What was learning guitar like in the 60s and 70s?

Discussion in 'Bad Dog Cafe' started by Telephonist, Jun 6, 2020.

  1. Telephonist

    Telephonist Tele-Meister

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    From time to time I wonder what learning guitar was like in the old days, when there was no internet and certainly not as many books as there are today. Of course there were teachers, but I guess they were playing classical guitar or maybe jazz guitar. I cannot imagine that it was possible to go to a teacher and tell him that you want to learn Clapton, Hendricks, Led Zeppelin and so on.

    Were you just listening to the records again and again and trying to play what the big stars are playing? Do you think that the young people are playing better now than in the old days?

    When I listen to old music (60s/70s) I would say in general that the musicians were better players and they knew just what to do on the guitar. If you turn on the radio today everyone who can play 3 chords is a real big rockstar... I don't want to offend anyone but I guess you know what I mean.

    On the other hand I wonder how Clapton, Hendrix, you name it could reach that high level of playing without all the stuff we have now for learning guitar. Following this conclusion there should be a lot more really good guitar players nowadays.

    Let me know what you think and tell me about how you learned guitar back then.
     
  2. rangercaster

    rangercaster Poster Extraordinaire

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    My method was to copy players from
    ... records ...


    And practice ...

    A lot ...
     
  3. Buzzgrowl

    Buzzgrowl Tele-Meister

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    Listening to records and tapes and figuring out songs by ear.
     
  4. ping-ping-clicka

    ping-ping-clicka Friend of Leo's Ad Free Member

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    Sore Blistered fingers that seemed like the were made out of chopstick
    material, impatience.
    000 ran 10.jpg
     
  5. jhundt

    jhundt Doctor of Teleocity

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    all of the above; lots of time sitting in my room trying to play what I heard on records. More often trying to play what I remembered hearing from the radio. I rarely learned a song the way it was recorded, often playing in a different key with different chords and voicings, just because I couldn't compare to the song if I didn't have the record.

    I never took a guitar lesson - though I had taken piano and clarinet lessons, and played sax and bassoon in the school orchestra so I had some background.

    The most useful learning for me was playing with others, in a jam or in a group. Watching what the better players did was very helpful..
     
  6. WingedWords

    WingedWords Tele-Afflicted

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    I was an acoustic folky fingerpicker back then. There were quite a few books by people like Happy Traum, Stefan Grossman etc. Oak Publications, Kicking Mule. The USA ones were pretty expensive in the UK and I only ever afforded a couple, this one
    51b+rS0tlaL._SX384_BO1,204,203,200_.jpg

    and one by Grossman that I don't remember. But mainly listening intently to my single Mississippi John Hurt record, sharing ideas with chums, watching players at folk clubs.


    Yes and hours and hours when I should have been studying...

    Happy days!

    Just a thought - I wonder if the effect of the vast increase in learning resources that the web offers is counterbalanced by the huge increase in distraction opportunities it also offers??
     
    Last edited: Jun 6, 2020
  7. Dacious

    Dacious Poster Extraordinaire

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    I had a nylon string and a Mel Bay book plus pitch pipe for tuning. Had some lessons that taught me to tune guitar. First song I learnt was 'Babe I'm Gonna Leave You'. I went back next week and could almost play it. I was 14.
     
  8. Sounds Good

    Sounds Good Tele-Holic

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    I know i had a go when i was about 17 and played for a few months, i had this old Bert Weedon book which i use to try and learn from and it was ok, also when i use to come home late sometimes i use to sit and play around with ideas in my own head. But i use to get told off for playing so late so i sold up and never played again till i was 50 odd when i was a carer at home, and with the internet i found i could find most things out if i got stuck and chat with other players about techniqes which was helpful.

    Because when i was at work i liked to go out alot at nights nearly everbody did then and just sitting alone was abit lonely for me. Still yes i think many started just figuring things out by ear, Eric Bell said he did to me when i asked about tabs for a solo to him.
     
  9. elihu

    elihu Poster Extraordinaire

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    Yes, it was records for me...pick up the needle, move it back just a little bit then gently put it down then quickly grab your guitar and listen intently for the umpteenth time repeat ad infinitium for an hour or two after school. Then on the weekend I'd meet with a friend and we would take turns playing rhythm for each other while playing the lead guitar bits we learned. Guitar Player was THE magazine in the 1970's for the interviews, gear reviews and even the ads. And at the back there would be all these great lessons. I'm afraid I used to steal it out of the school library until I could afford a subscription. Then in high school I found a guitar teacher who really helped me with chord changes. That helped me get into my first band.
     
