25 Guitar Quotes from Legendary Guitarists
With the ever-growing number of guitarists in the world, it’s hard to single out a set of quotes that will embody the guitar as a whole. With so many things to express about the guitar, a person can only say so much in the space of a sentence or two!
Many legends in the game have had their fair share of legendary quotes which is why I’ve compiled a list of the 25 best guitar quotes.
Let’s dive in and see what those are!
- 1. “If you want music to be your livelihood, then play, play, play and play!” – Eddie Van Halen
- 2. “When all the original blues guys are gone, you start to realize that someone has to tend to the tradition.” – Eric Clapton
- 3. “I call myself a blues singer, but you ain’t never heard me call myself a blues guitar man.” – B.B. King
- 4. “Music is a necessity. After food, air, water, and warmth, music is the next necessity of life.” – Keith Richards
- 5. “Music doesn’t lie. If there is something to be changed in this world, then it can only happen through music.” – Jimi Hendrix
- 6. “My guitar is not a thing. It is an extension of myself. It is who I am.” – Joan Jett
- 7. “I mean, give me a guitar, give me a piano, give me a broom and string, I wouldn’t get bored anywhere.” – Keith Richards
- 8. “I can communicate far better on a guitar than I can through my mouth.” – Jimmy Page
- 9. “Technically, I’m not a guitar player, all I play is truth and emotion.” – Jimi Hendrix
- 10. “So, my big brother was playing guitar and I figured I’d try it too.” – Stevie Ray Vaughan
- 11. “Don’t use your brain to play it, let your feelings guide your fingers.” – Jimi Hendrix
- 12. “I just go where the guitar takes me.” – Angus Young
- 13. “The guitar was my weapon, my shield to hide behind.” – Brian May
- 14. “If we replaced guns with guitars, then the world would be a concert.” – Thoman Ian Nicholas
- 15. “To hell with the rules. If it sounds right, then it is.” – Eddie Van Halen
- 16. “When I was growing up, there were two things that were unpopular in my house. One was me, and the other was my guitar.” – Bruce Springsteen
- 17. “I’m only myself when I have a guitar in my hands.” – George Harrison
- 18. “I wanted to connect my guitar to human emotions.” – B.B. King
- 19. “Every time you pick up your guitar to play, play as if it’s the last time.” – Eric Clapton
- 20. “Sometimes the nicest thing to do with a guitar is just look at it.” – Thom Yorke
- 21. “I play guitar because it lets me dream out loud” – Michael Hedges
- 22. “That’s the cool thing about the guitar – there’s always more to learn.” – Jim Heath
- 23. “I’ve been imitated so well I’ve heard people copy my mistakes.” – Jimi Hendrix
- 24. “A guitar is like an old friend that is there with me.” – B.B. King
- 25. “Guitar is easy, all it takes is 5 fingers, 6 strings, and 1 a**hole.” – Keith Richards
1. “If you want music to be your livelihood, then play, play, play and play!” – Eddie Van Halen
To start us off, we have the one-and-only Eddie Van Halen. He was born in 1955 and still remains a household name when the guitar is mentioned. His message is simple – Play!
Eddie completely summarizes what it truly means to make music, or in this instance, the guitar, your life. Only with practice and playing can you make it your ‘livelihood’ and succeed.
To go down in the history books as one of the best to ever do it, I think we can safely say – we can take his word for it!
2. “When all the original blues guys are gone, you start to realize that someone has to tend to the tradition.” – Eric Clapton
The number two position is held by one of the most influential and legendary guitarists of all time. Eric Clapton was born in 1945 and is currently in the top 5 guitarists of all time according to Rolling Stones magazine and Gibson.
His passion for music and duty to the genre goes beyond mere entertainment. As you can see from his quote, he takes on a much bigger role and responsibility when it comes to keeping the genre alive.
3. “I call myself a blues singer, but you ain’t never heard me call myself a blues guitar man.” – B.B. King
Born in 1925 but still being a staple in music is the ever-great B.B. King. Although his quote clearly states that he himself is considered a singer first and foremost, we can all agree that everyone knows King by his prolific guitar playing.
As the inventor of a sophisticated soloing technique, he had incredibly reached masses and inspired them to follow the path of the guitar. A man who has helped his fair share in the name of music.
4. “Music is a necessity. After food, air, water, and warmth, music is the next necessity of life.” – Keith Richards
Keith Richards is another household name when it comes to the guitar. He was born in 1943 in England. His quote truly grasps why music is so important. Ranking music as one of life’s necessities is a step up considering that a human needs food, air, water, and warmth.
