July 23-27, 2018
Acoustic Guitar Camp

Photos by Stewart Dean
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Acoustic Guitar Camp

Monday, July 23–Friday, July 27, 2018

Swing, Bluegrass, Blues, Jazz, Celtic, Pop, Folk and Country—plus practical music theory, mini-concerts, jam sessions and song swaps. World class guitar instruction featuring a variety of levels and styles including flatpicking, fingerpicking and more!

Ashokan Acoustic Guitar Camp offers guitarists of all levels an opportunity for real immersion and growth on the instrument in a friendly environment where people can sing, jam and share valuable musical information.

You’ll come away with new repertoire and techniques, a reinvigorated sense of direction and purpose, and a greater confidence and joy in creating music.

There’ll be classes in blues, country, finger-picking, flat-picking, Bluegrass, blues and jazz/swing melody and accompaniment. Levels from beginner to advanced will allow you to hone your existing skills or try something new.

Each instructor will offer two classes a day. There are four 90 minute class periods each day with four classes each period. You’ll have the opportunity to study with more than one instructor and take as many as four classes a day. While it’s best to stick with a class for all three days, you are free to switch if you find a class doesn’t suit your needs.

Evenings will include hosted jams, mini-concerts and presentations, where instructors will talk about and demonstrate their musical influences, share their iPods and answer questions.

While the 2018 daily camp schedule is in development, you can view staff and photos from last year’s Acoustic Guitar Camp.

Instructors for 2018 (In development… more staff listed soon!)

Our instructors are among the top in their craft. Each has a wealth of performing and teaching experience and is eager to connect with students of all abilities by being open and accessible. Our staff has also been selected to be musically simpatico. We hope that you are as enticed by the prospect of exciting musical collaborations – planned and impromptu – as we are. We look forward to a week rich in stylistic cross-pollination, discovery and musical fun!

Peter Davis

Guitar for Beginners and Near Beginners
How Chord Progressions Work (All Levels)


Beppe Gambetta headshotBeppe Gambetta

Introduction to Flatpicking (All Levels)
Accompaniment and Backup Guitar (All Levels)


Peter Davis (New York), Camp Organizer
Annie & the Hedonists, Reggie’s Red Hot Feetwarmers, Whippersnappers  

Peter Davis’ Classes

Guitar for Beginners and Near Beginners
Acquire the necessary skills to begin or improve your journey with guitar.  Get strategies for learning and find the pathway best for you.

  • Exercises and scales to strengthen your fingers.
  • Learn how the guitar fretboard works
  • The benefits of learning tablature and/or standard notation
  • Chords:  how to group and practice them.
  • Transposing: find the right key for your voice
  • How to survive in a jam session.
  • Intro to Improvising

How Chord Progressions Work (All Levels)
Learn some simple, practical secrets of how chords go together to make chord progressions,and how musicians think and communicate about chords using the number system. Common progressions in folk, ragtime, jazz, country & pop are explained and practiced in class.

About Peter Davis…

Peter’s multi instrumentalism includes clarinet, alto sax, 5-string & tenor banjo, piano, guitar, mandolin and whistle as well as an intuitive approach to a variety of musical genres including traditional folk, blues, vintage pop and jazz forms.

Peter Davis’s parents told him that when he was one year old,  he was scat singing arias from Rigoletto.  When he was five, Peter took piano lessons with an acclaimed teacher, but after six months he was fired as a student because he was playing by ear instead of reading notes. At eight, Peter finally connected with his private clarinet teacher, and continued five years of lessons, culminating in playing the Mozart clarinet concerto. It was then that he was handed a saxophone in 8th grade band class and was introduced to the 12 bar blues progression and Elvis Presley. In 9th grade, Peter was playing  rock and roll music with older kids in bars around Babylon, Long Island.  His dad bought him a Selmer saxophone and a Gibson guitar and sent him to a local teacher who taught him chord/melody stylings of standards. For 10th-12th grade, Peter was sent to Quaker boarding school where he was exposed to political activism and folk music and listened a lot to Bach, Thelonius Monk, Mississippi John Hurt and Earl Scruggs. At SUNY Binghamton Peter minored in music –  played in a jug and bluegrass band,  had one of his music theory classes taught by John Cage – acted in plays, sang in a doo wop and madrigal groups and played reeds in pit bands for musicals. Peter spent three years in Malawi, Central Africa where he directed his school’s a capella group and jammed South African zulu jive with some of his students.

Peter’s current projects include Annie and the Hedonists,  Whippersnappers, an eclectic string band; Reggie’s Red Hot Feetwarmers, a dixieland jazz band, which is the house band at Saratoga Racecourse each summer as well as Peter, Paul, and George, a group that does elementary school residencies in traditional music and dancing; Lindy Hop Heaven, Peter’s own swing dance band; and The Clayfoot Strutters, a rocked-out contradance band from Vermont.  He loves playing music with Jay and Molly and Swingology….


Beppe Gambetta
Composer, teacher, and researcher of traditional music and instruments,
a flatpicking master… a “virtual United Nations of musical influences.”  

