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Author Topic: Did the Beatles have tutors?  (Read 278 times)

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Loco Mo

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Did the Beatles have tutors?
« on: December 19, 2016, 02:23:47 PM »

I understand that the Beatles never took music lessons for their instruments.  So, I wonder, during the course of their career together, did they have people who were available to assist them if they had problems playing any particular song?  These would have been musically-educated tutors/professionals, essentially, who could explain and go over various guitar patterns with them.  They could have shown them chords or helped them figure out what chord they wanted that best suited the song.  It just seems to make sense to me that the Beatles would have had a lot of helpers, including songwriting help.  Yet, I've never read of anything like this happening.

I know George Martin offered them feedback and advice but were there others (perhaps regulars) whose special task was to help the Beatles with their song structures, advice on who should sing what, and instrument playing, etc?
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Moogmodule

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Re: Did the Beatles have tutors?
« Reply #1 on: December 19, 2016, 07:49:24 PM »

They did have periods of being taught on their instruments. George had a local Liverpool guitarist who gave him some lessons when he was starting off. And Tony Sheridan was something of a tutor to him when in Hamburg. In particular he sparked George's love of unusual chords which contributed to the Beatle sound and George's later songwriting.

Paul took piano lessons during the mid 60s and of course George was taught sitar by Ravi Shankar and his associates.

Not sure of much beyond that. I doubt John ever took a lesson from anyone past about 1960. Didn't seem to be his thing. And Ringo famously said he never practiced the drums. His practice was touring, rehearsing etc.

I think the help you suggest was mainly from George Martin. I've never heard of anyone else providing that sort of advice. The Beatles did their songwriting in the time honoured fashion of taking chord patterns from other songs they knew and adapting them into something new. Their very broad range of influences and the eclectic mix of songs they used for their long sets in Hamburg gave them an extensive palette to work off. It seems they primarily worked by ear. Which was their great strength. They seemed to have an unusually well attuned sense of what chord patterns worked.
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Loco Mo

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Re: Did the Beatles have tutors?
« Reply #2 on: December 20, 2016, 02:12:44 AM »

Thanks, Moog.  Paul has always said that he can't read music.  This is surprising since he took piano lessons.  Also, I've heard Paul make technical statements about key signatures as well as chordal references.  How can he know these things yet not read music?

Hard to believe Ringo didn't take drum lessons.  It would have been so easy and he could certainly afford them.  Wasn't he curious enough to want to learn more technical aspects of drumming?  I still marvel at his drum solo in the Abbey Road medley.  It was so musical.  He also said he hated solos and didn't do solos.  Yet, he must have practiced doing solos in order to have the skill to create the Abbey Road one.  I also wonder if that solo was completely spontaneous or did he rehearse it first?

I take George as a serious musician from the get-go.  But I know there are ways of learning instruments that are not scholastic and I suspect he belongs to that category.  It's sort of a group of people whose primary desire is to learn by "feel."  I know that some people argue against too much formal education because they think it inhibits feeling the music as opposed to playing it technically.
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nimrod

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Re: Did the Beatles have tutors?
« Reply #3 on: December 20, 2016, 02:55:25 AM »

I know that some people argue against too much formal education because they think it inhibits feeling the music as opposed to playing it technicall

Never understood this

Jazz musician's generally understand and study the technical side of music,  they know usually a lot more than rock musicians, they are expert readers and can change key or play counterpoint at the drop of a hat, and yet they are the world's best at feeling /ad-lib freeform solo's


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Hello Goodbye

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Re: Did the Beatles have tutors?
« Reply #4 on: December 20, 2016, 03:36:42 AM »

^

I agree completely, Kev.  Ian Buchanan, my blues guitar teacher, was taking jazz guitar lessons during the time I was taking lessons from him.  He became fluent in reading for guitar and in turn became a much better guitarist.  You shoulda heard him play Bye Bye Blues in the style of Les Paul...


