Air guitars are similar in shape to normal guitars, with the notable difference that they are made entirely out of air. Air guitars typically have 6 strings and 24 frets. Although acoustic air guitars are available, electric air guitars are by far the most popular. Occasionally though, I enjoy strumming on a nice piece of coconut lens tape, just for laughs.
It is understood that the first performance involving an Air Guitar was at a live open-air concert held in a field just outside of Sherwood Forest, England in the early 1400s where the well known Lute player Allan O'The Dell performed a duet with his Lute and a famous Court Jester (Robin The Gnarled) who appeared sporting a radical new design of Lute he had crafted from air. Their live performance of Greensleeves remains a classic to this day.
Air Guitars have evolved beyond recognition and the latest models are self-tuning and contain on-board, complex amplifier emulators to enable them to sound like any available amplifier thereby reducing pre-performance setting up times.
The legendary Rebecca Nichols is arguably the greatest Air Guitar player to have lived and her untimely passing at the age of 32 of a heart attack brought on by over-exertion during an awesome performance of the Ritchie Blackmore guitar solo in Kraftwerk's Trans Europe Express in the late 1970's shocked the Rock nation.
The current under 18 champ is Master Philip Low of Winchester. He is said to have been discovered at the tender age of 12 by an Air Guitar scout whilst wowing fellow pupils at his school with a sparkling air rendition of Norah Jone's "Come Away With Me". His current whereabouts are unknown, but he is supposed to have been captured by the evil owner of Fender, Adam Wammi. He has also won numerous awards for his skill at the electric guitar and for penis length (100").
Uses of the air guitar vary as to a) what music is intended to be played on it, and b) the audience which it is being played in front of. If, for example, the guitar is alone with its owner and if, for example, songs such as Paradise City by Guns 'n' Roses or I Believe In A Thing Called Love by The Darkness are played - or anything by Queen, for that matter - then the air guitar comes to the fore. Without an audience, the guitarist can show off to his heart's content, and is warped to that brightly-lit stage in his mind, transported by wild animal passions laid down in our genetics by our ancestors [for more information on cro-magnon air guitars, or "Ugg"s, see Oscar Wilde's "The Day I Realised I Left My Nostril In Mongolia"]. If, however, the subject is at some sort of celebration or party, and The Corrs or any sort of 'pop-attempting-to-feebly-imitate-rock music' is played, the guitar automatically enters standby mode, usually too embarrassed by the atrocity being played or anger at the possibility that it could be used to such an extent. [N.B.: The intoxication of the guitarist due to an alcoholic beverage of some sort renders the above sentence null and void. Come on, we've all been there. You know what I'm talking about. Yes, you. Well, maybe not you, but you, certainly. I've got photos, dude. I'll post them on here. Seriously. Don't deny it.].
The first thing you have to do before playing an air guitar is to ensure it is in tune. This can be done with an electric tuner or a tuning spork. It is important to tune your air guitar constantly, as any dust particles that stick to the complicated arrangement of air will completely deform it. Note that within the first week or so of restringing the guitar, it will tend to dramatically lose its tuning if you breathe on it slightly, especially with a lighter gauge.
The next step is to plug it in to its amp. You can use a regular guitar amp, or a special air guitar amp. Put the strap behind your head and right shoulder, and the neck in your left hand. Be careful not to bring the air guitar too close to your face, as accidental inhalation severely shortens its longevity. Also take care with the amp: just because it's made of air DOES NOT mean that you cannot sustain critical injuries! Many a rock god has been on the receiving end of several hundred volts of air. Caution is advised - it is a piece of electrical equipment, after all.
Finally, you are ready to play. Pretend that you know exactly what you are doing and it will sound great, as long as you try to kiss your ear regularly and sometimes lie down and kick yourself around on the ground in a small circle. Spandex pants, long greasy hair and a general love for making a fool of yourself in front of a mirror is ideal. Singing high-pitched and yet quietly to yourself along to the music is generally preferred by many professionals.
Months spent in air guitar practice is time well spent. For every hour clocked up in the bedroom your performance will gain an extra level of nuance - your audience will be shocked, surprised and astounded by your technique. Whatever you do, before performing on the air guitar, make sure you have mastered the basics:
- Stay in time. "There's ne'er been a bigger fool than d'bloom who plays air g'tar behind the beat. Och". (Old Scottish Proverb)
- Learn your complementary instruments. At a rock concert, air drumming is normally required in the important bits, as well as the relatively rare air bass. Nevertheless, the importance of these instruments cannot be overlooked, and a proficiency in air drumming "fills" will be needed for the end of each song.