  10. stxrus

    stxrus Friend of Leo's

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    Listen to the record, copy, repeat, repeat, repeat.....
     
  11. jhundt

    jhundt Doctor of Teleocity

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    that was one of the first bsongs I learned how to play, from the Joan Baez songbook. I thought it was cool that she did a Led Zeppelin song!
     
  12. Mr.Ike

    Mr.Ike Tele-Meister

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    Agree with above. The other method was friends teaching you what they figured out the night before.
     
  13. drf64

    drf64 Poster Extraordinaire

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    I had a very similar background. I started playing in 1978 and I discovered Kicking Mule around 1980. Most of the music was on vinyl. Good times.
     
  14. bgmacaw

    bgmacaw Friend of Leo's

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    Mel Bay books...

    On page 21 you showed us how to play a G,
    On page 22 you taught us how to play a D,
    But Lawdy, oh Lawdy, we've never learned to play an E
    Cause someone in the outhouse stole page 23.


     
  15. KevinB

    KevinB Doctor of Teleocity

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    At 15 I had a guitar, the Mel Bay book and a handful of records.

    I was also taking group violin lessons at school which helped with the theory.
     
  16. Thebluesman

    Thebluesman Tele-Meister

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    Hrs & Hrs of Acutely 'Listening' etc(the needle wore the grooves out! etc)-I was addicted to the gtr...i was (15yrs old)....A tape recorder became my Teacher=Record the rythm (chords) & jam a solo over the top etc.Just relied upon myself...etc.To keep TIME & my EAR steered the rest.I learned more in months of self imposed lock down,rather than YEARS!!-I dreamed Music.Got a Chord book etc...No digital stuff/PC etc info in those times.PITCH pipes.(excellent recommendation=Trains the ear too recognise PITCH.Audible training from the onset!!!=If you can't recognise Pitch=HOW CAN YOU PLAY ''in a musical melodic way?''=To be musically PROFICIENT.You 'Play'' using your ears..not your EYES!!!- Learned to tune the gtr to ITSELF! etc....NEVER LOOKED BACK etc.Later learned Maj/Min pentatonic scales etc...Self taught 100%.No pedals etc....
    Perseverance...Practising what YOU NEED to KNOW ...Steers everything.The ears CANNOT LIE!
     
  17. burntfrijoles

    burntfrijoles Poster Extraordinaire

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    1. Find a guitar chord book like Mel Bay.
    2. Practice your fingerings and changes.
    3. Learn from friends
    4. Try to figure out progressions by playing along with vinyl records.
    Rinse and repeat.
    Honestly after learning basic chord shapes and then bar chords it was a matter of playing along to records and playing with others.
    One of my friends had an incredible ear for hearing chords and voicings. I learned so much from sitting in bedrooms with my friends, Paul and Charles, back in the day. They were the reason I didn’t give up.
    Eventually you learned a few scales and were on your own if you didn’t have a teacher.
     
  18. beagle

    beagle Friend of Leo's

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    You had a nylon string guitar? Luxury. We dreamed of having a nylon string guitar. Our guitars were lumps of fencepost and t'strings were t'barbed wire, stolen from t'farm at bottom of t'lane...

    Love,

    A real Yorkshireman.

    PIAD.png
     
    Last edited: Jun 6, 2020
  19. brookdalebill

    brookdalebill Tele Axpert Ad Free Member

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    Like almost everyone else, I “dropped the needle” on my 45 and 33 RPM records to learn licks and solos.
    Unlike a lot of us, I had supportive parents, and a couple of great teachers.
    At 12, I took lessons from a cool teacher named Drew Thomason, at Amster Music on Lavaca St.
    Drew taught me how to fingerpick (thumbpick and 3 fingerpicks), and most importantly, how to transpose chords.
    Those are skills I still use every time I play.
    Thanks Drew, wherever you are.
    I’ve posted this lots of times, but at 18, in 1975, I had the incredibly great fortune to take a summer’s worth of guitar lessons from Eric Johnson.
    It was a joyous experience, and I’m eternally grateful for it.
    He showed me how to play several of his instrumentals.
    Lastly, I’ve been a “gigging fool” since I was 16.
    You can learn a ton of stuff this way.
    What to play, how much to play, how to play with others, and what works, and what doesn’t.
    Anyways, I feel like my musical life has been blessed.
     
    Last edited: Jun 6, 2020
  20. tah1962

    tah1962 Friend of Leo's

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    1. Stereo Turntable
    2. Koss headphones (Yes, they were huge :))
    3. Vinyl LP’s
    4. Learn everything by ear
     
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