Can You Play the Guitar Drunk?

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There are various methods to make yourself look bad and one stands out from the rest: playing an instrument while drunk is one way. Surprisingly, it’s a challenge few have dared to do and not done too well. But can you really play the guitar drunk? The answer may surprise you! Check out this blog post for more information on how to make sweet music while under the influence!

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Can You Play the Guitar Drunk?

How Does Alcohol Work in Your Body?

When drinking alcohol, it passes directly into your bloodstream and gets transported to the entire body parts. Alcohol starts by affecting your brain, kidneys, lungs and liver, almost immediately. On average your liver will take an hour to break down one unit of alcohol depending on your weight, gender, and age, how quickly your body turns food into energy, any medicine you’re taking, the type and strength of alcohol consumed, and how much food you have eaten.

This is how alcohol is affected by:


If you have a low weight, you will feel the effects of alcohol more quickly because you have fewer tissues to absorb the alcohol.


Many young people weigh less than adults, so that alcohol can affect them quickly.


Women are more quickly affected by alcohol than men because they usually weigh less than men and have less tissue to observe alcohol. Additionally, alcohol will stay longer in the woman’s blood than in men.

Alcohol Type

When you drink alcohol mixed with water or fruit juice, it is absorbed slowly into your bloodstream, but alcohol mixed with fizzy drinks is absorbed more quickly.

What Is the Best Way to Play Guitar While Drinking?

Drinking alcohol and playing the guitar at the same time is not a good idea. The alcohol will make you make terrible mistakes as you play because you lack the concentration to play well.

Why Is It Bad to Play Guitar While Drinking?

Playing while drinking is only good for the first drink or 2

After that, playing deteriorates quickly. Although drinking makes it feel much more fluid and natural at first, you lose focus of what you need to play.

Slow reaction time

Just like you can’t drink and drive due to slow reaction time, the same applies to playing the guitar which requires you to be attentive to your music and other players.


If you play the guitar in a hot venue under alcohol, dehydration can seriously harm your health and well-being. Additionally, the side effects of dehydration, can cause fainting and heat strokes.

It may be addictive in the long run

Alcohol addiction can lead to suffering from Alcohol use disorder (AUD), which results in the inability to control alcohol use despite adverse social, occupational, or health consequences.

Alcohol is a depressant

Although you may initially feel happy and less stressed, the feeling will eventually wear off, leaving you sad or anxious. Depressant substances like alcohol affect the central nervous system and slow down the messages between the brain and your body. This makes you unable to play the guitar effectively because depressants affect concentration and coordination and slow down your ability to respond quickly.


When you drink alcohol, you increase your chances of being involved in an accident while playing the guitar. The numbness caused by your body may make you bruise your fingers when pressing too hard on the strings without being aware. This places your health at risk.

Potential social embarrassment

Being embarrassed is one of the big effects of playing while drunk, in front of people. When you stop drinking, you stop any potential social embarrassment.

Executive function

alcohol consumption will affect your executive functions- like planning the chords, self-control, and remembering how to play certain chords. By not drinking, you will avoid any alcohol-related deficits that can happen.

Can You Play the Guitar Drunk?
Photo by cottonbro:

Mental Health

Statistics have shown a high rate of comorbidity between alcohol and mental illnesses like anxiety, bipolar disorder, and schizophrenia. The National Survey on Drug Use and Health statistics show that 9.2 million U.S. adults are experiencing both mental illness and a substance use disorder, yet nearly 60% receive no treatment. You wouldn’t want to be in these statistics because of drinking while playing guitar as a guitarist. You may not realize that alcohol ultimately exacerbates mental illness. Therefore, when you stop drinking while playing the guitar, you can reduce these symptoms.

Cardiovascular Risk

If you don’t drink alcohol while playing the guitar, your heart will surely thank you. This is because people who drink heavily are twice as likely to have a cardiovascular event within 24 hours compared to those who don’t drink at all. Drinkers are six times more likely to experience the same issue within a week than non-drinkers.

Alcohol increases the risk of cardiovascular disease, regardless of the quantity consumed.

You may suffer from:

  • Irregular heart rhythms
  • Congestive heart failure
  • Heart attack

If you are drinking for the social effect or to get rid of nervousness, try to reduce alcohol intake before playing your guitar.

Good, Bad, worse scenario

Even though alcohol intoxication is only temporary, continued alcohol abuse can impair brain function permanently. Therefore, it would help to reduce the drinking or partake in moderate drinking for health benefits.

How To Stop Playing Guitar While Drunk?

When you feel out of control while playing guitar in a concert while intoxicated, the easiest thing is to hand it over to your team member to continue playing on your behalf. Additionally, it is time to stop when people who love you the most start to get concerned about your behavior when you’re drinking while playing. For instance, when they start to complain that you are drinking way too much or causing self-embarrassment, it is time to stop.


Even with a good tolerance for alcohol, nobody can play the guitar well when severely intoxicated. You may be able to get through a show, but you can bet that you didn’t play well. It’s best to not drink when playing guitar.

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