Jump to content
Hamer Fan Club Message Center
Sign in to follow this  
Ting Ho Dung

Did the Mel Bay books ever make anyone go big? Has anyone who has been a "star" said the Mel Bay books made them what they are?

Recommended Posts

I quit because of Mel Bay. Several times. 

  • Haha 2
  • Sad 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I haven’t read a Mel Bay book since 1975. Back in the day, there was no internet and of course no YouTube. Mel Bay and similar book course options were the only choices for beginning guitarists besides private instruction. Compared to the plethora of video courses and demonstrations available online, reading a course book from Mel Bay is akin to watching paint dry. They provide some solid and basic instruction for beginners, and offer some courses for intermediates. If you have the patience to learn from a book, they’re ok. Since the ‘80s when Hot Licks and other VHS (and Betamax) courses  appeared on the scene, learning guitar was never boring again. Most folks I’m sure would rather watch video.

  • Like 3

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Mel Bay made me what I am today. Not sure if I ever made it through any of the books all the way, but it got me started. 

 

Screenshot_20180307-230109.jpg

  • Like 3

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

^^^^ So that's how you do it!

  • Like 1
  • Haha 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Can not recall any names at the moment but I remember reading a few interviews in the guitar magazines and a few guitarists mentioning getting started with that after seeing the Beatles and some other inspiring guitar guru.

  • Like 3

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
8 hours ago, veatch said:

Mel Bay made me what I am today. Not sure if I ever made it through any of the books all the way, but it got me started. 

 

Screenshot_20180307-230109.jpg

 

Eddie Van Halen failed to read that page. 

  • Like 2
  • Haha 3

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
2 hours ago, BTMN said:

Can not recall any names at the moment but I remember reading a few interviews in the guitar magazines and a few guitarists mentioning getting started with that after seeing the Beatles and some other inspiring guitar guru.

^^^ This.  I've heard several top guitarists mention getting started with MB instruction books.  Not one of them indicated it was instrumental to their success however, just a stepping stone along their learning journey I imagine.

 

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Mel bay book one taught me how to read music and basic theory. It has proven invaluable. At the timethough, all I wanted was my instructor to teach me RNR songs!

He would start each lesson with 1/2 hour of theory, and then teach me songs, riffs, etc. I am so glad he did it that way.  He really understood theory and various scales and modes and he taught me as much as I could stomach at the time.

But to answer your question, Joe Perry started with Mel Bay book one and he is a lefty who plays righty because the book said THIS IS HOW YOU HOLD YOUR GUITAR.

Perry ended up doing ok..... :)

  • Like 3

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
2 hours ago, Steve Haynie said:

Eddie Van Halen failed to read that page. 

I was thinking the exact same thing when I saw that post. Although, wasn't it Eddie that said in his first Guitar Player interview back in the day, "You got to know the rules to break 'em"?

One can only visualize the young rebel EVH with that Mel Bay book in his lap, staring at that page,  saying to himself: "Fuck THAT!"

  • Like 3

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Fun With The Banjo may have been meant for beginners, but was more for people who could already play a little.  We did not know that when my parents let me get my first banjo.  The book certainly did not help a total novice at nine years old learn anything.  Around the time I was ten or eleven my banjo lessons started with a different Mel Bay banjo book that my teacher walked me through.  That particular book would be good for someone wanting to teach himself how to play as long as the person already understood a little bit about music.  Today those books often have accompanying online video to aid with learning songs. 

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

My first exposure to Mel's books was along with my first fretted instrument, a baritone ukulele, tuned the same as the top 4 strings of a guitar but with nylon strings and a shorter scale.  I'd already had several years of piano and could read reasonably well, so it was a breeze-through for me, other than learning the mechanics.  Oh, back then, there was a picture of Mel inside the front cover of the book.  If you took that picture today and squished it down, you'd get a picture of what he looked like in his (very) later years.  Same old grouch, fallen victim to gravity.   Mel ran the local music store in my home town (Kirkwood, MO) and I had no idea he was any kind of big deal.  All of the places I taught in the St. Louis area later on all used the Alfred method.  I guess they didn't want to support the competition. It was only after I left that I found that the Mel Bay books were ubiquitous.

