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Learning Then Compared to Learning Now

Well, for me, when I talk about learning “then”, I mean the ‘60s, and it was a very different time to be learning anything “guitar-related” compared to the current times we are living in!

Of course, in the old days, I always had to “grab” info wherever I possibly could…for example, seeing B.B. King’s “butterfly” vibrato on TV totally cleared up my understanding his technique, or seeing a Flamenco guitarist’s tremolo picking with his right hand also clearing up that mystery for me. These “learning hurdles” were precious moments that loomed much larger sometimes than the actual information I was gaining from them. But overall, it made for a kind of approach towards learning for me that really made me get better and better at learning on my own, and being able to decipher what was really going on by ear!

These days, I must say, there’s almost too much info out there for you all to learn with, and lord knows, I am one of the main culprits in this matter, having started Hot Licks, the first company ever to offer video guitar lessons with the greats! The difference though, was that with Hot Licks, I was largely involved in having self-taught players being documented so they could help new players teach themselves. Many times, it was the only time some of these artists ever sat down to explain, if they could, what they were all about. I certainly know that at the time it was a first for Buddy Guy, Otis Rush and other true ‘natural players”, and it was certainly true of Lonnie Mack, Mick Taylor, and James Burton

did audio tapes for me, before we went to video. Nowadays, of course, I love doing my Gibson Lessons for you, and enjoy putting forth for you as much information as I possibly can! Meanwhile, there are a myriad of good, and not-so-good options for you today, with endless choices. I certainly would recommend staying as close to the source as possible when it comes to your instructor, especially to maintain a certain consistency in terms of how the knowledge is conveyed. The old saying of “it’s not what we learn but who we learn it from that we remember most” certainly holds true for my belief system, and this is very true when learning the guitar.

I would have adored having a real experienced instructor like myself back when I was starting out, but instead, after just a few foundational Classical guitar lessons, I was on my own by the age of 12, just trying to pick up whatever I could, from whomever was willing to share it! And of course, that translated to mainly just teaching myself back then, and still holds true for me today.

Just remember, it’s all available to you these days, and just be sure to take what you really need from instruction, and to not “overload” yourself when it comes to simply having too much information to swallow! Best of luck in your continued learning experience in the “modern” era!

Posted: 7/8/2010 3:06:17 PM with Comments | Add Comment | Email Link | Permalink
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