Day #5 ~ Friday 31st August 2012

Complete Acoustic Guitarist ~ Class of 2012

L-R: Ashok, Antony, Jeff, Floor, Richard (tutor), Glen and Jan

Performance videos:

Hallelujah – Leonard Cohen

Substitute – The Who

St. James Infirmary

One – U2

That’s Entertainment – The Jam

Sit Down – James

Day #4 ~ Thursday 30th August 2012

In the first session of the day the class recapped the DADGAD blues from Day #3 and learnt scale shapes built from the Dsus4 tuning, including, Major, Minor and Pentatonic.

Download the full DADGAD scales worksheet

After the morning coffee break the class learnt the fantastic slide guitar track by the Allman Brothers Band called ‘Old Friend’ from their 2003 album ‘Hittin’ The Note’, which features Warren Haynes and Derek Trucks on guitar.

Old Friend – Allman Brothers Band

Above: The class work studiously on their slide technique

The afternoon session focussed on songs for the student performance at the end of the final day. The class descended upon the local brewery for a taste of the locally brewed beer at La Bercloise where they brew Cognac Beer, which is unique to this area of France.

Day #3 ~ Wednesday 29th August 2012

After the Tuesday night meal the group grabbed their acoustic guitars and descended upon the dining room for a late night jam session with plenty of beer and wine to hand.

The bash included: Dancing in the Dark – Bruce Springsteen, Route 66 – Chuck Berry, Wonderwall – Oasis, Space Oddity – David Bowie and Mr Tambourine Man – Bob Dylan, among many others.

The early morning session began with physical and technical warm up exercises, extended to include RH picking patterns in groups of 3, 4 and 6 notes. This warmed the group up nicely to recap the Jeff Buckley cover version of ‘Hallelujah’ (see Day #2).

After the morning coffee break, DADGAD was the order of the day with a session on the popular altered guitar tuning, often referred to as D sus4 tuning. The group experimented with a blues in D (I – D, IV – G, V – A).

Above: Harmonised Major Scale in DADGAD

Wednesday is a half-day and some of the students visited Saintes, a French commune located in Poitou-Charentes, in the southwestern Charente-Maritime region, and others have went for a long walk in the near-by beautiful countryside. Rest assured, everyone will be back for dinner at 7.30pm!

Day #2 ~ Tuesday 28th August 2012

Once everyone had run through their physical and technical exercises in the early morning sunshine the group reconvened in front of the black board at the music room for a session on diatonic triads (R, 3, 5). These three note chords form the basis of the intro to The Who track ‘Substitute’.

Download the full Diatonic Triads in D Major worksheet

After the morning coffee break the class honed their skills on the track ‘Substitute’; working on the intro, verse, pre-chorus and chorus sections and learning the song structure before lunch.

The afternoon session began with our first foray into the finger picking style. The group had chosen Jeff Buckley’s cover of the Leonard Cohen classic ‘Hallelujah’ as our focus piece.

Hallelujah – Jeff Buckley

The song is played in 6/8 time and in the key of C Major. Jeff’s cover version uses a capo on the fifth fret, but you can also play it with open chords without the capo, as follows.

Open chord version:

Intro/Verse  || : C | Am : ||
Pre-Chorus || F | F G | C | G | C | F G | Am | F | G | G#dim | Am | Am ||
Chorus        || F | F | Am | Am | F | F | C | G ||

Capo 5th fret version:

Intro/Verse  || : G | Em : ||
Pre-Chorus || C | C D | G | D | G | C D | Em | C | D | D#dim | Em | Em ||
Chorus        || C | C | Em | Em | C | C | G | D ||

Above: The class work studiously on Day #2!

Day #1 ~ Monday 27th August 2012

The first session this morning began with a discussion about the week’s personal goals and the songs the group wanted to learn; with a view to perform on the final day of the course.

The class then moved into the garden and basked in the morning sunshine while practising the physical warm up exercises for guitar players. After a session of stretches, the strummers gathered outside the music room for the technique expander class.

This session included:

  • Holding a plectrum
  • RH and LH positioning
  • Correct posture
  • Alternate picking (down – up)
  • Economy picking (down – up – down)
  • LH fretting exercises (fingers 1, 2, 3, 4)

After the morning coffee break all the students restrung their guitars; learning a trusted method of winding the string on to the peg that clamps the string and prevents slippage.

Step by Step Guide

1. Slide the string through the peg hole
2. Place thumb at the seventh fret and allow one thumb length of slack in the string
2. Wind the string anti-clockwise 180 degrees
4. Pull the end of the string upwards and continue winding the string another 180 degrees
5. At this stage be sure to wind the string above the peg hole
6. Continue winding and pass the end of the string below the string
7. Wind the remaining string on to the peg and snip off to length

During the afternoon session the group learned The Who classic ‘Substitute’ before splashing in the pool as the temperature rose to 30°C here in Bercloux.

Intro Riff: “Substitute” by The Who (Pete Townshend)

The riff is made up of triads (3 note chords) with the open D pedal note in the bass. This creates a rich chord texture for the A/D and G/D, synonymous with the powerful Pete Townshend sound of the 60s.

Substitute – The Who

The Complete Acoustic Guitarist Holiday 2012

The Complete Acoustic Guitarist Holiday with Richard Perkins

Are you looking to study the techniques and approaches of some of the acoustic guitars great players? If so, our Complete Acoustic Guitarist course will explore the styles and concepts of the great acoustic guitar strummers, fingerstylists and bluesmen, focusing on finger picking, rhythm strumming and classic tunes from the great acoustic guitar songbook.

Topics covered will include:

  • Rhythm strumming
  • Finger picking patterns
  • Expanding your chord vocabulary
  • Experiment with a variety of tempos, boogies, shuffles and swing rhythms.
  • Explore open tunings- DADGAD and DADF#AD
  • Learn how to use a capo ( including partial capo)
  • Common chord progressions
  • Demystifying music theory

Richard Perkins, one of the UK’s foremost Guitar educators, from the International Guitar Foundation, will help you develop your performance skills; encouraging you to play with other guitarists thus allowing you to expand ideas and express yourself  during the improvised jam sessions so that you leave this magical week with a greater confidence and understanding of the guitar.

Course Structure

The course is structured so that the morning tutorials are relaxed and informal creating a supportive group atmosphere with plenty of time set aside in the afternoon for you to practice and consolidate what you have been learning. Richard Perkins is always on hand to help, giving of advice and expert tips. All classes are taught in a relaxed and supportive environment with practical demonstrations throughout.

Who’s it for?

This course is a beginner/intermediate level course and we would expect a participant to be able to play basic open  chords, some scales and have begun to develop some degree of fluency with moving between open chords.

What do I bring?

Acoustic guitar, plectrums, capo, tuner and note book. Please feel free to use audio and video recording equipment  during the day. Headphones are recommended for your own playback. You will be provided with course material as well as blank tab and chord box sheets. Music and guitar stands are also provided.


Your course tutor, Richard Perkins, will keep an online daily blog throughout your holiday that will document your daily learning with detailed explanations, photos and videos. The perfect virtual postcard for friends and family back home as well as a fantastic learning resource on your return!

Check out the 2011 course blog: