It was my brother who came up with the idea of learning the guitar.
The time was the late 50's and guitars were featuring more and more in modern music. He had just returned from college where he had played washboard in a Skiffle group.
For those not familiar with British music in the 50's Skiffle was sort of like American Country music but there was no drum. Instead there was a metal washboard played with thimbles on the fingers.
There was no money to buy a guitar so my brother set about building one. He was a woodwork teacher and I had just passed my City and Guilds Cabinet making so we figured we could handle it.
It turned out to be a little more difficult than we expected but finally the body and neck were set up right and we went and bought the couple of things we needed.
It was easy enough to get the strings in place but getting the frets fixed exactly right was a challenge to say the least. By the time we had managed to get 5 frets in place we had already been talking to friends in our small branch of the Magic Circle and decided to form a Skiffle group.
The only musical instrument we owned was my dad's banjolele ( basically a banjo the size of a ukulele) so out we went and got a tea chest and a broom shank for a bass and we were set.
The only existing photo of the group.
Left to right : Bill taking a spell on washboard.
Les relieving Bill at the mike.
Me on guitar.
Alan on base.
Missing - Dad who took the photo.
The chosen five of us got together one evening and armed with a ukulele, an almost finished guitar, a washboard, a tea chest and the words for a few songs that I had scribbled the chords onto, off we went.
Our singer Bill had a wonderful voice so we didn't ask him to play an instrument.
Our guitarist (me) had been taught 3 chords by his brother who remembered them from college.
My dad already knew how to play the banjolele.
Our washboardist (my brother Les) was an old hand.
And our bass player Alan was a welder at the shipyard with absolutely no prior musical knowledge but he could keep time.
Our practice went well and the neighbours below even told us they liked it. Surprising since their living room was essentially the sound box for the tea chest bass.

I am the type of person who likes to be over prepared for everything I do so imagine my shock when my dad told me we had a gig on Saturday night.
It was just a small spot (we only knew three songs) but there we were with the guitar still not finished playing to an audience.

Strangely we were a big hit and so the Yokels Skiffle Group was born.
Two weeks later we put on an evening's entertainment at a local church.
By this time the guitar was finished and we had enough songs.
We interspersed the music with magic by Les (slight of hand) and Alan (stage magic) and Bill also sang a couple of popular ballads with piano accompaniment by me.
We went on for half an hour past the time but the audience wouldn't let us leave until the caretaker of the hall came and kicked everyone out .