Bert Weedon – the man behind Play in a Day

One of the most influential books about playing the guitar is Bert Weedon’s Play in a Day. It’s one of the most iconic books written in how to play the guitar. It has almost legendary status and is still in print since it came out in the 1950’s. It’s a bold claim to make that a book can make you play the guitar in a day, but many major artists have credit their success to Bert’s guide and scores of amateurs to. In Gloucestershire Guitar Shops and throughout the land the Book Bert Weedon’s Play in a Day, why not visit and see.

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Bert Weedon was born to humble origins in the London East End but this was not to stop him in pursuing his dreams. He was playing the classical guitar by the time he was twelve and soon showed promise. He premiered on his own at East ham Town hall in nineteen thirty-nine. By his late teens and twenties Bert was leading bands and appearing with leading lights such a Stephane Grappelli, in place of his usual collaborator Django Reinhardt who was in occupied France. He was also part of many of the big bands that were popular at the time such as Mantovani. It wasn’t until 1959 that he was asked to make his first solo guitar record! Prior to that he was a major part of BBC television supporting visiting acts and broadcasting to the nation on variety shows and children’s television.

Bert saw the guitar as a great medium to speak to people and also as an instrument that anyone could play. He wanted to make the instrument available to everyone to play and not see the instrument as restrictive. He decided to provide an easy to follow guide that would allow the public to learnt he guitar in an easy user-friendly way. It promised quick success, hence play in a day, so that the person who bought the book could see some melody or rhythmic success with the first few follow through lessons. Bert didn’t just want to stick to the traditional and classic style. He had seen and been influenced by the American Jazz and pop guitarist Les Paul and the licks and trills that he was producing on his guitar. He also saw that the blues and rock and roll sound was going to be the most popular force amongst the growing teenager market.

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The book has influenced and been cited as their first steps into the world of guitar by some of the most talented and influenced guitarist and musicians. They include Eric Clapton, Mike Oldfield of Tubular Bells fame, Brian May of Queen, John, Paul, George from the Beatles all started with and worked through Bert’s book. Even the greats Jimmy Page of Led Zeppelin and Robert Smith of the Cure. It’s the Shadows though that typify his music as we can see on this track Apache.