- Air-Headbanging. At a heavy metal concert, air-headbanging while air guitaring is absolutely mandatory. Resistance to air-headbanging while thrashing out a heavy riff will result in serious neck injury. A careful warm-up of neck muscles is required. (Also, as stated before, the longevity of your air guitar will be greatly decreased with accidental inhalation. Remember not to inhale when your head is close to your air guitar. This sadly happens quite frequently while air-headbanging.)
Fine-tuning your technique
Classical air guitarists should be closely observed. However, make sure that you do this surreptitiously. Once an air-guitarist knows he has been spotted, his technique will drop off, confidence will decrease, and his performance may finish entirely. Only observe performances from the corner of your eye, or by a 5 second glance, a smile, and then a continuation of your own performance. Classical air guitarists can be found quite easily at a concert from the following bands;
- AC/DC - warning, performance levels and technique will be quite high. You may have difficult reproducing the moves, grooves and slooves, and be depressed at the large learning curve needed. However you will also come back refreshed and awe-inspired by the "really cool and loud riffs, and that other cool bit"
- Deep Purple - from the masters of the art. Many performers will be well into their prime, or past their prime, but this does deter them. Relax and enjoy.
- Metallica - beware, faster air guitar moves will be needed. Also, an extensive knowledge of the minor pentatonic scale is recommended.
- Yngwie J. Malmsteen - Yngwie is known better for his air guitar skills than his real guitar skills, contrary to popular belief. Be sure not to get served during these concerts or you probably won't come out alive. (It is advised not to cover Yngwie Malmsteen whilst using emotion.)
- Led Zeppelin - You'll be imitating Jimmy Page when you do this and you'll need to be at an extremely high level to even compare with Jimmy's moves. He often jumps and "grooves". My choice of Air Guitar for this kind of exercise will be a Les Paul, or a double-necked SG.
Air guitars can be purchased by your mind. The qualifications you need are an imagination, a voice, hands and air. They can cost anywhere from $100 to well over $2,000. There are a few things you should know so you don't buy a dud:
- Try it out. Many imaginations will have an amp set up for it and they will be glad to let you try it out in the imagination as long as you don't play anything by Duran Duran. However, it is found that this is the only acceptable type of guitar to test-drive by playing Stairway to Heaven.
- How does it sound? Some air guitars have a very clean sound, while cheaper air guitars might sound muddy or distorted depending on your voice pretty much. It is noteworthy that an aspiring air guitarist should avoid contracting laryngitus, as many a "shot at the big time" have been ruined by such a disease.
- What condition is it in? If you are imagining a used air guitar, you will want to make sure it looks good, for this you may need to use more of your imagination.
- How does it feel? A good air guitar should feel comfortable and allow you to have some freedom over what you are playing.
It is not recommended to imagine an air guitar over a senior imagination, because it makes it usually sound . People who imagine air guitars with a senior imagination usually get them at old folks homes, and so they do not know what they look like where to put the strings or handle the air guitar properly. They may also imagine the air guitar improperly, damaging the instrument. Being made of air, air guitars are quite fragile.
If you don't have any choice but buying your air guitar over an senoirs imagination, make sure the old fart thinks an accurate picture of it before closing the deal. Tell him not to imagine scratches, dents or bumps on the guitar or it'll suck ass.
When not to buy
- Don't buy an air guitar that has been burned down by Jimi Hendrix. It won't work.
- Don't buy air guitars that have been used to demolish a stage. Air guitars are very light, and you need to shake them very strongly, many, many times in order to tumble down just a single cymbal.
- Don't buy air guitars that have been used as sex toys.
- Don't buy air guitars that you can actually see. If you can see an air guitar, it's very, very dirty.
- Don’t buy air guitars made in high-lying areas such as Nepal. The thin air makes the quality very low.
- Don't buy air guitars that may have been subjected to methane from ones rectal area. The methane gas will stick to the body of air and it will permanently smell.
- Don't buy an air guitar from Korea with a warranty. You'll have to feed the air guitar cleaner that comes in the crate.
