A plaque remaining from the Big Apple Night Club at West 135th Street and Seventh Avenue in Harlem.

Above, a 1934 plaque from the Big Apple Night Club at West 135th Street and Seventh Avenue in Harlem. Discarded as trash in 2006.

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Entry from March 06, 2015
“How do you get a guitarist to turn down the volume?” (joke)

Can guitar players read music? A popular joke is:

Q. How do you get a guitar player to play softer?
A. Give him a sheet of music.


The joke has been cited in print since at least 1992.


Google Groups: rec.music.classical
Musical jokes
“Vinay K. Chaudhri”
7/31/92
(...)
How do you make a lead guitarist slow down?
Put some sheet music in front of him.

How do you make a guitarist play quieter?
Put a sheet of music in front of him.

How do you make him stop?
Put notes on it!

Google Groups: rec.humor
Musician Jokes..continued
C.D.
11/19/93
(...).
How do you get a guitarist to play softer?  Give him a sheet of music.

Google Groups: rec.humor
Canonical List Of Music Humor 1/1
Too Live Krewe
2/15/95
(...)
How do you get a guitar player to play softer?
Give him a sheet of music.

How do you make him stop playing?
Put notes on it!

Google Groups: rec.music.bluenote
Let’s have some more music jokes!
David South, Jr.
9/7/95
(...)
How do you get a guitarist to play softer? Give him a sheet of music.

Google Books
Saxophone Journal
Volume 20
1995
Pg. 47:
And remember, if you want to get a guitarist to turn down, hand out charts! If you want to get a saxophonist to turn down, take back the charts

Google Books
Somebody’s Got My Robe
By John Yarrington
Nashville, TN: Abingdon Press
1997
Pg. 80:
Q. How do you get a guitar player to play softer?
A. Give him a sheet of music.
(Anonymous — and for good reason)

Google Groups: rec.music.classical.recordings
Mozart’s Clarinet Quintet in A (K581)
James C.S. Liu
3/3/97
(...)
Reminds me of another joke in the archive:

Q: How do you get a guitarist to play quietly?
A: Put sheet music in front of him.

A Prairie Home Companion (April 18, 1998)
The Third Annual Joke Show
MUSICIAN JOKES
(...)
How do you get a guitar player to turn down the volume?
Put sheet music in front of him.

Google Books
KISS Guide to Playing Guitar
By Terry Burrows
New York, NY: Dorling Kindersley
2000
Pg. 187:
Question: how do you get a guitarist to stop playing?
Answer: You put some sheet music in front of him.

Google Books
The Best Musicians’ Jokes
By Bruno Kassel and Carlo May
Pacific, MO: Mel Bay Publications, Inc.
2005
Pg. 22:
How do you get a guitarist to turn the volume down?
Put some sheet music in front of him.

Google Books
Guitar Tunings:
A Comprehensive Guide

By Dick Weissman
New York, NY: Taylor & Francis Group
2006
Pg. XI:
That may be the explanation of the old studio musician joke: How do you get a guitar player to turn the volume down? Put a chart in front of him!

Google Books
The Best Jobs in the Music Industry:
Straight Talk from Successful Music Pros

By Michael Redman
Milwaukee, WI: Hal Leonard Books
2013
Pg. ?:
Guitar players know this joke: “How do you get a guitarist to turn down?” “Put a chart in front of him.”

Twitter
Canadian Musician
‏@cdnmusician
Joke of the Day
Q: How do you get a guitarist to play softer?
A: Place a sheet of music in front of him.
8:00 AM - 18 Jun 2014

YouTube
How Do You Get a Guitarist to Play Softer
Ken Tremain
Published on Jan 19, 2015
Here is a Joke about Guitarists that every guitarist should Laugh at!

Rockcellar Magazine
March 6, 2015
Going ‘Off the Score’ with Stewart Copeland: The Interview
Written by: Adrian Garro
(...)
Stewart Copeland: You know the old joke, “How do you get a guitarist to turn down? Put a sheet of music in front of him.” Or “How do you get him to turn his amplifier off? Put music on the page.” “How do you get an orchestra to stop dead? Take the music away.”

Posted by Barry Popik
New York CityMusic/Dance/Theatre/Film • Friday, March 06, 2015 • Permalink