Music is truly a much-needed thing in the world, without it, what would be the point? Keith understood this well and his message resonates even to this day.
5. “Music doesn’t lie. If there is something to be changed in this world, then it can only happen through music.” – Jimi Hendrix
No introduction is needed when it comes to the legendary Jimi Hendrix. He was born in 1942 in the US and will always remain one of the best to ever do it.
His understanding of music goes beyond mere playing technique and skills, what he truly understands is that music is a pure form in and of itself.
Such a power in the world can influence almost anyone and resolve almost anything, don’t you think? The message is powerful, to say the least.
6. “My guitar is not a thing. It is an extension of myself. It is who I am.” – Joan Jett
Joan Jett is yet another well-known name in the guitar community. She was born in 1958 in the US and is most known for her band Joan Jett & the Blackhearts. Her message is one that many can relate to, to say the least.
Having the feeling that your instrument is a part of you is something that many musicians feel and understand. Your instrument becomes like your limbs and oddly serves the purpose just like a necessity in this situation.
Only a true guitarist will utter these words!
7. “I mean, give me a guitar, give me a piano, give me a broom and string, I wouldn’t get bored anywhere.” – Keith Richards
One more from the great Keith Richards. A message that truly captures the mind of a musician. Having just the bare minimum of musical ingredients and being satisfied and never bored is simply a true statement.
As a musician, your biggest passion is music and is what drives you. Having your instrument beside you is all it takes to pass your time and pass it with love.
8. “I can communicate far better on a guitar than I can through my mouth.” – Jimmy Page
Another Englishman on the list is Jimmy Page. Born in 1944, Page is what is known as a multi-instrumentalist, with his success coming from being a guitarist. If you dabble in the guitar world, you certainly recognize this name.
His message is one that many can relate to, as most musicians hide behind their instrument or their music, and simply want their instrument to speak for themselves. Not being sure in just yourself, instead, being sure in your skills and energy!
9. “Technically, I’m not a guitar player, all I play is truth and emotion.” – Jimi Hendrix
A good follow-up from the previous one don’t you think? Jimi’s message closely relates to the one from Page and the one from Jett as well. Saying almost the same thing as Joan, that the guitar is a part of you and that you let your skills speak for you.
Being truthful in the manner of simply putting yourself out there and letting your instrument tell your story and your energy guide your audience.
10. “So, my big brother was playing guitar and I figured I’d try it too.” – Stevie Ray Vaughan
Another great joins the list. Stevie Ray Vaughan was born in 1954 and is regarded as an icon even to this day. His message speaks volumes when you think about it.
Imagine that if not for his brother and an early influence to pick up the guitar we might have never heard ‘Mary Had A Little Lamb’ and the many more great songs such as this one.
He tried guitar and succeeded, to say the least!
11. “Don’t use your brain to play it, let your feelings guide your fingers.” – Jimi Hendrix
No surprise that Jimi makes an appearance again on this list. His message closely relates to his previous one on the list in the sense that guitar is meant to be played with pure instinct.
We all know that trying to force something mostly backfires. Instead, playing with emotions and letting your instinct take over is what makes great music and stands the test of time!
12. “I just go where the guitar takes me.” – Angus Young
The great Angus Young was born in 1955 and is also one of the most influential guitar players of all time.
His quote has a similar message to the ones previously mentioned on the list that just goes to show that many great guitarists felt the same way about their instrument and what it takes to play it.
Letting your instinct take over and your emotions serve as a guiding light is what ends with beautiful music.
13. “The guitar was my weapon, my shield to hide behind.” – Brian May
Another must on the guitar quote list is Brian May. Born in 1947, May is an incredibly influential guitarist that played his part in Queen – which had a mass impact on the world of music.
In a similar fashion, May explains what was previously stated in the article, that his instrument was his shield. He hid behind it, knowing the fact that his instrument will better speak for him instead of his words.
14. “If we replaced guns with guitars, then the world would be a concert.” – Thoman Ian Nicholas
Although not as prolific musician as all the others on the list, Thomas Ian Nicholas makes the list with his great quote. Born in 1980 in the US, Nicholas has a one-liner that truly resonates with everyone.
Simply making a switch between guns and guitar will truly make a world difference. Having the entire world as a concert sounds delightful don’t you think so too?
15. “To hell with the rules. If it sounds right, then it is.” – Eddie Van Halen
Eddie has another message for us all. Notorious for his words and his technique, Eddie is a rule-breaker, suggesting that if it sounds right then it is! This is something that most of us can understand and agree with.
