Ventures' guitarist (and their original bassist) Nokie Edwards has passed away according to his friend (screenshot posted here rather than link to Facebook which some can't or choose not to use). To say that the Ventures influenced countless players is to state the obvious but they seemed to go beyond mere influence and into the realm of inspiration as countless players picked up a guitar for the first time thanks to their enthusiasm for the Ventures. Their material consisted exclusively of instrumentals (and many, even most, of those were covers) but their tracks were almost always compelling on their on merit. Their arrangements were clever but usually not too complex (songs and albums where they had 'help' notwithstanding) and many a novice guitarist wore out his fingers and his record needle playing Ventures songs repeatedly to figure out the licks. 'Walk Don't Run' will forever be their signature tune but Bob Bogle, the guitarist on WDR and the Ventures' early albums, soon swapped placed with bassist Nokie Edwards, who felt (not without some justification) that his talents were being underutilized. Edwards was the lead player during the band's prime years when 'The World's #1 Instrumental Combo' had a series of hit albums, a Mosrite guitar endorsement and signature model and enjoyed worldwide fame, especially in Japan, thanks to the lack of a language barrier in their music. Nokie Edwards developed and deployed a distinctive array of licks that went far beyond the surf idiom even as lazy critics then and now attempted to lump the Ventures in with Dick Dale et al. As time progressed Edwards incorporated more Nashville-style fingerpicking and corresponding country-ish leads. He left the Ventures in the late 60s (replaced by Gerry McGee) to pursue an interest in racehorses but still did sideman/solo gigs, particularly in Japan where his popularity endured. Many post-punk acts (B52s, Go-Go's, et al) cited the Ventures' influence and the band enjoyed a second, if lesser, peak of popularity around 1980 as Edwards rejoined the band and they re-recorded their greatest hits. Along with classic lineup drummer Mel Taylor (and later his son Leon after Mel's death), the Ventures toured for many years after with a somewhat flexible frontline of Bogle & rhythm guitarist (and co-founder) Don Wilson with either Edwards or McGee in the lead slot. For part of each gig McGee or Edwards would handle bass duties while Bogle played lead on 'Walk Don't Run,' 'Perfidia' and other early material. He was a singular talent and an important figure in the history of the electric guitar.