You’ve got a strap. You’ve got a sweet guitar. You’ve got a gig. Frankly, it’s only natural that while in the middle of a jam you might feel the urge to swing your guitar around your body, a tradition that goes all the way back to vaudeville*, an expected part of any high octane performance. If you’re not swinging that guitar, you might as well be a roadie or, worse, a drummer.
But guitar swinging is not something you want to go into unpracticed. You wouldn’t go to a gig without having learned to play the guitar, right? I mean, unless you were in a punk band. Guitar swinging is just the same; you need to get into the…er…swing of things before you go hardcore.
Get a Strap
The first thing you need to do is actually get a strap for your guitar. This may seem obvious, but lack of strap has been the downfall of a many acoustic performers who, when struck by sudden bolt of inspiration, tried to a guitar swing and found that were without the proper equipment**.
The key is to get a strap with sufficient length to actually allow you to swing your guitar. If you look like Jack Skellington on a liquid diet, any strap will do. On the other hand, if you’re a man of some substance, you may find two guitar straps lashed to together are necessary.
Secure Your Strap
Once you’ve got your guitar strap, you need to make sure your strap is secure. If you don’t, you first big swing is going to result in your guitar launching into the air like a cruise missile, straight for the audience.
Now, there probably are some audiences that would actually appreciate being skewered by an errant guitar, but this really isn’t the sort of thing you can count on, so make sure that your guitar strap is firmly connected to your actual guitar.
Know Your Place
Now that you’ve got your strap and you’ve made sure you’re secure, you’re just about ready to rock. One thing that you need to make sure of before you try swinging your guitar is that you’ve actually got the space to swing it.
Remember, you are sharing the stage with the other people in your band, so it’s a good idea to know where your singer or bass player is lurking about onstage before you swing that guitar, lest you take out their teeth with your guitar***. Even if you don’t like your singer or bass player, this can bust your guitar, which can be expensive.
You also need to make sure that you’re not near any amps or lighting equipment. If you swing your guitar into them, the best case scenario is that you look like an idiot. The worst case scenario is that you look like an idiot who just got himself electrocuted. You could always SMASH YOUR GUITAR LIKE A PRO at the end of the gig to save face.
But if you’ve got all that down, let that guitar fly. If you get good enough, you can get that puppy swinging around you like a hula hoop, which is going to look cool, at the very least. Which is good, if your actual guitar playing isn’t all that great.
*Probably a lie.
** Definitely a lie.
*** Not a lie at all, surprisingly common occurrence.