The Heartwood Beat, Issue 7: Camp Update and A Few Good Websites

Terre Leading a Roches Song Circle, PSGW 2005Hi Musicians,

Last week I spent six days making music under the trees at the Puget Sound Guitar Workshop, and I’m still floating. What a great intellectual, social, and dare I say…spiritual experience. If you like traditional acoustic music (folk, country, blues, western swing), or if you’re a rocker who’s interested in broadening horizons, I highly recommend this camp. More info here. I realize most of you don’t live in Washington, or the US for that matter, but hey—we’ve had campers from the UK every time I’ve gone.

It was interesting going to camp on the heels of writing that last newsletter, on jamming skills. I participated in some great jam sessions on the last few nights of camp, and after one of them, a woman came up to me and said, “I really like the way you lead your songs, and the way you showed us the chords beforehand.” I’ve heard somewhere that orchestra conductors have the longest life expectancy of any profession, and I can see why—leading a group of people in performing a beautiful song is so uplifting, it must be good for the body as well as the soul.

Speaking of jamming, a reader named John proposed that we make a list of good campfire singalong songs, so I’ve started a poll on my blog. I’ve gotten the list started with a few ones I like. You can vote for as many as you want (one vote per song, please), and if you’d like to add songs to the list, do so in the comment section and I’ll add them when I get a chance. You can find the poll here.

In other news, I’ve taken a week off work to script an instructional DVD (for new guitarists). I’ve had this project in the wings for a while, and it’s been great to finally get started. I’m still brainstorming songs I’m going to teach in the DVD, so maybe next newsletter I’ll do another poll and see what you would have liked to learn back when you were a total beginner.

In the meantime, I’d like to turn you on to a couple of my favorite instructional websites. Here’s a great one for beginner and intermediate guitarists, called Guitarnoise.

And this website has tons of video lessons, mostly geared toward advanced guitarists.

Enjoy the music,


Comments 6

  1. Hi, I was wondering.. after the polls are over are we getting back to learning about changing the key of songs and such? Cos they were really helpful and i’d like to learn more about scales and picking techniques ect. I am a fairly intermediate guitarist but I did stop playing for a few months because i’ve taken up skating and i’ve been out with friends but i’ve forgotten most of the theory I learnt in my guitar lessons.. lol guess I just need reminding but your newsletters are good because there isn’t too much to..digest? bitesize lol
    anyway sorry for babbling lol

  2. Hey Carva,

    Yes, there will be more lessons coming! My plan is to mix lesson newsletters with letters that read more like product reviews or narratives.

    I’m glad you like the lessons!

    Thanks for writing,


  3. Hi Rob,
    After reading your blog last year about PSGW, I decided it sounded like too much fun to pass up, and was fortunate enough to attend Week 2 of camp this year. It certainly lived up to, and surpassed, my expectations. By the end of the week, I felt like I’d been transported to the Music Planet, and wanted to stay there forever! What a great camp and great people. You can bet I’ll be going again next year. Thanks for spreading the word–if not for you, I never would have known about this wonderful place.

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