"Old-Time Backup Guitar:

Learn From the Masters"

     Fiddlers and banjo players may seem to get all the glory, but the best fiddle and banjo players will tell you just how scarce really good backup guitar players are … and what a hoot it is when they finally do sit down with a guitar player who “gets” it!

    There are loads of books and videos for learning old-time fiddle or banjo.  Not so for backup guitar!  “Old-Time Backup Guitar: Learn From the Masters" was published in 2012, and it really seems to have touched a nerve in the old-time music community.  The initial printing numbered just 300 copies, which seemed extravagantly optimistic.  Midway through 2015, well over 1400 copies have been sold, and the orders keep coming!  Glowing reviews have been published in several magazines (check 'em out by clicking on the "Reviews" tab, above).  And lots of enthusiastic reader reviews have shown up on  All of this, as well as the hundreds of personal thank-you's that have been delivered in person or via email, have been truly humbling!  It's thrilling to know that so many people want to learn about old-time backup guitar and that they're finding this approach to be so accessible and helpful!

    “Old-Time Backup Guitar: Learn From the Masters" features 28 classic old-time music performances, spotlighting just a handful of ace guitar players from the 1920s and 1930s.  But there were so many more great backup guitar players who had to be left out.  But not for long....  Stand by for sequels!

I  wasn't sure there was any book instruction for what I wanted, but I was specific enough to google "old time backup guitar," and, lo!, there was your book, exactly what I needed and wanted. I love this book. It's so much more than instruction, though that's great too. I love the the feel you have for the music and the people who play it. I love the description of old time. I love reading about the players. I love the comments from current players. I love the passion I hear in their voices. The TAB is great. Having four speeds to use is great. The chord choices section and the comparison example is a wonderful inclusion. I've only had the book about a week, but it seems to have all I need to get where I want to go, and beyond.

—Sally Wilson

Correction: p. 35

     There's a problem with the layout of the tablature for “And The Cat Came Back The Very Next Day” on p. 35 from the 1/20/17 batch of books.  Please click here to download a pdf file with a corrected version of p. 35.

© 2019 John M. Schwab