Bert Weedon's Play In A Day

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Professor Loungebar
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Bert Weedon's Play In A Day

Post by Professor Loungebar » Thu Jan 11, 2018 1:46 pm

I was stunned to discover fairly recently that this is still in publication, though in slightly different guise from the copy I had in October 1963. I don't know if it's still full of the sort of misleading drivel which kept my own playing in the "doldrums" for about 40 years, but the cover picture says enough. I can't see his LH thumb anywhere - WRONG! It should be resting prominently over the top of the fingerboard. And it's now subtitled Guide To Modern Guitar Playing. What a joke! Kids of today may be different of course, but back in 1963, 9 year olds wanted to learn Chuck Berry, Bo Diddley, Duane Eddy and Hank Marvin riffs, not dreck like Drink To Me Only With Thine Eyes and Cockles And Mussels. This book should be banned!

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Nick
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Re: Bert Weedon's Play In A Day

Post by Nick » Thu Jan 11, 2018 1:53 pm

Herbert Maurice William 'Bert' Weedon, OBE (10 May 1920 – 20 April 2012) was an English guitarist whose style of playing was popular and influential during the 1950s and 1960s. He was the first British guitarist to have a hit record in the UK Singles Chart, in 1959, and his best-selling tutorial guides, Play in a Day, were a major influence on many leading British musicians, such as Eric Clapton, Brian May, Paul McCartney, George Harrison, John Lennon, Dave Davies, Keith Richards, Pete Townshend, Tony Iommi and Jimmy Page.[1][2][3][4] He was awarded an OBE in 2001 for his "services to music".[1]
And your contribution to music?

Should I just cut out the wait and delete the user now?
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ed
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Re: Bert Weedon's Play In A Day

Post by ed » Thu Jan 11, 2018 2:13 pm

Nick wrote:
Thu Jan 11, 2018 1:53 pm

Should I just cut out the wait and delete the user now?
no, no, hang on a few more minutes, I'm intrigued to know where he'll go next.

as an aside, I got off on Dan Morgan, but it had much the same content,

edit: just checked Dan Morgan on wiki, nostalgia etc...it says born 4.11.11(age 92) and....died 4.11.11....go figure!!
There's nowhere you can be that isn't where you're meant to be

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Nick
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Re: Bert Weedon's Play In A Day

Post by Nick » Thu Jan 11, 2018 4:48 pm

I spent a lot of time (though it didn’t do me much good) with Mickey Baker.

Lets see if he is listening?

So, why do you HAVE to have your thumb on the side of the neck all the time? I can think of times it helps, but more times it doesn’t.

lets see you do B B King vibrato with the thumb there...
Resistance isn't futile it's V / I.

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andrew Ivimey
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Re: Bert Weedon's Play In A Day

Post by andrew Ivimey » Thu Jan 11, 2018 4:49 pm

Well, I have a couple of LPs signed by Bert himself and of course I too started with 'Play in a Day'. But as for actually learning to play guitar it was 'Stevie's Blues', the flipside of 'Keep on Running'; one of my sister's singles, that got me started properly 12 bar blues stated simply and, if I remember, perfectly ... until Jimi Hendrix showed me how to play 'Red House' - ppphhhhrrrrooooaaaaarrrrrr!
Philosophers have only interpreted the world - the point, however, is to change it. No it isn't ... maybe we should leave it alone for a while.

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andrew Ivimey
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Re: Bert Weedon's Play In A Day

Post by andrew Ivimey » Thu Jan 11, 2018 4:51 pm

Ha! Mickey 'guitar' Baker yeah daddy-oh, I actually red a few bars of his music and played it on the piano. It's easier on the guitar... Mickey Baker eh, well I never.
Philosophers have only interpreted the world - the point, however, is to change it. No it isn't ... maybe we should leave it alone for a while.

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Re: Bert Weedon's Play In A Day

Post by Professor Loungebar » Sat Jan 13, 2018 9:20 am

Well, in response to Nick's B B King vibrato challenge, I haven't played that particular style since about 1969 when, armed with a Hofner Club 60 (yes, the very same make that Weedon endorsed) complete with a "BLUESKING" logo that I stuck on the raised pickguard after seeing something similar in a photo of B B (I was just a young kid after all), a couple of friends and I would jam on B B King favourites such as "Rock Me Baby" on a Saturday afternoon before heading off to the school disco.

However, I do know of a player who died 2 or 3 years ago who was the absolute undisputed master of the particular style and technique you refer to. His name is B B King and I just happen to have in front of me a 1993 copy of Ralph Denyer's The Guitar Handbook open at a photo of B B. Although it's a bit difficult to tell just from the photo if he's applying his trademark vibrato, but judging from the ecstatic expression on his face, I'd hazard a guess that he is. And what's that I see hooked over the top of Lucille's neck in full view for the entire world to see? Why, it's his big ol' thumb of course!

