THIS IS THE 2019 CATALOG :: 2020 WILL BE POSTED IN MARCH Guitar Week Classes – July 28-August 3, 2019

(Unless otherwise indicated, all classes have a limit of 15)

Here’s how it works: form a chord and, with the thumb of your picking hand, play a simple, four-beat figure on the lower strings. Then, using one or more of your fingers, pick out a melody at the same time on the higher ones. Add a couple of ‘blue notes’ for color, swing the whole thing a little bit… and you’re there! In these workshops, we’ll pay hands-on homage to Seers of the Simple like John Hurt and Etta Baker and learn learn to play some real pretty old songs. Good deal? Yeah, it is.

These sessions will be devoted to learning and playing song arrangements that not only stand on their own, but exemplify various styles of playing blues music on the guitar. In addition to a few classics and some of Steve’s own favorite things, the material will include picking techniques, chord inversions, runs and turnarounds that can be applied to guitar accompaniment and improvisation in general.

YES, WE’RE OPEN (Steve James)
Furry Lewis called ‘Vastopol’ tuning (DADF#AD) ‘the learning key’ and, like many master guitar stylists of early blues and country music, performed much of his repertoire in this mode and the also popular ‘Spanish’ (DGDGBD) tuning. There’s a lot of tonal territory in there, from the guitar waltzes of the 19th century to the deft rhythms and slide work of early blues and gospel guitar gods to the rockin’ roar of juke joint masters like Elmore and Frankie Lee. Steve’s got a roadmap, and we’ll make a few stops.

This class will follow the chronology and evolution of acoustic jazz guitar by learning pieces from the musicians who developed it. From the early jazz of Eddie Lang, Lonnie Johnson and Johnny St. Cyr, to the acoustic archtop chordal solos of Allan Reuss and Al Casey, the hard-swingin’ “four to the bar” of Freddie Green, and fiery single note solos of Oscar Alemán, Django Reinhardt and the ‘Parisian scene,’ expect to deepen your history of jazz music while learning new approaches to the acoustic guitar. All handouts will be in standard notation, tab and chord diagrams.

This class focuses on how to play powerful bluegrass rhythm guitar. We will work on ‘alternating bass’ styles of playing as well as using bass runs and other motion within the chords to accent your vocals or the instrumentalists you’re playing with. In addition to these basic building-block techniques, we will learn one bluegrass song each day. Lyrics will also be provided, so you can learn the words and add these songs to your jam sessions at home. The class will present songs that allow you to see the rhythm patterns conducive to most of the first-position chord shapes. We will also discuss how to use a capo to get the song in a key to fit your voice. All levels of participants are welcome. Familiarity with guitar chords and knowledge of guitar tablature is helpful, but not required. Students are encouraged to bring audio recorders to class and also encouraged to participate in the Slow Jam that Ed leads every afternoon, following lunch, as a way to reinforce the techniques learned in class as well as learn additional songs/tunes.

This course (as the name implies) is for the intermediate to advanced player who really wants to take it to the next level. During the week, we will cover a variety of techniques, including flatpicking leads and playing creative accompaniment behind singers and pickers, using the concept of playing licks around chord shapes, and building effective solos for bluegrass songs. We will start the week learning a few essential “grassy” licks from the Rice and Watson schools of flatpicking. We will then emphasize picking out the basic melody of a song or tune, then analyzing where the melody fits within the shapes of the accompanying chord progression. We will then look for spaces within the melody line where one could insert some hot licks to create an interesting solo. This class will build upon the techniques covered in Ed’s instructional book, Deep Bluegrass Guitar. Please note that we will be covering some challenging technique during the week, but with a little bit of elbow grease, along with the tablature that I will provide to you, the motivated participant should emerge with plenty of material to learn and master during the coming year. Familiarity with guitar tablature is very helpful, but not absolutely required. Students are encouraged to bring audio recorders to class.

This class will cover the very basics of playing and enjoying guitar. Topics covered will include: tuning your guitar, basic chord shapes and patterns, basic rhythm patterns, simple right-hand technique (both flatpicked and fingerpicked), care and feeding of your guitar, and practice tips. By the end of the week, we will work in a tune or two for you to work on back at home. Knowledge of guitar tablature is helpful, but not required. Students are encouraged to bring audio recorders to class and to attend the daily Slow Jam that Ed will lead directly after lunch.

