Lenny Breau Guitarist in His Youth Was Like a Sponge

Lenny Breau Guitarist in his youth was like a sponge. He would go to Bob and ask him a question and Bob would do his best to answer it through the eyes of an experienced piano player. Bob was shocked how fast Lenny would catch on to things. More often than not Lenny literally came back the next day and was playing what Bob explained to him.

They played one specific room together very often called the Stage Door. There were no charts; Bob would just call a tune and off they went. When they rehearsed Bob explained to Lenny that in any key you have the 1, 4, 3, 6, 2, 5, 1 progression. In a major key the 1 chord is major, the 4 chord is major, the 3 chord is minor, the 6 chord is minor, the 2 chord is minor, and the 5 chord is major.

He explained this to Lenny.

So on the bandstand Bob would say to Lenny this next song is like a 1, 4, 3, b3, 2, 5, 1. Lenny had no problem with this type of communication.

Bob would call out to Lenny for the next song and say

1, 4, 3, 6 Major, 2 Major, V, 1.

If the 3 chord, or the 2 chord or the 6 chord had a b5 in its minor chord variation Lenny would pick it up very fast. Or if the 6 chord was a major chord instead of the minor sound Lenny would pick it up fast. Lenny really took to the 'Down The Line' thinking.

For example if Bob called out the standard 'Autumn Leaves' he would tell Lenny, "It's in the key of E minor. I will start off with a E minor vamp for 8 bars then play a 2, 5, 1 in the relative major, and then play a 2, 5, 1 back to E minor". Lenny heard that the two chords resolving to the E minor had a b5 in them. He did not need to be told these things; his ear told him.

The Stage Door gig lasted for a year and a half. Lenny had just turned 19 and wanted to go to Toronto with his wife and little boy Chet. Bob felt he was in a crucial learning stage and that he should wait six months or even a year. He tried to convince Lenny to not go. Bob also felt Lenny was not mature or mentally stable enough to take a family out to Toronto.

Rick has been playing guitar, doing studio work, and teaching for 36 years now, and is an active recording artist. He has experienced, as many artists do, low times in the business and also,numerous high times in his career.

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