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A Sloppy Guitar Strings Rant


Call me petty, but nothing irks me more than a so-called Musician... with uncut, trailing guitar strings! There is little one can say to justify such sloppy carelessness. Last night I went to see a band and BOTH guitarists had haphazard, four-inch pieces of steel wire hanging off the ends of each string! Was this mere coincidence or did they actually plan this to make an "artistic statement"?

Sorry but this "statement" just reeks with AMATEUR. Artist? Pfft. More like an idiot lacking insight and wire clippers! Perhaps they were fearful that they hadn't strung the guitar properly and might need to readjust the string length later. Or maybe these rookies are unsure how long to leave the hairs, thinking the strings might slide loose from the tuning peg. But I suppose the message they'd like to convey is that they're "rebellious musicians so punkrock they refuse to even cut the strings".

That brings me to another point. From my observation, indie punk bands are more likely to have messy guitar strings. Is it all part of the "I don't give a fuck" attitude? Well, even Sid Vicious cared enough to cut his bass strings. You wouldn't catch Eric Melvin with loose ends flopping around ready to stab someone.

Speaking of stabbing someone, real artists will maintain that refusing to cut your strings goes beyond mere aesthetics and can actually be dangerous. In fact, last night's careless decision to let loose ends remain wild was a textbook example of Cause and Effect. The guitarist was playfully hopping around onstage when suddenly his uncut string popped him right in the eye! Now that's poetic justice! Lucky for him he could get away with playing the rest of song as Cyclops and managed to laugh at himself. The other guitarist mouthed "Did you poke yourself in the eye?" In response, amid giggles and nods, he mouthed back, "Yeah I did!" While I'd never wish harm on anyone, the Sadist in me almost yearned for lurid bloodshed and a more explicit lesson for these perfunctory hooligans.

For more information, read "How To String A Guitar".
And please note where it says, "Once they are tuned up and stay in tune, tuning from heaviest string to lightest, cut the excess string after the tuning pegs which are sometimes called hairs. Cut them short enough that you are not likely to scratch, poke or cut yourself on them."

(By the way, this guitarist thinks it looks awfully messy too.)


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