I want to entertain you!
February 20, 2007 6:54 PM   Subscribe

Guitar playing (and guitar listening for those who dont play) What are some good songs to entertain on the guitar that do not require singing that are comperable to 'Little Martha' by the Allman Brothers?

Guitar players know the drill. “Joe knows how to play guitar! Play something for us Joe!” So the Joe reluctantly starts playing the chorus to a song and everyone is like “Yea! That’s (insert song) by (insert artist)!” Then Joe stops because it isn’t entertaining to play that song unless there are vocals or a band playing with you. Everyone quickly gets bored and Joe puts down the guitar feeling rejected despite the fact that he is actually a decent guitar player.

I enjoy playing the guitar and have played in bands for a number of years but when someone asks me to play a song for them 1 on 1, I only know songs that require singing to be entertaining. However, I do know 'Little Martha' as performed by Duane Allman quite well and whenever I play that for people they absolutely love it. This is because it stands alone as a beautiful song that requires no accompanying instruments or vocals. It's not a relatively hard song to play and people love the simplicity of the melody.

I'm not looking for 'Eruption' type guitar stuff nor classical music. Im looking for songs that people would enjoy listening to a lone guitar playing. It doesnt matter if it is acoustic or electric guitar.

And you obviously dont need to play guitar to answer this post!
posted by comatose to Media & Arts (19 answers total) 8 users marked this as a favorite
Classical Gas jumps to mind.
posted by 6550 at 7:02 PM on February 20, 2007

Mood for a Day
posted by plinth at 7:30 PM on February 20, 2007

Signe by Eric Clapton. It's the first track off of his Unplugged album, and while it sounds complex (to the untrained ear, at least), it's incredibly simple to play. Some of the movements around the neck make it look fancy too, but again.. it's pretty easy. It's the only song I can continue to play properly on the guitar since I 'gave up' years ago.

I found this video of someone playing it on YouTube if that helps.
posted by wackybrit at 8:00 PM on February 20, 2007

Signe is a good one.

Dick Dale, Miserlou (you can say the "hey hey's if you want)
Dueling Banjos
posted by starman at 8:08 PM on February 20, 2007

The Fish (Schindleria Praematurus) by Yes might work. It's from one of their best albums, but I doubt it's ever gotten radio play, so it's only good if you hang out with prog rock fans — but if you do, they're almost guaranteed to know it.

Bron Yr Aur by Led Zeppelin is probably better-known, but it's basically in the same category — obvious if you own the albums, obscure if you just listen to the radio.

If you're willing to veer off into jazz, bluegrass, or ragtime-style fingerpicking, you'll have much better options.
posted by nebulawindphone at 8:12 PM on February 20, 2007

Black Mountain Side - Led Zep

aka Blackwater Side
posted by vronsky at 9:01 PM on February 20, 2007

Song for George by Eric Johnson.
posted by magikker at 9:23 PM on February 20, 2007

Look into chord melody arrangements of a few songs that you like, or that you feel would be easily recognizable. These arrangements take a bit of practice but once they're practiced can sound absolutely gorgeous. If you can read music there are a few arrangements here, and I'm sure there are books available too. You can also start working out your own arrangements, and could even do this for pop/rock songs that you feel people would recognize.
posted by mikeyk at 9:27 PM on February 20, 2007 [1 favorite]

blackbird is super easy to play, and the guitar can stand alone without the vocals.
posted by kingjoeshmoe at 9:54 PM on February 20, 2007

A lot of stuff by Leo Kottke.
posted by puddinghead at 12:06 AM on February 21, 2007

I definitely recommend Bright Eyes - First Day of my Life It's got some great minor chords and a neat peppy singsongy beat.

It sounds exactly like this

posted by joelf at 12:25 AM on February 21, 2007

"Here Comes The Sun" played with a capo up on the 3rd or 4th fret sounds good on its own.
posted by gfrobe at 6:03 AM on February 21, 2007

Francisco Tarrega's "Grand Waltz" - which the rest of the world knows as the "theme song of a fool and his Nokia phone" might be fun to do. Midi.
posted by rongorongo at 7:20 AM on February 21, 2007

Norman Blake's instrumental Man of Constant Sorrow from the "Oh Brother, Where Art Thou?" soundtrack is a beautiful piece for solo guitar.
posted by rocket88 at 7:46 AM on February 21, 2007

I recommend Bach's Bourée, as seen in The Pick of Destiny. As for folkier stuff, Led Zeppelin's Rain Song would work nicely for your purposes.
posted by Zero Gravitas at 8:08 AM on February 21, 2007

America - Riverside its great with just guitar.
posted by magikker at 9:19 AM on February 21, 2007

Look into chord melody arrangements of a few songs that you like, or that you feel would be easily recognizable.

Yes, this is the answer. That or anything classical.

Also, asking for solo guitar pieces would've described what you were looking for in far fewer words.
posted by ludwig_van at 10:11 AM on February 21, 2007

Jazz versions of regular songs is also a good option. I know someone who plays reasonably basic, normal songs but he finds jazz versions of them. They take him a month or so to learn but they sound amazing and don't require the vocals (usually due to the timings).
posted by wackybrit at 8:12 PM on February 22, 2007

Late to the party, I know, but I recommend "Singalong Junk" by Paul McCartney.
posted by ApathyGirl at 10:29 PM on April 18, 2007

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