For Christmas, 1989, my mother gave me an electric guitar. The sound it made was profound in ways that my 14 year-old self could not express, which is surprising considering the reputation for eloquence that Kentucians have.

A few months later someone explained to me that the strings were to be tuned to specific pitches.

I was in one of the two bands in my high school. The other band recorded a demo tape at a studio in Lexington and their singer had skater hair and was really cute with ruddy cheeks and went to Presbyterian youth group where he sang U2 songs to girls on an acoustic guitar. He was waiting until marriage to have sex. Their drummer had a suede drum throne and played in a Kentucky Wildcat jersey. Luxurious hair and a gold chain around his neck.

In contrast, my band, with me as singer and guitarist, recorded on a boombox in a basement. We saved up forty dollars to buy a microphone at Radio Shack but when we got there, our drummer said, “Oh, no. Man, I don’t want to have to listen to him sing.” So we bought a strobe light instead and sat in the basement with it flashing, our guitars feeding back, and were happy enough with our sound.

Some days, our drummer, who had a double-bass pedal but used half of a hi-hat as a cracked crash, said, “Let’s just have a slow blues jam,” so we would have a slow blues jam, a shambling shuffle without any real feeling. After we finished, he would pop the cassette out of the boombox and say, “I’m taking this. I have youth group.” We knew he meant that he was going to go have sex with his girlfriend in the back of his father’s Frito-Lay delivery truck while listening to our jam. He was a Southern Baptist.

My hope had been to play in the school talent show my senior year. My best friend and I decided to play “Hey Hey My My”. Through a convoluted series of events that are far too labyrinthine to recount here, I ended up in front of the audition committee playing a hopelessly out of tune guitar as the guitarist for the other and in school watched and laughed. My chords clanged. Sweat beaded. As my voice faltered from fear and embarrassment, I realized that I’d let him look at it before I went on and that he’d detuned it secretly, knowing I didn’t know enough to check it first. An unholy rage welled up inside of me and mid-song, I took the guitar off, tossed it onto the ground and walked out.

The video above is not of “The World’s Best 13 Year-Old Girl Guitarist.” It is not of “The World’s Best Girl Guitarist.” She is just “The World’s Best Guitarist.” I have never been this good on the guitar and I’ve been playing for twenty-one years. I have no hope of ever being able to play like this. However, if I were able to, and I filmed it and put it on YouTube, the video would not say “The World’s Best Male Guitarist.”

So right now, I proclaim this guitarist The Best. I wish her a long and successful career. Of course, there is always someone else coming up behind:

Comments (48)
  1. This just goes to show: You can never feel too inadequate on Mondays.

  2. That girl: DAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAMMMMMMMMNNNN!!!! Parents, lock up your sons. This lady’s about to rock their teenage heads bald.

  3. Great job sweetheart, but GET BACK TO IRONING! Those clothes aren’t going to de-wrinkle themselves.

  4. Hey Mans don’t feel too bad, at least you didn’t give up immediately like me everytime I decided I’d play guitar

  5. Too many notes

  6. well, obviously her next move is to apply for a fulbright to study death metal in norway.

  7. Yeah? Well, she’ll probably never be as tall as me! Or as hairy!

    God, I feel terrible at everything right now.

  8. I was in the band in middle school. I played the saxaphone. When I got to high school, and it was marching band, they moved me to the gong. I got the hint and didn’t try to be in band anymore.

    • I played the bassoon. For marching band, they moved me to the Glockenspiel. Instead of taking the hint, I played the fuck out of that Glockenspiel, ignoring all the sheet music and developing my own melodies to accompany the rest of the band. During breaks, I would use my mallets to point to each of the people on the bass drums behind me, because they had no rhythm and were unable to keep any kind of beat without my assistance. I was not the coolest kid, but to this day I am convinced that the marching band would have floundered and died without me, my glockenspiel, and my mallets.

      • The best part was that I was friends with all the people in the pit after that, so instead of buying tickets to the football games, I would walk into the stadium with them as they brought their instruments. Then I would scalp tickets through the gate that I had bought at a deeply discounted prices a few days prior. I was much better at enterprising than I was at music.

        • I am fairly certain one did not have to pay to get in to our games, although I was also very, very high during those years, so it’s possible I was just not paying attention.

          All this band nerd reminiscing has left me with a feeling of quiet desperation and the sudden urge to “cut” the rest of the work day and go drive around aimlessly listening to Nirvana.

  9. She is great. Go awesome guitarist! Succeed where I failed (in playing the guitar. Which was probably evident, but specificity never hurt anyone! Presumably. I should check on that, to make sure that my specificity is as specific as it should be.)

