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  1. #1
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    Help Please help me save the Bill Thrasher Treasure

    Bill was the jazz guitar instructor in Santa Barbara around 1979 when I knew him. He was the author of the book Joe Pass Guitar Style.

    I have probable 500 pages of the material he handed out to his private students. I think this is some of the best jazz guitar instructional material available. I feel really lucky to have all this material, in a year of lessons he gave me a lifetime worth of material to work on. It's a treasure. He wrote copyrights on all the pages and since Bill died somewhere around the mid 1980s I fear it may just end up disappearing if someone doesn't make it available to all.

    I'm trying to contact his heirs to get permission to make this material available. I contacted a very helpful person at Alfred Publishing (the current publishing company of the Joe Pass Guitar Styles Book), he didn't have any record of heirs but told me to contact Warner Bros. who were the orginal publishers. I've sent them an email and am hoping for a response.

    If anyone out there in the big world of the internet can help me with any ideas or people to contact I'd sure appreciate it.

    Here is a very small sample of his incredible work (remember I have maybe 500 pages of this kind of material). (When you click into the site left click on the image to enlarge it.)

    Imageshack - 60096811pg6.jpg
    Imageshack - lickap3.jpg
    Imageshack - arpm.jpg
    Imageshack - bt4

  2. #2
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    Fep,

    Try Carol Kaye. I'll bet she knew Bill. Lot's of links on her site.

    The Official Carol Kaye Web Site

  3. #3
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    fep,

    I applaud your efforts, and hopefully you will be able to get this approved. Thanks for taking this on. Keep us informed.

  4. #4
    Just curious if you have any updates on this. The few pages of material you included as an example are brilliant.

  5. #5
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    I'm also curious about this project.all the best

  6. #6
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    I have a degree in Law, and one of my specialties is Copyright Law. Bill Trasher has the copyright to his work, and how to work this is more complicated than you might think. If I remember correct the USA is a member of the Berner Convention, and therefore the copyright still counts for a min. of Bill Trasher's age (years) + 50 years AFTER his death. In my country you add 70 years to the originators age after his/her death.
    My advice is that you seek some legal advice first. A lawyer can help you further if you make contact to the heirs. Even though all the material hasn't been published, the copyright still counts for the heirs. So be careful with publishing it.
    Last edited by C.A.JO.; 04-14-2010 at 03:22 AM.

  7. #7

    Guitar important papers

    I'am with you,thanks for the so far documents

  8. #8
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    this might be completely ridiculous, but have you thought about scanning and uploading the document onto scribd.com? i make my newspaper available on scribd.com and my readers are able to access it free of charge and to print out pages at will. that way you'll be preserving bill thrasher's work while making it obvious that you're not trying to unfairly benefit financially. of course, mr thrasher's relatives would want to make money by publishing the work with a legitimate publisher, but if they're nowhere to be found ... ?

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by patskywriter View Post
    this might be completely ridiculous, but have you thought about scanning and uploading the document onto scribd.com? i make my newspaper available on scribd.com and my readers are able to access it free of charge and to print out pages at will. that way you'll be preserving bill thrasher's work while making it obvious that you're not trying to unfairly benefit financially. of course, mr thrasher's relatives would want to make money by publishing the work with a legitimate publisher, but if they're nowhere to be found ... ?
    I don't think it matters ... the copyright still holds, and to upload copyrighted material to Scribd without express consent of the owner of Mr. Thrasher's material would be against the law.

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by FatJeff View Post
    I don't think it matters ... the copyright still holds, and to upload copyrighted material to Scribd without express consent of the owner of Mr. Thrasher's material would be against the law.
    gotcha. it was just a thought.

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by JohnW400 View Post
    Fep,

    Try Carol Kaye. I'll bet she knew Bill. Lot's of links on her site.

    The Official Carol Kaye Web Site
    I second this. It seems to be the sort of thing she might be interested in and she probably has the connections to get necessary permissions.
    Brad
    Guitars:
    1975 Guild Artist Award
    1986 Guild X-170
    1975 Guild Mark V
    1930s Metro B archtop
    1995 Epi Howard Roberts Custom
    1999 Godin ACS Nylon with synth
    ??? Giannini 7 string classical

  12. #12
    Greetings FEP and other Bill Thrasher former students,

    I've been looking for years for more information about Bill, and was delighted to find this thread. A few years ago I search his name and located a well-known professional guitarist, Alex Degrassi, who also studied with Bill while attending UC Santa Barbara, around the time I did. I was trying to locate Bill to take more lessons with him, and Alex informed me that he was pretty sure Bill had passed away. We shared how lucky we were to learn from him.

