Americana Electric Guitar

Level 2/3

Americana Electric Guitar - country steeped in blues and rock ’n’ roll. Study it's roots in the West Coast sounds of Buck and Merle, Commander Cody and the Byrds, and the Nashville work of James Burton and Scotty Moore, up to the current hot pickers. Some learning points: Serving the song - when to lay back and when to step out. Transitioning from acoustic to electric.

  • 09/28/18 - 10/01/18
  • Americana Electric Guitar
  • Apply Now!

The Guitar of Bill Kirchen: Where Country Meets Blues

Level 2/3

This workshop offers a hands-on examination of early Country and Blues guitar styles as they met at the crossroads and merged to create Americana and Rock ’n’ Roll. We will address some basics: serving the song, keeping the groove alive, knowing when to keep it simple and when to breath fire. Along with tools to understand and move up the neck, we will have a generous helping of double stops, bends, hot licks and tricks as well, ‘cause it’s supposed to be fun.

Looking back at that crossroads, Eric Clapton and Merle Haggard weren’t as far apart as you might think, nor were Robert Johnson and Hank Williams. The good news is, you don’t need to sell your soul to the devil or die young. Bill says he’s got you covered.

Bill is a Grammy nominated guitarist who draws on his 45+ year career, most recently with this year’s Top 10 Americana charting Tranatlanticana, plus a dozen more Bill Kirchen CDs, work with Elvis Costello, Emmylou Harris, Nick Lowe, Danny Gatton and Redd Volkaert, back through his years with Commander Cody and work with Gene Vincent and Link Wray.

The Bakersfield Sound: West Coast Country/Rock Guitar

Level 2/3

We will explore, study and learn the guitar styles of the players who came up in the honky-tonks and dance halls of California. Special attention will be given to the Big Three: Don Rich with Buck Owens, Roy Nichols with Merle Haggard and James Burton, with those same two, plus practically everybody else, including Elvis (both of 'em), Ricky Nelson and Emmylou. We will also take a look at the guitar style of Clarence White and the lesser-known, yet incredible Gene Moles and Phil Baugh. Four and five piece bands with full drum kits were the order of the day out west, while the Opry in Nashville allowed only a snare drum on stage. This led to a new hard driving style which paved the way for the sound and chops of today's superpickers.

We will also borrow some cool licks from the great steel guitarists of that scene, Ralph Mooney, Tom Brumley and Norm Hamlet and learn how to adapt them to the guitar.

Join us and learn some key leads, licks and tricks, and gain a better understanding of the roll the electric guitar plays in the rhythm section. Instruments and amps were developed specifically for these players by Leo Fender. We will learn about them, but also how to use any amp, guitar and effect to it's best advantage. We will be shooting for that Eureka! moment when you find the missing link and it all falls into place.

That Big Texas Guitar Sound

Level 2

In this class we will study the great Texas guitarists while we learn to construct driving rhythm parts, lead lines that build and relax to create interest, and fills that support the vocal lines. Our main Blues Bosses of study will be Lightnin' Hopkins, T-Bone Walker and Freddie King, tracing their influence to the British and American blues/rock players and next generation bluesmen such as the Vaughan brothers. We will also look at the West Texas rockers Buddy Holly and Bobby Fuller. There is a world of information to be learned from them all concerning groove, tone, and interaction with other musicians.

A class for both finger and flat pickers, we will be knee-deep in the blues, a departure from my previous country-centric courses. The big goals are to de-mystify the fretboard and build useful and consistent right-hand techniques, all the while enjoying a powerful tradition that has had a tremendous impact on music to date.

Hammer of the Honky Tonk Gods: Electric Guitar

Level 1/2

This workshop will focus on the role of a guitar player in a small group or as a soloist playing both lead and rhythm. We will explore guitar styles that have been utilized by Bill playing with Commander Cody, Elvis Costello, Nick Lowe, Doug Sahm, Gene Vincent, Emmylou Harris and his own group, Too Much Fun. We'll cover twang and where to find it, swing and Western swing, a little bit of chicken pickin' as heard on my Grammy nominated instrumental "Poultry in Motion", and good old rock n roll. Bonus: learn the lick from "Hot Rod Lincoln"!


About Bill Kirchen

Bill Kirchen Grammy nominated guitarist, singer and songwriter Bill Kirchen first gained national recognition as a founding member of Commander Cody and his Lost Planet Airmen. His trademark guitar lick drove their Hot Rod Lincoln cut into the Top Ten in 1972. He has released a dozen CDs on his own, and recorded and/or played guitar live with a who's who of Americana, Blues and Roots Rock 'N' Roll, among them Gene Vincent, Link Wray, Bo Diddley, Hazel Dickens, Doug Sahm, Hoyt Axton, Emmylou Harris, Maria Muldaur, Dan Hicks, Nick Lowe and Elvis Costello.



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