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Advanced Fingerstyle Workshop
with Teja Gerken
 
 
About This Course
 
Meet 15 of the best players in the international fingerstyle guitar community, as they demonstrate their techniques, playing styles, and signature tunes.
 
 
Try a Sample Lesson
 
In this lesson, Ed Gerhard teaches his popular fingerstyle arrangement of the traditional tune “The Water is Wide.” Gerhard used dropped-D tuning and a capo at the third fret. Because he tunes his guitar down a half-step from standard pitch, this results in his performance sounding in the key of E. If you prefer, you can leave your guitar in standard dropped-D tuning and place the capo at the second fret instead. Gerhard stresses the importance of supporting the tune’s melody and gives pointers for effectively building an arrangement in a dynamic fashion. virtuerecords.com
 
 
 
Meet the Instructor
Teja Gerken
 
 

Guitarist Teja Gerken has been deeply involved with the contemporary fingerstyle guitar scene for more than 20 years. As a performer, he has shared the stage with many of the genre’s finest players, including John Renbourn, Alex de Grassi, Peter Finger, Tony McManus, Preston Reed, Kaki King, Andy McKee, as well as his mentors, Duck Baker and Peppino D’Agostino. His two CDs of solo fingerstyle tunes, On My Way and Postcards, have received international acclaim, and his compositions have been featured in Acoustic Guitar, Germany’s Akustik Gitarre, and Backbeat Books’ Play Acoustic.

 
 
 
Peghead Play-Along Tracks
 
Peghead Nation is creating a library of accompaniment videos (and downloadable MP3s) for songs and tunes that are taught on the site, classics that you'll find at many jams and picking parties. As a subscriber, you have access to this library and can use the tracks to practice playing tunes and songs at a slow or medium tempo with guitar accompaniment. New songs will be added regularly.
 
 
Advanced Fingerstyle Workshop Source Material

Check out these songs featured in the Advanced Fingerstyle Workshop course.


The Advanced Fingerstyle Workshop Subscription Includes:
  • Tutorials with 15 of the world’s best fingerstyle guitarists
  • Notation and tab, with 12 complete tune transcriptions
  • Guitar and gear demonstrations
  • One-of-a-kind in-studio performances
  • High-quality video lessons with multiple camera angles so you can see closeups of both hands in action.
 
 
$20/Month For One Course
 
Additional courses only $10/month each!   •   Save 20% with an annual subscription
 
 
Get started now!
Use promo code TejaLand at checkout
and get your first month free or $20 off an annual subscription.
 
Advanced Fingerstyle Workshop Course Outline
 
ED GERHARD
 

Since releasing his debut album Night Birds in 1987, Ed Gerhard has been at the forefront of American fingerstyle guitar. Playing both standard and lap-style slide guitar, Ed is a master of tone and subtle beauty, as heard on both his original compositions and arrangements of other pieces. In this workshop Ed plays and teaches his version of the traditional folk tune “The Water Is Wide,” stressing the importance of supporting the melody and giving pointers for effectively building a dynamic arrangement. His demonstrations of his custom Breedlove guitars (a Revival series dreadnought and Weissenborn-style guitar) include performances of “Rye Whiskey Mash” and Rowland Salley’s “Killing the Blues.” Ed's lesson includes a complete transcription of “The Water Is Wide.”

 
PEPPINO D'AGOSTINO
 

Originally influenced by Doc Watson, John Renbourn, and Leo Kottke while learning to play guitar in his native Italy, Peppino D’Agostino has become one of the most original and virtuosic players on the fingerstyle scene. He is known for his percussive playing, keen sense of melody, and the incorporation of classical elements in his repertoire and technique. In this workshop, Peppino plays a long-time favorite composition, “Mediterranean Spark,” and demonstrates a few of its key sections. He also plays a new piece dedicated to classical guitarist Sérgio Assad and talks about his Seagull Signature CW QII guitar. Peppino’s lesson includes a complete transcription of “Mediterranean Spark.”

 
ADAM MILLER
 

Australian guitarist Adam Miller excels at playing funky grooves and improvisation, aided by the remarkable independence of his picking-hand thumb and fingers. First inspired by Tommy Emmanuel, Adam is also influenced by Charlie Hunter and John Mayer, and the result is a highly original style. In this workshop, Adam plays his original composition “Parker,” shows you how to play the main theme, and demonstrates his approach to improvising a single-note melody over a repetitive bass line. He also demonstrates his Jeff Traugott guitar, a 00 built with a German spruce top and Indian rosewood back and sides. Adam’s lesson includes notation/tab for the main theme of “Parker” and improvised examples.