We’ll learn a system of demystifying the forest of lines and dots, and using it to expand our understanding of harmony, theory and melody. This in turn deepens our ability to learn and understand tunes, to break out of our ruts of boxed-in improvisation, and even train our ears.

We’ll take an in-depth look at the techniques, repertoire and stylistic hallmarks of some of the great American guitar practitioners like Doc Watson, Tony Rice and Bryan Sutton, while keeping an eye on some of the newer arrivals to the scene as well.

Licks, chord voicings, chops – all that stuff is important, but no matter what the style of music, rhythm is king. Working on our timing is a practice that everyone can benefit from, and there are infinite ways to approach it! We’ll explore things like feel, technique and metronome practice.

This class for the beginner focuses on technique and how to develop the slack-key sound. We will work on the open-G, or ‘Taro Patch’ tuning, and touch on slack-key scales, vamps and licks, which will lead to a song, (or two!) If you have limited guitar skills, that’s fine, you will be in a comfortable environment that will make it easy for you to learn the basics.

This class is for those who want to learn basic chords, strums and melodies. We’ll be also learning Hawai‘ian songs and melodies to complement your ukulele playing. Taught with plenty of aloha, this class will definitely help add to your private or public performance repertoire!

GUITAR GROUP! (Clive Carroll)
This class is for all levels. The group will explore three contrasting pieces: a 16th century dance tune, a swing number from the 40’s and something more up-to-date! We will be using TAB and chord charts and playing parts. This is a rare opportunity for guitar players of all abilities to play together in a relaxed and informal setting.

In this class we will delve into the styles of some key figures during this period, including John Rebourn, Bert Jansch, Davy Graham, Martin Carthy, Wizz Jones, and Nick Drake. Influential pieces such as “Anji,” “Blackwaterside,” and “Scarborough Fair” will be covered along with favoured tunings, techniques and grooves. Apart from Nick Drake, I’ve been fortunate enough to spend a little time with all of the players listed above and I look forward to exploring their styles with you, with the occasional anecdote along the way!

Three contrasting pieces will be sent to each player in advance. They will be in sheet music/TAB form and will include a jazz number, an American fingerstyle classic, and an Irish tune. You do not have to learn these pieces from memory(!) but it would be useful to have a few play-throughs and to familiarize yourself with the music by listening to versions on YouTube, for example. Aspects of each piece may lead on to discussion about various techniques, exercises, and ideas for improvisation.

This workshop outlines specific phrasing and expressive techniques used by blues singers and then drops them into a song you already sing. The virtuosity and vocal power of iconic black singers is undeniable. From Bessie Smith to Aretha Franklin, from Son House to Otis Redding, black singers have consistently delivered powerful, emotional performances. In performances of spirituals, gospel, blues, jazz, R&B and soul music, audiences seem to be literally drawn into the songs. Listeners become incapable of being passive music consumers. They respond emotionally, and sometimes bodily. In addition to whatever raw talent they bring to the table, black singers are culturally encouraged and trained to use the phrasing and expressive techniques customarily used in speech, in song as well. This is not a ‘talent,’ but a technique. And it can be taught and learned. This workshop will begin by lining out familiar techniques we have learned and used since childhood for communicating emotion in speech. That done, we’ll look for places to use them in songs. Simple. But, there is some alchemy to this. To do it effectively, we need both a singer and an audience. In the spirit of play, we will rotate through singers one at a time. Participants will have the opportunity to sing a verse or two, and then at my suggestion, to try out small, specific changes in the delivery of a particular line or verse. Over the course of the workshop, both the singer and audience will develop an appreciation for the emotive power of specific techniques, as slight changes in phrasing/delivery affect how we hear the song. The voice is our most personal instrument, tender and powerful. I will be the only person offering feedback on phrasing and delivery and I promise a safe and playful space for some experimentation and play. As a white blues singer, with the approval of my black mentors and the old people, I have learned something about our very personal instrument. This workshop is a bit like letters from the front, from across a cultural border that I have had the privilege and honor to cross. I bring this work to you with the utmost humility and respect for my teachers and friends, now gone.

