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

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

  1. AndyPanda

    AndyPanda Tele-Holic

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    45 rpm record player -- or a reel to reel tape recorder to catch the song off the radio so you could play it over and over trying to figure out the chords -- and a Mel Bay chord book
    RecordPlayer.jpg
    $_1.jpg
     
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  2. Thebluesman

    Thebluesman Tele-Holic

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    NAILED IT!-One had to try,to''learn to play'' the git fiddle.SELF reliance,perseverance,...the only way to learn more was..to fall in love with the guitar!And never stop.If you did...the gtr was left in the corner eventually.Today every person 'interested' in learning etc can choose the web & scratch there heads!There is no short cut...never was!SELF DETERMINATION is the only path and in the 60's etc...no alternative but the now being spoon fed there are still many that have not grasped the basics.(which is Paramount) to master!many want ''Instant pop/rock star'' without the work etc that IS REQUIRED.Advantage now is..us oldies can plunder the musical knowledge available...& know how to Apply it!...WELL.
     
  3. aeyeq

    aeyeq Tele-Meister Silver Supporter

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    Networking.

    My auntie, three years older and an early sixties folk enthusiast, showed me the first chords and let me play her brown Epi.

    Moved to FL, my friend with whom I shared bands with until age 25 or so, we would share any info. We would go to the teen club, Bon Ton in Clearwater, FL, watch the bands and try to remember the chords.

    The Older Guys. I had a friend who was in a working band, gave me the written chords from all the songs they did. Rosetta Stone.

    By ‘69, ‘70 there were a couple good teachers around.
     
  4. drumtime

    drumtime Tele-Holic

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    When I was about 11 years old, in the early 60s, I really wanted to play drums. So, my parents signed me up for guitar lessons. They wanted to get me away from bad influences, which, as far as I could tell, was Bradford and Ricky McPhail.

    I went to the music shop, and took lessons from Al Baer, who put me through all of the Mel Bay books, and then every other book he could come up with. I could sight read pretty much anything, but nobody ever told me about learning from records or anything like that. I remember asking one of the older guys if he had the sheet music for "Wooly Bully." It was pretty crippling - I got by with Ventures tunes, because there were songbooks, and learned a few songs from a couple of neighborhood guys. Stopped playing for 40-some years, and just picked it back up in my 60s.

    These days, I have a deep aversion to learning anything written by anyone else. I'm glad for youtube etc, and I'm learning a lot, but I'm afraid I'll have to go ahead and start learning from people who have already figured this stuff out.....
     
  5. That Cal Webway

    That Cal Webway Tele-Afflicted Silver Supporter

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    Fun
    Exciting!!

    Not enuf time!
     
  6. eddie knuckles

    eddie knuckles Tele-Afflicted

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    I sat on a gym mat in 1970 in the basement of the Boy's Club (Now the Boy's and Girl's Club) and we played folk songs in a circle and tried to learn that damn "F" chord. 12 or so of us. If you were any good, you got to go to the advanced circle - there were teenagers in that group. We would play Jamaica Farewell, The Games People Play, Jet Plane, etc. I was 7 years old and rode with my guitar by bike to the Paramus, NJ site.
     
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  7. Tele Guy

    Tele Guy NEW MEMBER!

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    Don't know about 60's/70's I learned in the 50's at Ziggie's Music in Phoenix, AZ. Learner guitar was a Stella Acoustic. 1956 Elvis had every guy wanting to learn guitar to be cool. My first guitar book was Mel Bay, First chords C, F and G7. I Have owned many guitars/ Amps since then. Currently play an American Telecaster and Genz Benz Arizona built amp.
     
  8. Sax-son

    Sax-son Tele-Holic

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    To be honest, it was a bit of a *****. First off, you had to find a playable guitar. For the most part, they were very expensive. Most folks back then could only afford cheap Japanese brands where the hardware was sketchy and the action was high. Strings were also not very forgiving either. Once you were able to get a playable guitar, the learning material was not what you have at your disposal today. The books were just basic chord layout and many times not even in the same key as you would hear it on the record.

