Yesterday saw the passing of guitar legend Bert Weedon at the age of 91.
Bert was one of the first wave of electric guitar players...having hits of his own, that foreshadowed the later success of instrumental bands like The Shadows, as well as backing many famous artists including Frank Sinatra.
But what Bert is equally remembered for is his book Play In A Day. It has sold over two million copies. While that title was more than a little of an over promise, it was key in getting millions of people - and I was one of them - to feel that learning to play the guitar was not an impossibility. Bert avoided the standard, piano-based method of teaching music, avoided scales and such and had the first few lessons teach the basic chords. So in a short time you could sit there strumming a C chord and getting a decent sound out of your guitar - which encouraged you to keep trying, keep learning.
It worked. Players from Eric Clapton to Paul McCartney, from John Lennon to Pete Towshend credit Bert and his book with helping them in the early days. A nice reminder that even musical greats were once bumbling novices!
So, thanks Bert. I doubt that without you I would have been playing guitar for nearly 50 years now. Somewhere I still have my copy of Play In A Day. I should dig it out and pass it on to a want-to-be guitarist.
Sad. I just realized looking at that photo...they are all gone. Bert, Jim Marshall and Leo Fender.