This is a participatory class where students learn by listening as well as performing. Over the past half century, as an instrumentalist who has always used the guitar to accompany the voice, I have learned a thing or two about setting songs in ways that are effective. These will be five to ten minute guitar lessons aimed at your song, your level of experience, and your accompaniment. Participants will bring a song and accompaniment that they know and present a portion of the song for us. I will then be offering options that I think will strengthen the musical and emotional impact of the song. Ideally, these will be small additions that can be integrated into the existing accompaniment with a minimum of fuss, and will make a significant difference in how the song performs for listeners. In this class, rather than asking you to learn both a new repertoire and new technique, I am essentially offering to go play in your sandbox, instead of making you come play in mine. In the course of the workshop, you will see and hear how we think about accompaniments, the tricks of the trade in guitar playing, and see how we deal with different common guitar ‘keys’ in ways that simplify the hand skills required and amplify their impact.

When you put a slide on your hand, you will approach and touch the guitar in entirely new ways. As a class, we’ll begin in standard tuning, and taking one string at a time, develop five new hand skills. We’ll look at all the muting techniques necessary to make the music work without the harmonic support of open tunings. Having established the basics, we’ll move to several different open tunings. When we’re done, you’ll understand and possess the keys to the kingdom of slide guitar. Hand and guitar posture, controlled slide movement, getting a decent tone and developing several types of vibrato will all be covered as we proceed through slide in standard, several major and modal open tunings, and take a look at solo and ensemble slide playing as well. Even if you currently play some slide guitar, this review and fine-tuning of basics will be useful. The music of Muddy Waters, David Honeyboy Edwards, Mississippi John Hurt will be featured. Bring a slide that fits snugly on your little finger. For notes on choosing a slide for acoustic instruments, please see here.

This class will focus on learning and arranging hymns and Gospel songs on guitar. We will learn three or four pieces and also talk about how to approach creating your own arrangements. Each student will be given the opportunity to share an arrangement with the class.

Clawhammer is a powerful banjo-based right-hand technique that gives solo guitar playing rhythm, melody, bass and chords, all from one repetitive pattern. This class will be a total boot camp immersion in clawhammer technique. We will groove on the basic pattern to get it in our blood. Then we will begin applying it to simple tunes and basic vocal accompaniment. This class is for players who already have basic fingerpicking skills.

MUSIC, MEDITATION & PERFORMANCE (Steve Baughman & Rev. Heng Sure)
In this class we will explore ways to achieve a deeper sense of connection and awareness while playing the guitar. Rev. Heng Sure will guide the class in focusing the breath and calming the mind, and will teach a variety of contemplative tools useful to musicians. Steve will lead the class in a number of rhythmic and musical exercises that integrate the contemplative format of this class into musical performance. Students can expect daily hands-on grooving as a group. We will also discuss performance tools and encourage each student to perform at least once for the class.

In this intermediate/advanced level class, we’ll work through the nuts and bolts of solo fingerstyle jazz guitar. Topics of discussion and practice will include practical chord voicings and substitutions, walking basslines, ‘piano-style’ concepts, playing multiple parts, rhythm and phrasing, and ideas for improvisation. We’ll also take a look at a few extended fretting techniques to add color to arrangements of jazz standards and other songs. This class will be of interest to fingerstyle players who want to add some jazz elements to their arrangements, and also to jazz guitarists who primarily play with a pick, but would like to explore some fingerstyle techniques.

Many guitarists often feel frustrated when they enter the practice room (affectionately known as ‘the woodshed’). Some of us feel overwhelmed and daunted by seemingly endless material to work on, or we never seem to notice any progress, or maybe we’re not quite sure how to approach learning new concepts, playing with more technical facility, better tone; the list goes on and on. This class will explore and offer ideas to make the most of your practice time, especially if that time is limited! We will demystify some notions of how to improve and learn, discuss effective ways to practice from mental and physical perspectives, and also work through a variety of routines to take home and apply. This class is open to players of all styles and levels.

This intermediate/advanced class will explore some of the best-loved Thanksgiving/Christmas songs arranged for solo fingerstyle guitar in notation and tab. We’ll work through arrangements in standard and alternate tunings, and along the way analyze and discuss different approaches to harmony, fingerstyle techniques, and arranging for solo guitar. The Holidays are always right around the corner!

