With 47 years of experience on the acoustic guitar, Rolly has been a National Fingerpicking Champion and a Philadelphia Music Award nominee. He has performed at the Philadelphia Folk Festival, the Tasmanian Folk Festival, and tons of places in between. He hosted the Guitar Wizards radio show which ran on public radio in Pennsylvania, Maryland, and Maine for several years, introducing listeners to guitarists and techniques usually searched out only by total guitar maniacs.
Tablature/music is available as a PDF file for each lesson. Lessons are filmed with multiple cameras and consist of a performance, explanation, and conclude with a slow tempo split screen that follows the tab/music.
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Duke Ellington penned this very accessible blue jazz song, with a great lyric. Played here in the key of E, this arrangement could serve as a model for
many traditional blues tunes as well.
One of the most iconic folk guitar instrumentals of the 20th century. Davy Graham created it, and Paul Simon popularized it (in the US, at least,) but only after a young Bert Jansch perfected it. His arrangement is the definitive one, plumbing the depths of its dark, driving allure. Standard tuning in the key of A minor.
Written by Ray Henderson, this tune features a rising chromatic bass line that implies an elegant voice-leading chord progression, which we explore in
the lesson, and variations of which can form the framework of tunes like "Ain't Misbehavin'" and "Makin' Whoopee." Key of G.
Featuring perhaps the most recognizable Bert Jansch vamp ever, this arrangement of a traditional British folk song in Drop D tuning is one of the most popular recordings Bert ever made. It’s challenging, gritty, and filled with interesting turns, fingerings, and idiosyncratic “Bert-isms”. After Jimmy Page co-opted Bert’s guitar arrangement on the first Led Zeppelin album, the “Bert Jansch sound” was heard by a mass audience.
Jackson C. Frank's song, which became a classic in British folk clubs, is here given the Bert Jansch treatment; a slightly hotrodded chord progression, some challenging pulls and hammers. Standard tuning, alternating bass, in the key of G.
Mose Allison's jazz/blues rant on the absurdity of our world makes a wonderful blues in the key of E with its' very particular chord progression.
A lot of Bert’s arrangements in Drop D tuning sound like they’re in DADGAD tuning. This is one that actually is in DADGAD. Bert’s arrangement of Ewan MacColl’s classic love ballad makes good use of the tuning, and explores the song in both abstract and more concrete terms.
Luiz Bonfa's lovely bossa works beautifully on the guitar in A minor, allowing for a floating technique both in the melody and in improvisations based
around the melody.
From West Coast jazz pianist Carl Perkins, a moody jazz ballad in E minor. This arrangement will challenge your left hand flexibility just enough to keep
you entertained, and the tune is lovely enough to keep your audience entertained.
Bert Jansch's take on a traditional English carol derived from a Christina Rossetti poem. Played in Drop D tuning, this is a stately arrangement, with little of the gritty snap of many Jansch settings, but it has a lovely little turn up the neck.
"Mobile", by R. Wells & D. Holt, is a lovely ode to the city of that name, with a lazy Southern flavor reminiscent of many Hoagy Carmichael tunes.
It's a Dixieland standard, and falls very nicely on the guitar in the key of C.
A lesser known Hoagy Carmichael tune with a lilting feel of Southern gentility. The guitar arrangement is in the key of G, and stands equally well as an
instrumental solo or a vocal accompaniment.
A fairly straightforward folky original by Bert Jansch features a quirky and beautifully wrought guitar arrangement, with some challenging fingerings and a sweet move up the neck, showing Bert�۪s elegant mixing of open and closed string voicings. Key of G, in standard tuning.
Written by Johnny Green, this tune is a great "starter" piece for blues or folk players looking to learn jazz on the guitar, with just enough "outside"
sounds to challenge the ear. Played in the key of G, it utilizes a small vocabulary of chord fingerings to create a lot of music.
This lyrically and melodically upbeat little Harold Arlen tune is more "standard" than "jazz," making it a pretty easy piece to get a handle on. We do
it here in the key of C, and it serves as a great vehicle for implementing some "double stop" chord fragments in an organized way.
Reynardine is an enigmatic British traditional ballad. Interpretations of the lyric have identified Reynardine either as a seductive bandit or a supernatural “werefox”. Either way, Bert created a compelling, challenging, and perfectly suited guitar arrangement to complement the archetypal “Beware Young Girls!” lyric. Drop D tuning at its best!
A great entry level Bert Jansch tune, played in standard tuning in the key of G, featuring a combination of familiar and not-so-familiar chord fingerings and constant alternate bass rhythm.
Hoagy is one of my favorite composers, and "Skylark" is one of my favorite Hoagy tunes. Played here in Bb, this tune is a compositional masterpiece, offering
the student the opportunity to absorb many new chord shapes.
One of the most enduring jazz ballads of the 20th century, from the pen of the inimitable Hoagy Carmichael. The addition here of the slightly less well-known
verse makes this lesson a "twofer." Two complete and separate chord progression/melodies in the key of C.
Legendary California guitarist Steve Mann totally reinvented this Blind Lemon Jefferson lyric with one of the hippest guitar arrangements ever. Played
in the key of A, and featuring some of Steve's signature techniques.
Blues ala Bert Jansch. Even playing a straightforward blues, Bert's style was unique and immediately identifiable. Standard tuning in the key of A, with some great bends and unexpected chord changes.
From Isham Jones, this jazz standard in Bb can serve as a crucible for creating blues lines within the jazz genre, which is what we discuss after getting
the basic tune down.
A most memorable Gershwin tune, paired here with its rarely heard verse or "recitative." Arranged in the key of C, the verse include an E major modulation,
and the bridge goes into E minor. 3 keys for the price of one!
Penned by Alex North for a movie entitled "Unchained," this tune has far outlived the film that spawned it. Taking advantage of the rich warmth of
Drop D tuning, this is one of my most requested arrangements.