Rev. Gary Davis from the Ground Up

Level 2/3

In this workshop we'll discuss right and left hand techniques used by Rev. Gary Davis. His playing can seem daunting but I'll be teaching you in the same manner that Rev. Davis guided me over three years of study. We'll look at our right hand and start with what Rev. Davis called "old fashion picking" . Tunes that he learnt and arranged at an early age between 1905 and 1910. We'll then progress to his blues of the 1920s. By this time in Rev. Davis's development ragtime and New Orleans Jazz was part of the texture of American music and this is reflected in his guitar playing. By the mid-1930s Rev. Davis became an ordained Baptist preacher and his days of being a "blues cat" were over. But his gospel arrangements were rooted in his blues and string band days. Along the way we'll learn unusual chord fingerings - some friendly and others not so easy.

All in all, a packed workshop covering the genius of Rev. Davis's guitar playing. I strongly advise you to bring your audio and/or video equipment to record the lessons. A month or so before we get together I'll be sending you the tunes I'd like you to listen to and absorb. At the Workshop you'll receive a tab/music booklet. Prepare yourselves for some enjoyable and challenging guitar playing. I'm looking forward to getting together.

Acoustic Guitar: Country Blues Guitar

Level 2/3

Stefan GrossmanIn this week of study and fun we will be exploring the many styles and techniques of the Country Blues Guitar: from the pulsating alternating bass of Mississippi John Hurt to the pounding Delta guitar figures of Charlie Patton to the eerie and evocative sounds of Skip James and the sliding howls of Son House and Fred McDowell to the ragtime bounce of Blind Blake and Rev. Gary Davis. There is so much music and fingerboard magic to discover and we will do this is in a group setting as well as one on one instruction.

If you are comfortable playing an alternating "bum-chick" style then you are ready for this workshop.

I will supply written tab/music of the material and about a month before the workshop I will send out a CDR of recordings of the material we will be discussing. You are strongly encouraged to bring recording devices, both audio and/or video, to record the sessions. I will be teaching the group as well as each student individually.

Our On-The-Road Workshops begin on Monday evening and run through noon on Friday. You may check into the resort anytime after 4 PM and check in with the Ranch staff to pick up your welcome packets. We will all get together for the first time as a group Monday evening for a dinner and orientation followed by the first workshop.

Rev. Gary Davis: Old Fashion Picking to Rags and Marches

Level 3

Rev. Gary Davis had a repertoire that spanned over a wide variety of techniques and styles. He soaked up all the music genres that appeared in his lifetime. From learning how to play Candyman, Cocaine Blues and Delia in 1905 to imitating the piano ragtime craze to guitar to playing pop tunes from the 1920s and blues from the 1930s. In our workshop we will learn, discuss and explore his many guitar ideas. Various exercises will be presented to help give you control of Rev. Davis's thumb/index picking technique and his rhythmic pattern. You'll hear lots of great tunes.

I'll be mailing out a CDR of tunes that I would like you absorb a month before our workshop. A tab/music booklet will be supplied with all the material we will study. You are encouraged to audio record our sessions as we will be covering lots and lots of great music.


About Stefan Grossman

Beginning in his teens, Stefen Grossman was a student of the legendary Rev.Gary Davis. After studying with Davis for eight years in high school and college, he learned and studied with other country blues guitarists: Mississippi John Hurt, Son House, Skip James, Mance Lipscomb, and Fred McDowell. Other early influences included Elizabeth Cotten, Sam McGee, Willie Brown, and Charley Patton. In the early 1960s, Grossman formed the Even Dozen Jug Band and worked with the political rock band the Fugs.

Grossman's solo discography goes all the back to 1966, when he recorded How to Play Blues Guitar for Elektra Records. Since the early 1980s he has toured infrequently, but recorded extensively. Grossman concentrates his efforts these days on running his instructional video business, Vestapol Videos, which feature guitarists from Merle Travis and Chet Atkins to Dave Van Ronk and Brownie McGhee.



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