Are you curious about open tunings but it seems overwhelming? Just starting to fool around in an open tuning or two, but don’t know what to do next? This class is a great introduction! We’ll try out a couple of tunings and learn the essential chords you need to play hundreds of songs. Using the Beatles classic, “Let it Be,” we’ll see how easy it can be to bring new, rich, interesting chord voicings into your playing. We’ll also try out some fun percussive techniques (harmonics, body percussion, thumb slapping) that work really well with the tunings.

This class is for all levels, no experience necessary, and guitars are not required! Drawing from eastern and western traditions, we’ll sharpen our rhythmic awareness and expand our rhythmic vocabularies by combining inner (meditative) work with outer (walking, chanting, moving) rhythm exercises. Through group rhythm circles, we’ll explore pulsation, syncopation, beat, off-beats, sub-division and more – all with a sense of spontaneity, flow, (Boom Whackers, of course!) and FUN!!

This intermediate class is for any player who would like to learn some of the percussive techniques used by Vicki and players like Michael Hedges, Don Ross, Kaki King, Jon Gomm, Andy McKee, and many others. We’ll cover finding the drum sounds on your guitar, playing simple strum-drum patterns, harmonics, thumb slapping, and growing your ‘rhythm chops.’ We will play in open tuning as well as standard. Bring a tuner! Check this video for a taste.

This intermediate/advanced class takes a modern approach to composition. We’ll cover tactics for finding your own voice and integrating sounds you like from other instruments into infinite possibilities on the acoustic guitar. Each student will be encouraged to create their own composition throughout the course of the week with the option to perform it for the class and/or the student performance on Friday.

In this class we’ll learn arrangements for modern pop songs that have full band ensembles in the original recordings. We’ll explore unique ways to arrange/perform them as a solo artist with tools such as emulating the bass line, playing the drum part, using open tunings and exploring singing/playing it in different keys. We’ll begin with selected repertoire, but students are also encouraged to bring songs you’d like to work on. We’ll explore ways to make them your own, whether you’re an instrumentalist wanting to play the melody, bass line and drum part, or a singer/songwriter looking for a unique acoustic arrangement, there is something in here for everyone!

ON THE FLY (Christie Lenée)
This class will develop applicable skills of music theory, ear training and improvisation to help you improve your musical reflexes. We will explore how to connect the sounds you hear through your instrument, to pick up songs on the fly, to jam along with albums and all of the great players. We’ll explore different scales, patterns and picking techniques that can be utilized over all styles of music for creating guitar solos and inner voice melodies.

LOOP PEDAL WORKSHOP (Hiroya Tsukamoto)
Playing guitar acoustically is great, but using loops can add color and dimension to your music and performance. This class introduces basic techniques and strategies on how to use the loop pedal to create multiple layers. We will demonstrate a song using loops and then break it down to each section. We will also explore how to use loops in arranging and composing and provide tips on avoiding the pitfalls of overuse in order to retain a natural musicality. Open to all levels.

THE ART OF PRACTICE (Hiroya Tsukamoto)
Ever get frustrated with not knowing exactly what to practice or how to practice efficiently? This class will help guitarists develop skills that can be used in their daily practice. We will incorporate good practice strategies to improve the elements of tone, rhythm and harmony. Improving your practice habits will improve your musicianship regardless of the style of music you play. Open to all levels.

Improvisation is fun, but can be daunting for acoustic guitarists. This class will introduce improvisational approaches that will open up your musicality. We will develop improv techniques and apply them first over a single chord and then incorporate them into songs with different chord progressions. A basic knowledge of chords and harmony is helpful for this class.

RAGGIN’ IT UP THE NECK (Jamie Stillway)
If you’ve got some basic fingerpicking patterns up your sleeve and can keep a steady rhythm, you’re prepared for this intermediate/advanced class. We’ll discuss the importance of thumb/finger independence, and how to start playing chords up the neck and understanding the fretboard in ways you never imagined possible. We’ll also spend one day dabbling in an open tuning, to show you that it’s really not as intimidating as you may have once thought. By the end of the week, you’ll have learned some easy classics in the ragtime guitar genre, and some of Jamie’s original tunes. Tablature will be provided.

