If you’re lucky enough to be in the presence of a talented guitarist, you can always give them an honest compliment about their playing. There are some excellent things you can say to them that will help motivate them to get better and make them feel great about their current level of skill.
What are some good things you can say to a guitarist? How can you make their day? Here are 7 things that make great compliments for guitarists!
7 Best Ways To Compliment a Guitarist
1. Start an interesting conversation
So you’ve seen some talent and want to praise them on it, but all you can think of is something generic like, “You’re awesome!” While these kinds of general, one-size-fits-all compliments are nice, they tend not to mean as much.
Think about something specific rather than just commenting on how great they are at guitar. Avoid generic comments like “Great job!” or “Awesome!” Instead, provide precise details on what is great about their performance. For example: “I really liked how you used diminished chords for that solo break – I could definitely detect John Scofield influences in there! Keep doing what you’re doing!”
The more detailed your compliment, the better. From there, you can ask more questions or try some different conversation starters like, “What inspired you to play such-and-such?” or “Did you learn to play by yourself?”
2. Ask about their techniques
One of the first things you should do is ask about their techniques. Specifically, you want to know what guitars they’re using and how they use them. This will allow you to engage in conversation about your favorite guitarists or local shows that you attended recently.
People love talking about themselves and will generally be willing to share, especially when it comes to music. They’ll also give some insight into what kind of music they prefer. It’s a great way to start building rapport quickly. Plus, if they enjoy playing (and being complimented), you may get an invite to play with them sometime.
3. Tell them where you saw them perform
If you saw their performance at a local bar, tell them how much you enjoyed it. If they were performing at an open mic night or another event that featured many performers, let them know how better they were than all other acts.
This tells them that you appreciated their art and recognized their talent in relation to others. It also lets them know that you’re paying attention. These compliments are more meaningful than “Good job!”
4. Tell them about the song they played
It’s always good to know what they played before telling them how great it was. Did they play a pop hit or an original song? Did they nail every chord or miss half of them?
If it was an original, ask them about their inspiration behind writing it and how they want people to interpret it. If they covered something, talk about why you like that song so much or maybe even ask if you can request that song next time. Whatever you do, don’t just blurt out, “I liked your playing.”
That makes them feel like they did nothing but pour out their soul for nothing. Be descriptive! The more detail you go into about what stood out for you, the more they will genuinely appreciate your compliment.
5. Discuss their gear
It’s always fun (and helpful) to know what a guitar player is using, so make sure to mention their gear. If you really like their playing, consider asking what kind of gear they use and how they got it. It’s also common for guitarists to have favorite pedals and guitars; knowing these can be handy when trying out new equipment or comparing notes with other players.
For example, if you notice a cool guitar pick in their stand, comment on it and ask where they got it from or what brand it is. Let them know that you noticed they were playing [insert type of guitar] and ask them if they use [insert brand] pickups in it.
They’ll appreciate that you noticed what they were playing, and your knowledge will impress them (and show that you’re familiar with guitars). Most guitarists love talking about gear, so getting started is easy. Just try not to get too carried away with technical details if you want your compliments to be received graciously.
6. Praise their skills
Tell them they’re talented! The biggest compliment you can give someone who plays the guitar is saying you think they’re talented. No matter how good or bad their music is, telling someone that you enjoy their playing will never fail. If you don’t want to just flat out say it, tell them that you could hear that they put a lot of hard work into practicing their music.
7. Offer some advice
The best kind of compliment you can probably give to a guitarist is giving them advice on how to improve. This will help them to keep pushing to become better. It’s an added bonus if you come from a place of help. They will appreciate that more.
Some guitarists would rather be told that they are not good enough than be told they are amazing. While that may sound like an odd thing to say, it is true for many people. If someone keeps telling you repeatedly, without any substance behind their statement, it loses its power and meaning very quickly.
Everyone likes compliments, but many guitarists prefer honesty. They want to know what they need to work on or what could have been done better so they can grow as players in their own right.
There’s more than one way to say, “Wow, you’re amazing!” when you see an incredible guitarist perform. If your ears are still ringing from an epic set, don’t worry. You can still show your appreciation in person or over social media.
Just remember these tips, and go forth and spread some love through your keyboard and mouse. Who knows? Your kind words might just be heard across town or around the world.
Michaela Jyra Melo is a freelance writer, music obsessive, and professional content creator with a passion for sharing her experiences and knowledge with the world. Michaela is a music lover first and foremost. She's passionate about new music and artists, but she also loves to dig into musical instruments and equipment. Michael studies communication at the University of the Philippines. When she's not writing or listening to new music, she can be found reading on her Kindle or traveling somewhere new with friends.