borrows or uses your PA system and thrashes your microphones around as if there's no tomorrow, hitting them and blowing into them when the main volumes down and they therefore think it's broken or something. And I'm talking about normally sensible people. Drives me nuts.
Tattie Bogle
Posts: 3849
Posted: 08-Jul-2008 00:21
I have a "session guitar" and a better one: a bit more cagey about lending the better one, tho' it did once go all round the room at Girvan to all those folk who couldn't be bothered to bring their own.
In a session down south, a guy called Lulo Reinhardt (?great-nephew of the great Django) sat down next to me and asked to borrow my cheapo session guitar: having recognised him from the festival programme pics, I did suggest that there were better ones in the room, but he was happy to borrow mine, and, boy, did he make it sound good!! He also made another jazz /blues guitarist in the room the happiest bunny ever, when he got to play along with him and I took his pic! So it's not all bad news.
Posts: 97
Posted: 08-Jul-2008 00:51
It's the same right across the board regardless of what instrument you play. Drums are a particular favourite in pub gigs for some bleezo to come up and ask for a bash about and then procedding to hit the cymbals harder than the drums.

In my time as a pro drummer I did a lot of pub gigs when I was at home to keep busy. During this time I was endorsed by a leading cymbal company and becuase I got my cymbals for free, local drummers used to come up to play a couple of tunes and totally trash the cymbals with the asumption that becuase I got them for free it was cool to knock seven shades of s*** out of them!!

Having played bass now for the past three years I have a couple of hand crafted custom made basses. In the very near future when I'm out playing gigs and anyone asks for a " wee shot ", the answer is basically going to be a polite on yer bike.

No one will respect your gear in the first place, so flip them the bird I say.

Posts: 1647
Posted: 08-Jul-2008 01:23
I played drums for a couple of years way back in the early seventies, and it used to annoy me when people came up and hit the cymbals with their hands. Cymbals can crack at the point where they go on the stand. (the hole in the middle) So, that really bugged me.

I very rarely have to worry about people asking to borrow my bass, as the band I occasionally play with has a strict, "no punters on stage," rule. I wouldn't worry about it too much anyway - it's basically a lump of wood with strings - a '79 Fender Precision. My wee acoustic, now that's a different matter.

Blackford John
Posts: 221
Posted: 08-Jul-2008 09:23
On the flip side, I was at Stirling folk club a couple of years ago and was asked to do a floor spot when Allan Taylor was the main act.

I had left my guitar at home, so I asked Allan for a loan of a lovely, old, rare wee Gibson. He politely refused. When I said that I understood completely as I had had problems with de-tuners, thrashers and bashers, he duly handed the guitar to me.

Posts: 12842
Posted: 08-Jul-2008 09:37
We played this game a couple of years back and, as I recall, the response of choice to "Gie's a shotty yer guitar mate, " was 'sure, if ah can huv a shotty yer burd pal!'
Blackford John
Posts: 221
Posted: 08-Jul-2008 10:37
Funny, but risky in some of the places I play.

Its a bit like the pal I have that when performing to a dour audience asks"are ye enjoying yourselves? Mind telling your face?"

Posts: 53
Posted: 08-Jul-2008 10:52
Because I play the guitar the way god intended it to be played (i.e. left-handed) I don't really have the same problem.

I still get asked though because it is surpising how few people notice that I'm holding the guitar the wrong (or should that be the right way) round and when I point this out to them they look at me as if I've done it deliberately to spite them......which, of course, I would if I could.

Posts: 1536
Posted: 08-Jul-2008 11:24
Worse, is when people don't even ask to borrow your guitar, wait till you go for a fag/the loo/the bar and when you return you find them a) in your seat and b) playing your instrument.

Well I say playing but I have very finely tuned ears. It's a bit like when you know if your child is crying. My guitar either sounds like a sonorous delight (when I play) or a lump of Cheese (everyone else)!

People whispering in your ear or interrupting when you're playing should be made a hanging offence aswell.

Jim King
Posts: 1086
Posted: 08-Jul-2008 11:36
I generally have my guitar in open tunings so this information usually terminates any requests for a 'shotty'. I have, however, dealt with a persistent requester by asking him for a deposit equivalent to the insurance excess.
Posts: 732
Posted: 08-Jul-2008 11:57
Might I suggest a sign, saying "Please do not ask to borrow my guitar, as being told to **** off may cause offence"? :-)
Posts: 1647
Posted: 08-Jul-2008 12:12
Chris - great minds think alike. I had thought of this, almost word for word, "Please don't ask to borrow my guitar as the words "F**k Off can sometimes offend." However, I discounted it on the grounds that I would have to attach it to the guitar in some way, and it hardly seemed worth the bother. A simple, "Sorry, I don't lend my guitar to anybody," will have to do the job.
Posts: 1536
Posted: 08-Jul-2008 12:39
I've often wondered whether open tunings were invented for that precise reason! I have an open tuning that I use for anti-war songs. I call it my BAGDAD tuning.

People who want to borrow your guitar are usually also people who think that a session is a gig and proceed to play pop music for the benefit of their assembled friends. It's always terrible on all levels for the instrument owner cos;

a) Your mates think you were an idiot to be so trusting in the first place.
b) Wrestling the instrument back can be difficult.
c) Even a 3 minute pop song can appear to last a lifetime.
d) the rest of the pub might prefer him to you and your mates.

Whichever way you look at it, it's gonna end in tears...

Posts: 1766
Posted: 08-Jul-2008 15:16
I was out as a singer with a very well known guitarist and if anyone asked for a shot of the guitar I used the royal "we". "We" don't lend the guitar unless "we" know the person".
Saved the guitarist getting a broken nail whilst hanging on to his guitar!

Posts: 1536
Posted: 08-Jul-2008 15:34
I think these days I would insist on DNA testing, I forget who I do know. Anyone who doesn't hold the guitar at right angles, can't hold a pick properly, sings like a football supporter and stares at the strings is a liability in my book.

People need to be educated. If you went and asked the same question at a gig, more than likely you'd lose your front teeth. Why do people think that it's acceptable during a session?

Tattie Bogle
Posts: 3849
Posted: 08-Jul-2008 18:05
I asked to borrow one once (a person I knew), and was told "No, in case it gets damaged".
She then proceeded to first clatter it on the table hard, then left it propped up while she went for a fag: of course, it fell over (without any help from me) with another loud bang/twang! Justice done!
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