With venues closed for much of the past two years, many guitarists have taken to social media to stay inspired and relevant. From Sam Fender and John Mayer to Nile Rodgers and Yusuf/Cat Stevens, the “guitarTok” community has some serious guitar stars making creative use of the platform.
Despite this celebrity cast, the most popular videos tend to come from smaller creators reimagining classic songs in inventive ways.
We recommend taking a tour of the guitarTok rabbithole yourself. But if you’re short on time, we’ve picked out five of the best tracks here to enjoy.
@tomspinley– Everybody wants to rule the world
The layered soundscapes of the 1985 Tears for Fears hit might not seem like the obvious choice for a solo guitar cover. However, armed with his black Jazzmaster and loop pedal, Tom Spinley makes it work.
Based in Manchester and a member of up-and-coming alternative rock band Offset Pearls, Spinley uses a throaty wah and generous helpings of reverb. Its cover is a clear nod to the original without trying to imitate it.
It’s one of Spinley’s most successful videos, with 1.6 million views and over 450,000 likes. It was part of his “Isolation” series, which saw him produce other Jazzmaster covers, including the Jackson 5. I want you to come backas well as a keyboard rendition by Bill Withers Just the two of us.
While the Jazzmaster is Spinley’s main push, he also plays a white Stratocaster and a blonde Telecaster in some videos.
Isolation Tiktoks day 4 – Everybody wants to rule the world, Tears for Fears #guitar #loop #looppedal #guitarcover #tearsforfears #viral #blowthisup
♬ original sound – Tom Spinley
@_hudsondavis – take on me
Swapping out synths and vocals for Fender sounds is a common motif in this list. And while the popularity of the iconic A-ha take on me makes it a tall order, Hudson Davis tackles it head-on with a wild vibrato and sultansstyle triads.
The Nashville player uses a Mercury-finished AmPro II Stratocaster to sensational effect and, truth be told, most of his videos could have made it onto this list. Some of his most interesting works include the recreation of Queen’s Bohemian Rhapsody and Pink Floyd comfortably Numb in the style of John Mayer.
The guitarist clearly prefers Strats, with three appearing on his TikTok, as well as a cherry red Gibson ES-335. Davis’ entry on this list is by far her most popular song, amassing approximately 800,000 views.
“Take On Me”… (but it’s played on guitar) #guitar #guitartok #guitarist #guitarcover #aha #80s
♬ original sound – Hudson Davis
@naomikei.music – where is my Mind
Playing the undisputed king of starter guitars, a black Squire Mustang, Naomi Kei here brilliantly demonstrates how to use a loop pedal to create a soundscape through the subtle layering of rhythm parts and riffs.
It starts with a rhythm created by tapping on the humbuckers, before adding a bass line, the rhythm part and finally the melody, before suddenly we are listening to the Pixies’ favorite track, which only served as a lo -fi stripped. guitar cover.
It is one of Naomi’s most successful videos, with 1.4 million views and 300,000 likes. She has also had success with other covers, including Feel Good Inc by Gorillaz and The Cure’s boys don’t cry.
the hair got in my eyes at the end 😔 #fyp #foryou totally not the third time i’ve done this… #whereismymind #thepixies #pixies #loop #guitar #cover
♬ original sound – Naomi Kei
@gbliz – Smells like Teen Spirit
This isn’t Bliz’s most successful cover – it would be his guitar solo for Internet Money’s Lemonadewhich has almost 3 million views – but this is its most interesting.
Guitare.com previously covered Ry Ecko’s reimagining of Kate Bush The Wuthering Heights like a grunge song. Here, Bliz goes the other way, turning this Nirvana hit into a mellow R&B track.
Bliz extracts warm tones from his black Stratocaster, replacing powerchords with seventh chords and adding jazzy embellishments. It couldn’t be further from the original, but it just about works.
Outside of his covers, Bliz also posts videos explaining his rig, demonstrating how he gets his R&B sounds using a Fender Mustang GTX50 and the new three-pickup setup on his Tequila Sunrise Player Plus Stratocaster.
It smells of R&B ⚡️ #nirvana #guitartok #gbliz
♬ original sound – G.Bliz
@Jamesmarchaant – The story of my life
One Direction is one of the most covered groups on TikTok, so it would be wrong to exclude them from this list.
Looping is the basis of so many guitar videos on the platform. In this video, James Marchant uses it for a muted string beat. His playing may not be as adept as some of the others on this list, but he weaves his way through the song with an effective warm tone. He’s also mastered the TikTok guitar aesthetic, with the golden hour sunlight capturing half his face and half his Strat.
This is the most viewed video on this list, with 6.3 million views.
Story of My Life – One Direction 🎞 loop cover #onedirection #harrystyles #guitar #loop #midnighmemories #louistomlinson
♬ original sound – James Marchant
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