<a href="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EmMCzGKCeYo" target="_blank" class="aeva_link bbc_link new_win">https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EmMCzGKCeYo</a>




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Moogmodule

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Re: Did the Beatles have tutors?
« Reply #5 on: December 20, 2016, 03:37:42 AM »

I know that some people argue against too much formal education because they think it inhibits feeling the music as opposed to playing it technicall

Never understood this

Jazz musician's generally understand and study the technical side of music,  they know usually a lot more than rock musicians, they are expert readers and can change key or play counterpoint at the drop of a hat, and yet they are the world's best at feeling /ad-lib freeform solo's

It's always sounded to me like a good cover for laziness  ;)

I've never thought in any endeavour you're better off knowing less.



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Moogmodule

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Re: Did the Beatles have tutors?
« Reply #6 on: December 20, 2016, 09:13:36 AM »

Yet, he must have practiced doing solos in order to have the skill to create the Abbey Road one.  I also wonder if that solo was completely spontaneous or did he rehearse it first?


I thought he just listened to In a Gadda da Vida ;)
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Loco Mo

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Re: Did the Beatles have tutors?
« Reply #7 on: December 21, 2016, 01:09:18 AM »

Thanks, nim, Hello and Moog.  Your comments are good and it's good to read them.  Moog:  I listened to Gadda da Vida and I can see where you're coming from.  It's certainly a record Ringo must have listened to.  The drummer, Ron Bushy, wasn't a flashy arms-flailing maniac but he was tasteful and simple.  Not a very energetic solo but quite interesting nonetheless.  Moog:  I also agree with your opinion of the untutored as being lazy.  Can this also mean that one or two of the Beatles were also lazy?

Another reason for not learning formally is because some people are kind of dyslexic in that respect.  They either don't know they are or won't admit to it.  I mean what's so bad about taking lessons?  I did - for both guitar and drums.  I'm smart enough to know how dumb I am and that's saying a lot.  I mean I know what I can't play and also know what I don't know.

I also think some people who don't take instruction think the guitar's gonna play itself in their amazing hands.  Oh well, who am I to bad mouth them - maybe they really are that good!

Nim:  your reference to jazz musicians really hits the nail's head and drives in the point that they play better because they know what they're doing.

Hello:  Thanks for the Les Paul tune.  I really enjoyed listening.  I love those oldies but goodies. 



 
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nimrod

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Re: Did the Beatles have tutors?
« Reply #8 on: December 21, 2016, 03:56:25 AM »

Can this also mean that one or two of the Beatles were also lazy?

Probably

I remember John saying in his final tv interview , regarding why they split up.

" it got boring having to get together again for the next album, playing the same old licks"

This smacks of them not technically progressing as musicians

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Loco Mo

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Re: Did the Beatles have tutors?
« Reply #9 on: December 22, 2016, 12:38:15 AM »

Nimrod:  What you just wrote is a great insightful comment.  I will follow up further.  I've had a long work day and I'm exhausted.  Thanks for posting your thought!  It's awesome!!
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Moogmodule

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Re: Did the Beatles have tutors?
« Reply #10 on: December 22, 2016, 03:20:08 AM »

Can this also mean that one or two of the Beatles were also lazy?

Probably

I remember John saying in his final tv interview , regarding why they split up.

" it got boring having to get together again for the next album, playing the same old licks"

This smacks of them not technically progressing as musicians

Frankly in John's case I blame Yoko  ;)

Seriously though, John seemed to be showing interest in extending his skills on guitar up to the India trip when Donovan taught them the finger picking guitar style that John used on the White Album. But after that, under Yoko's influence, he talked more about being an "Artist" and how it didn't matter about skills as an "Artist" can get something out of anything etc etc blah blah.





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Bobber

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Re: Did the Beatles have tutors?
« Reply #11 on: December 22, 2016, 08:23:06 AM »

I believe Paul picked things up while he was living in the Asher's house.
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