I used to go to something called the “hurt book sale” at Rich’s when I lived in Atlanta.
They sold remaindered books….slightly damaged books….books of limited interest.
It was my kind of book sale….bunches of cheap books.
When I was just starting to play guitar, the only guitar method book I had, other than an old jazz guitar book called something like “Mickey Baker’s Hot Jazz Guitar” that I bought at a garage sale….and that was way too advanced for me to use (still), was a spiral bound book about how to play like BB King.
I bought it for 49 cents at the Rich’s Hurt Book Sale.
It had a floppy little record that came with it….that showed you how to bend notes and play with vibrato….all the stuff that, done right, would have you playing like BB King in no time.
I don’t know where that book is right now.
It’s probably down in the corner of the basement with all the tools…and other books.
I don’t even remember what it was called.
That’s how I learned to play guitar….that book…and….playing the Beatles’ “Across the Universe” over…and over.
That’s how I learned.
I’d spend hours bending notes on an out of tune guitar.
When you don’t really know how to tune your guitar….or it’s so cheap that it’s really hard to tune, even if you knew how….or, and maybe this is the truth…too LAZY to tune….knowing how to bend the strings to play in tune with a record is a good skill to have.
I had to bend every note when the guitar was “tuned” like that.
I couldn’t bend notes like BB, though.
There was always something a little more….tasteful….about the way he played.
I don’t know how we get introduced to people like BB King.
For me, it was a cheap little spiral bound book about how to play guitar like somebody I’d never had much chance to hear.
I’m glad I got a chance to “know” him a little….and to try and learn how to bend some strings.
BB King died yesterday.
He was 89 years old
“hummingbird” BB King