Guitar as a Defensive Weapon, or How to Ruin a Good Thing

Last month a new “member” showed up at a singalong I’ve participated in for several years. She sang and played very loudly, but always a half a beat behind. When the people who were closer to her than to the songleader would slow down to match her, she would drop a half a beat behind them. So most songs ended in something like rounds.

Though I’ve been playing banjo at these events for the last several years, this month I brought my loudest guitar, so I could match and reinforce the beat of the songleader and hopefully keep the rest of the players on track.

Only four members (instead of the usual 8-12) showed up.

Even with my Ovation Legend keeping the actual beat, her loud off-the-beat singing and playing made almost everything we sang like shouting down a rain-barrel.

Because I’m “better read” than most of the other participants, I also picked up on some very nasty things she was saying about other people’s song choices that, fortunately, went over most folks’ heads.

I can’t attend next month’s session because of a scheduling conflict, so it remains to be seen if she causes that session to dissolve into chaos as well.

Moral, if you’re ever wondering why every singalong group you join falls apart after a few sessions. . . .

Also, when you’re surrounded by folks who have been doing this for thirty or forty years before you were born, don’t assume you’re the smartest person in the room.


About Paul

Paul Race has been writing and playing all kinds of music since the 1960s, though he tends to favor acoustic and traditional songs. He has created resources like,, and to help other musicians get a good start on their own journeys.

One Comment

  1. She has apparently stopped coming. Which is a shame, because she had much to learn from the other people in the room, if she hadn’t been so anxious to “school us.”

    Sorry, at my age I have an aversion (though not always expressed) about 20-somethings trying to “straighten me out” about things I’ve studied and practiced for 50+ years.

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