A question about Buddy Holly

Discussion in 'Fred's Barcalounge' started by Jelly Roll Horton, Jan 7, 2019.

  1. Jelly Roll Horton

    Jelly Roll Horton Gretschie

    294
    Nov 10, 2017
    Portland, OR
    Did Buddy Holly ever use Travis picking in his early songs? I have only seen him flat picking, but film/video is so scarce it's hard to tell.
     
  2. Winterwind

    Winterwind Gretschie

    398
    Dec 17, 2018
    London, Ontario
    The only thing I know, from what I've read, is that all his strumming were downstrokes, never up. No clue how accurate that is though.
     
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  3. Dennison

    Dennison Country Gent

    Jul 17, 2011
    Kent, UK
    I've always believed that the lead pickin' on the early Nashville rockabilly recordings (Blue Days Black Nights, Midnight Shift) was by Sonny Curtis. Apparently the studio rule was "the singer sings, the guitar player plays the guitar". Having said that, the guitar playing on some of those sides (Ting-a-Ling, Changing All Those Changes) sounds more like Holly's flatpicking style to me.
     
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  4. wildeman

    wildeman Gretschified

    May 10, 2015
    norcal
    I was just gonna bring up Midnight Shift, i always thought that was Buddy.
     
  5. Jelly Roll Horton

    Jelly Roll Horton Gretschie

    294
    Nov 10, 2017
    Portland, OR
    I’ve attempted to play the first break (same as the second) on Midnight Shift with a flat pick and with finger picking. It’s a nice break, and I find it easier with a pick. I can’t make my thumb work with it when trying to finger pick it. To me, the recording sounds like it’s flat picking.

    Sonny Curtis is 81 and still around. Maybe someone in or near Meadow, Texas, could just ask him.
     
    Last edited: Jan 7, 2019
  6. RG7X

    RG7X Gretschie

    221
    Nov 11, 2018
    L.A.
    I met Sonny Curtis and The Crickets when I was a kid but I was too dumb and shy to ask anything intelligent. Buddy was more a hard rhythm player. He did play upstrokes but just emphasized downstrokes with some heavy force (ie solo to Peggy Sue, Oh Boy). I searched YouTube and up and down... looks like they pulled his Ed Sullivan Performance (w/ original audio) of Oh Boy. He pissed off Ed Sullivan by choosing to play that song which is why Ed botches his name and turns down the volume on his amp. Watch Buddy fiddle with his volume knob at beginning... Anyways he strums the hell out of the guitar and lets out a nice scream during the solo break. I always thought it was a great example of his style. Sonny Curtis and Tommy Allsup did a lot of the more technical soloing of his songs. Sonny Curtis is present during more of the "Nashville Sessions" which is Buddy's more early Rockabilly sounding songs (Ollie Vee, Blue Days Black Nights, Midnight Shift, etc.).
     
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  7. stevemorrison

    stevemorrison Synchromatic

    733
    Jun 3, 2011
    Dundee, SCOTLAND
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  8. RG7X

    RG7X Gretschie

    221
    Nov 11, 2018
    L.A.
    I still have those CDs. 50 songs total which was my first Buddy Holly collection. He has way more songs still! I've listened to every recording he has including, "My Two Timin' Woman" at age 13 and his recordings from his Buddy & Bob days which was strictly country. I can't think of any examples of Buddy using Travis Picking but I'd bet there's someone smarter than me who might know. You mentioned analyzing his video performances but unfortunately the only "high quality" stuff that exists is going to be Ed Sullivan (That'll Be The Day, Peggy Sue and Oh Boy) and The Arthur Murray Show (Peggy Sue) which don't showcase any signs of Travis Picking. His other film is very low resolution or destroyed.
     
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  9. Winterwind

    Winterwind Gretschie

    398
    Dec 17, 2018
    London, Ontario
    60 years later we're still talking about Buddy Holly. He's the only reason I even consider buying a Strat some day.

    When I was a kid, sure I listened to the radio and the early 80s had good stuff (and I had a lot of mixed tapes made from Casey Kasem's Top 40) but the only store bought tapes I had were Buddy Holly, the Beatles and, not fitting into that mould, the Alan Parsons Project.

