Guitar Week Classes - July 30-August 5, 2017

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

There’s nothing more effective in music than a simple, beautiful melody. And luckily, we guitarists have an endless supply to choose from in the archives of traditional music. They are also royalty free, if you decide to record them or play them in a public venue. In this class I will share some of my own versions of traditional tunes and the approaches that I used to come up with simple and effective arrangements. I also plan to work with the class on arranging one or two tunes from scratch. We will cover the most common ornaments and how to harmonize a melody against chords of a particular key and then we’ll change keys and start again. During this process we will learn simple DADGAD chords and scales in a variety of keys. Of course, I would expect everyone to have his or her own creative approach, so this class is designed to welcome any and all ideas. It will be a fun and relaxing class because the focus will be on keeping it simple and beautiful so that our friends and relatives can enjoy listening to our playing as much as we do.

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.

In this class for intermediate and advanced players we will not only increase our repertoire of tunes, but also strive to gain a better understanding on what goes into arranging Celtic pieces on the guitar. We will talk about tuning choices, ornamentation and approaches to arranging the tunes of Ireland, Scotland and Brittany.

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.

Learn the basics of scale and chord construction and how you can use this knowledge at any level to expand your perception of music and of the fingerboard. We will combine this knowledge with ear training in a way that helps you learn melodies faster and find them on the guitar. This work will also help you better understand what you already play. The idea is to eventually merge three things into a kind of second nature musical ability – the sound of the note(s); the knowledge of what’s going on theoretically; and the mechanics of what it looks like on the fingerboard. We’ll also work on hearing chord changes and on how scales and note choices relate to chord changes. And I’ll give you an organized way to learn the fingerboard so that wherever you are on it, you will know your surroundings.

For students who have played rhythm guitar and some tunes or solos. We’ll learn tunes to build repertoire and expand technique while focusing on the most important fundamentals of playing and practicing so that you can make everything you play sound better.

For students with more extensive experience with flatpicking. Improve the way you practice. Listen closer to your playing. Pay more attention to the most important fundamentals, and use common sense problem-solving to guide you to better technique, better sound and deeper musicality. We’ll learn some great tunes and take some time for individual coaching. We’ll also work on discovering your own ideas and growing strong and coherent solos using simple embellishments to the melody.

This class for the beginner focuses on technique and how to develop the slack-key sound. We will work on the open-G tuning (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.

In this class we will primarily work on slack-key songs and techniques. We will review the styles of the great slack-key masters and teach a song from each style. We will be using the G-tuning, Drop-G tuning, C-tuning and possibly others. We’ll be working at a faster pace and you should have knowledge of the guitar and finger picking styles!

In this introduction to the world of ragtime, students will learn Clive’s “Montreal Rag,” (by the end of the week!) which uses an alternating-string thumb technique. For those who want to further develop their individual interpretations, Clive will also be bringing variations which incorporate arpeggios, walking bass lines and more!

IRISH JIGS & REELS (Clive Carroll)
Learn a selection of Irish traditional jigs and reels. We will take a detailed look at ornamentation, variations, harmony and accompaniment while exploring some of the regional dialects within Irish music.

GUITAR GROUP! (Clive Carroll)
The group will explore three pieces in contrasting genres. This will be a great opportunity to play with other guitarists in a relaxed and informal setting and there will be some fun challenges for players of all abilities! This class is open to all players, regardless of experience.

John S. Hurt developed his ragtime, blues, and popular song-influenced guitar style in the early years of the 20th Century. He recorded in 1928 in Memphis and in New York City. When the market crash came in 1929, the recording industry went down as well, taking Hurt’s recording career with it. The greater nation didn’t hear from him again until 1963 when he was ‘re-discovered’ in the folk revival. He died in 1966, having transformed it with his gentle kindness, beguiling manner, and deceptively simple sounding guitar style. This class for intermediate/advanced players will explore Hurt tunes in keys he commonly played in with a focus on developing a strong and steady right hand as we play steady alternating bass on the low strings while beginning to integrate melodic picking on the treble strings. A familiarity with fingerpicking is necessary for this class. (If you only play with a flat pick, put it in your pocket and play with your fingers until July…). And listen to his work. Get that sound in your ears.

