Mark conducts a fingerstyle workshop in Shingle Springs, California, in the Sierra Nevada foothills above Sacramento.
The B-string on a steel-string guitar can be loud – it is the thickest wire on the guitar, even thicker than the wire inside the wound sixth string. The inherent volume of the second string can produce unbalanced melody notes compared to notes played on the first string. Your ear is your guide in determining how hard to pick each string to balance the melody. However, when you pick the first and second strings simultaneously, it’s not easy to make one louder than the other. The volume differential between the first and second strings may obscure the actual first-string melody […]
Mark and Greta participate in Morro Bay Wine Sellers’ “Songwriters At Play” event.
Mark & Greta in concert in Los Altos, California, with fingerstyle guitarists Teja Gerken and Doug Young.
Mark was contracted to provide guitar solos for a 70th Anniversary (!) party in Portland in March, 2019. The husband, a native of Italy near Naples, requested the time-honored song “Return to Sorrento” (“Torna a Surriento”) in celebration of their lives together. Mark arranged a fingerstyle version, which is published here along with audio of Mark playing it. On YouTube you can watch Pavarotti, the Three Tenors and Dean Martin, among others, singing this famous melody. It was written in 1902 by the brothers DeCurtis. Here is a WikiPedia history of the song, listed by its Italian title “Torna a Surriento”.
Folks write to me on occasion asking which of my fingerstyle books to start with: Contemporary Travis Picking or Beyond Basics Fingerstyle Guitar. My response: • The Art of Contemporary Travis Picking is strictly alternating-bass (“Travis Picking”), using pretty basic chords until later in the book. It is largely about training the PICKING hand. You get two actual guitar solos amongst the 14 pieces in the book; the other 12 are accompaniments to a melody that is played/sung by a second instrument. The techniques in this book allow singer/songwriters to beautifully accompany their songs, but it also provides all […]
I visited Jason Verlinde and his cohorts at Fretboard Journal‘s office in Seattle a few months back. They filmed me playing my arrangement of “Water Is Wide” and my alternating-bass warhorse “Key to the Kingdom.” Although I brought my own guitars along, they requested that I play a guitar that the magazine had commissioned from local luthier T. Drew Heinonen. Below is the “Water Is Wide” video. The “Water Is Wide” notation and TAB are available three ways in hardcopy from us: 1) as a stand-alone piece 2) in my publication Great American Tablature Songbook (57 tunes in all), and 3) […]
Here is a my relatively easy fingerstyle arrangement of the main theme of J.S. Bach’s beautiful melody “Sheep May Safely Graze.” It is set in the key of G, standard tuning. To play it in the original key of B-flat, capo it at III. One challenging “stretch” fingering occurs in measure 3: an F#dim chord over a droning G in the bass. (You can think of this as a D7 chord with G in the bass.) Finger the sixth string in that passage with your ring finger, and the fourth-fret note with your little finger. SheepMaySafelyGrazeMainTheme
The day after Thanksgiving Mark returns to the Holloran Winery in the Willamette Valley’s lovely rolling hills for three hours of guitar solos in the tasting room. Come enjoy Bill’s great wines (Tempranillo is a specialty) and listen to me play my decades-long list of guitar solos.
Mark, Teja, and Doug will play acoustic fingerstyle guitar solos, duos and trios over the course of the evening. Great music, and great fun!