If you love country music and you love acoustic guitar, you probably love Doyle Dykes.
In a decades-spanning career, he’s established himself as one of the great fingerstyle players, and his proficiency with multiple guitar tunings continues to inspire old hands and newcomers alike.
And, like many an esteemed player before him, Dykes’ experiences have given him some unique insights into guitar playing.
In today’s post, we’re running through a few of our favorite Doyle Dykes quotes, including his takes on faith, learning to play and why he doesn’t consider himself an acoustic guitar player?
On faith and guitar playing (via For Bass Players Only):
“I got serious with God when I was about eleven. And I can still remember raising my hand and saying…, “God, give me a job to do and I’ll always tell people about you.” It was just after that I had a desire to play the guitar. I haven’t looked back… I’ve loved music, always have, but I really fell in love with music then. There was purpose in my life.”
On “running before walking” when learning to play (via ConnectSavannah):
“I just learned by playing, mostly. My dad showed me some chords, I got a chord book. I had an ear; my family is musical on both sides, my mom and dad’s. We always had music, lots of singing and playing...that’s what the family did when we got together, we’d play music. I was raised around that. My granddad was a guitar player, and for 33 years he had me up in church playing early, and I learned to play by ear. I could hear the chord changes. I never did take any private lessons—I guess I started running before I was walking!”
On “the Chet Atkins school of pickin’” (via Guitar Player):
“I didn’t take guitar lessons… I went to the Chet Atkins school of pickin’. Chet used a thumb pick most of the time, and did everything with his right hand. He played the guitar like a piano. He played the bass, and then the rhythm, alternating between his thumb and fingers with his strumming hand. It would be like rocking your hand on the piano keys…”
On why he doesn’t consider himself “an acoustic guitar player” (via Sweetwater):
“I played electric guitar for so long, I’d do things on the acoustic guitar that you don’t normally do… the string bends and stuff that you’d do on the Tele… I’d bring those ideas over to the acoustic guitar. Next thing you know I was written up in magazines, I was the clinician for a great guitar company and I was on the Grand Ole Opry a year later and have been ever since. It was just taking those ideas I did on the electric guitar and putting them on acoustic.”
If you’re a Doyle Dykes fan, watch this space. We’ll have another article on the great man soon!
What’s your favourite Doyle Dykes performance moment? And which fingerstyle guitarists would you like to see covered in the Thalia blog? Share your ideas in the comments!
Leo Kottke is a fingerstyle institution, and an inspiration to guitarists across the globe. His unique blend of folk, blues and jazz and his distinctive syncopated, polyphonic melodies have earned him accolades and followers galore. And, his battles with adversity – he’s overcome partial hearing loss and a near career-ending bout with tendonitis – are testament to his dedication to his craft.
We’re living in a great time for acoustic music. Fingerstyle guitar is thriving, and outlets like YouTube give exposure to new guitarists on a regular basis. But, this wasn’t always the case. In the ‘80s, when synths and electronic sounds reigned supreme, some thought the humble hollow-bodied six-string would go the way of the dinosaur.