    I was a student of Bill's for about 6 months back in 1972 while I was attending UCSB. I used to hitch a ride from Isla Vista to Santa Barbara for my lessons. He had been a sideman in the late 1940's with the famous blind pianist George Shearing. He was the only guitar teacher I've ever had and I felt fortunate to study with him. At the time I heard he was also giving lessons to Kenny Loggins.

    Bill gave me about 3 or 4 months of work every week I saw him, and the pace was fast. A visit to Bill's second story smoke-filled apartment was a surreal experience. He was very well read, an artist, with many books on his shelf, and very intuitive but knowledgable guitarist and intelligent person. His beautifully hand-drawn lesson materials, of which I have many, are superb. I probably have duplicates of what you (FEP) have, but maybe there are some new ones. I have about 40 pages still. Some solo arrangements of Yesterday, Girl from Ipanema, Meditation, Birth of the Blues, and others. If FEP or anyone else has some of his lessons, please contact me 858 755-5442.
    Thank you. rdh

  13. #13

    Scribd has material from Bill Thrasher

    you join scribd put in jazz guitar there is all kinds of material from subscribers who use the material as their own study which takes it away from the copywright infringement.Thus you are able to study away with no problems.Its free.Go to non-fiction then type jazz guitar.There is a whole slew of semi-precious jazz guitar books available for study available to download if you are a member.Plus papers from Bill Thrasher jazz guitar.
    Last edited by 604bourne123; 07-07-2011 at 10:14 AM.

  14. #14
    Bill was my teacher 1965-1967.. My charts are in poor shape.. Living in S.B,many of my guitar friends were also students. Did you you know Maggie, Bill's Ex, or did he even talk about his older brother?

  15. #15
    Any forward motion on this? A book I would definitely buy! Those pages are really interesting.

    N

  16. #16
    Bill was my Uncle, I only remember meeting him a few times before he passed away. He was estranged from Rob Thrasher, my father... I don't recall all the details, but they did not interact too often. I worked at Sound Advice in SB in the mid-90's and ran into a lot of locals that learned from Bill, all with great stories to tell of the experience. I'm in Ojai now and have encountered a few others that knew Bill well.

    Wiley-

  17. #17
    As a note, I'm not sure about any heirs than his daughter, Carol Landry, her son, or myself... though it's been many years since we were in contact with her. She was last know to be in Paso Robles, CA. Feel free to contact me and I can pass along the contact details we have.

    Wiley-

  18. #18
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    Hi all,

    For those of you following along. I did contact Carol Kaye a while back asking if she would be willing to help preserve Bill's teaching materials.

    The email really response really took me by surprise, shocking actually, and let's just say there is absolutely no way she will be of any help.

    I knew Bill as a kind, generous, intelligent and fun individual. He was a great player and an incredible teacher. I don't have time to pursue this project but if anyone wants to take up the torch I'll turn over all of his material that I have once the copyright issue has been resolved.
    Last edited by fep; 04-14-2013 at 07:39 PM.
    B+
    Frank (aka fep)

  19. #19
    Quote Originally Posted by fep View Post
    The email really response really took me by surprise, shocking actually, and let's just say there is absolutely no way she will be of any help..
    FEP. So sorry about your experience. I have been on a bass list (the bottom line) for 20+ years and Carol was briefly a member. I don't think she endeared herself to many members, and I don't think she was missed when she (iirc) abruptly left the list over I think, some discussion of Jamie Jameson and credit for work performed. If memory serves, it was all pretty uncomfortable at the time. It's sad to find out that some of the folks we respect for so long can be so... human.

    I do hope someone can pick up the project; it would be such a loss.
    "Jus' press." - Raymond Kane

  20. #20
    I too was a student of Bill's in the late 1970's. Somehow (still don't know how) I misplaced (or worse, tossed out) the materials Bill provided. I'd LOVE to get a copy if I could. Please let me know what's happening with making these materials available. They were AMAZING!!

