Strumming for all musical tastes

02:52, Nov 22 2011
Strumming fun: Teaching guitar workshops starting on Monday are, from left, Ross Halliday, Burt Ropiha, Brian Hatcher and Frank John, in the Guitar Concepts teaching studio.

Four Taranaki guitar stars are keen to help other strummers this summer.

Frank John, Brian Hatcher, Ross Halliday and Burt Ropiha, who have all been part of G-TARanaki, are running a series of workshops at the New Plymouth Rockshop, from this month through to February.

And you can take your pick of everything from absolute beginners through to finger skills, jazz, rock and blues.

"We're catering for beginners to advanced - we don't want to exclude anyone," says Rockshop man Frank, who is in a duo with wife Erin Manu and now a trio called The Fedz with Cameron "Dusty" Burnell.

"It doesn't matter what their level of expertise is, we will give them something to do. It's very interactive and we want people to bring their own instruments."

All four are big on involvement, rather than having someone up front performing.


The men say they are running the workshops because they want to share their guitar-playing knowledge with others, something they have done before.

"One of the biggest benefits for the students who have turned up for the clinics is that they have access to all the other players," says Burt, who has the Guitar Concepts teaching studio in New Plymouth.

Rock and blues man Brian agrees:"There are a lot of good players in this town and I remember at the last workshop there were good players there who hadn't met one another."

The workshops also allow people to try guitar-playing styles they may not have considered.

"There's a big difference between playing rock electric guitar, jazz guitar and finger-picking acoustic guitar," says Brian, who has played with Tom Sharplin and the Cadillacs, and worked alongside other New Zealand greats, including Ray Columbus, Midge Marsden, the late Tommy Adderley and Suzanne Lynch.

Burt, who is in the Taranaki Guitar Trio (TGT) and a covers band called Culture Clash, says it doesn't matter what age people are, they can still learn the guitar.

"I see that in my studio here. I have some adults playing within two terms and they are doing everything from finger-style guitar like Tracy Chapman to More Than Words by Extreme," he says.

"Nothing beats seeing a student's eyes light up when they get a break through."

Ross feels the same way.

"It really is the joy brought to the students when, through sheer hard work and application, these kids become something special," says the jazz man, who is in a duo called Off The Cuff and another band called Out To Brunch.

The workshops are: November 28, finger-style guitar; December 14, absolute beginners; January 18, jazz; and February 15, rock and blues. All the workshops are on from 7pm to 8.30pm. Contact Frank John at the New Plymouth Rockshop on 769 6270 to book your place.