    I did take professional lessons and was finally able to get enough knowledge to start figuring things out. You had to listen a lot to records and compare notes with other guitar players as well. I was surprised what I was able to accomplish with a $%&y guitar.

    One thing that is great today besides the internet learning material is that entry level guitars are really good now. There should be nothing standing in your way if your really want to play guitar, just shear laziness.
     
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  9. Bird5

    Bird5 NEW MEMBER!

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    Well there was Bert Weedon's Play in a Day (Liar!), put the needle on the record and learn it bit by bit and without anyone telling you how to do it, you simply just went at it and explored all avenues. No surprise that the era produced so many creative musicians. There were few rules, everything was open to reinterpretation and development. You got together with like minded people trying to find their way which gave you a 'band' in the true sense (a gang if you like) that bounced ideas and tips off each other.

    I started with the only available route available which was school classical guitar lessons. Having endured 6 lessons and only just mastered 'She'll be coming round the mountain' played on one string, I set about forming my own band and was gigging in 6 months. Not that it was any good but it set me and most of the band members up in a lifelong career in music.

    I was kicked out of school for 'playing in one of those pop groups' yet today, creating contemporary music is on the curriculum. Unfortunately, there's the problem. If young people are influence to a formula right at the beginning, it's no surprise that they only produce formulaic music. Technology today is fantastic and opens up so many possibilities for musicians but it also allows anyone with a rudimentary understanding of music and a lack of creativity to produce pleasant sounding yet instantly forgettable 'wallpaper'. Seems to be the underlying feature of all modern life and the populous generally accepts it.

    Just saying ...
     
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  10. scifistratocast

    scifistratocast TDPRI Member

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    Bought a 45 and played it at 33 re-tune the guitar to match pitch
    same with 33 1/3 slow to 16 rpm and do the same.
    Record players in those days had 16 - 33 1/3 - 45 - and 78 rpm.
    Worked for me...

    These were the days with limited string gauges used to buy a set of strings and
    an extra E string, throw away the thick E string and would put them on as
    A D G B E E creating our own slinky sets.
     
  11. Nogbad

    Nogbad Tele-Holic

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    1970's Optimism for you. ( They may be older though) The back of one features an ad for Gladiator School....
     

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  12. Fred Duffer

    Fred Duffer TDPRI Member

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    Turntable OR cassette deck with tape counter. I learned the solo to Kid Charlemagne with a cassette deck counter to rewind to same spot repeatedly...of course, this was the 80s not 70s so I hope my answer still counts...
     
  13. GerryH

    GerryH NEW MEMBER!

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    I was thinking about this just the other day. Yeah, it was the same for me - hours and hours of sitting by my little record player and dropping the needle over and over. We lived on a farm in rural Oregon, so there wasn't much chance of playing/jamming with anyone else at the time. I took a few lessons from a local teacher, but soon figured out that wouldn't work for me. I still have some of my old Beatles and Jeff Beck albums that I'm passing down to my kids. I still have the first guitar I bought (Yamaha FG-230 12 string around '66 or '67) and a Guild D25m I bought 43 years ago.
     
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  14. OzShadow

    OzShadow Tele-Meister Silver Supporter

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    I would guess the same as the 80s - good ol Mel Bay books! I think I had three of the Method books, plus a chord book. A guitar magazine occasionally, although they were typically way above my level.

    Plus the usual listening with my ears and playing as best I could trying to figure it out. Occasionally getting in person tips from some other players when I could. I'm sure others had formal lessons but I didn't other than jr high band on a horn.
     
  15. MonkeyJefferson

    MonkeyJefferson Tele-Holic

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    This is such a wonderful thread!- My first electric, a Kay Value Leader, was no prize as far as action or fidelity. I had a tiny 50's plywood amp with the most DOPE sounding vibro on it- couldn't wait to get rid of it as a kid- sigh- but I got the Nashville Guitar by Arlen Roth book and I started CLUNKING through it on that Kay- and then- and I wonder if any of you had an epiphany like this- then MUSIC started flowing out. Recognizable. Boom. I "got" it all at once. My dear Gram peeked her head into my room one day, hearing me at this stage, and was so proud. I still remember that feeling, of making something pretty with sound and seeing her just THRILLED. I didn't expect it. And I've been hooked on doing that to people ever since.