Music has no rules, so why should an instrument have one? If you manage to make music that speaks volumes and reaches the masses then there is no formula or no right/wrong!
16. “When I was growing up, there were two things that were unpopular in my house. One was me, and the other was my guitar.” – Bruce Springsteen
Born in 1949, Bruce Springsteen is another name that we all know all too well. His quote is one that makes you laugh but also makes complete sense!
To truly become a master at your craft takes long hours of practice and years to make. It is only logical that said practice hours can be nerve-wracking for family members, hearing you play for countless hours, day in, day out.
17. “I’m only myself when I have a guitar in my hands.” – George Harrison
George Harrison was born in 1943 in England and is known worldwide as the guitarist for the Beatles. Naturally, his words are ones that many young guitarists follow and take to heart.
A message that resembles many on this list, is that your instrument is simply an extension of yourself but most of all that your instrument makes you feel more like yourself.
18. “I wanted to connect my guitar to human emotions.” – B.B. King
No surprise here, am I right? B.B. King makes the list again, this time with a different message. This quote simply speaks volumes of the kind of guitar player he was.
Trying to connect his guitar to human emotions might just explain why his music is so good and reached the far ends of the earth. This is just one reason why he is incredibly known to this day and his music stands the test of time.
19. “Every time you pick up your guitar to play, play as if it’s the last time.” – Eric Clapton
In a not-so-surprising appearance, Eric Clapton returns to deliver another great quote. His message is clear and his intentions are good.
When playing the guitar, it should be more than just fun, it should be meaningful. Playing it every time like it was your last time will only push your boundaries and in return make for incredible music and a memorable experience.
20. “Sometimes the nicest thing to do with a guitar is just look at it.” – Thom Yorke
The ever-amazing Thom Yorke joins the ranks. Born in 1968 in England, Yorke is most famously known for his role in the band Radiohead. His message is one that can be interpreted in many different ways don’t you think?
While some suggest that his message means that some people shouldn’t play the guitar, others say that it means not forcing your playing, with other meanings lurking in the wings. Nevertheless, words to think about!
21. “I play guitar because it lets me dream out loud” – Michael Hedges
Born in 1953 in the US, Hedges is a prolific and influential guitarist, to say the least. If you’ve watched the movie Soul, you probably know what this message actually means.
When playing an instrument, musicians tend to go to a different realm every once in a while. It’s sort of like daydreaming when your playing takes you on a journey when real-life almost feels like a dream.
22. “That’s the cool thing about the guitar – there’s always more to learn.” – Jim Heath
Jim Heath is another name that closely relates to the guitar. Born in 1959 in the Us, Heath has some powerful words for every guitarist out there. No matter how proficient you are, there is always more to learn and expand your musical horizons.
His message completely summarizes the guitar as an instrument that has no limits. Only through practice can you achieve your goals and push the boundaries of this instrument.
23. “I’ve been imitated so well I’ve heard people copy my mistakes.” – Jimi Hendrix
Coming close to the end, we have a golden quote by Jimi Hendrix. Imagine being so respected and known that people closely copy and imitate your style of playing to the point that they even copy your mistakes.
A truly fun quote and a message that just goes to show the power of greatness. This is simply the nature of humans and the power of idols. Having such an influence, each of us tends to imitate the greats as a way to comprehend their greatness.
24. “A guitar is like an old friend that is there with me.” – B.B. King
B.B. King with another great one that will undoubtedly go down in the history books. Reaching the stage where your instrument is like a really good friend is something that we should inspire to achieve.
This message is also valuable in the sense that it shows how powerful an instrument can be. To deliver us as far from loneliness as possible, all the while making good use of our time.
25. “Guitar is easy, all it takes is 5 fingers, 6 strings, and 1 a**hole.” – Keith Richards
Last but not least is a truly remarkable quote by the great Keith Richards. A more than a suitable way to bring this list to a close. Words that are funny yet so true! Keith Richards will forever be remembered by this incredible one-liner wouldn’t you agree?
A message that resonates and provides an insight into what the guitar requires. Anyone can learn it and anyone can be proficient at it!
The guitar is a wonderful instrument that has the power to influence and change people’s lives. Many great and talented guitarists have shared their valuable messages and lessons throughout time, in hopes of motivating you and bettering your experience with the guitar.
The trick is simple: keep practicing and always remember these messages! They will help you on your way towards greatness. Just imagine: one day you will be the next great and people will remember your message and name.
And last but not least, keep in mind that guitar isn’t just a tool! It’s an instrument that should represent how much you love music and playing.