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JOINED BAND: 1958 – Co-Founder
POSITION: Bass Guitar, Lead Guitar, Song Writer
Robert Lenard Bogle, was born on January 16, 1934 at the rural residence of his family near Wagoner, Oklahoma. Bob lived in Oklahoma until the age of 6. His father was a farmer and the family lived on a small leased farm, with a few animals, and some basic farm equipment.
In about 1940, the family sold everything and relocated to the West Coast, first moving to California where they had a lot of difficulty finding work. They started migrating up and down the West coast doing various kinds of farm work. Bob was the second of 4 boys, and they all worked together in the fields every day, doing any kind of farm work available. During school months, they worked in the mornings before school and again in the evenings. After a few years, the family finally settled in Oregon near Portland, when Bob”s sister Sybil was born, the youngest of 5 children. Bob”s father found steady employment in a sawmill and the family was finally able to stop traveling around. By then, Bob was in his early teens.
When Bob was about 12, his older brother Clarence bought an acoustic lap-steel guitar. It had a large square neck and, as with all steel guitars, was played with a small hand-held steel bar. Bob learned to play chords almost immediately as, by holding the steel in one position and striking all the strings. it would make a perfect chord because of the way it was tuned. He soon learned to accompany himself, singing simple songs with only 3 chords, like most of the country songs of the time, and continued playing that instrument for a couple of years.
At age 15, halfway through his ninth year of school, Bob left home and started work in the construction field. At 18, he became a journeyman Brick Mason, and joined the Bricklayers Union in Portland, Oregon. Around that time, his younger brother Dennis bought a regular acoustic guitar and thought Bob how to form a few chords. When Dennis joined the Air Force a couple of years later, he left his guitar with Bob who continued to learn more chords, still accompanying himself singing. He also started to develop some lead guitar skills.
At the age of about 23, Bob had the opportunity to take a job as foreman for a construction company in Seattle, Washington. After a few months, Bob met Don Wilson who was then working as a salesman in a car lot. Don expressed an interest in finding work in construction and asked if there were any jobs with the company where Bob was employed. The two began working together, and found they had a mutual interest in the guitar. On weekends, they began to practice together, and decided to purchase electric guitars, starting with used guitars they found in a pawn shop. As they gained more musical background, they began to think of music as a potential career, and looked for more professional equipment.
Bob”s first new guitar was a Fender Stratocaster, which came with 6 lessons, a half-hour a week for 6 weeks. At his first lesson, Bob told his teacher he wanted to learn chords, so for 6 weeks the instructor taught Bob all the chords he knew – this was to be all the formal training he needed. He began to listen to guitar records and soon became influenced and inspired by the “Big Three” — his name for Chet Atkins, Duane Eddy and Les Paul. After finding Walk, Don”t Run on a Chet Atkins album, Bob and Don decided to record the song, which almost instantly became their first world-wide hit record. Although Bob continued to play lead guitar on some songs, he switched to bass guitar a short time after the Ventures became a hit group.
Bob Bogle passed away in Vancouver, WA on June 14th, 2009 after a long and courageous battle with Non-Hodgkins Lymphoma.