Haydn Radford -A freelance writer born in Adelaide, who loves living here. I write about movies, theatre, entertainment, literary and art events. I am happy to promote & review your events. www.weekendnotes.com/profile/121822
Published March 25th 2013
The most practical and easy-to-learn guitar teaching method
Do you ever play an air-guitar while listening to Hendrix, Clapton or Santana, or whichever guitarist takes your fancy? And in your heart of hearts, do you have a deep desire to actually play the guitar? You may have even tried learning, and whether you mastered it, or even if you didn't, let us know in the comments space below about your experiences.
King Billy - Cal Williams Jr.
I know there are hurdles to get over when trying to learn the guitar; I've been there. I too, have struggled with trying to master the various chords, trying to toughen the calluses on my finger tips, just so I could try and manage a simple accompaniment to a favourite song. One music teacher even confessed to me he wasn't going to live long enough to see it happen. "Try something else," he pleaded.
Cal Williams Jr.(guitar) & Kory Horwood (bass).in concert.
The good news is, help is here in the form of a Guitar Workshop by Cal Williams Jr at The Wheatsheaf Hotel. Cal has won several musical awards for his outstanding ability as a blues guitarist and songwriter, locally and overseas. There are too many awards to list here, but you can check his website. He is not only highly acclaimed guitarist, his teaching method is recognised as a practical and fun way to quickly get you jamming with others and enjoying playing the guitar.
I was inspired to join his guitar workshop after attending his recent Howl the Moon - Fringe Concert and hearing how simple the open chord technique is to learn. What also encouraged me to give it a go, was the fact beginners were welcome, along with experienced guitarists.
Cal opened with a brief history of how the blues developed and how the blues guitarists such as Blind Willie Johnson, Son House, Charlie Patton, Skip James and Robert Johnson and many others used the bottle-neck slide guitar and open tuning to express feelings of travelling, extreme poverty and hardship, loneliness and love. This in-turn influenced entire generations of guitarists such as Eric Clapton, Carlos Santana, Keith Richards and Bonnie Raitt to name only some. This background was useful in setting the scene for our workshop.
Cal's engaging and professional approach was encouraging as we participated together as a group, learning to play a simple guitar accompaniment using open tuning. What was encouraging was hearing how famous blues guitarists such as Skip James and Robert Johnson created their songs in Open A and Open E.
Some musical theory was included to help us make sense of the most common tunings used by these pioneering blues musicians. And as Cal pointed out, "Open tunings are perfect for slide guitar due to the fact that the scales on the complete fret-board are constructed using straight-line scales known as 'slide-boxes'."
To keep it simple, Cal tuned our guitars to 'D' and we strummed the open strings four times, then we pressed our finger across the fifth fret, strummed again and proceeded to press down on the seventh fret and strummed again. We then built a foundation by following his lead and repeating this several times all together. What we achieved was a simple musical accompaniment, similar to what is used for accompanying many folk songs and popular songs.
The next step was practising sliding the slide down the guitar fret-board and experimenting with the unique sounds we created. There were different types of slides ranging from cut off bottle necks, ceramic tubes, to brass and chrome slides to create a certain feeling for each song.