American Fingerstyle Guitarist

Private Lessons

Fingerstyle guitar legend Duck Baker is offering

private lessons via Skype 


(instruction is offered in Italian as well as in English)
duck0006Among the most highly regarded American fingerstyle guitarists of his generation, Duck has been a significant influence in many different musical camps, from traditional Irish music to American old time country, blues, ragtime, and gospel, to almost every style of jazz from swing to modern to free improvisation. Unfortunately, health problems have curtailed his touring activities, though he remains very active composing and arranging, both for solo guitar and the jazz trio and quartet he still works with in London. He also has more time for teaching, and the wonders of modern technology make it easy to do this online. 
Baker has been a guitar teacher for almost as long as he has been a guitarist, which is at this point closer to 50 years than anyone has a right to ask. Several well known guitarists have taken lessons and/or workshops with Duck over the years, including the likes of Steve Hicks, Peppino D’Agostino and Pat Kirtley. Not counting tab/music books that have accompanied many of his records, Duck has authored a half-dozen instructional books, an equal number of tutorial audio recordings, and about a dozen instructional DVD’s. He has taught in several of the best known teaching camps in America and at private workshops on four continents. For all this extensive experience, Duck is as happy teaching intermediate students as professional guitarists looking for pointers about advanced techniques or arranging tricks. No one should wonder whether they are good enough to take lessons in fingerstyle guitar with Duck Baker, as long as they can play some basic fingerpicking tunes. And indeed, plectrum-players who want to learn swing chording or study arranging are also welcome to sign up.
The most important thing to know is that you will be studying with a teacher who does love to teach, who approaches every student differently, and teaches each one things they are interested in. The usual focus is on technical problems, and these are tackled in the context of arrangements in which they occur. Every person has a different set of problems, and Duck’s long experience with the hundreds of students he has taught over the years has given him not only insight into the different things that have worked for different people, but a flair for finding new solutions to suit the individual.
The pricing of the lessons is basically what Duck would charge for private students at his home, £45 per hour, or €50 or $65. This is the per hour rate, and students will not be charged for interrupted service. The first lesson will include an extra 15 minutes in the case of first-time students, so that Duck will have a clearer idea of how to proceed. Note also that students who are really pressed to afford this rate can ask for a discount, and that those who are well off should pay a bit more, to enable Duck to be able to teach the others. Also note that those who purchase as many as four at a time will get a discount (£160, €180 or $220). Payment is easiest by PayPal, or in the UK by bank transfer.  


1) Beginning intermediate fingerstyle: Open to guitarists who have done some pattern picking or used their fingers a little, or who are already fairly proficient enough at another guitar discipline that starting with absolute basic right-hand technique is not necessary.
2) Irish, Scottish, American and other traditional tunes:
   a) repertoire (specific arrangements)
   b) ideas for arranging traditional tunes
2) Blues, Gospel:
   a) repertoire (specific arrangements) 
   b) ideas for making arrangements, and perhaps some practical theory to help with this, but only if the student wants it!
   c) improvisation, either single-note lines or with bass accompaniment (alternating bass or drone bass)
2) Ragtime:
   a) repertoire 
   b) arranging ragtime and similar tunes
3) Swing Jazz:
   a) repertoire 
   b) arranging swing tunes
   c) improvisation, either single-note lines or with bass accompaniment (alternating bass or half-note bass lines)
   d) swing chording; how to make the chord shapes we need for these tunes and how to use them.
4) Modern Jazz:
   a) repertoire 
   b) arranging jazz tunes
   c) improvisation, either single-note lines or with half-note bass accompaniment 
   d) modern jazz chording; augmenting our vocabulary from swing chords to more modern voicings, and understanding some of the ways we can use substitutions.
6) Composing: Duck can give all kinds of advice to more advanced players on how to develop and organize their own musical ideas.
Anyone interested should get in touch and give an idea of which style or styles they are interested in, what sort of things they are able to do, and what sort of things they want to be able to do (within reason!). 
To send a message, use the form below:
Notes about Playing level:
Beginner = Beginner Fingerstyle   
Beginning Intermediate = Beginning to Intermediate Fingerstyle
(some experience with playing tunes with an alternating bass) 
Intermediate Advanced = Intermediate Advanced Fingerstyle
(able to play alternating bass lines  comfortably, and able to play something beyond the simpler tunes in this style)  
Advanced = Advanced Fingerstyle
Other = Please indicate (for instance classical background or plectrum player)

Comments or questions are welcome.

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