Beppe Gambetta’s Classes

Introduction to Flatpicking (All Levels)
This class will introduce the main characteristic and aesthetic of Flatpicking: the technique developed in the American tradition by exceptional artists like Doc Watson, Norman Blake, Tony Rice and many more.  Guitarists that are not specifically trained in Flatpicking style will find an intriguing potential in the expressions of this traditional technique. The timing, syncopation, tone, groove and music choices that can be learned from old Fiddle Tunes and Carter Family Style melodies are treasures that many artists continue to enjoy today and apply to the music of our modern times.  The journey into the style will touch the main technical aspects: from the picking of the single notes, to strumming, to arpeggios and crosspicking, and all the combinations of them. We will use exercises and tunes and look for the perfect balanced practice, from the traditional material to the more progressive developments, exploring the potential of the style in many directions.

Accompaniment and Backup Guitar (Beginner/Intermediate)
In this class we will learn, examine and train the basic elements of the accompaniment and backup guitar.  A good accompaniment involves Grooves and Rhythm Patterns, Strumming and Arpeggios, Rhythm Licks, Bass Runs, Fill in Licks,  Bass Lines and more. It requires great attention and patience to train yourself to blend all these elements and place them tastefully into the music. You must also work carefully so that your right hand has control of dynamics, muted or percussive parts and more.  We will learn to do this with specific exercises and examples from well-known tunes and songs to practice with.

About Beppe Gambetta

From his unique background as an Italian musician in love with both American roots music as well as the music of his native country, Beppe has travelled the world and even crossed the “Iron Curtain” to dazzle and charm music enthusiasts everywhere. After eleven CDs, DVDs, teaching books and collaborations with many other top-flight musicians, Gambetta is increasingly known as one of the true live master innovators of the acoustic guitar.

While Beppe still lives in his native Genova, he travels to North America at least three times each year. His reputation in the U.S. and Canada is reinforced by his participation in prestigious festivals like the Walnut Valley Festival in Winfield, Kansas, Merlefest in North Carolina, the Four Corners Festival in Colorado and Canadian Folk Festivals in Winnipeg and Edmonton, as well as events like the radio shows “All Things Considered” and “E-Town”. Beppe has performed in prestigious rooms like the Ryman Auditorium in Nashville, Tennessee and the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York. In his career he has performed with some great heroes of the folk scene like David Grisman, Gene Parsons, Doc Watson, Norman Blake and with the band Men Of Steel: an international guitar summit (Dan Crary, Tony McManus and Don Ross) of different guitar schools with complex musical interactions. In a world dominated by the trends and logic of the market Gambetta’s playing and singing stand out for their intimate emotions, communication, research in tone, sobriety and humour. An inspired music that modestly avoids relying solely on his high level of technical excellence, but also reveals the innermost feelings of a brilliant, playful mind that is always exploring and innovating while staying firmly routed in tradition.



While the 2018 daily camp schedule is in development, you can view information and photos from last year’s Acoustic Guitar camp.

Tuition & Meals

Tuition includes all classes, dances, workshops, and meals. Lodging is additional. Work exchange and youth scholarships are available.

Adults:  $635
Youth (ages 13-25):  $530
Children (ages 5-12):  $425
Parent/Guardian*  $385
Children under 5:  FREE

*Camp attendees under 18 must be accompanied by a parent or guardian. We offer a special Parent/Guardian rate which includes meals, dance and concert, but no classes.

You may select omnivore, no red meat, vegan, vegetarian and gluten-free meals. We make every effort to include a range of allergen-free dishes and to inform diners of meal ingredients.


Enjoy the full Ashokan experience and choose comfortable onsite lodging as part of the registration process. More information and costs here.

Payment/Cancellation/Refund Policy

You may hold your place with a deposit of $150. Full payment is due no later than six weeks before camp begins.

Partial refunds are available until two weeks before camp begins. To cancel, please log into the account you created when registering on Regonline and select the option to cancel. Cancellation fees apply.

Please refer to our official payment/cancellation/refund policy for important deadlines and dates for this workshop.

What to Bring, When to Arrive and Transportation

  • If you are staying onsite: Sleeping bag or sheets, blankets, pillowcases, towels, soap, toiletries. Pillows are available. There are light quilts in each private room and a small number of light blankets for those bunkhouse residents who are unable to bring one of their own. If you will need us to provide one, please let us know well in advance and we’ll do our best.
  • Flashlight, camera.
  • Clothes and shoes for both wet and dry weather.

See the Important Information about Acoustic Guitar Camp for details about what to bring, when to arrive, directions to Ashokan and more.

Youth Pricing and Scholarship Fund

We’re excited about the growing interest in traditional music and dancing among young people–the future is in their hands. To help young people take part in Ashokan Music & Dance Camps, we offer major discounts for children and young adults and have established a Youth Scholarship Fund. Anyone age 25 or younger can apply by filling out our Youth Scholarship Application.

Work Exchange

A limited number of work exchange positions are available to partially defray the cost of the camp. A list of work exchange positions can be found here.

Indicate your first three choices of positions during online registration and make a deposit of $150 or more to hold your registration.

Contact us by phone (845) 246-2121, or email office@ashokan.org for details.


Registration will once again be available online. Watch for our announcements on facebook (see below).

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