  10. She’s not gonna make any money until she learns how to pretend to make it look hard.

  11. The opposite of this girl would be Party Guitar Guy. You know who I mean. The guy who brings his acoustic guitar to every party, and keeps playing while everybody is trying to talk, and he only knows two songs, and he keeps messing up and having to start over. That guy. You know who I mean.

    • the worst is that is a communicable disease. one party guitar guy always infects other males at the party, until the party is forced to become some sort of horrible version of shitty guitar karaoke, in which everyone is subjected to songs that are barely tolerable when played competently and become downright torturous when mangled by drunken nincompoops. aka dave matthews band.

      • And then some drunk guy comes in and starts singing the harmony part. I really hate when I, er um, that guy does that.

      • The only guy worse than Party Guitar guy is The Untalented Drunk Guy Who Forces Musician Friends to Perform. Some of my childhood friends are really good musicians, I remember this time an older sister of one of our friends had a big house party. Her jerk douche boyfriend sought out my friend and chanted “COLDPLAY COLD PLAY COLDPLAY” until poor friend was forced to hammer out ‘clocks’ on piano.

      • The worst is Find A Keyboard In A Closet, Bring It To The Living Room And Play The One Journey Song He Knows Guy.

        Or possibly the best?

    • Location: A college party
      Year: 2017

      We join our hero sitting on a beer-stained couch, humoring a young man who is deperately trying to impress her by playing Blackbird on the guitar.

      He starts and stops repeatedly. “Hold on!”, he tells her. “I’ve almost got it.”

      Growing weary of this primitive mating dance and unimpressed by the male’s attempts at wooing her, our hero asks shyly if she can have a try. “Why not?”, the young man thinks. He believes that once she sees how hard it is, it will only increase his chances of winning her over.

      Our hero begins. At first, she strums something basic. She doesn’t want to let him down too hard; come off as too full of herself. But just then she realizes that she never wants to find herself here again, on this couch, humoring this boy. She unleashes a display of virtuosity so thorough that if you listened closely, you could hear the angels weep.

      That boy never did talk to our hero again. And she was glad.

      • I love that story. I want it to be real. Instead of other scenarios which involve her really liking the guy only to have him be embarrassed then go hit on some dimmer, drunker girls at the party.

  12. This made me really want to listen to Silkworm.

  13. I took guitar lessons when I was 13 too, but in between learning Green Day and Third Eye Blind songs (good taste for days) my instructor and I would get into theological arguments and then the half hour lesson would be up and I would be right back where I started: still questioning God and not knowing the right chords to Semi Charmed Kind of Life.

    What I am saying is: not much has changed in 12 years.

  14. I get depressed when I see wonderful guitar players playing, I should be happy for them, I should walk up to them, congratulate them but I don’t. Secretly I hate them, I know this hate is irrational. I dislike going to guitar center and realizing that I will probably never be able to play a solo… and then I remember that’s not what I want, I don’t want to play a bajillion notes in a minute, then after cheering myself up I plug the guitar into the effects processor and begin to envelope the store in noise until someone comes over to tell me to stop, saying that I’m louder than even those that play heavy metal and I feel better.

    But anyway, this is awesome, continue being awesome.

    • I just play blues chords progressively louder and louder, and before long, people are tricked into thinking they’re listening to someone who knows what he’s doing.

  15. “Can there any good thing come out of [Kentucky]?”

    John 1:46

    “And when [Gabe] had made a scourge of small c[h]ords, he drove them all out of the temple, and the sheep, and the oxen; and poured out the changers’ money, and overthrew the tables;”

    John 2:15

  16. “Pway Fweebiwd” — their two-year old little brother.

  17. But does she understand what she is playing?

  18. Did you guys read that the girl in the second video is in Smashing Pumpkins now?

  19. The Best Guitarist in the World is still, no matter what anybody says, Paco de Lucia.
    But the girl is very good. Very impressive, I give her that. I wish her all the luck.

  20. She even has Marni Stern’s haircut!

  21. Hidden due to low comment rating. Click here to see

    • clearly not much of a metal connoisseur over here, hombre.

    • I’m a player myself, and seeing as how she completes her phrases, expresses her notes with fluidity, and is capable of both restraint and speed, you are, quite frankly my friend, full of horseshit.

    • I’m a player myself too, and I agree with hombre. She clearly COULD be good, but she has no synchronization or muting. She just needs to slow down and work on this stuff. I love metal, I love shred, and of course I love guitar, but she is not doing any of these things well.

  22. That 6-year-old had better stop letting those smiles creep through if she wants to be taken seriously.

  23. If you check the girl’s channel on youtube, her live concert has a cleaner sound than her video.
    Also the band’s singer is horrible.

  24. The good thing about playing bass? You never have to look behind you.

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