This class will build on the basic slide techniques and examine the intricacies of some of Robert Johnson’s slide masterpieces in Open-G and Open-D (though Johnson played in Open A and Open E). We’ll also examine a D5 tuning. Our focus will be on fine-tuning the hand skills necessary to control the slide while exploring specific pieces from the repertoire. Bring a slide that fits snugly on your little finger. For some notes on choosing a slide for acoustic instruments, please see here.

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. Then, 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 several major and modal open tunings and take a look at solo and ensemble slide playing in standard tuning 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, Robert Johnson, 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.

Swing’s the thing and rhythm’s where it’s at. Starting with solid four-to-the-bar rhythm techniques and jump style syncopations, Mike teaches the basics of playing 10th chords, diminished chords, chord substitutions, and his own unique chord ‘code’ for the classic swing repertoire. Mike likes to treat this class like a big swing guitar band with a solid rhythm section holding down the beat for more adventuresome students learning to solo over changes. There will be lots of playing in class with no stressing allowed. For intermediate to advanced students who feel ready to play “up the neck”. Tab reading will be helpful. Audio recorders encouraged, no video cameras, please.

Using original compositions as well as his haunting arrangements of traditional tunes like “The Cuckoo”, Mike will teach D, D minor, G and G minor tunings. The focus will be on syncopations, chord shapes, turnarounds and alternating thumb techniques. Bring a slide if you have one and Mike will teach you how to use it to add color and expression to tunes both in and out of the traditional blues songbag. Intermediate to advanced. Audio recorders encouraged, no video cameras, please.

The fun is as infectious as the music in Mike’s very hands-on, guitar band approach to this unique 12-bar style for intermediate and above players. From the hillbilly boogies of the Delmore Bros to the hip stylings of Louis Jordan, recruits will learn new tunes with cool licks, bass runs, and single-string soloing techniques guaranteed to ‘drill’ that eight-to-the-bar boogie bounce into your music and your repertoire. Audio recorders encouraged, no video cameras, please.

In this class for beginning/intermediate players we will learn right- and left-hand exercises to improve strength and precision. We will also examine a few simple tunes in different musical styles using ear training and basic theory that can be applied immediately to the guitar fingerboard. We’ll learn exercises to improve your facility in making barre chords and how to choose the most suitable fingering.

In this intermediate class we will explore different musical styles, techniques and rhythms from various cultures: fingerstyle, bossanova, country, blues, classical. How are these styles adapted to the acoustic guitar and what techniques are necessary to make them interesting and effective in solo guitar arrangements? The following acoustic sound effects will be demonstrated and explained with some original guitar etudes: string bending, percussive techniques, slide techniques, bent harmonics.

A variety of composing techniques will be covered in this class using Peppino’s own compositions. The challenges in composing for steel-string guitar are multiple and difficult to overcome. The general tendency is to either relax into predictable and boring musical territory or to show off with useless displays of speed. As a composition instrument, the steel-string guitar will be approached as an orchestra with infinite possibilities. Where can guitarists look for inspiration when composing and how will their compositions be used (video games, movies, documentaries, etc.)? We’ll also explore the use of dynamics and musical expression.

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. Handouts galore! Bring a tuner! Check this video for a taste:

This intermediate/advanced class is for any player who wants to dive into the world of open or alternate tunings in a safe and fun environment! Drawing from Vicki’s instructional course, Essentials: Open Tunings, we will explore 4 or 5 open tunings, from the more common to the sublime. We’ll learn arrangements of popular songs specially created around each tuning. Some examples: CGDEAD - What’s Going On; DADEAD - Norwegian Wood; CGEbFBbD - Free Falling. Arrangements will be available to accommodate both Intermediate and Advanced levels. Handouts included. Bring a tuner, extra strings AND a capo!

This intermediate class will explore and analyze the use of diatonic, non-diatonic, and modal practices of jazz composition applied to pop music. By examining songs from artists such as Donald Fagan, Stevie Wonder, and Earth, Wind & Fire, we’ll analyze chord substitutions, voicing techniques, and arranging possibilities, to incorporate into your own writing and improvising. Handouts of harmonic progressions will be provided, and a basic understanding of diatonic harmony and music theory (triads, 7th chords, basic scales) is strongly recommended.

