Do Guitar Players Actually Play With Their Teeth/Tongue?

Pick up the guitar. Sit down or stand up, whatever suits you. 

Now, take a pick if you want, but bear in mind you can use your fingers too. 

Then, use your right hand to pluck the strings, and your left hand to fret the chords. Do the other way around if you are left-handed. 

That’s it. Now you know how to play guitar… cool. 

But what if there’s another way? I mean, c’mon, the standard way is too standard, isn’t it? 

Isn’t there an alternative such as playing with the teeth? 

Of course, there is. Truth is, playing guitar with your teeth is not a myth, but a reality. 

Playing with your teeth or tongue is actually possible. Although there is a lot of help from the fretting hand, using teeth to pluck a string is possible. All you need is to practice and avoid touching the ringing string with your lips. 

Do you have the guts and dental health to apply this technique with your band? 

We hope so! But if you are unsure, there’s only one way to find it out. 

Who popularized the trick of playing guitar with the mouth? 

Picture the following scenario. You are a teen living in London in the mid-60s. 

There are no cellphones, no internet connection, and no Nintendo Switch. Nothing.

You attend school and come back home almost every day. Your wildest adventure is drinking an occasional beer hidden with your friends

Your life is simple, but a bit boring. 

One day, while having a drink with your bros, one of them makes a proposal: “Hey, look! Here’s this American guitarist that’s gonna play a concert tomorrow. It is a phenomenal musician, we should definitely go and see him play” or something like that. 

Sure, there’s not much to do anyways, isn’t it? 

The next day arrives and you are at the pub with your friends. There are some cool long-hair individuals with some pretty girls

Damned, I wish I was that cool,” you think to yourself. But you are not. 

All of a sudden, this American guy you went to see hits the stage and in the blink of an eye, changes your life forever. 

His playing skills aren’t just phenomenal; they are out of this world. Out of the galaxy, I dare to say. 

His guitar sounds raw yet powerful. His shreds are messy yet pleasantly organized. 

But if you couldn’t believe your ears, now you cannot believe your eyes. HE’S PLAYING GUITAR WITH HIS TEETH. 

Your father is a dentist, what would he think about it? He would probably get mad or something, but who cares? 

Finally, this guy throws the guitar on the floor and sets it on fire in a wild, reckless, and lunatic witchcraft-ritual-like acting. 

That’s it. James Marshall Hendrix just finished gifting you with the meaning of life. 

Jimi Hendrix popularized playing guitar with his teeth to shock the audience. After all, there was truly not much action during those years. 

It was not like entering Youtube and watching bassist Davie504 playing Red Hot Chili Peppers with a red hot chili pepper. Most bands simply played either good or great, with little to no showmanship. 

But watching a guy playing guitar with the teeth and still making it sound good? That’s an unforgettable experience. 

Truth is, Hendrix didn’t invent this technique. It is said that he took it from unknown blues players. 

Nonetheless, he totally popularized it. But did he actually play with the teeth, or was it nothing but smoke and mirrors?  

Can you actually play guitar with your tongue or teeth? 

Believe it or not, playing guitar with teeth or tongue is possible. 

Jimi Hendrix actually played that way. 

However, it was not because he had a perfect set of teeth nor a tongue full of steroids (after all, not even Gene Simmons could play with its tongue solely). 

There is a bit of help from the hands, which are used to create some pull-offs and hammer-ons. 

Not to mention, the guitar and amp settings also help. 

But all in all, there’s nothing you can do to make a guitar sound great when using the teeth or tongue: you either play well or you don’t. 

How is this actually done?

Now, we know what you are thinking. 

How can I do this trick so I impress my crush?” 

Well, don’t you think it is better to impress your crush with your personality and good intentions? 

Of course not, it doesn’t work at all! The teeth playing is much more effective! 

Here’s what you need to know. 

First of all, consider that both your nose and lips are the strings’ biggest enemies. As soon as you place them on the string, it will stop ringing, so be careful not to cut the music off. 

Get your teeth on the string you want to ring, and place your lips on the upper and lower strings. 

Now, move your neck slowly so you can pluck the string your teeth are in. Pull the string back so it rings

Remember to use your fretting hands to help yourself with hammer-ons and pull-offs. After all, those are going to be the most helpful techniques to use until you are comfortable enough playing with your mouth. 

One last thing to consider, though. This technique may be easy to do, but hard to do right

See, one thing is to ring a note with your teeth, and another is to make it ring well. 

Hell, you could even play “Smoke On The Water” with your teeth! Now, for a guitar solo, then you’ll probably need a bit more time before accomplishing it. 

Take it easy! Just practice and time will fit everything in its correspondent place. 

Is there a point in playing guitar with your mouth? 

There is an important point at the time of applying this technique: having fun. 

Indeed. Playing this way is nothing but a mere trick to laugh and fool around. 

Not to mention, it is also a great form of impressing the audience and calling their attention to you. 

However, it is safe to mention that this could backfire. Some people could believe you are merely showing off (which, let’s be honest, you are), and that you are implementing a difficult but unimpressive trick that has already been done by one of the greatest guitarists of the 20th Century. 

Naturally, that shouldn’t stop you from trying it. 

Do you want to play guitar with your teeth and tongue? Then do it! 

The sole purpose of playing is to enjoy it. Who says you have to play seriously all the time? 

What are other cool tricks people do with their guitars? 

The coolest trick you can do with your guitar is setting it on fire after playing, just like Jimi did! 

Needless to say, this is just a one-time trick, so try not to fail at it. 

Oh well, there is a simpler alternative as well: You could try smashing it against the floor in a The-Who-like way. This trick also works once, so better buy a whole bunch of guitars so you can do it every time, even during rehearsals. 

Now, enough about jokes. Let’s focus on some real tricks to implement.

One trick you can implement is playing guitar with the instrument on your back. This playing style is also a Hendrix invention (or at least, he was the one who made it popular). 

Simply take your guitar to your shoulders, with the strings and pickups facing contrarily to your view. In other words, if you were playing like that in front of an audience, the public would be seeing only the back of the guitar. 

Also, try the behind-the-nut bending technique. This is a weird technique that shows how useful an instrument may be. 

To do this, you need a recessed headstock. Also, the lighter the gauge, the better. 

Other than that, the technique is self-explanatory. Play a note, and bend the part of the string that is behind the headstock. 

This technique has been done by Jimmy Page and Ray Buchanan, among other musicians. 

We highly encourage you to watch a video that thoroughly explains the steps required to accomplish this technique. 

Talking about Jimmy Page, you could steal his “violin bow” playing. Just get a violin bow or cello bow and caress the strings sweetly with it. 

Now that we mentioned playing with things, why not switch the violin bow with a drill

Seriously. If you don’t believe us, watch Van Halen’s ‘Poundcake’ music video, or Mr. Big’s “Daddy, Brother, Lover, Little Boy” music video. It will blow your mind. 

Sure, if you want to play weird but not “too weird”, just use your feet. Grab the pick with your toes and play as you would usually play guitar. 

Use the left foot to press the string against the fretboard, and the right one to strum the strings. 

Hey, you may even sell your videos doing it and earn money with that! Some people like feet, you know… 

Thank you for reading and we hope you have found this article both useful and entertaining.