Saturday, July 29, 2017

2017 CCMC Report (Doug Smith Fingerstyle Guitarist Class)

I went to my second week-long California Coast Music Camp up in Foresthill, California. (The camp was once along the coast but now is north of Sacramento.) This was the 25th Anniversary of the camp that was created by a group of musicians in order to provide a caring supportive learning environment for acoustic instrument players.

For the second year in a row I brought my baritone ukuleles. I want to embrace the challenge of playing in a territory between GCEA-ukuleles and EADGBe-guitars. In the evening of the opening day all of the teachers get up and speak about their classes. At the end we were able to talk to any teacher and discuss their classes. Doug Smith's class of  "The Many Ways of Chord Shapes" intrigued me as a way to further explore the baritone fretboard. After talking to Doug a short while he welcomed me to join the class.

Here's a photo from our last class,
22 guitars and 1 baritone ukulele.

This photo is courtesy of Doug Smith (he's in there too, top right)
He fits the mold as a great CCMC energetic,
enthusiastic and supportive instructor.

Doug's class was on using 3 string chord shapes as a means to add flavor to songs. We started with a D-shapes xxX232, xxX775, xxX11.10.10 at different positions. Another way to express this in this format.

e         2        5        10
B        3        7        10 
G        2        7        11
D        X       X        X
           D*     A*      F*       *=Chord Shape (3-finger)

We played thru several examples in songs as well as learning about what additional chords are created as we move the shape up the fretboard and have the X as an open string. We also moved into minor chord shapes. The bari was not able to handle some of was taught but that was part of the exploration. That's what camp is about -- music, growth, sharing, friendships.

In the CCMC class brochure the class was described...

Acoustic guitarist Doug Smith is a Grammy award winner and winner of the prestigious Winfield International Fingerstyle Guitar Competition. His playing can be heard in the popular movie August Rush, and his original compositions can be heard everywhere from Good Morning America to National Public Radio. In 2016 Doug played a concert tour of Japan and South Korea. His enthusiastic teaching style has made him a workshop favorite all over the country. Visit Doug at

Fingerstyle Guitar: The Many Ways of Chord Shapes (level 3) Can you fingerpick a C chord? Try sliding it up the neck to the 6th position to play a beautiful-sounding Fadd9. We’ll explore different sounds using mostly recognizable shapes that can add color to your playing. The ability to read tablature will be helpful. (Not sure what the 6th position is? We’ll discuss that, too!)

Here is a bit of Doug's guitar playing...

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