One of the questions many students like to ask is, “how do you practice?” Often, aspiring guitarists have ideas of how and what they want to play, but often lack the patience to get there. This class for all levels will be a journey through the vast terrain of practicing, and will provide you with many tips to keep you motivated and focused when you sit down to play. We’ll talk basic ideas for including improvising during practice, ways to enhance your accompaniment styles, mindful practice techniques, and last but not least, ways to develop a meaningful relationship with your metronome. Fingerpickers, flatpickers, and questions are welcome.

Are you tired of looking for that flatpick you dropped on the floor? Despite what you may have heard, fingerpicking is nothing to be afraid of, and you can play many styles of music with just a few simple patterns and basic understanding of rhythm. If you know the majority of your first-position chords and often find yourself tiring of the same old strum pattern, this class is for you! We’ll discuss the what, why, and how of fingerpicking. You’ll learn basic arpeggio patterns that can be applied to several styles of music, ways to weave simple melodies into your picking, and the fundamentals of Travis picking. Tablature will be provided.

This intermediate-and-up class will explore the world of possibilities presented by traditional Irish, Scottish and Breton repertoire arranged for solo fingerstyle guitar. Some tablature will be offered, but students will also create their own individual settings of airs, jigs, reels and the 18th-century harp music of Turlough O’Carolan, sharing arrangement ideas in an informal, hands-on environment. Alternate tunings such as DADGAD, ‘Canine’ tuning (CGCGCD) and ‘Werewolf’ tuning (CGDGAD) will be used extensively to open up the instrument’s full sonic potential. A good time will be had by all. An audio recorder is recommended.

The Grateful Dead, the rock band synonymous with the ’60s hippie culture and one of the top-grossing live acts of all time, started out as a jug band and never lost touch with their traditional-music roots. American folk archetypes sprang up constantly in their original songs, even at their most electric and psychedelic; they covered a vast amount of folk, bluegrass and country material, and recorded several albums featuring acoustic guitars predominantly or entirely. This intermediate-level class will examine a wide range of the Dead’s material, particularly the songs of Jerry Garcia and Robert Hunter, and explore possible acoustic guitar interpretations of it. We’ll also have a look at Garcia’s free-flying lead guitar work and Bob Weir’s innovative rhythm style, and listen to some of their lesser-known acoustic recordings. Tie-dyed t-shirts optional.

This intermediate-level class will explore the art of flatpicking – a technique more commonly associated with bluegrass and related American genres – and apply it to the vast wealth of great tunes from the Irish, Scottish and Breton traditions. We’ll take an organic approach to the music, liberating ourselves from dependence on tablature to instead develop the empowering skills of picking up tunes by ear on the fly. We’ll discuss technique, lift, ornamentation, and other facets of making Celtic tunes sound authentic on guitar. Most of all, we’ll share some cool tunes and do lots of playing together. An audio recorder is recommended.

DJANGO 101 (Gonzalo Bergara)
This class is an introduction to the style of Django Reinhardt. Expect to learn the foundations of solid rhythm guitar accompaniment, good pick technique, common repertoire and a few Django licks. Open to beginners.

HOT CLUB RHYTHM (Gonzalo Bergara)
Django Reinhardt and Stephane Grappelli’s pioneering ensemble, Quintette du Hot Club de France, was unique in that the rhythm section was driven by the acoustic guitar. This class will demystify the secrets of this rhythm guitar style. Expect to expand your chord vocabulary while learning rhythms such as ‘La Pompe,’ ‘Swing Valse,’ ‘Samba,’ ‘Bolero,’ and ‘Bossa.’ We will also examine some modern approaches to the style. Open to intermediate students.

DJANGO’S TOOLBOX (Gonzalo Bergara)
This class will help demystify the secrets of Django’s lead guitar playing. Using repertoire common to the genre, the class will investigate melody interpretation, improvising, better tone through right-hand technique, stylistic nuance, ‘Django licks’ and chordal leads. Using classic and modern recordings, we will dissect and learn the music direct from source material.

