I had a few minutes before the end of a class I was teaching so I showed the kids how I could play the guitar behind my head. To a ten year old who’s just mastered changing from G to C without stopping, it was a feat equal to balancing upside down on a high wire while juggling flaming chain saws with my feet. And, as you can see in the photo above, they wanted to copy me. Hey, if it inspires them to play the guitar, I’m all for it.
Playing behind my head is the only different kind thing I can do with the guitar and I must admit that during a couple of boring bar gigs where only the bartender was listening, I resorted to that. The sad thing is that sometimes, the audience didn’t notice. Fortunately, I don’t take those kinds of gigs anymore.
I’m a big fan of bluegrass/folk performer Laurie Lewis and when I came upon this video of her, I was suitably impressed; you know someone’s a good player when they can play a fiddle tune well while keeping a hula hoop going:
Jimi Hendrix used to play with his teeth. I’m not sure how he accomplished that without electrocuting himself but this is the same guy who set his guitar on fire so most likely he didn’t think too much about it.
Hendrix also played behind his back although I’m guessing it was more complex than an open G chord. When I found this video of Kelly Richey playing his “Hey Joe” and doing the same thing, it took me a while to get my jaw off the floor. Check it out at 5:04. (Her guitar playing, not my jaw.)
That’s in addition to all the other great notes she’s laying down. Holy crap. That’s a lot of practice, boys and girls.
Ellen Daly, the fiddle player in my Americana band Ottawa Valley Special, can tap out a rhythm with her feet while she’s playing the fiddle. It’s common for Cape Breton fiddlers to do it and recently, I heard Domino, a great band from Quebec, who had a squeezebox player do the same thing. It’s a little hard to hear him on this video but you can see him on stage on the far left. By the way, I was at this dance. See if you can find me. (Just call me Waldo and no, I’m not wearing a striped shirt.)
I shudder to think of the drummers they’re putting out of work.
Recently I wrote Your hands are never too small to play Stairway to Heaven, a blog about playing the guitar, no matter the size of your hands. While I was cruising YouTube for inspiration, I found clips of people playing WITH THEIR FEET. Holy crap again.
Next time I want to whine about how hard a guitar part is, I’m going to remember this guy.