Why Do Musicians Break Their Guitars?

Nov 23 · 4 min read

The first time I saw a musician smash their guitar onstage, I thought it was just one of those things that happened once in a while. The second time, though, and the third... well, you start to wonder. Why do so many musicians break their guitars? I mean, what's the point? Is it just for show? Or is there some deeper meaning behind this seemingly pointless act? Let's take a look at all sides of this question by exploring some common theories as to why musicians break their guitars.


It's a long-standing tradition

A lot of guitar players break their guitars on stage. It's a long-standing tradition, dating back to the 1960s and one that many artists have been associated with over the years. Jimi Hendrix was the first musician to break his guitar at a live show in 1969. It happened during his performance at Madison Square Garden in New York City during the third of three sold-out concerts that would later be released as "Live at Woodstock" (1970). Since then, Jimmy Page of Led Zeppelin broke his guitar on stage multiple times; other musicians who have broken their guitars include Kurt Cobain, Eddie Van Halen and Jeff Beck

It's often an emotional outburst

It’s often an emotional outburst. You see, guitarists are very passionate about their music. The guitar is a tool that allows them to express themselves and communicate with other people through their art. When they play music that moves them, they can get caught up in the moment, feeling the music deep inside themselves much like how you might feel when you listen to a song on repeat for hours on end.

When this happens and someone interrupts their performance or cuts off the song before it finishes—or even if it simply ends unexpectedly—it can be devastatingly disappointing for guitarists who have been pouring themselves into their performance (and perhaps also into drinking). So rather than deal with these feelings of disappointment alone, some musicians choose to get out all of their frustrations by breaking their guitars as loudly as possible; this way they can let out all of those negative emotions without hurting anyone else around them.

It's part of their brand

When you hear about a musician smashing their guitar, there’s often a sense of surprise and confusion. How could they destroy such an instrument?! Surely the guitar would be more valuable if it was in one piece!

But…what if I told you that smashing guitars is actually part of the job? And it’s not because they want to destroy their instruments—it's because they want to make them better! You see, as with many jobs in music, artists have developed a persona around themselves as a way to connect with fans and show how much passion they have for their work. In this case, breaking guitars is just one small facet of creating this image.

Sometimes it's pure passion

You've been playing for two hours, and you're on a roll. The crowd loves every song and is singing along with you. When the last chord sounds, something inside of you snaps and instinctively, without thinking about it at all, your hands reach for the guitar neck—but there's no guitar there to grab onto anymore! The strings are broken! What happened? Well...you just played with so much love and energy that the instrument couldn't take it anymore; it broke under their pressure—and in some cases even exploded into pieces!

It can also be a way to get the audience involved in what they're seeing/hearing.

Some musicians have been known to break their guitars because they know that this action will get an emotional reaction out of everyone watching or listening (especially if they play acoustic). By hitting something hard enough while holding onto an object like this one can create sparks which will fly around them similarly as fireworks would display themselves in midair during celebrations like New Year’s Eve parties where people gather together around midnight on December 31st each year before ringing bells outside their homes as well as at work places such as offices where employees often share food from midnight until dawn after celebrating together all night long through different activities such as watching movies together etcetera.

Sometimes it's boredom

The main reason why musicians break guitars is because they're bored. This can happen in a few different situations:

They're bored with the show they're playing, and so they want to break something to spice things up. This often happens when the band is doing an intro or outro solo and gets anxious about entering into their slot; it's also common for drummers who are playing boring beats throughout the performance, but don't want to interrupt the flow of things by stopping to change them (or couldn't change them if they wanted).

The audience is bored by what's happening onstage—so much so that it makes sense for someone in the band to throw caution (and/or instruments) to the wind, just so everyone has something interesting going on again. In this case, one of two things will happen: either nobody notices what just happened except for a few diehard fans who feel like they've seen something unique; or all eyes turn back onto whoever destroyed whatever instrument was used at that moment—which might lead people curious enough about why such destruction took place in front of them

Guitar smashing is a cathartic way to express yourself onstage.

Guitar smashing is a cathartic way to express yourself onstage. When you’re playing live, there are many aspects of performing that you can’t control: the sound quality, the lighting, and most importantly, whether or not your audience will be receptive. There are so many variables that go into playing music in front of people—but smashing your guitar gives you complete control over one thing: how much damage you cause!

You might want to smash your instrument because you feel angry about something related to its name or history (like when Jay-Z threw his Martin D-28 through a window after learning how much it cost). Or maybe it’s because you just want an excuse for destruction (like Dave Grohl). Maybe even just plain old frustration at being unable to reach some sort of artistic goal (like Pete Townshend). Whatever the reason may be, this form of self-expression has been around since rock ‘n roll has existed.

In the end, smashing guitars is a cathartic way to express yourself onstage. But there’s also an element of it being part of the band’s brand. It can be seen as a sign of their passion and commitment, or even just boredom with playing the same old songs all over again. For more fun blogs check out our school website where we provide music lessons in Redmond

Marie Bergman
More From Parkside Music Academy