Mel was one of the finest jazz band/orchestral guitarists that ever was.  As a kid I remember jazz greats like Barney Kessel, etc. stopping by for lessons and jams and being absolutely enthralled.  But I doubt that many rawkerzz would be inspired by his method.  Still, if you got to about book 5 or 6 you could pretty much do anything you wanted on the guitar.  In that pre video age, stopping by the store and asking Mel about something was the best way to get put straight about it. Free lesson from one of the greatest teachers ever.  What's not to like?  He couldn't help himself.  He'd slap your hand away if you tried to pull a guitar off the wall, but if you asked him about playing it he was all yours.

My favorite Mel story:  I had been away for a number of years but my mom sent me a newspaper clipping noting that his chord book had just passed 18 gazillion or something in sales.  A few weeks later I was back home and stopped in the store to congratulate him and to wish him a merry and profitable Christmas season.  The subject of the"weird chords in the back of the book" came up.  I told him that I understood how they were built and that I could play them, but I didn't get the context in which they might be useful.  Now, the guy is in his 90's by this time (he died shortly thereafter), but he hauled himself out of his chair, went out to the sales floor, grabbed any guitar (he didn't even look), squatted down in the aisle and showed me how it worked.  I'm still absorbing the takeaways from that day although I'll admit that I'm not banging up against it every day.

I knew the guy for 40-something years and he never quit calling me "young man". :lol:

  • Like 11
  • Thanks 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
3 hours ago, Steve Haynie said:

Eddie Van Halen failed to read that page. 

He didn't need to, just ask him, he'll probably say he wrote it. According to EVH at the Smithsonian interview,  the music industry was force to re-invent how to transcribe music and created tabs because of Eddie's playing style (BS! It's been around for hundreds of years), he invented pickup potting (More BS- Seth Lover first dabbled with potted pickups in the '50s), and was responsible for people using Variac circuits on amplifiers.

:lol:

  • Haha 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Posted (edited)

That interview is a hoot! I don't care much for "sober Eddie." He's far less sanctimonious when he's loaded.

Edited by RobB
  • Like 1
  • Thanks 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
3 hours ago, RobB said:

That interview is a hoot! I don't care much for "sober Eddie." He's far less sanctimonious when he's loaded.

That reminds me of an album review from when Van Halen III (the Cherone album) was released, and a freshly sober Eddie had been bragging about how it was the first VH disc written and recorded without influence of drugs or alcohol.

Some wise guy piped up, "Just spun the new Van Halen CD. Eddie, if you're out there reading this...drinks are on me"

  • Like 1
  • Haha 4

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Mel helped me get my big break through.  The spiders, centipedes & mice in my basement would stand in loooooong line to get into gigs. Even warfarin couldn't stop 'em.  Looked like a Dead concert!

ah hallucinations called "back in the day".  There's a song in there somewhere....

  • Haha 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
On 07/03/2018 at 10:01 PM, veatch said:

Mel Bay made me what I am today. Not sure if I ever made it through any of the books all the way, but it got me started. 

 

Screenshot_20180307-230109.jpg

Why spend money on plastic picks when a Canadian looney will do the job quite well. Even a pull tab from a can of Schlitz will do in a pinch.

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
On 07/03/2018 at 8:20 PM, gtrdaddy said:

I haven’t read a Mel Bay book since 1975. Back in the day, there was no internet and of course no YouTube. Mel Bay and similar book course options were the only choices for beginning guitarists besides private instruction. Compared to the plethora of video courses and demonstrations available online, reading a course book from Mel Bay is akin to watching paint dry. They provide some solid and basic instruction for beginners, and offer some courses for intermediates. If you have the patience to learn from a book, they’re ok. Since the ‘80s when Hot Licks and other VHS (and Betamax) courses  appeared on the scene, learning guitar was never boring again. Most folks I’m sure would rather watch video.

I learned 1 - 4 - 5  from the guy down the hall who smoked hash only.  Hashish only.  Jordan would say  "1-4-5 & hash and you can play just about anything.  Throw in a 7th here & there and you're hired."

 

  • Haha 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
On 22/03/2018 at 9:32 PM, FrettyMcgee said:

Mel Bay was laaaaame old man lessons.

This is the rock star's manual:

 

 

103252_1_heavy_guitar_bible_the.jpg

Don't know why but never got 'the relative' - great book to look at though, all the drawings

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I had Mel Bay books and I became a salesman of aircraft ground support equipment.   I am not sure I can put my finger on a correlation between these facts.

  • Like 2
  • Haha 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I used Mel Bay books back in the early 1960's to learn how to play Guitar..

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I would say..............

No

  • Haha 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
Sign in to follow this  

×