    Thanks,

  21. #21

    I may be of some help

    Hello fellow BT aficionados,
    Bill Thrasher was an inspirational teacher, and his work continues to inspire those of us fortunate enough to have come in contact with it. It would be easy to fill pages with memories and stories; to Frank et al, I humbly offer that I may be of some service in the stated goal, if it is still viable. Please contact me though Santa Barbara City College Music Dept.
    Cheers,
    Bill

  22. #22
    Hi Everyone

    Years ago I took some lessons off Bill Thrasher in Santa Barbara. While studying with him I noticed a book on the floor. I picked it up and started thumbing through it. When he came back to the room he asked what i was looking at? I gave it to him and he angrily said oh that. It was the manuscript to the Joe Pass method. Evidentially that week he had a meeting with Joe Pass, and Carol Kay. Carol was setting up a publishing deal for Joe, and because he was so busy Joe had asked Bill to help. Bill took the opportunity and ran with it. He wrote over 200 pages of material. Which became the manuscript. Joe said it was way too much material, and slimmed it down to what we have today. Needles to say Billwas pissed. All that hard work for nothing. Bill gave me me a copy of it and told me to do whatever I wanted to with it. If anyone is interested I can try to scan and send? By the way I did talk to Carol kay there is no copyright on the manuscript just Joe final book.

  23. #23
    Jack, I am very interested! I can email you or if you'd like my email is guitarinventions@gmail.com thank you!

  24. #24
    Hi all,

    I studied with Bill Thrasher in Santa Barbara in 1981. My studies with Bill were cut short by his death, which I noted as 11 May 1981.
    I too have Bill Thrasher copyrighted lesson material. I also have copies of material from Kelsey Walker, who I last saw sometime in the 80s. Bill Thrasher was a great teacher, and a really nice guy.

    There is precious little regarding Bill Thrasher to be found on the Internet. I am aware of some lesson material on scribd. It would be nice if there were a Wikipedia entry for Bill. And, of course, if his lesson material could be shared. So, yes, if legal hurdles are cleared, let us know. I would also like to see the manuscript that Joe Pass rejected.

    Lonny Balderston

  25. #25
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    Looking through this thread, I just want to point out that everything Bill Thrasher wrote out and gave to his students is copyrighted under US law, whether he put copyright notices on it or not. The 1976 revision of the copyright act removed the requirement for copyright notices- copyright is automatic. Stuff posted to Scribd is still copyrighted and Scribd is in flagrant violation of copyright law most of the time. Having said that, I'll also note that I think US copyright law goes much, much too far by making copyright practically non-expiring.
    Beauty is as close to terror as we can well endure. -Rainer Maria Rilke

  26. #26
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    I don't think it's fair to say that US copyright law makes someone's copyright "practically non-expiring."

    I think it's more accurate to say that US copyright law serves to protect someone from having their intellectual property stolen by a contemporary who wants to take it and give them nothing in return.

    The copyrights will expire in time. It's just that since we are all essentially his contemporaries, our generation has to pay for his work because the copyrights are intended to last through our lifetime. There's no free lunch until the copyright expires and the IP becomes public domain. Future generations will get a free ride, but our generation gets to pay. It's only fair.
    -- Bob

  27. #27
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    Does this apply to Scribd's liability?


    • Online Service Provider "Safe Harbor." Section 512 ("OCILLA", passed as part of the DMCA in 1998) provides a contingent "safe harbor" for online service providers from secondary liability for their users' copy infringements.

  28. #28
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    Quote Originally Posted by BeBob View Post
    I don't think it's fair to say that US copyright law makes someone's copyright "practically non-expiring."

    I think it's more accurate to say that US copyright law serves to protect someone from having their intellectual property stolen by a contemporary who wants to take it and give them nothing in return.

    The copyrights will expire in time. It's just that since we are all essentially his contemporaries, our generation has to pay for his work because the copyrights are intended to last through our lifetime. There's no free lunch until the copyright expires and the IP becomes public domain. Future generations will get a free ride, but our generation gets to pay. It's only fair.
    Modern US copyright lasts now- basically at the behest of Disney and similar corporations- for a very, very long time. In practical terms is is non-expiring. And you can be sure when those terms come near expiry, the time will be moved out another 70 years. Unless the zombie apocalypse comes first.