    My gran that raised me was American and we'd cross the border to visit her family in Detroit and Chicago all the time and my grandfather would pop in one of my Buddy Holly tapes and to me, well, my childhood impression of the States was just cruising and listening to Buddy.
     
  10. Uncle Daddy

    Uncle Daddy Country Gent

    Jan 19, 2012
    Maldon UK
    It strikes me that Sonny is using a "dead thumb" technique rather than an alternating bass, Travis style. I've tried playing this like that, and it makes it easier when breaking out of position on the 4 chord.

     
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  11. KelvinS1965

    KelvinS1965 Electromatic

    66
    Jan 11, 2019
    Wokingham
    He is the very reason I bought my Strat when I was 17. It was the closest thing to his '57 that I could afford (actually a made in Japan 'JV' Squier) and I've still got it 36 years later. Re-freted, re-finished (in nitro), but still played almost daily.

    Strat finished.jpg

    I'm playing at an open mic 8 Feb, so I thought it would be nice to play a couple of his songs as that will be just after the 60th anniversary of his passing...I hope I can do them justice.

    I too had heard that he only played downstrokes, but maybe it's just some urban legend thing?
     
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  12. Winterwind

    Winterwind Gretschie

    398
    Dec 17, 2018
    London, Ontario
    That's a gorgeous guitar you've got.

    I've got five Buddy Holly songs in my rep... well, four of his and one he covered.

    I've never owned a signature model. The closest I came was being tempted by the first Ric version of George's 12str but I didn't want to wait over a year and went with a 330/12.

    For kicks I went looking for Buddy's once and couldn't find a price under 10k! Even the American Original 50s model is pretty pricey so when the day comes I'm just going to try finding one that feels good in a two or thrust burst finish.
     
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  13. KelvinS1965

    KelvinS1965 Electromatic

    66
    Jan 11, 2019
    Wokingham
    It's harder to find a Strat with a 7.25" radius these days (most seem to be 9.5") so for me that's a part of the attraction gone. Of course I didn't know this back in 1982 pre internet and all that. :) What I did find out though was other Strats felt 'odd' to me to play if I was in a shop trying out an amp or pedal, etc and used the shop Strat. It was only years later I read on forums about these details (so my Telecaster has the same kind of neck too).

    I used to know quite a few of his songs, but at the moment 5 would be pushing it without going back to look at them again. The intro to That'll be the day is ingraned in my head/hands though, so it's a good one for me to pick. I also really like 'Peggy Sue got married', so that leaves one more (this open mic usually gives a 3 song slot)...I'll have to think which one.
     
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  14. Winterwind

    Winterwind Gretschie

    398
    Dec 17, 2018
    London, Ontario
    I do That'll Be The Day, Peggy Sue, Wishing, Words of Love and Brown Eyed Handsome Man.
     
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  15. RG7X

    RG7X Gretschie

    221
    Nov 11, 2018
    L.A.
    It's So Easy and Lonesome Tears are probably my favorite to play.
     
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  16. wildeman

    wildeman Gretschified

    May 10, 2015
    norcal
    My first Strat was a Japanese'57 reissue, it was a excellent guitar and well worth a look.
     
  17. Winterwind

    Winterwind Gretschie

    398
    Dec 17, 2018
    London, Ontario
    My first guitar, which I still have 32 years later, is a Japanese built Sigma DR-7 for Martin.

    I do want one but a Strat is way down my GAS list, well fifth of five.
     
  18. stevemorrison

    stevemorrison Synchromatic

    733
    Jun 3, 2011
    Dundee, SCOTLAND
    Buddy Holly was the reason I started playing guitar and the reason the first "real" guitar I got was a Stratocaster, I always have a strat in my collection even when I turned to playing bass. I did look at buying one of the Signature strats but didn't have the cash at the time, one day maybe....

    I play at least one BH song every time I pick up the guitar Peggy Sue, It's So Easy & Words of Love are the usual 3 go to songs.
     
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