Guitar League switches homebase

Ellen Leahy 10/10/08More articles
The Syracuse Chapter of the Guitar League (GL) has moved its location.

Meetings are held at 7 p.m. on the first Monday of each month (except holidays).

It was formerly in the Syracuse Center 4 Arts at 728 E. Genesee St. across from the Renniasance Hotel. The future of this historic building is in question, so the league has moved to The Vineyard Church, 312 Lakeside Road in Lakeland.

GL’s trinity
The Syracuse GL was founded in April of 2005 by three area players: Jim Horsman, Loren Barrigar and Dick Ward.

There were 18 players the first night and now the membership numbers more than 100. About 90 percent of the members are living room guitarists; about 10 percent play out occasionally, with several of these playing regularly. There also are a few full time professional musicians in the club.

What are the meetings like?
The first hour features a special presenter focusing on an aspect of playing the instrument. Then the group splits into three groups based on self-detemined skill level - Rookies, Minors and Majors. There is a presentation in each group that is appropriate to that level. Each month’s Rookie or Minor presentation, for example, is self-contained such that you do not have to have been there the previous month to participate. These are not guitar lessons, just workshop type presentations. The players can take content home from each session that will make them better players.

In the past GL had a luthier talk about guitar set up and maintenance. Other meetings have featured players who make a living with their guitars. A recent presentation featured the business side of playing out. Other subjects included a seminar on mapping the fretboard, a nationally known builder of resonator guitars, and a musician/psychologist discussed performance anxiety.

Usually at the end of the second segment there is time for a couple of people in each level to play a song for the group. There is never pressure for anyone to play; though there is a lot of positive encouragement.

Players gather during and after the meetings to swap licks and play.

It’s all over by 9 p.m.

The first meeting is always free. From then on a person can join by paying dues ($50 per year) or pay as you go ($5 per meeting).

Member also get:
-Substantially reduced pricing on concert tickets and workshops.
(This is a big feature.)
-Free link to their Web site from GL Web site
-Free listing of gigs on Web site forum
Full details are at guitarleague.com.

GL concerts and workshops
The GL also promotes concerts for the membership and the public. This series was kicked off in April 2005 with renowned guitar man Tommy Emmanuel to two sold out shows in Syracuse. Harp guitarist, Stephen Bennett and Chet Atkins’ associate and Grammy winner, John Knowles did concerts and workshops earlier in 2006. In 2007, they had a “Bases Loaded Tours” with Stephen Bennett, Laurence Juber and Tommy Emmanuel. Each performer was scheduled for concerts and workshops in three nearby cities: Syracuse, Rochester and Ithaca.

This year the Loren Barrigar’s Guitar Masters Concert Series began
Next up at bat is Grammy Winner John Knowles.
Knowles, Chet Atkins’ “right hand man” for more than 35 years, makes his third visit to central New York at the invitation of the GL. Over the years, Knowles has worked with the cream of the crop in the fingerstyle world, including Chet Atkins, Jerry Reed, Lenny Breau and the Romero family and now tours with Tommy Emmanuel.

Knowles, is a renowned guitarist, arranger and teacher, he will make a concert appearance and conduct an acoustic guitar workshop.

Knowles work has garnered a Grammy and two Emmy nominations. In 1996, Chet awarded Knowles the first CGP degree (Certified Guitar Player). Only three such degrees have been awarded. (By the way, Knowles also holds a Ph.d in Physics, and is reported to be one of the funniest people on the planet).

Guitarists around the world subscribe to and learn from Knowles’ FingerStyle Quarterly, a publication offering instruction and song arrangements. In 1996, Knowles was inducted in to The National Thumb Picker’s Hall of Fame. More at: johnknowles.com/.

GL special concert details
Concert: 7:30 p.m. Sunday, Oct. 19,
At Creekside Books and Coffee, 35 Fennell St., Skaneateles
Tickets $25, (GL members, $20
Creekside 698-0379.
Tickets for both events also available in Syracuse at
The Edge,223 Walton St, Armory Square, Syracuse, 428-0668,
Acoustic Guitar Workshop: Saturday, Oct. 18,
To register: James@guitarleague.com or call James Horan, 952.7224
Location to be announced. Maximum of 15 attendees guarantees personal, one-on-one attention.

New directions:
Coming from Syracuse on 690 west, take exit 5, on State Fair Blvd, the first exit past the fair grounds, heading toward Baldwinsville. At the bottom of the ramp, turn left and take the second right on Lakeside Road. Look for the church sign on your right. There is plenty of parking. Enter the church on the right hand side of the building, just past the overhead door. Please do not use the front door. Don’t forget to bring your guitar.

A note from Dick Ward
Guitar players are funny sometimes.
For example many people think that they are not good enough to come to something like the Guitar League. Not true! We have players of all levels, including folks who only know three chords.

They think we sit around in a circle taking turns. Not true! The Guitar league is completely different; you never have to play in front of people unless you want to.
Guitar League is a community of over 100 people who love the instrument. We all want to learn to improve our playing and are able to do that as a group, with mutual support.

Come check out the Guitar League. The first meeting is always free and if you are nervous, you don’t even have to bring your guitar!

TAGS: Guitar League,Ward,Barrigar,Knowles,Chet Atkins,Vineyard church,lakeland
EDITION: The Eagle

Rating: 2.4/5 (15 votes cast)

Comments powered by Disqus

Local Entertainment Archive


Talk to Us!
We want you to know that your opinion matters. Please complete our online form and give us your feedback today.