    The existing law fails now in its intent due to the absurdity of its duration. The intent of copyright law is to encourage the production of arts by granting the artist *and the publisher* a time limited monopoly on the created item. The monopoly ends in order to spur further creation by the artist. This is the part that now fails. And just look at the consequences on Disney- they've been producing crap for decades because they can protect old properties and continue to milk them for billions; whether they make much money on the new stuff is practically immaterial. When the current copyright protection on Mickey Mouse comes near, they'll be back feathering the nests of Congress to get another extension- and they will still be producing crap.

    OTOH, the great-grandchildren of some artists will still be getting royalty payments from an ancestor they never met. Unless the publisher (e.g., the record company) managed to dupe the artist into signing over the copyright- which is and was standard practice in the music industry. Mynrecollection is that one of the jazz history books I read indicated Coltrane was paid $500 for "Giant Steps" and that was it- his composer's royalties were signed over to someone else. It was either in Ben Sidran's book or Gene Lees's, can't remember which. Hopefully someone can check my memory on this. But this crap has happened more often than not in jazz, pop and rock music. Herbie Hancock wrote about this in his autobiography- he got some good advice to keep the publishing rights rather than signing them over for his first album (the record label threatened not to record him as a result, but they caved).

    From the US government copyright office:

    How long does a copyright last?
    The term of copyright for a particular work depends on several factors, including whether it has been published, and, if so, the date of first publication. As a general rule, for works created after January 1, 1978, copyright protection lasts for the life of the author plus an additional 70 years. For an anonymous work, a pseudonymous work, or a work made for hire, the copyright endures for a term of 95 years from the year of its first publication or a term of 120 years from the year of its creation, whichever expires first. For works first published prior to 1978, the term will vary depending on several factors. To determine the length of copyright protection for a particular work, consult chapter 3 of the Copyright Act (title 17 of the United States Code). More information on the term of copyright can be found in Circular 15a, Duration of Copyright, and Circular 1, Copyright Basics.
    Beauty is as close to terror as we can well endure. -Rainer Maria Rilke

  29. #29
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    Quote Originally Posted by ChuckCorbis View Post
    Does this apply to Scribd's liability?


    • Online Service Provider "Safe Harbor." Section 512 ("OCILLA", passed as part of the DMCA in 1998) provides a contingent "safe harbor" for online service providers from secondary liability for their users' copy infringements.
    Possibly, we'd need a copyright lawyer to comment. That said, former forum member Jack Zucker found his "Sheets of Sound" book posted to Scribd without his permission. I suspect a large percentage of material posted there is without the consent of the authors and/or publishers; of course, some people do publish their own works that way.
    Beauty is as close to terror as we can well endure. -Rainer Maria Rilke

  30. Perhaps run it by Jude Hibler? She's been involved with publishing some of Joe Pass' material in the past, she might be able to provide some direction. I speak with her on occasion, but don't really know her well enough to be a solid reference or introduction. I think you can track her down through her website Jude Hibler Bio | Jazz Link Enterprises Best of luck getting this material the wide audience it deserves.

    PK

  31. #31
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    Please help me save the Bill Thrasher Treasure

    Quote Originally Posted by paulkogut View Post
    Perhaps run it by Jude Hibler? She's been involved with publishing some of Joe Pass' material in the past, she might be able to provide some direction. I speak with her on occasion, but don't really know her well enough to be a solid reference or introduction. I think you can track her down through her website Jude Hibler Bio | Jazz Link Enterprises Best of luck getting this material the wide audience it deserves.

    PK
    Jude Hibler was said to be writing Joe Pass' biography, but after almost 20 years is anything even rumored to be in the works?


