Fingerstyle, Bottleneck Slide Guitar & Songwriting Workshop

Pictured above: Slide guitar workshop at MusicWorks, Christchurch New Zealand 

A few places Ruth has presented guitar workshops 

Picknbow Guitar Camp: Durham NC (

SERFA (South East Regional Folk Alliance)  Black Mountain NC

South Florida Acoustic Music Festival: Davie FL

The Canterbury Folk Festival:  Waipara New Zealand 

Music Works: New Plymouth NZ, Christchurch NZ, Auckland NZ, Hamilton NZ

1. Songwriting Structures and Prompts
Get new ideas flowing, write a new song or tweak a song that you started but don’t know how to finish. In this class we will go over song structures, chord progressions and keys and we will do a series of songwriting exercises and prompts I used while working in Nashville and New York’s Songwriter’s Associations. (aimed at any level)

2. Bottle Neck Slide
Open G or D tuning is the fastest and best way to learn technique, and positions on slide guitar. In this class we will learn how to use open tunings, how to mute for proper tone, how to use double stops, riffs and turnarounds. (aimed at any level)

  • 3. Guitar for Women:  A Workshop for Women AND MEN About Women in the Guitar World                                                                                                This is a demonstration and discussion about the myths, stigmas and blame of why women don’t play the guitar like men. After playing the guitar for over 50 years and teaching for 30 years, I’ve heard every excuse out there why girls don’t get as proficient as boys on guitar- our hands aren’t too small or too weak, our boobs don’t get in the way.  I’ve come to the conclusion that it’s not the advertiser, the guitar magazines, the guitar manufacturers or men’s fault.

The reasons are simple

  • We learn differently
  • We practice differently
  • We shop differently

I will discuss the reasons why some women excel in playing the guitar and some get by with three chords and a capo.   

I will demonstrate techniques that I’ve designed ie… finger exercises, chord inversions/movements,  styles of fingerpicking and flat picking, posture (how to hold the guitar sitting or standing) and how to shop for the right guitar made for your style of playing and body type.

I will also demonstrate the styles of several American women guitarists ie… Memphis Minnie, Sister Rosetta Tharp, Etta Baker, Mother Mabel Carter, Emily Remler, Bonnie Raitt, and their influence on the history and future of women guitar players.

4. Arranging a Song For Solo Guitar
In this class I’ll show how to work with the song’s chords to find the melody and work out a solo during a vocal break or as an instrumental. It can be just a simple movement of one finger to an advanced chord inversion, or retuning a few strings. (aimed at beginner to advanced beginner students)

(5) Rhythm & Riffs - "if you can tap it out - you can play it”
Weather you use a flat pick or fingerpick this class will show how to find the strumming or picking pattern by working with the song’s rhythm. I will also teach how to keep a rhythm pattern going and incorporate riffs, double stops and/or harmonics
(aimed at beginner to advanced beginner students

(6) ’What is This Chord and Why Does it Work’’
For the guitarist who knows 3 chords or 30 in this class I’ll explain the structure of chords and chord progressions, how to figure out and use borrowed chords, slash chords, moveable chords and sus chords. Sometimes it’s as simple as taking away a finger or adding a finger to take the song to another level. (aimed at more advanced students)