13 ridiculous guitar stunts

A sure-fire way to break a string?
A sure-fire way to break a string?

Perhaps more than any other instrumentalist, it is the guitarist who most often decides that just playing a lick - perhaps accompanied by a spot of headbanging - isn't enough. It's time to pull out the gimmicks. So we've compiled a list of the weirdest, wackiest, and worst-sounding guitar stunts around. It's not about the music anymore, man…

Ritchie Blackmore plays the guitar with his arse
Well, not usually, but in this clip he certainly does. It sounds arse too, and of course, it's followed by a bit of guitar-smashing.

Ted Nugent shooting his guitar with a flaming arrow
We're frankly surprised that The Nuge didn't use something with a higher calibre than a bow and arrow. Or shoot, say… a cow or bear on stage rather than a guitar. But it's still a pretty extraordinary (if odd) trick.

Ace Frehley's smoking guitar
Gimmicks? KISS? Surely not? Either Ace Frehley is playing so fast in this clip that the guitar sets on fire, or he's got a cheeky smoke machine hidden under his pickups…

Pete Townshend windmills in slow-motion
Surely the best guitar playing trick of all time - it's simple (although not simple to do), sounds good and looks very, very cool. Pete's also very talented at smashing things - check out this instrument massacre at Monterey.

Herman Li's wacky guitar noises
Herman Li of DragonForce may have 'borrowed' most of his extreme guitar noises from Steve Vai, but his sheer dedication in the pursuit of the most silly and ridiculous effects is admirable. He shows you how to play a few of them here.

Ash's flaming guitar
Tim Wheeler has a Flying V with a flamethrower mounted between the 'legs'. I hope he's certain as to what all the controls do - are you sure that's the pickup selector switch, Tim?

Terence Hansen plays two guitars and sings
You've got two hands, so the logic follows that you might as well play two guitars at the same time, right? Well, no actually - because with most people, the 'does this sound good?' filter kicks in. Not the case with this guy, though.

Michael Angelo Batio
See above.

Hotel California played by four arms
An inverted-logic version of two clips above, here's Hotel California by The Eagles played by four arms on a double-neck. Four arms, there's no doubt - but there's not actually any evidence in this clip that it's more that one person…

Nirvana's Krist Novoselic breaks his own nose with his bass
Nobody said these stunts had to be intentional; here, Novoselic takes a brief recess (4:07 in) from playing Lithium at 1992's MTV awards to chuck his bass up in the air. Silly idea to be honest.

ZZ Top's spinning furry Dean Zs
For sheer kitsch value, you surely can't get any better than the stunt at 1:45. We're not sure if the 'Top were the first to do this - they certainly weren't the last - but no-one apart from Billy Gibbons and co have ever done it with furry guitars.

Paul Gilbert plays with a powerdrill
The action starts at 6:40 in this clip. Cordless it may be, but Paul Gilbert's pick-on-a-drill-bit antics are spectacular (as is the rest of his playing; check out our Paul Gilbert video lessons here).

Rick Nielsen's five-neck guitar
Rick Nielsen of Cheap Trick has a custom-made Hamer guitar with five necks. How many necks does your guitar have?

Let us know if we've missed any...


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