About Us

John Wilkenson and Phyliss Flower, best friends and partners, are the proud owners of Musician's Field Manual.com. We'd like to personally welcome you to Musician's Field Manuals online, which features a variety of user-friendly, no-frills, self-help music books.

The history of the Musician's Field Manual line of self-help music books began with John taking up the guitar as a college student back in the 1960's. John quickly made friends with the "folkies" on campus, and pursued his interest in folk music. Peter, Paul & Mary were his biggest heroes in those anti-war times.

In the beginning, John learned from one of his friends who knew about two chords more than he did, and John picked up every bad habit in the book. In the process of trying to teach himself and unlearn the bad habits and learn correct ones, John became a serious student of the guitar, reading every guitar instruction book and guitar-related magazine article he could get his hands on.

Having started music lessons in the sixth grade on piano at the prompting of his mother, and having played bass clarinet and alto sax in high school, the first "formal" guitar lessons John took were classical guitar lessons, where he studied the classical fingerpicking style. Then the Beatles arrived on the scene, and John, becoming more interested in the music of such as the Beach Boys, Buddy Holly, Chuck Berry, etc., soon realized a lot of music he loved was being played with a flat pick (aka "plectrum"). It took several years of struggling with playing different types of tunes for John to discover the "rockabilly" hybrid-style of picking (combining flat pick and right-hand fingers) developed by great, historically important lead guitar players such as James Burton (Elvis, Ricky Nelson, John Denver) and Don Rich (Buck Owens).

Some time later, John began to teach guitar. It didn't take long before John realized that there seemed to be highly inconvenient (to the threshhold beginner) user-unfriendly gaps in the flow of information provided by the early standard notation guitar  instruction books. So, John started photocopying bits and pieces of pages out of various instruction books and guitar magazines, combining them with his handwritten notes and drawings and making the information his own. It didn't take long until John was prefering to teach out of his own "pile of pages" instead of recommending and using any particular "professional" instruction book/s.

Meanwhile, a parallel story was developing in John's overall awareness and education. The age of personal computers and the "Silicon Valley" computer fanatics had arrived. Trying to escape the full price of learning, John bought an Epson QX-16 (very similar in appearance to the QX-10) for the "steal" price of around $2,000. Notice the two 5.25" drives where the very literally "floppy" discs were inserted. (Kids today don't even know what those were!) The QX-16, a good machine (already infinitely better than typewriters and whiteout), was erroneously touted by unscrupulous salesmen to be "99% compatible with IBM". The IBM cost over  $4,000 at the time (which John couldn't afford), so John went with the Epson and immediately fell about three years behind his computer buddies in gaining a useful computer education. Only several years later, did John buy his first "real" computer, an IBM 486 with a 25 MegaHertz processor (woowoo!), which upgraded to 100MegaHertz as soon as the new part came out and John was able to scrounge up the money for it.

Multi-GHz processors and Terabyte harddrives were inconceivable in those beginning days. The less "geeky" among the early users of pcs were fairly content merely to be thrilled with the elimination of the need for "whiteout" in the edit process of writing text. In those days, cut and paste, copy and paste, and mailing labels were magical revelations, harbingers of a new Utopian age in writing and assembling information! Such softwares as the early versions of PhotoShop, CorelDraw, PageMaker and Finale were absolute jaw droppers!

John struggled with the learning curves of the computer softwares he needed to design and publish his own music education books. He is indebted to his friends for continually asking him, "So when's the Christmas book going to be for sale?"

As might be expected, the third parallel story in the saga of MusiciansFieldManual.com is the advent of the Internet as a place for doing business, plus the advent of on-demand publishing (books, etc.) and printing (t-shirts, caps, etc.).

That's where Phyliss entered the picture. John and Phyliss met while John was teaching guitar lessons to Phyliss’s then-12-year-old son, Seth. Phyliss liked John’s teaching style and soon started taking lessons herself. She was one of the first to demand, "So when's the Christmas book going to be for sale?" Over the years, their friendship grew into partnership.

Thanks to another friend, non-geek computer-guru Rick Castellini (whose teaching style is similar to John's), John discovered the Drupal website content management system. The rest, as "they" say, is history, and resulted in the MusiciansFieldManual.com website you are currently surfing.

We are always interested in feedback, so if you have any questions, comments, requests or ideas for future products, suggestions for the website, or just want to get in touch, please email us at info@musiciansfieldmanual.com. We would be especially grateful to be notified of any typos and/or dead links on our website!

We look forward to hearing from you!

Musically yours, John Wilkenson & Phyliss Flower john@musiciansfieldmanual.com phyliss@musiciansfieldmanual.com