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Would you like to accurately learn and play the music of the Grateful Dead? At each session, participants will learn two or three songs with song specific soloing strategies and extensive jamming. Each session is two and a half hours. Each session is limited to six participants.

The objective of these workshops is for individuals to express their developing concepts and performance skills in an organized context through the use of charts that demonstrate specific song forms, soloing strategies that are song specific, and learning techniques that utilize modern technology. Additionally, the workshop will foster stronger group cohesion, rhythmic synchronization, and group groove.

I have been coordinating a Grateful Dead Song and Jam group since 2010. The same group of people have been getting together monthly to play and celebrate the music of the Grateful Dead. These sessions are a lot of fun. Now, through Meet Up.com, I'm looking to help more folks learn to play the music of the Grateful Dead with others.


This group is open to any and all instrumentalists and vocalists. Drums, bass, keys and guitarists learn to interlock and groove. Vocalists learn to place their melody into the wideness of the beat. Attention to detail is spent on tempos, grooves, and dynamics. Charts notate where in the beat the chords change. Participants learn song specific soloing strategies to develop dramatically compelling solos. Refinement of details transforms an ordinary song rendition into the highest level playing experience.


The music of the Grateful Dead is a lot of fun to play solo and with others. However, learning the music of the Grateful Dead can be problematic because there are many versions of any single song. This is how I can help you learn. This song and jam group is organized and structured so that participants actually learn the music the way the Grateful Dead played it. The charts I use relate to specific studio and/or live performances and function as default arrangements. I learned these parts from recordings and videos of band performances. The charts are clear about song form, intros, chord progressions, turnarounds, interludes and endings. Both Jerry Garcia and Bob Weir’s parts will be taught. The charts demonstrate the correct rhythms, chord voicings, riffs and song form. In some cases, actual Phil Lesh bass lines have been transcribed. The Grateful Dead, like many bands, shows that compositions may be flexible and improvisations may be structured.

Note to budding song writers and improvisers - understanding song form helps one to better develop a dramatic arc, memorize songs more easily and improves one’s ability to improvise and compose.


As we learn each song, participants will learn the correct chord progressions and song forms; the actual chord voicings Jerry used; the actual chord voicings Bob used; specific chord progressions used during the improv sections; pentatonic/blues boxes for soloing; chord/scale combinations; Jerry's use of chromaticism; complicated ostinatos; inversion of guitar roles; use of triads; alternating triads as an improvisational tool; modal scales as an improvisational tool; variations on tone production through the use of hybrid picking; and rhythm guitar adaptations of keyboard parts using two and three-note voicings with palm muting techniques.

As the group coordinator, I will discuss how to build solos and the group will jam on those songs. This is an opportunity to master your soloing skills. However, there is no obligation to improvise. There won’t be any pressure to do so. People may simply strum along and enjoy that participation.

Although actual songs that the group covers is at the coordinator's discretion, group suggestions play a big part. In previous sessions we have learned and jammed on over 50 songs including: Alabama Getaway, Bertha, Big River, Birdsong, Black Muddy River, Brown Eyed Women, Casey Jones, China Cat Sunflower, Deal, El Paso, Eyes Of The World, Fire On The Mountain, Franklin's Tower, Friend Of The Devil, Goin' Down The Road Feeling Bad, Good Lovin’, I Know You Rider, Jack-A-Roe, Jackstraw, Johnny B. Goode, Little Red Rooster, Lovelight, Me and My Uncle, Might As Well, New Minglewood Blues, Peggy-O, Scarlet Begonias, Sugar Magnolia, Sugaree, Terrapin Station, Touch Of Grey, Truckin', Uncle John’s Band, US Blues.


I am a professional musician with over 40 years experience. I began playing the guitar at four years old and performing professionally at 15. I've performed all over the world at countless venues and festivals. Additionally, I teach privately and at a variety of music schools. As a performer and recording artist I play many styles of music including rock, blues, jazz and folk.

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