Lister's Guitar was a musical instrument owned by David Lister. He did not play it very well. The truth was that Lister was an awful guitarist, but he managed to convince himself that he was a virtuoso.
David Lister had been "taught" to play the guitar at a young age by his stepfather. The first song he learned was "She's Out of My Life" by Michael Jackson. He obtained his first, "authentic copy" Gibson Les Paul when he was sixteen.
When faced with a choice of what to burn in order to keep warm on the Marooned planetoid, Lister pretended to burn his guitar, when he had in fact burnt a portion of Rimmer's camphor wood chest. (Marooned)
Lister owned, in fact, more than one guitar. One was a white acoustic guitar that he strummed in his original quarters. Rimmer once tried to snap it in half during a fit of anger because Lister was annoying him. He later threatened to remove the E-string and garotte Lister if he tried to play it. (RD: The End) Lister wrote love songs to play on his guitar, one of which, "The Indling Song", was described by Lister's Confidence as "the greatest love song ever". (Confidence and Paranoia)
When Lister entered his own digital fantasy, he played "roof attack" for the Zero Gravity Football team the London Jets (a position in the real world filled by his idol Jim Bexley Speed). Lister also played his guitar as the fifth member of the "Fab Five". (Better Than Life deleted scenes)
Lister's other guitar was a copy of a Gibson Les Paul which he had owned since he was 16. It was decorated with stickers, one of which said "Cruise with me for a while". By the time Starbug crashed on a snowbound planet, the guitar only had 5 strings and 3 of them were G-strings. Lister described it as his only lifeline, the only thing that had never let him down. Rimmer told him to burn it to survive the cold, but Lister made a guitar-shaped piece of wood from Rimmer's prized chest by tracing round his guitar. (Marooned)
Eventually, The Dwarfers told Lister that if he wanted to play his guitar, he had to put on a spacesuit and do it in outer space. When he was revived from Deep Sleep and lost his memories, he picked up his guitar and mangled a few chords. Kryten tried to tell him it was fantastic, but Lister was not convinced. Once his memory returned, he was again convinced of his rock legend status. When a Psiren came aboard and tried to fool The Dwarfers into believing it was the real Lister, they insisted he play the guitar. When the Psiren displayed phenomenal talent, he was shot repeatedly by Kryten and The Cat, who realised that the telepathic Psiren was copying how Lister perceived his musical skills. (Psirens)
When Starbug crashed into a swamp and most of their belongings were destroyed, Lister's guitar survived - for a while. The Cat smashed it in anger and Kryten claimed it had not managed to remain in one piece. It was later repaired. (Emohawk)
Kristine Kochanski wakes one morning, telling Lister that she had an unbearable dream about a monkey being stretched across a tennis court, then asks him if he had been practicing guitar again. (Blue) Lister admitted that he has mastered a second chord. (Blue deleted scenes)
Later, after Lister had lost his right arm, he was unable to play his guitar without help. Kryten worked the pick for him, while Lister changed notes. Lister conceded he was actually a bad guitarist, claiming now that this made him only "half crap". (Nanarchy)
After Lister had been sent to The Tank, his friend Petersen found the guitar and sent it to Lister's cell. Lister was dismayed (and Rimmer elated) to discover the prison authorities had removed the strings, in order to prevent either of them from hanging themselves. After a successful appeal, Lister was allowed a set of strings because he had no history of depression or violence. (Krytie TV) In the deleted scenes of the episode, Rimmer said that Lister's goldfish winced when Lister played his guitar, and hid under the plants when they heard Lister tuning up. (Krytie TV deleted scenes)
In order to give himself some tough love fatherly advice, Lister once got drunk and left a series of messages for himself which he would not remember until he watched them. He told himself that unless he bucked up his ideas, that the guitar would be flushed into space. When Lister ignored the message, he was told the dot floating in space was his guitar. (Fathers & Suns)
When the boys went down to the BEGG moon to try get Lister out of the Groinal Exploder, they tried to fob the BEGGs off with the "fabled Spoon of Destiny" that was contained in Lister's (now empty) guitar case. (Entangled)
Lister's attitude to his guitar skills was inconsistent. He admitted in "Marooned" that he wasn't a wizard on it. Then he became convinced of his supreme axemanship in "Psirens". He then admitted in "Nanarchy " that he was only half crap since he lost an arm, before becoming once more a self-proclaimed expert in "Krytie TV".
His crewmates' views of his prowess were much more clear. They consistently descibed him as abyssmally poor.
- (The original hologramatic) Rimmer, after hearing that Rogue Simulants keep large stockpiles of food to prolong the torment of their torture victims and hearing from Kryten that they kept some alive for years "in a state of perpetual agony", he said that if they wanted that, they'd let Lister play his guitar. (RD: Rimmerworld)
- Rimmer was worried that he would be tempted to commit suicide if Lister was allowed guitar strings, describing the guitar as an "irritating lump of wood" and mentioning that he had once tried to insert it into Lister, although Lister added that he'd be more successful, if he used the neck end. (RD: Krytie TV)
- The Cat made him practice in outer space and even tried to destroy the guitar. (RD: Psirens, RD: Emohawk)
- Kryten described Lister as " A ten thumbed, tone deaf, talentless noise polluter". (RD: Psirens)
Behind the scenesEdit
Craig Charles can actually play the guitar to a modest standard, but had to play badly as Lister. When they needed a virtuoso to play fantastic guitar music for "Psirens", they approached Brian May. When he proved unavailable, they employed Phil Manzanera from the band Roxy Music. He knelt behind Craig Charles and put his hands under Craig's arms.