I have found some really beautiful tunes over the years that make ideal entry-level guitar pieces. Come and explore airs, strathspeys, marches etc. We’ll cover some basic ideas in DADGAD and dropped-D tunings – basic enough that they can be used by those who first picked up a guitar two weeks ago, but useful enough to make some beautiful arrangements.

We’ll look at the meaning of the term ‘Celtic Music’ and how the guitar fits into it. We’ll explore music from Scotland, Ireland, Spain, Brittany, the different rhythms and grooves in these tunes and look at some altered tunings (DADGAD, CGCGCD, DAAEAE) as well as standard to make these tunes come alive for fingerstyle guitar.

In this class we will look at how to use the guitar as a rhythm instrument in a variety of settings. We will look at different rhythms that occur in Celtic and American folk music – reels, jigs, hornpipes, slip jigs and waltzes. We will cover various strumming patterns, chord changes and chord substitutions to enhance the melodic content of the music. By the end of this course we will be better able to sit in a Celtic/bluegrass/old-time session.

The songs of Memphis Minnie, recorded between 1929 and 1950 are a wonderful guide to the development of blues guitar playing. Learning her songs, chord ideas and positions takes the guitar from complex syncopated fingerpicking to Chicago electric-style. This class listens to songs in the keys of G, C, A, and E, and shows how to hear and figure out this musical style by ear. How Memphis Minnie approaches the guitar will also illuminate the music of Bo Carter, Big Bill Broonzy, and other early guitarists. You can take this class as a listening and repertoire resource and/or as a guitar intensive. If you have a favorite Minnie tune bring it and we’ll figure out how she plays it

We’ll cover jugband and blues songs orchestrated for the ukulele, with playing and singing parts for several levels of player. We’ll work on getting that old-timey sound on your uke, with the right rhythm, chord positions and where to find the melody. Plus we’ll try and listen to each other and play together. We’ll add parts for basic chords, strumming, picking and singing. You should be comfortable and confident with first position chords and able to keep time while changing between them. Re-entrant tuning (gCEA: My Dog Has Fleas) preferred. Taught by ear, no TAB.

We’ll be listening to repertoire from W.C. Handy to Jesse Mae Robinson. We’ll hear various versions in class to hear how a tune like Handy’s “Beale Street Blues” sounds played by a brass band (W.C. himself), a pop singer (Marion Harris) and a dark-souled hillbilly (Charlie Poole). Then we’ll try singing them ourselves. Tunes about cities, roads, ghosts and parties. Open to all instruments and singers.

Need a little pizzazz in your guitar playing? This intermediate/advanced class will focus on ‘cheap tricks’ which, as everyone knows, work every time. We will look at bass runs, licks using open and fretted notes together, pull-off, hammer-on and string-bending licks, slides, harmonics, and how to create them yourself which makes them not cheap tricks at all, but ways of keeping your audience (and yourself!) engaged and entertained by your playing. A recording device is recommended.

Starting with a simple three-chord, twelve-bar blues progression we will gradually add passing chords, substitute chords, bass lines and more to create a sophisticated blues with lots of musical devices which can be used in many tunes. We will look at common chord combinations, turnarounds and chord scales in the context of deconstructing and reconstructing the twelve-bar blues.

TAKING A SOLO (Pat Donohue)
Everyone looks your way and it’s time for you to take your solo. What to do? In this class we will look at the positions, licks, bends and melodies that can be used to create a compelling solo in any key. Single-note, double-stop and even some chord soloing techniques usable for folk, country or blues will be covered, along with the study of the stylistic elements of some of history’s greatest guitarists to guide you in creating and playing your own solos. No music reading required.



Special Events

Note: There is no advance registration necessary for the following events.

Come have your instrument checked out and pick up a few ‘care & feeding’ tips.

Throughout the week we will have several of the finest luthiers in America on hand displaying some of their instruments, including John Slobod, Tom Doerr, Tyler Robbins and Jonathan Razo, as well as a display of some of the amazing inventory from Dream Guitars, an award-winning local shop specializing in the world’s finest high-end instruments.

SLOW JAMS (various)
Each day, after lunch, a staff member will lead jam sessions of common tunes at a tempo slow enough for folks to learn the tunes as they play.

A Friday tradition returns! Come experience a real Hawaiian luau catered by our own slack-key master Patrick Landeza!