- Don't buy air guitars off eBay as they are often damaged due to bad shipping.
- NEVER buy air guitars from Cthulhu the elder god, as they're likely to be slimy, and the the customer service department is likely to nibble on your legs.
- When shopping for an air guitar, Cthulhu suggests ignoring the previous statement.
- I suggest you wait till November before buying an air guitar. They get cheaper after the hurricane season.
Songs that maximize the air guitar through coolness
A little know fact is that air guitar quality improves depending on the coolness and rockingness of the song in question. A simple Fonz-o-meter will mesure how many Mfz your guitar is transmiting, and it will pick up higher readings with time and practice. We recommend a few songs to max out an early level of cool static build up. Having a good imagination also helps here.
WARNING: If cool levels are taken too high, a physical guitar may materialize. We apologise for this, but everything has a limit.
- Anything by the practice artists.
- Green Onions (Take it slowly on this one. Imagine more of a bass guitar to maximize the output.)
- Freeform Jazz Riffs (It's really up to you how you take this one. DO NOT go down the slow route or you will lose all illusion of cool!)
- Anything by Dire Straits
- Anything by any "Alternate" bands (WARNING: May decrease with time. Prog rock has a lot of this problem.)
- Just as loud as possible. The louder the the better. A steady hum over a defening silence is what you want here.
Air guitars should not be stored at below 4°C or above 100°C. Air guitars can be kept on a regular guitar stand, but most people prefer to use guitar cases for long term storage. Never allow air guitars to touch each other, as they are nearly impossible to separate afterwards. During the winter months, an air guitar should be kept with a humidifier: preferably an "air dampit"
|This article was mentioned in the Guardian (UK), further diminishing what little credibility the media had left. You can read all about it here|
Air pollution and air guitars
Due to the rapid increasing number of air guitars, a new problem arises. Many newer models contain diluted chemicals and toxic gasses. For this reason, vintage air guitars, that were constructed when cleaner air was available, have seen an incredible jump in market value as of late. Without proper waste management involving air guitars, or their parts, all breathable air will be polluted. Scientists believe that if nothing is done to prevent this air guitars will lead to the destruction of the earth. Solutions are sought in non toxic air guitars, and the reuse of older models. However people are still encouraged to rock on with air guitars, man's most mystifying invention.
Q. I bought an air guitar from this guy but I can't seem to pick it up.
A. This is most likely because the "guy" was an air guitar scammer and has not actually sold you an air guitar. Beware, air guitar scammers(AGS for short) are very common so you must be careful when purchasing an air guitar. Stick to buying from registrated Air Guitar retailers and remember 'If you can't pick it up, it's not real.'
Q. I put my air guitar down and when I came back, I couldn't find it.
A. This is a common problem with beginners. More experienced air guitar players tend to buy air guitar radio transmitters, a reasonably priced device, which, along with its remote, when attached to an air guitar, will beep louder when a button is pushed on it's remote.
Q. I recorded a piece I had written on the computer, but when I played it back I couldn't hear anything.
A. This is obvious. For an air guitar to be properly heard, it must be played with an accompiment. This brings out the air guitar's beautiful tones and it will be able to be appreciated by all.
Q. I was sitting by a tree, jamming on my air guitar, when all of a sudden it disappered.
A. This is the most dangerous problem to air guitarists. DO NOT ever play an air guitar, or even take an air guitar within five meters of a tree, or any kind of plant-life. Plants take in air for their food, and are not above swallowing a poor guitarists instrument. Many hearts have been broken because of a stray branch.
Q. I was strolling through the Scottish town of Ayr, across a bridge, when I came across a busker playing the guitar. When I asked him "Excuse me, are you playing Ayr Guitar?", he just replied with "Wanker!" Why was that?
A. This guitarist is the worst kind of snob, who thinks that playing the real guitar is somehow more skilful than playing air guitar. Odds are that he couldn't play it very well, either.
Q. I bought an air guitar, and an anorexic ate it! Now what do I do?
A. Buy another one.
Q. I have mastered my air guitar. Should I buy an air drum set?
A. Sure, but keep in mind that it takes a skilled professional to set-up an air drum set. Many novice air drummers have attempted to set-up their own kits and gotten so frustrated that they destroyed the set in the process. You wouldn't want that to happen.
- Jefferson Air Plane
- Silent radio
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