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Guidelines for Campfire Guitars

We're pretty sure these apply to trumpets, banjos, and didgeridoos as well.

By: Aaron Rickel Jones + Save to a List

1. Don’t ask whether people are okay with you breaking out the guitar. It’s a campfire, dammit, everyone wants music.

2. It doesn’t matter whether other people at the fire are better musicians than you. You brought the guitar, you are the guitarist.

2b. If more than one person brings a guitar, it is common courtesy for the best guitarist to politely watch the others play at least a few songs before asserting dominance in a gracious yet incontrovertible manner.

3. If you notice other campsites around you don’t have music coming from their campfires, play louder. They probably forgot instruments and will be thrilled to have free entertainment.

4. When you make a mistake, say it’s been a while since you’ve played guitar.

5. When you make another mistake, stop and tune. Don’t use a tuner, real musicians tune by ear. Stop making adjustments before the instrument is actually in tune. Repeat as necessary to cover up future mistakes.

6. Play your most impressive song first. Repeat as necessary to keep people’s attention. Be sure to make a face that reflects how difficult it is to play.

7. Wonderwall is off limits. Period.

8. You must have Wagon Wheel memorized. Sweet Caroline, Brown Eyed Girl, Mr. Brightside, and an acoustic rendition of Lose Yourself are a few others to keep in the back pocket.

9. The guitar is only available as firewood in situations where it will save life or limb unless it is John Lennon’s 1962 Gibson J-160E, in which case wow what a find and also you should not have brought it camping.

10. If multiple people decide they are the designated campfire guitarist, the audience picks the winner. There are no appeals.

    We want to acknowledge and thank the past, present, and future generations of all Native Nations and Indigenous Peoples whose ancestral lands we travel, explore, and play on. Always practice Leave No Trace ethics on your adventures and follow local regulations. Please explore responsibly!

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