We all know the running joke in guitar stores: “No Stairway to Heaven”. It gained notoriety with Wayne’s World but has seemingly taken on a life of its own. Verily, the opening riff is easy to learn and it’s one of the early songs that most beginners learn so it does get played coooooonstnaly at guitar stores. The reality being that most guitar store employees don’t give a rat’s left nut what people play as long as they buy something but the joke persists nonetheless.
It got me thinking, though, if I ran a bass store, what would the sign say?
I nominate “Another One Bites the Dust” or “Crazy Train”.
I was in my local music store today to test play the new one and i was so nervous about being around people and playing in front of people. There was some guy in there playing a guitar, and he was really good, but he was also really loud.
I struggled through a couple scales, and finally played some kings of Leon and some metric. After playing a couple things i have down pretty good, i was able to actually hear the bass i was playing.
I wish i could say i was able to pick up what the guitar player was putting down and play along, but i simply am not there. Maybe one day, but not today.
I get that they are selling guitars, and everyone wants to test play before they buy. It’s very good of the staff to not diminish people for having lower skill levels. I’m sure they’ve had a good laugh or two in the back after people leave-but i think mostly they realize ability comes with time, and not all of us have a lifetime of playing experience.
I have no idea where this myth came from. On Waynes World, when he picks up the guitar and starts picking across the strings, it sounds nothing like Stairway. When played correctly, its a beautiful song. I cant imagine anyone having a fuss over it.
Funny you mention that. In my area, there aren’t many guitar stores. We’ve got a Guitar Center and a couple of very VERY small mom & pops that seem to only carry the exact guitars that the owners like to play. There is one store that is more about repairs and lessons than sales and they do phenomenal work. People drive up from very long distances to use his services.
Needless to say, he’s the one I get to set up my basses.
When I brought my first bass to him to set up, he told me that he probably sees one bass player for every 50 guitar players in this town. According to him, there is a desperate need for bass players in my area and even if I was a mediocre player, I could likely walk in and join any band I wanted.
Bassists were usually random.
However, there were a few repeat offenders.
Come as You Are was a favorite.
In the early 2000s it was a lot of Tool, particularly Schism.
If they know slap, there’s not a slap song, per se, it’s just the requisite noodling slap in E.
That was kinda it.
Lots of random noodling… the occasional Chili Peppers, blues patterns… but nothing that has stood the test of time to make it into stereotype land. At least in my experience.
What I would love:
I Want You Back should be one of our stairways.
It’s such a perfect bass line.
Anything else that should make it onto our overplayed-in-music-stores list?
Bass players playing iconic guitar lines.
Like any pentatonic Motown guitar riff, but played on bass. Maybe something like the guitar line from My Girl?
Definitely the guitar parts from Seven Nation Army and Smoke on the Water. We have culturally appropriated those.