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Bert Weedon, Guitarist And Author Of "Play In A Day" Book, Dies

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Guitarist Bert Weedon had hit singles in Britain and influenced rock stars including Eric Clapton, Pete Townshend and John Lennon with his instructional book. Paul McCartney notes his passing and calls him 'Britain's Mr. Guitar.'

English guitarist Bert Weedon influenced a generation of budding rock stars with his popular “Play in a Day" instructional book. He died at his home in Beaconsfield, England, on April 20 at 91.

Bert Weedon was a legendary British guitarist who influenced a generation of budding rock stars with his popular “Play in a Day" instructional book.

Eric Clapton, Brian May, Pete Townshend, Paul McCartney, John Lennon and George Harrison are among those who received help in learning to play the guitar from Weedon's book, which was first published in 1957 and has sold more than 2 million copies.

“I wouldn't have felt the urge to press on without the tips and encouragement Bert's book gives you," Clapton once said. “I've never met a player of any consequence that doesn't say the same thing."

The death of Weedon at his home in Beaconsfield, England, on April 20 at 91, spurred a flurry of tributes from fellow musicians, including May, who expressed thanks to Weedon for “spreading the guitar and enthusiasm to all of us."

“Dear Bert — we will miss him," McCartney said in a statement. “From early childhood throughout our lives he wasBritain'sMr. Guitar. He seemed to be the first person we saw on television showing us how to play and he left a lasting impression on us. ... Like us, he loved the guitar and communicated that passion to many generations."

Howard Kramer, curatorial director at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum in Cleveland, said Weedon was “an institution."

“He was to Great Britain what Mel Bay was to the United States," Kramer told The Times this week, referring to the American guitarist who published instructional books for guitar and other instruments.

“Weedon's method came out in the late '50s when rock 'n' roll was breaking," Kramer said. “There was a whole new wave of guitar-playing wanna-bes, and Bert Weedon was the way you learned."

Beginning with a section on learning how to hold the guitar, “Play in a Day" progressed to teaching basic chords and led conscientious novice players to playing songs such as “When the Saints Go Marching In."

The book also included Weedon's guitar-care tips and stressed the importance of regular practice: “Nature did not fashion our fingers for guitar-playing specifically, but nature has given us a mind to think with, will-power, patience and determination."


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