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22 September 2012

"The First Step" Instruction Books

Today I was sifting through 'the Crate' and I happened across a collection of instruction books. They are four of the First Step range and are of various ages. I think I have a couple more, but I didn't look too hard for the rest. The four I present to you today are of the Double Bass, the Guitar, the Banjo and Ukulele/Banjulele. I love old instruction manuals - you should know that by now. These aren't the best in the world and they're in a bit of a dog-eared mildewy state with scribbles here and there. As I've mentioned before when I've put up similar posts: I encourage you to go out and buy the books. I'm only going to show you a taste of the magic that lurks within. I shall tackle this from biggest to smallest; low to high. If you're sitting comfortably, I shall begin...

"The First Step" Instruction Books

The First Step
How to Play the Double Bass
By Lew Stern
(c) 1949, Keith Prowse & Co Ltd

Remarks on Bowing
Some notes on the instrument will respond readily,
others require "humouring."

Diagram of Instrument

I wouldn't expect anyone to play the double bass with a bow these
days. It's got to be fingers! "Grip the frog with the 3rd and 4th fingers."
Frog? I've heard some euphemisms in my time...

The First Step
How to Play the Guitar Plectrum Style
By Geoffrey Sisley
(c) 1960, Keith Prowse & Co Ltd

Down Among the Dead Men
(English Traditional)

Glossary of Musical Terms

The First Step
How to Play the Plectrum "G" Banjo
By Lew Stern
(c) 1928, Keith Prowse & Co Ltd

Zombieland Rule #2 - "The Double Tap"
Banjoland Rule #2 - "The Double Snap"

Holding the Plectrum

The Barré or Bar

The First Step
How to Play the Ukelele and Ukelele Banjo
By Lew Stern
(c) 1927, Keith Prowse & Co Ltd

Holding the Instrument

See here the different spelling of "Ukulele" compared to the cover

Here is a list of all the other books in the First Steps range


  1. Re:
    "Grip the frog with the 3rd and 4th fingers."

    Come on!
    Surely your just taking the pizz,
    or just plucking my strings here.-)

  2. Pardon me bad gramma.
    That should be
    "Surely you're just taking the pizz..." in the above comment.

  3. Yeah - it's a sod that you can't go back and edit your posts. I'm still none-the-wiser as to what a frog is and why you should only use the 3rd and 4th fingers. Someone did mention a "pink oboe", but I don't understand that reference either...