 
ERIC SKYE
 

Eric Skye is best known for his fingerstyle jazz arrangements, as demonstrated on his CD A Different Kind of Blue, which re-creates Miles Davis’ classic album Kind of Blue in a solo acoustic guitar context. In this workshop, Eric plays and teaches his composition “Happy Cake.” Played in DGDGBE tuning, “Happy Cake” is based on a jazz-blues structure and makes use of rich-sounding open bass notes, artificial harmonics, and extended single-note explorations. He also talks about the development of his OO-Skye Santa Cruz Guitar Co. signature model guitar. Eric’s lesson includes a complete transcription of “Happy Cake.”

 
MARY FLOWER
 

Mary Flower is one of the most respected contemporary practitioners of Piedmont-style blues fingerpicking. A three-time finalist at the Walnut Valley International Fingerstyle Guitar Championship, Mary has won numerous awards and released ten CDs. In this workshop, she plays and teaches her original composition “Ruckus Rag,” a 12-bar blues in dropped-D tuning, played with a steady bass line and some occasional harmonic surprises. She also demonstrates her Fraulini Angelina guitar, built by luthier Todd Cambio and based on a 1920s Oscar Schmidt 12-fret, ladder-braced guitar. Mary’s lesson includes a complete transcription of “Ruckus Rag.”

 
TONY McMANUS
 

Tony McManus is one of the greatest Celtic guitarists of all time, equally adept at fingerstyle and flatpicking, and an astonishingly diverse fingerstyle guitarist. His repertoire includes Irish airs, Scottish reels, French and Spanish Celtic tunes, classical pieces, and even the occasional jazz tune. In this workshop, Tony plays his arrangement of the traditional song “Shallow Brown” (in CGCGCD tuning) then takes it apart, showing you how he combines an arpeggiated chord accompaniment with the melody. He also shows you how to play some of his signature ornaments, including an exercise for working on triplets, and demonstrates both his PRS signature model (playing an excerpt from J.S. Bach’s “Chaconne”) and Linda Manzer Sitar-Guitar, which gets its sitar-like buzzing tone from a unique bridge made of movable flat bone blocks. Tony’s lesson includes notation/tab with melody and chords for “Shallow Brown” as well as triplet exercises.

 
RICHARD SMITH
 

British-born Richard Smith is one of the finest contemporary exponents of the thumbpicking style developed by Chet Atkins and Jerry Reed. While his hot fingerpicking won him the 2001 National Fingerstyle Guitar contest, his musical versatility extends to Gypsy jazz, Bach, and the Beatles. In this workshop, Richard plays and teaches his arrangement of the Merle Travis classic “Nine Pound Hammer,” which includes some Chet Atkins-style flourishes. He also demonstrates his signature model Kirk Sand acoustic-electric nylon-string guitar with an arrangement of Jerry Reed’s “East Wind.” Richard’s lesson includes notation/tablature of “Nine Pound Hammer” with variations.

 
SEAN McGOWAN
 

Acclaimed fingerstyle jazz guitarist Sean McGowan is known for his virtuosic and complex solo guitar arrangements of jazz and popular songs. He is also a dedicated educator, and is the Guitar Program Director at the University of Colorado Denver. In this workshop, Sean teaches his approach to comping on a jazz-blues progression in the key of C, offering ideas and suggestions for chords, transitions, independent bass lines, and rhythmic approaches for effective comping. He demonstrates his Brad Nickerson Solstice archtop guitar on a couple of tunes from his recording of songs from the musical My Fair Lady. Sean’s lesson includes notation/tab of five different ways to play a jazz/blues progression.

 
PAUL ASBELL
 

Paul Asbell is one of the most versatile fingerstyle guitarists around, with solid roots in the blues and jazz, having played with blues legends Muddy Waters, John Lee Hooker, Howlin’ Wolf, and Lightnin’ Hopkins, as well as the jazz group Kilimanjaro. In this workshop Paul plays and teaches his arrangement of the early jazz standard “Bill Bailey, Won’t You Please Come Home,” which combines jazz-style chord-melody playing with Travis-picking techniques and syncopated rhythmic ideas. He demonstrates his Julius Borges OM with a performance of his original tune “Bound for Adamant.” Paul’s lesson includes a complete transcription of “Bill Bailey, Won’t You Please Come Home.”