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The Stratmangler
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Re: Bert Weedon's Play In A Day

Post by The Stratmangler » Sat Jan 13, 2018 9:44 am

Thumb over, thumb floating free, BB just used what was right in the moment.

Chris :happy3:

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Re: Bert Weedon's Play In A Day

Post by Professor Loungebar » Sat Jan 13, 2018 10:13 am

Next up, the thumb overs: all 3 guitarists in the Quintet du Hot Club de France (including Django who of course employed a highly unorthodox LH technique as a result of his horrific accident), Charlie Christian, Chuck Berry, Bo Diddley, Freddie King, Duane Eddy, John Lee Hooker, Jimi Hendrix, Frank Zappa, Pete Townshend, Stanley Clarke (thumb over playing Carl Thompson 32" scale piccolo bass, Weedon-style playing short-scale Alembic bass), Jeff Beck, Brian May, Eddie Van Halen, Steve Vai, Fred McDowell, Ry Cooder, Keith Richards, Ted Nugent, John McLaughlin (yes that's right) and George Benson. Looking slightly further afield I see Tal Farlow, Yngwie Malmsteen, Stevie Rae Vaughan, Johnny Guitar Watson, Gatemouth Brown, T-Bone Walker, Lowell Fulson and Snooks Eaglin - all appear to be playing thumb over.

Although this of course proves nothing, it does seem to suggest that the vast majority of those players who have been innovators and major influences in that vast field of music where blues, rock and jazz intermingle did or do, at one time or another, employ the thumb over LH technique.

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Re: Bert Weedon's Play In A Day

Post by Professor Loungebar » Sat Jan 13, 2018 10:30 am

Looks as if my reply listing the Weedonists pictured in Ralph Denyer's book got deleted. So, in the interests of fairplay etc
here is the (short) list of players who appear to be using an orthodox grip: Pat Metheney, Robert Fripp, Eric Clapton (although I've never paid a lot of attention to EC, I'm sure I've seen him playing thumb over), Andy Summers (not conclusive), and as you would expect, Andres Segovia.

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Re: Bert Weedon's Play In A Day

Post by Nick » Sat Jan 13, 2018 10:54 am

No, nothing got deleted.
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The Stratmangler
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Re: Bert Weedon's Play In A Day

Post by The Stratmangler » Sun Jan 14, 2018 12:20 am

I do think it's a touch churlish to blame one's guitar playing deficiencies on Bert Weedon & his books.
I'm entirely to blame for my own lack of playing skills, and if the OP was honest they'd accept the mantle of responsibility for one's own actions and inactions too.
Chris :happy3:

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Re: Bert Weedon's Play In A Day

Post by Professor Loungebar » Sun Jan 14, 2018 9:56 am

I shall respond to Stratmangler's interesting contributions in due course.

Meanwhile, I came across this video of Eric Clapton performing with Dr John in 1996. Although the video focuses primarily on Dr John, Eric does take a solo and every shot of his LH provides overwhelming evidence that during this performance at least, he somehow managed to shake off the "major influence" that Bert Weedon's teaching had on his LH technique, and play thumb over.[youtube]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hf15HrUZ5Wk[/youtube]

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Re: Bert Weedon's Play In A Day

Post by Professor Loungebar » Sun Jan 14, 2018 12:02 pm

Many thanks to Stratmangler for posting the B B King video - a supremely moving performance and many good close ups of his LH thumb in action, both on the neck (in particular when executing string-pulls, but also most of the rest of the time except when using vibrato) and off (when he moves his entire hand except for his fretting fingers away from the neck to execute vibrato).

The whole point though is that his thumb was never at any time during the performance anywhere near the centre of the back of the neck as taught by Bert Weedon and to be fair, most other tutors that I am aware of.

I should also point out that the main benefits, in my experience, of playing thumb over are to be found when playing chords, and in particular what might be loosely termed "jazz" chords, ie extended and altered chords, substitutions and jazz chord progressions in general, many of which are incorporated in blues. B B plays almost exclusively single note runs and reportedly takes a copy of Nicolas Slonimsky's Thesaurus Of Scales And Melodic Patterns with him to practice from. It has famously been reported that he doesn't know any chords at all, but B B refutes this.

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andrew Ivimey
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Re: Bert Weedon's Play In A Day

Post by andrew Ivimey » Sun Jan 14, 2018 12:11 pm

It seems to me that we could make too much about where a thumb goes. If it suits great, if it gets in the way then cut it off.

Quite where the digits of my left hand go, as I murder The Wind Cries Mary on a Strat, a tango on acoustic or simple doodling bluesywoos on a classical guitar my thumb finds a use and I require it go where I wish. If it won't go there we learn to accommodate our failings until, after thought and practise, a tuneful and painless compromise is reached. I could hardly start by saying there is one place and only one place my thumb must go. That way lies madness.
Philosophers have only interpreted the world - the point, however, is to change it. No it isn't ... maybe we should leave it alone for a while.

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