To Boomers - From a Boomer
Updated: Oct 16, 2018
You're a baby boomer - me too. I was born right in the middle of the era - 1955. If you're an older boomer (b.1946 - 55) the music of the late 50s to late '60s was the soundtrack of your life. For me it was mid to late '60s. Those were the seminal years of my guitar playing - especially late 60s. The Beatles, The Beach Boys, The Animals, The Kinks, The Troggs, even the Monkees, Donovan, Van Morrison, Otis Redding, The Rolling Stones, Cream, Hendrix, Black Sabbath, James Taylor, Wilson Pickett, Santana, The Young Rascals, Pink Floyd, Mountain, Steppenwolf, Deep Purple, Grand Funk, Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young - I could go on and on.
Because I was somewhat musically precocious even as a young child I was aware of Elvis, Bill Haley, Chuck Berry, the Everly Brothers, Johnny Mathis, Buddy Holly and so on - the late 50's.
In the early '60s I had a transistor radio that I listened to and I also raided my Uncle Steve's record collection when I could. Uncle Steve was just a few years older than me so he was a boomer too.
Remember Gary Lewis's hit, "This Diamond Ring" from 1965? My Uncle Steve had that 45rpm single. Betcha don't know what the B-side was do you? It was an instrumental surf-guitar song in the style of the Ventures called "Tijuana Wedding." I listened to that a lot. It was way cooler than "This Diamond Ring."
Because of my mom and dad's record collection, I listened to Les Paul and Mary Ford, Perry Como, Dean Martin, Louis Armstrong, Pete Fountain etc. I had a sweater just like the one Perry wore on one of his album covers - it was "my Perry Como sweater."
I watched all the late-60's variety shows, Lawrence Welk, Tom Jones, Glen Campbell, Johnny Cash, Laugh-In, Dean Martin, Flip Wilson, The Smothers Brothers. Those shows exposed me to the music of and actual performances by James Brown, Ike and Tina Turner, Bob Dylan, Eric Clapton, BB King - all the top acts of the day in every conceivable genre (remember Tiny Tim on Laugh-In?).
If you're a later boomer (b.1956-65), the '70s would be your thing. Off the top of my head; The Eagles, Elton John, Wings, The Doobie Brothers, Chic, KC & the Sunshine Band, Steve Miller, Ted Nugent, John Denver, Led Zeppelin, The Bee Gees, Chicago, Rod Stewart, David Bowie, Queen, Stevie Wonder, Hall & Oats, Marvin Gaye, Fleetwood Mac - I know all this stuff too because I was gigging during some of this period and covering songs by these artists.
So...you're a boomer - me too. You remember all this stuff; the music, the tv shows, the bands - me too. Maybe you played the guitar when you were young - me too. Maybe you even played in a band - me too. That actually played some gigs - me too. Maybe you played all through high school - me too. Maybe you even played into your college years - me too.
Then you got married - me too. Started having kids, the mortgage, the bills - me too.
Pretty soon, because of the demands of your family and career, the guitar kind of fell by the wayside. You haven't seriously played for decades, even if you still have a guitar.
And right there is the difference between me and you. I never stopped. As a matter of fact, I was so obsessed with the guitar and music that I burned all my bridges and arranged my whole life around it. I raised 5 kids. I'm still married to my 1st-and-only wife (40 years this year! Won the lottery on that deal!), the mortgages, the bills, tuition - life - all that stuff - and I did it with a guitar. Though I took occasional part-time non-musical jobs here and there when necessary, I've never had a 9-to-5 regular day job. I've been a self-employed musician my whole life.
What that means is that as you and I enter into our golden years, you are retired or preparing for it, and I have no retirement (the crash of '08 messed up my plan!). There's always a trade-off. On the other hand, the concept of retirement is that you don't have to work anymore so you can do what you want. Well then, I've been retired all my life! I've managed to make a living doing what I love, and I have no desire to stop now. I've always said that if I was independently wealthy my life wouldn't be that much different, I'd be doing the same thing.
So now, you finally have the time, and some money, and a desire to get back to the guitar.
I have 50 years of playing, performing, studying, learning, teaching and thinking about the guitar and no retirement.
We should get together.
I know all the music of our era - I grew up with it, just like you - I can teach you whatever songs you want to learn. But so can everybody else and his brother. Just google, "How to play "Louie, Louie" or "Sweet Home Alabama" and pick one of the eleventy-million links and be my guest!
So now you know how to play Sweet Home Alabama. What do you know? How to play Sweet Home Alabama by rote - you still don't know anything. And if that's all you want, fine. But....
I can teach you how to figure out the song for yourself. To use a well-worn analogy; I can feed you a fish every day (pays the same) but I'd rather teach you how to fish.
"But Jay," You might say, "I'm 60 or 70-something years old; I don't have time to do a lot of formal study, I just want to have fun playing the songs of my youth that I love."
Great - YouTube!
I'm not talking years and years of study - If you took Skype lessons from me for even 1 year you would have more knowledge of music and the guitar neck than you can conceive of at this point:
I had practiced guitar for 2 years before I started with Jay. In that period I cycled through 3 guitar teachers and 3 hours a day practicing on my own...It has been 10 months and now I CAN play guitar. I know where all the notes are on the fret board. I am playing chords like Abdim9. And I can play that chord in every key! It is absolutely amazing that I could ever learn how to play this music. I never would have moved past the basics with any of my previous instructors or on my own. If you want to really play guitar, you must seek out Jay...So, if you are serious, learn from Jay and know that in less than a year you will understand and play music you never could have dreamed of. Jay, THANK YOU! - Arthur Bernier
Arthur is a boomer like us and had one 30-minute Skype lesson a week for a little over a year.
Furthermore, it may be that regular lessons aren't even necessary.
MasterGuitarSchool.com site members have access to dozens of free webpage-based lessons. Site members receive a monthly news letter that contains a free lesson not posted on the site until then. Site members can access one-off Skype consults with me for a single lesson, questions, oversight, advice - anything guitar-related. As a site member you will have scheduling priority if regular weekly lessons are desired. Every so often I release a new unit of my method, Vertical Truth: Chordal Mechanisms for the Guitar for download. Site members have the opportunity to purchase these releases at extreme discounts - 70% off in some cases. All that...and site membership is FREE! Just sign up!
Want to know more about me and the Vertical Truth method? Read my story here.
You finally have the time, some money, and a desire to get back to the guitar - I have 50 years of playing, performing, studying, learning, teaching and thinking about the guitar and no plans to retire. We should get together.
Sign up as a Master Guitar School site member - it's free! - and get access to dozens of free site-based lessons, a monthly newsletter that contains a brand-new free lesson, and DEEP discounts on lesson series downloads - plus more!
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