    So my cousins, several states away, began recording an instructional show on PBS for me, and I received them one day in a package with two VHS tapes. I believe the instructor's last name was Pierce? Maybe not. He was British, and his first song was "Bile 'Em Cabbage Down", and he went so fast for my limited abilities that I was lost a few minutes in. And the phrase "Bile 'Em Cabbage Down" turned into a joke in my family for anything that seems easy but is way more difficult than first glance. LOve to find a copy of THAT and send it to me mum.
     
  16. Outatune13

    Outatune13 TDPRI Member

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    True. A lot of guitar teachers only knew what was their music from their time. My teacher took me through books but wasn’t capable of conveying how to solo, how to play rock. I quit. Driving down the street One day i heard “ the live adventures of mike bloomfield and al kooper” playing on the radio. It was guitar playing I could understand. So I started stealing from that recording and worked my way into being a professional musician.
     
    Last edited: Jun 10, 2020
  17. bblumentritt

    bblumentritt Tele-Afflicted

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    My parents bought me a Yamaha classic guitar for my 16th birthday (which I still have), and music lessons, first, folk guitar lessons from a local college girl - Dylan, Peter, Paul, and Mary, and the like.

    From there, I took music lessons from the local music shop. along with buying a cheap hollow body Ventura electric guitar

    I learned chords, major and minor scales, how to build scales, blues and rock pentatonic patterns. Yes, we used the Mel Bay guitar instruction books to learn how to play melodies and read music (guitar notation). My instructor also wrote out lead sheets for songs we learned, as he made a band out of his students. By lead sheets I mean he wrote on the melody and/or lead line on a musical staff (no tabs), along with the chord symbol.

    The first song was Heaven Is In Your Mind by Traffic. I played the melody on electric guitar. We did a variety of CCR, Three Dog Night, other tunes.

    Knowing scales, how to build scales, how to build chords, how to read music, and how to play parts laid the foundation for decades of playing guitar and learning.
     
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  18. Outatune13

    Outatune13 TDPRI Member

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    You needed a turntable that played the 33 1/3 rpm albums that could also switch to 16rpm so it could slow the fast licks down
     
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  19. MonkeyJefferson

    MonkeyJefferson Tele-Holic

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    And my last, but not least stupid beginner story kids today couldn't relate to: I was tossed from the best music store in town in 1984 when the owner caught me writing the chords to "Hold on Loosely" by 38 Special on my hand from a book on a display. The book was $12.95. I still remember that number sounding like the entire National Debt. I did eventually figure that song out, too.
     
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  20. tubeswell

    tubeswell Friend of Leo's

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    Lots of listening to records and radio and copying things by ear. I was fortunate to have had piano lessons on and off between the age of 6 and 12, and could play that pretty good (I played keys in my 1st cover band at 18). I started self teaching on guitar at 13 with a $60 acoustic guitar I had saved up my paper-run money for, and spent hours and hours in my room for the next couple of years getting blisters and then callouses on my fingertips. When I was about 15, I started jamming with other guys. One old hippie had a heap of records he lent me and an old tube reel to reel tape recorder. That helped me with learning to jam. I played in high school bands and Bass (and drums in one gig) in bands by the time I was 19 onwards. Having said all that, it was easier to learn guitar because I had classical piano music training and could hum guitar licks in tune and work them out. I also got 1 or 2 good tab books (Stefan Grossman fingerpicking blues, Pat Thrall Rock Guitar) and the odd issue of guitar player magazines when I was lucky enough to stumble across them. But the best learning for me was jamming with experienced musicians who I hung around with as a teenager, and later with my peers. That was when I absorbed new ideas quickly. It took a lot longer to get exposure to a wide range of genres on guitar in the 1970s - you had to want it and go searching for it. I couldn’t believe how amazing the internet was (by the time you could google anything useful in the early 2000s)
     
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