 
TIM SPARKS
 

Tim Sparks is one of the most creative forces in contemporary fingerstyle guitar. His recordings included original material, traditional Jewish music, country-blues guitar, and even the Nutcracker Suite. His album Chasin’ the Boogie includes originals and arrangements of American traditional and pop songs, including the jazzy reharmonization of “Wayfaring Stranger” he teaches in this workshop. Tim’s arrangement in dropped-D tuning is underpinned by a steady Travis-style alternating bass and his reharmonization includes extended chord voicings as well as improvised single-note lines. To demonstrate his custom 2004 Hoffman guitar Tim plays “Chasin’ the Boogie,” an original based in the country-blues fingerpicking tradition. Tim’s lesson includes a complete transcription of “Wayfaring Stranger.”

 
JAMIE STILLWAY
 

Ever since bursting onto the acoustic guitar scene in the early 2000s, Portland, Oregon, guitarist Jamie Stillway has been a fixture at guitar festivals and camps. Her original style is heavily influenced by early jazz and ragtime. In this workshop, Jamie plays and teaches her original “Analysis Paralysis,” a jazzy tune in standard tuning based on a simple Em–B7 progression. She also talks about her “FDA” approach to learning the fingerboard, an alternative to the popular “CAGED” system. To demonstrate her Stevens O-BW guitar, a 12-fret size 0 guitar with an Engelmann spruce top and Tasmanian blackwood back and sides, Jamie plays “Home: Part 2,” a medium-tempo original with a distinctive melody. Jamie’s lesson includes a complete transcription of “Analysis Paralysis.”

 
MIKE DOWLING
 

Since first appearing on the roots music scene as a member of Vassar Clements’ band in the 1970s, Mike Dowling has impressed and delighted audiences with his engaging and versatile approach to fingerstyle guitar. In this workshop, Mike plays and teaches his arrangement of Mississippi John Hurt’s “Let the Mermaids Flirt with Me,” which he converted into an open-D tuning slide guitar piece. Built on rock-solid Travis picking, Mike’s arrangement combines the tune’s melody with full-sounding open-string chords. He also talks about his two touring guitars: his signature model National, which is based on a 1930s El Trovador, and a brass-body National ResoRocket N. Mike’s lesson includes a complete transcription of “Let the Mermaids Flirt with Me.”

 
MURIEL ANDERSON
 

Muriel Anderson’s career as a fingerstyle guitarist has a remarkably wide scope. She won the 1989 Walnut Valley fingerstyle guitar championship, has released more than a dozen CDs, and is comfortable in styles ranging from classical to contemporary. Muriel is also one of the most accomplished and popular advocates of the harp guitar, and her long-running All Star Guitar Night concert series features many of the world’s finest guitarists. In this workshop, she performs and teaches her tune “Two Shores,” which makes use of an advanced method of playing artificial harmonics to create a huge, ringing, harp-like sound. Muriel explains the basic technique, and shows you how she uses it in “Two Shores.” She also demonstrates her Doolin harp guitar on “A Baker’s Dozen,” an original harp-guitar piece in 13/8 time. Muriel’s lesson includes a complete transcription of “Two Shores.”

 
TEJA GERKEN
 

In this workshop, Advanced Fingerstyle Workshop host Teja Gerken teaches his own composition, “Seven Years,” a four-part piece in D minor. “Seven Years” combines standard fingerstyle techniques with some two-handed tapping and harmonic slaps. Teja explains the two-handed tapping technique and shows you some of the intricacies of the standard fingerstyle sections. Teja’s lesson includes a complete transcription of “Seven Years.”

 
MARK HANSON
 

It’s difficult to imagine the contemporary fingerstyle guitar landscape without Mark Hanson, As a performer, Mark’s recorded works include four solo CDs, albums with duet partner Doug Smith and the Acoustic Guitar Summit, as well as tracks on numerous compilations, including the 2005 Grammy-winning Pink Guitar. Mark, a former editor at Frets magazine, founded his own company Accent on Music in 1985, publishing a highly influential line of fingerstyle instruction and transcription books, and he hosts the Accent on Music Guitar Seminar series in Portland, Oregon. In this workshop, Mark plays and teaches his original composition “Parasol Spin,” a deft combination of bossa nova and blues styles in standard tuning. Mark’s lesson includes a complete transcription of “Parasol Spin.”

 
 
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    ● Courses
    ● Instructors
    ● Sample Lessons
    ● Notation Guide
    ● For Beginners
 
 
    ● Vintage Vault
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    ● Fine Lutherie
 
 
    ● Workshops
    ● Advice
    ● Repertoire
 
 
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    ● Events
    ● Breaking News
 
 
    ● In The Studio
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    ● Inside Look
    ● Performances
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