MGW 2021 Goes Virtual, July 12-17, Register Now! See details below.
The Mendocino Guitar Workshop normally takes place every July at the Albion Retreat and Learning Center in Albion, just 7 miles south of the historic town of Mendocino on California’s stunning north coast. However, due to the constraints and uncertainties of the pandemic, this year we will conduct our first ever virtual workshop. We will continue to offer many of the same components online that we have been offering for the past 20 years, minus all the good food and outdoor recreational activities. The upside is that we will be able to take a deep dive into group and individual instruction without the time and expense of travel, which just might make the prospect of attending much more convenient for many of you. So, join us from your home or wherever you find yourself in mid-July!
Mendocino Guitar Workshop
Mendocino Guitar Workshop 2021
with Alex de Grassi and Sean McGowan
Special Virtual Event
Monday, July 12 10am PDT – Saturday, July 17 1pm PDT
Online @ TBA
We are happy to announce that fingerstyle jazz guru Sean McGowan will be joining Alex in conducting our first ever virtual, online edition of the Mendocino Guitar Workshop! Sean’s first recording, River Coffee, won Acoustic Guitar magazine’s Best Independent Release award in 2002 and his recording Sphere: The Music of Thelonius Monk was named by that magazine as one of the Essential Albums of 2011. He is equally known for his many excellent instructional books and videos including The Acoustic Jazz Guitarist (String Letter) and Fingerstyle Jazz Guitar Solos (Hal Leonard). Sean earned his DMA from the University of Southern California and currently serves as the Guitar Program Director at the University of Colorado Denver. Learn more about Sean at www.seanmcgowanguitar.com. We will also be joined by some as yet to be announced special guest artists who will share their unique insights into the world of guitar as well. Stay tuned!
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Intermediate Ukulele Workshop with Alex de Grassi:
Saturdays, 10-12pm, November 2, 9, 23 & December 7, 2019
Location: S.P.A.C.E Dance Studio, 508 W. Perkins St. Ukiah
This workshop is designed to develop technique and arranging skills for the songs you already know and those you would like to learn. We will work with a handful of songs of mutual interest as the basis for exploring rhythmic variations, melodic lines, and expanded harmonic possibilities; each session building upon what was learned in the previous session. We will work as a group, but also incorporate some “practice time” into each session that would allow the instructor to visit briefly with individuals one-on-one. There will be assigned exercises and rhythms to practice in the interval between sessions with goals to be achieved by the subsequent session. Limited to 15 participants.
North Coast Luthiers Exhibit
July 12- 27, 2019
Panache, Highlight, and Prentice Galleries on Main Street, Mendocino
July 18, 4:30-6:30pm Reception with the luthiers simultaneously at all 3 galleries
Guitarists, like other musicians, are perpetually on a quest for an instrument that offers both playability—some might say a great “feel”—and the sound quality that best meets their needs for expression. If they can’t find what they are looking for among the big manufacturers of new guitars, they might turn to a limited production maker, or even order a custom instrument from a boutique builder where they can choose among tone-woods, top-woods, and other specifications within the guitar maker’s range of options. These are the kind of guitars typically shown at exhibits in conjunction with guitar shows and festivals all over the world and some of the makers of those guitars live right here in Mendocino County.
What is a luthier (LOOTH-ee-er]? The word derives from the French word for one who makes lutes—an early ancestor of the guitar—and while the term also applies to builders of bowed stringed instruments such as the violin family, today it is most often used to describe makers of plucked stringed instruments such as guitars, ukeleles, lutes, ouds, and yes, even banjos. Many keen observers of the history of guitar believe we are living in the Golden Age of lutherie, and certainly the quality, quantity, and diversity of handmade guitars being produced today stand as a testament to that notion. The multitude of choices facing a guitar player in search of their ideal instrument today is truly staggering!
This past July, in cooperation with both the Mendocino Guitar Workshop and the Mendocino Music Festival, three of the art galleries on Main Street in the village of Mendocino—Prentice, Highlight and Panache–participated in an exhibit featuring six of Mendocino county’s guitar makers with each gallery showing a few curated instruments alongside other works of art. The six luthiers participating were David Dart, Gregory Byers, Ken Franklin, Rick Micheletti, Steve Porter, and Morgan Daniel. The exhibit featured a variety of instruments including classical guitars, steel-string acoustics, lap steels, electric guitars, and ukuleles.
The two-week long exhibit ran concurrently with the Mendocino Music Festival from July 12-27 and all three galleries joined together to host a reception with the luthiers present on Thursday, July 18 just prior to the Mendocino Music Festival’s guitar concert across the street in the big tent featuring Brazilian virtuosos Badi Assad and Diego Figueiredo. We look forward to expanding the exhibit in the summer of 2020!
Guitars in the Village
Friday, July 19, 2019
Participating shops and galleries around the village of Mendocino
Most of the students who attend the Mendocino Guitar Workshop are eager for a chance to play for the public and nearly all of them have been performing in school concerts, coffee shops, competitions, and some have been entertaining audiences professionally or semi-professionally for many years. With that in mind, we introduced the Guitars in the Village in cooperation with the Mendocino Music Festival in 2018, and with the overwhelmingly enthusiastic feedback we received, it has become an annual event. Guitar players of all stripes are deployed in shops and galleries throughout the village for two hours on a Friday afternoon, adding a little spice to the already festive atmosphere of the Mendocino Music Festival.
Alex de Grassi & Andrew York & Workshop Students at the Mendocino Music Festival
Saturday, July 20, 2019
Preston Hall, Mendocino
Alex and Andrew have been performing a number of concerts together for the past several years in a program equally divided between duos and solos. Blending the sounds of steel and nylon strings, their repertoire consists of original compositions and arrangements that cross many genres—from classical, to folk, to pop and even improvisational jazz.
The duo has performed together at the Mendocino Music Festival every year since 2016 when Los Angeles-based Andrew York joined Alex in teaching at the Mendocino Guitar Workshop. A highlight of each concert is a guitar ensemble performance composed expressly for the workshop—in 2019, they premiered Durbin Watson, Alex’s composition for guitar orchestra. Check out the video to get an idea what to expect. Always something fresh off the page at this concert!