Celtic Week 2011

Trip to Breakfast on Monday Morning

The Swannanoa Gathering Celtic Week 2011 began with 4 classes: Session guitar 1, with David Surette; Mandolin 2, with David Surette; Session Guitar 2, with John Doyle; Bazouki, with Eamon O’Leary.  I made it through all of the first day, missed first period on the second day, decided to scratch the Bazouki class on the third day, and made it to all three classes today.  The brain is awash with musical, guitar, and mandolin knowledge, and I am looking forward to letting it sink in tonight, during the all night jam sessions.

David’s classes are excellent.  He is a knowledgeable patient and easy-to-follow teacher. He’s also very good about staying after class to answer questions and a joy to chat with after a late night jam.  Today he obligingly gave me some ideas on how to play some interesting chordal backup to Peter Byrne’s Fancy, and Creeping Docken.  (I’ll post those tabs soon, since they are my favorite, and they turn up a lot on this site!)  Coincidentally, during the session guitar 2 class, John Doyle, decided to also pull out Peter Byrne’s Fancy and give us a nice run through of some rhythmic grooves.  (If you see me tonight at the jam sessions, and you want to play those tunes, pull me aside.  I’m all for it.)

D Chord Family Substitutions from David Surrette's Guitar Session 1 Class

John’s class started out great. He went over his basic techniques, in regards to how to use your arm and not your wrist, and also how you keep your arm swinging in time, non-stop, and use more accents on volume to get different rhythmic patterns.  I’m trying out his advise for a .73 mm dunlop nylon pick (yuck), and it’s working so far, but we’ll see if I stick with it.

Eamon’s class was good, but I had already had enough to absorb from those first three classes, that getting into bazouki was just too much for my brain at present.  Besides, I want to become a better rhythmic player anyway, and he’s very good on timing, but his initial approach was a bit more melodic.

Last night was a night of rest, so skipped the jamming.  But Thursday…I’m rested, revved up and ready to go.  Tonight’s forecast:

Scattered thunderstorms this evening followed by a few showers overnight. Low 66F. Winds ENE at 5 to 10 mph. Chance of rain 40%.

Good thing there are tents!

Tuesday Night Early Evening



5 thoughts on “Celtic Week 2011

  1. Surrette is the bomb. I’ve had several guitar classes with him, but no mandolin. I do know he’s an excellent mando player and yes, a very nice guy. I tried to sign up for Doyle’s class a few months ago, but it filled up quickly. Don’t think I’d go back to a thin pick nevertheless.

    Sounds like you’re taking all the classes I would have, with the except of Session Guitar 1. Fun!

    • Doyle’s class was great the first two days. It was very instructional. Then it felt like he lost interest in the specifics and just rocketed through a bunch of stuff. Good stuff, but he definitely assumed a lot. The session guitar 1 was with David. Even though it was called Session 1, I picked up a lot of good tricks and tips, probably more from him than John. David seems to have more experience teaching I think. Anytime you’re in Asheville, shoot me a line and we’ll jam a bit! I just posted some new tab.

  2. Thanks for all the nice commentary. I had a blast at Swannanoa this year, great classes and excellent jams. Very high level of student musicianship! Nice blog, too, man. Keep up the good work!

    David Surette

    • Thanks for the note David. I look forward to keeping in touch, and learning from you again in the future. You shared really great bits of information, and I absorbed all I could. Your CD, The Green Mandolin is on my docket to listen to and review. I’ll probably get to that this week sometime. Looking forward to it.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s