In this intermediate/advanced class, we’ll explore two classic American musical styles: bebop and western swing. These musical first cousins from the 1940s share several commonalities including many great (albeit lesser known) guitar players. Using a series of handouts and recorded examples, the class will work through Texas and swing rhythm styles, developing solid picking technique, and essential soloing vocabulary of guitarists from West 52nd Street to West Texas. Specifically, we’ll play through works by Christian, DeArango, Shamblin, Kessel, Wyble, Ellis and Garland.

In this class for intermediate/advanced players, we’ll take a look at and work through some standard techniques of jazz guitar. These will include various styles of picking (alternate, directional, hybrid, ‘Benson”), using octaves and block chords, fingerstyle and thumb techniques, plus exercises for developing facility with the fretting hand in multiple positions. Handouts will include a number of technical exercises and excerpts from transcriptions of recorded masterworks.

(Robin Bullock)
This intermediate-and-up class will explore the world of possibilities presented by traditional Irish, Scottish, Breton and American folk music interpreted on solo fingerstyle guitar. We’ll look at the connections and the differences between tunes from the two sides of the pond and discuss how techniques to bring them authenticity can be balanced with personal expression and innovation. We’ll start with basic settings of relatively simple tunes and proceed from there, using alternate tunings such as DADGAD, CGCGCD and “Werewolf” tuning (CGDGAD), which will not only make playing the tunes easier but open up magical sounds that you never knew your guitar had. Along the way we’ll also discuss fingerstyle playing technique and how to get the fullest, richest tone with the minimum of physical effort. A good time will be had by all. Audio recorders 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-dye t-shirts optional.

Love the lilting, dancing sound of a bluegrass or old-time fiddle tune flatpicked on guitar in the tradition of Doc Watson, Norman Blake or David Grier? Want to create some of that magic yourself? This intermediate-and-up class will take an organic approach to the music, liberating us from dependence on tablature and bringing the tunes to life while opening up the path to creative expression and improvisation within the melody. We’ll learn some cool tunes, learn how to pick up tunes by ear on the fly, and do lots of playing together. Audio recorders recommended.

In this intermediate/advanced class we will explore the exhilarating world of Chet Atkins’ guitar style, and American fingerpicking in general. Starting with the alternating right-hand thumb pattern and moving to left-hand phrases, fingerings and licks that will put some “Thumb Style” in your style. We will steal from Chet, as many have, in terms of licks, tunes and arranging techniques for guitar. We won’t focus on note for note arrangements, but more pieces and parts that can be used in YOUR music. A recording device is recommended.

BLUES MOVES (Pat Donohue)
Here is a strong intermediate fingerstyle class aimed at adding some movement to your guitar playing in both the left and right hand. We’ll cover common chord sequences and positions, mini progressions, bass lines, some single-string soloing and other ways of playing what you play more spontaneously. We will take all these things and create a blues in G from the most simple to advanced and study how these devices can be used in thousands of songs. A recording device is recommended.

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 licks, hammer-on licks, string-bending licks, slides, harmonics, and more importantly 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.

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.

Have you always wanted to learn guitar but didn’t think you had the time? This is the class for you! We will focus on the basics in a fun and engaging way. The goal is to teach you how to teach yourself through practice techniques and motor skill methods that will cut your learning time in half. All you need is a guitar and an ear ready to be trained. Let’s have fun learning together.

There is nothing more important in bluegrass music than learning how to make others sound good. Sure, taking a break is fun but nothing beats lending support to the rhythmic and dynamic sound that is bluegrass. In this class we will focus on rhythm styles, chord selection, and DYNAMICS! Whether playing in a jam, bluegrass band, or backing yourself up while singing, you will learn the tools to take your backup guitar playing to the next level.

Bluegrass is a melting pot of folk music styles that work together to create a unique sound. Learning to improvise within the parameters of this sound can be a daunting task. We will approach the topic both academically and aurally. This will ensure that no matter your learning style, you will be find a way to discover your own creativity. We will focus on pairing your ears to your fingers... sounds weird but that is our main goal. Let’s create some bluegrass music together in a relaxed environment surrounded by the inspiring western North Carolina Mountains.

The hot jazz guitar pioneered by Django Reinhardt and the Quintet of the Hot Club of France is fun and accessible. This hands-on class is intended for either a beginning guitar player or a player new to playing jazz, swing or Django style guitar. Using repertoire common to the genre, you will learn the basics of chord voicings, strumming styles, pick technique, and melody articulation. Plan to be jamming with the class by the week’s end.

This class will expand your understanding of rhythm guitar by focusing on the essential elements that drive a “Hot Club” jazz ensemble. Using repertoire common to the genre, participants learn ‘la pompe,’ ‘four to the bar,’ ‘samba,’ ‘bossa,’ and swing waltz rhythms. Launch into chord inversions to expand your chordal vocabulary and develop your abilty to play “up the neck.”

Add Django’s fire into your playing! This class will focus on the key elements to effective lead guitar playing in the exciting hot jazz guitar style of Django Reinhardt. 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.

This class will take on a song a day from a diverse catalog of solo players who had a “band in the hand” technique. Through these tunes, this class for advanced players will learn how a solo player holds down the bass, the rhythm and melody. These songs will utilize syncopation, bass runs, moveable chords and an alternating thumb. Students will come away with new tools to apply to their own arrangements. The ability to read tablature is essential and students are encouraged to audio tape the class.

Bring your Dobros, Weissenborns or lap steels along with a tone bar of some kind. (This is not a bottleneck class.) In the world of country blues, Casey Bill Weldon and Black Ace preferred lap-style to bottleneck guitar. This class for all levels will explore basic techniques like vibrato and tone while learning scales, melodies and songs for solo and group playing. The ability to read tablature is important and students are encouraged to audio tape the class.

Mary will share some good-time songs that should be in every musician’s repertoire. This intermediate class will explore tunes in different keys each day and the turnarounds, patterns, moveable chords and licks that work in each key. Students will come away with a good sense of how this music works from the Mississippi Delta to the Piedmont area. The ability to read tablature is important and students are encouraged to audio tape the class.

The ukulele is experiencing a world-wide resurgence in popularity. Why? Because it’s the one of the easiest fretted instruments to get started on. Everybody sounds good on it very quickly. It’s perfect for accompanying vocals. It’s easy to travel with and simply... very cool! We will start with basic chords and strumming patterns. You will be playing a song by the close of the first class - guaranteed! By the end of the week you will be able to sing and accompany yourself on basic folk, country and pop tunes. Any sized uke tuned GCEA will work. No previous musical or stringed instrument experience required. Please contact me with any questions:

The 1930s and 40s were a magical time in the history of popular music. Swing was mainstream. The ukulele was made for swing music! Any uke song can swing and sound jazzy. Its easy to make your instrumental accompaniment more interesting through chord substitutions, syncopation, strumming patterns and single-note lead work. The material covered in this intermediate class is not exclusive to the jazz/swing world – it can be used for all styles of music. No music theory needed. No music reading required. No knuckle-busting chord shapes to learn. Just fun! A concert or tenor sized uke tuned GCEA is recommended. Please contact me with any questions:

Chord Melody is a solo approach to fretted instrument playing where both the chord and melody line are played at the same time. This is a very popular style in the guitar world where many virtuoso players exist – look no further than the Swannanoa faculty for excellent examples. Can this solo style of playing be achieved on the tiny ukulele with its four strings and very short scale? Yes it can! Have no fear – this class could actually be titled “Four strings are plenty enough!” This fingerstyle technique will use chord substitutions and single-note lines to craft complete, stand-alone arrangements. Songs from the Swing Era will be used as tools to learn this very rewarding technique. We’ll start with easy melodies and progress as the week goes on. A concert or tenor sized uke tuned GCEA is recommended. Some basic right-hand fingerpicking skills under your belt will speed you along as well. No music theory needed. No music reading required. No knuckle-busting chord shapes to learn. Please contact me with any questions:

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 Gerald Sheppard, Michael Bashkin, newcomer Leonardo Buendia and John Slobod, 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!