To Learn more about Pete Madsen's music and performances or about the band Buzzy Frets please check out www.buzzyfrets.com


Rockabilly Guitar  

Wednesdays/7-8:15pm — begins November 5


Form Elvis Presley to the Stray Cats Rockabilly has been one of the most exciting sounds in rock music. Blending elements of Country, Blues, Hillbilly, and Rock and Roll it has become a playground for some very cool picking. We will cover classic songs like “Mystery Train,” “Be-Bop-A-Lula,” “Rock this Town,” “Hot Rod Lincoln,” and other hip cat songs. We will cover fingerpicking (ala Merle Travis), scorching single-string lines (ala Bill Kirchen), along with some swinging rhythm and blues-based lead lines. Participants should be comfortable playing chords up and down the neck and have some familiarity with basic blues shuffles and scales.

Fingerpicking the Blues

Six Wednesdays/8:30-9:45 — begins November 5


Do you love the playing of Robert Johnson, Big Bill Broonzy, Son House or Delta and Piedmont blues in general? Unlock the mystery of the right hand in blues fingerpicking. This class is designed for the beginning blues fingerpicker: you will learn about playing a constant bass with your thumb over a melody line played with your fingers. First we will learn about “dead-thumb” – playing a single string bass, with melody notes played on other strings. Then we will try an “alternating bass” – a bass that travels between two or more strings. The bass in early blues recordings drove the music with a“chug” and a “bounce” that helped give the music its special rhythmic characteristics.

Participants should have knowledge of first position guitar chords…beyond that just a love of blues and a desire to learn is all that is needed.


Thursdays/7-8:15pm — begins November 6

Many Blues guitarists relied on open tunings to create their exciting and haunting sounds. In this class we will work mainly with open G (DGDGBD) and open D tunings (DADF#AD), as well as D minor (DADFAD). Robert Johnson, Charlie Patton, Bukka White, Skip James, Memphis Minnie, Mississippi John Hurt and many others all chose to play and compose in these tunings. We will look at phrases, chord voicings and songs and how various players shared or altered common licks and riffs. Participants should be be familiar with the genre and have some fingerpicking experience.


Thursdays/8:30-9:45pm  begins November 6

Slide playing is personal...it alludes to that quality of the human voice where we slip from note to note with a range of microtones and rhythmic expression. The wail of a blues singer is emulated by the sound of steel or glass slid along steel strings...it haunts us. The purpose of this class is to introduce the student to the sound, techniques, and evocations of slide guitar. We will focus on blues playing, but based on the level of participants and student interest we may venture into other song forms from rock and jazz. We will learn the styles of players like Robert Johnson, Son House, John Fahey, Ry Cooder and others. We will play in several different tunings (e.g. open D and open G), as well as standard tuning (EADGBE). We will play several different rhythm grooves to accompany our slide playing.

Pete Madsen has been teaching and performing in the Bay Area for over twenty years. His musical specialty is the art and craft of fingerstyle blues, ragtime and slide guitar.Websites:



To register contact the Freight and Salvage

2020 Addison St. Berkeley, CA,

 www.thefreight.org, (510)644-2020

E-MAIL: buzzyfrets@yahoo.com
PHONE: (510)708-8874

I'm a beginning guitar player and have been Pete's student for a few months and wanted to write him up here because I couldn't imagine having found a better teacher. I tried a few other people before going to Pete and the difference is amazing. While most guitar teachers know how to play, Pete also knows how to teach.
He's great at explaining things, great at showing technique, he sends an audio recording of each lesson to your email address (a HUGE help), and teaches you songs that you want to play. In addition to all this his rates are good and he's a cool, easy-going, guitar-loving guy…
--private student

looked forward to the class every week. Even though we were at different skill levels, Pete provided each of us with personal attention which inspired us all to practice. It was fun and rewarding to see myself (and all the other students) improve over the period of the class. Highly recommended!
Bob, student from class

Pete Madsen’s blues guitar classes at the Freight are just great! You learn a lot, and it is incredible fun. I honestly cannot get enough!
– student from class

i been playing for quite a while but not correct finger picking cant sink so this is nice and clear teaching i too think this is one of the best thanks bro
– youtube comment

Thanks for the good video on_ your blues lesson. You explained clearly and broke it down just enough keep up the blues lessons friend God bless

jo bro you helped me so much understand more about_ fingerpicking and syncopation. please keep on teaching man, your one of the best around…
--youtube comment

Took Pete’s Acoustic Blues class.......it was everything I hoped for. He really helped me wrap my head around the fingerpicking that had eluded me for years....thanks again!
I'm looking forward to studying with him again in the future.
-- student from class