    -Lawson
    "Behavior that's admired is the path to power among peoples everywhere."-Beowulf
    - Lawson
    "Whenever you come near the human race, there's layers and layers of nonsense." - Thornton Wilder, Our Town

  32. #32
    Quote Originally Posted by Cunamara View Post
    Mynrecollection is that one of the jazz history books I read indicated Coltrane was paid $500 for "Giant Steps" and that was it- his composer's royalties were signed over to someone else. It was either in Ben Sidran's book or Gene Lees's, can't remember which. Hopefully someone can check my memory on this.
    From memory, I thought all the tracks on the Giant Steps LP are published by Jowcol which was Coltrane's own publishing company - I assume he was wise to that trick by then and set up his own company (as did other experienced musicians who had learned the hard way). But I'll have to check when I get home.

  33. #33
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    i concur. It should definitely preserved and made available. What about Mel Bay Publishing? They certainly cover many subjects. Still there has to be someone willing and able to compile the material and most likely write a narrative in order to explain content and sequence its proper order.

    I had several lessons with Mr. Thrasher in 1978 but to be honest I was not ready for the depth and intensity he taught at.
    I could sure give it a good go now.

    I am also interested in his professional history which I was told was quite substantial. Does anyone here have a link pointing that way, a Bio?

    Also, would / does BMI or Ascap figure into this in any way? Hopefully in a helpful way. I know they don't pull any punches when it comes to enforcement. You do not want get involved with them on the wrong side of the deal.

    Regards, -adgp-

  34. #34
    I wasa student of Bill Thrasher in 1965. He and I became very close friends until his death. He was the finest teacher of any discipline I ever known. I know most of Bill's closest friends, and give you tremendous insights about him. You are absolutely correct about his CAGED system, and his insights about life and music. Contact me at williamstoddard52@gmail.com or call me at 702 806 6002.

  35. #35

    Share my uncle's work!

    Quote Originally Posted by fep View Post
    Bill was the jazz guitar instructor in Santa Barbara around 1979 when I knew him. He was the author of the book Joe Pass Guitar Style.

    I have probable 500 pages of the material he handed out to his private students. I think this is some of the best jazz guitar instructional material available. I feel really lucky to have all this material, in a year of lessons he gave me a lifetime worth of material to work on. It's a treasure. He wrote copyrights on all the pages and since Bill died somewhere around the mid 1980s I fear it may just end up disappearing if someone doesn't make it available to all.

    I'm trying to contact his heirs to get permission to make this material available. I contacted a very helpful person at Alfred Publishing (the current publishing company of the Joe Pass Guitar Styles Book), he didn't have any record of heirs but told me to contact Warner Bros. who were the orginal publishers. I've sent them an email and am hoping for a response.

    If anyone out there in the big world of the internet can help me with any ideas or people to contact I'd sure appreciate it.

    Here is a very small sample of his incredible work (remember I have maybe 500 pages of this kind of material). (When you click into the site left click on the image to enlarge it.)

    Imageshack - 60096811pg6.jpg
    Imageshack - lickap3.jpg
    Imageshack - arpm.jpg
    Imageshack - bt4
    Please share, our family would love for his manuscripts, etc. to be available to other enthusiasts.
    Attached Images Attached Images Please help me save the Bill Thrasher Treasure-bill_thrasher-jpg Please help me save the Bill Thrasher Treasure-bill_and_rob_thrasher-jpg 

  36. #36
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    Bill Thrasher

    I studied with Bill 1968-71, my last two years at Santa Barbara High and one year at SBCC.
    My only guitar teacher.
    The rendition he schooled me with "Here's That Rainy Day" got me into the Berklee College of Music! I'm a pro, go to my webpage for my bio rickyhana.com

    In May 1981 I called him and told him I was opening for the Beach Boys at the Santa Barbara Bowl on Saturday May 16, 1981 and I put him plus one on the guest list - one of his students done good! Alas, he never showed up. I learned a couple of days later he died of a heart attack a couple of days before.....

    I have a zillion stories to share. Anyone wants to email me can do so rickyhana@gmail.com
    My real name at the time was Rick Anthony

    photo attached - me at the Berklee College of Music 1971
    Attached Images Attached Images Please help me save the Bill Thrasher Treasure-berklee-dorm-jpg 

  37. #37
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    Eden Prairie, MN
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    Thx for sharing that Ricky and glad to see you are following your muse!

    Reminds of advice a friend once relayed given to him by Michael Hedges and repeated in variations over time..."Beyond the talent you have to find your racket" i.e. niche, something special etc.

    You've got that in spade, play on and best of luck!

    RF

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