Tim Sparks’ long journey to the 1993 National Fingerstyle Guitar Championship, and beyond, began in Winston-Salem, North Carolina, when he started picking out tunes by ear on an old Stella flat top. He was given his first guitar when a bout of encephalitis kept him out of school for a year, and the music he heard around him was traditional country blues, and the gospel his grandmother played on piano in a small church in the Blue Ridge mountains, so that’s what he taught himself to play.
A musically-astute uncle heard him one day, and amazed he had come so far on his own, nominated him for a scholarship at the prestigious North Carolina School of the Arts. There he studied the classics with Segovia protegee Jesus Silva, while continuing to play all kinds of music, increasingly turning to classic jazz for inspiration. He adapted compositions by Jelly Roll Morton, Scott Joplin, and Fats Waller to the guitar, frequently reducing piano arrangements to their spare essence. Early influences were Doc Watson, Arthur Smith and, most importantly, Duck Baker, who opened up an horizon of possibilities for fingerstyle guitar. timsparks.com
There is no other guitar master of the style that has studied boogie-woogie as fastidiously as Tim Sparks. Likewise, no other guitar master that is able to present as complete a curriculum on boogie-woogie as Tim Sparks. Tim’s Fingerstyle Boogie Handbook is your definitive guide to learning everything you really need to know about fingerstyle boogie-woogie.
Tim will get you up and running quickly with his innovative and highly effective hands-on curriculum — you’ll play your way through the course, learning the necessary techniques and then immediately applying those skills across a series of performance studies.
Sparks cleverly utilizes eight fingerstyle masterpieces as a framework for presenting his curriculum. In the end you will add your own version of these eight tunes to your playlist, but make no mistake about it – this is NOT a repertoire building course. Quite the contrary.
Virtuoso acoustic wizard and fingerstyle master, Tim Sparks presents Fingerstyle Roots, Rags & Blues, an insightful exploration of Early Americana Roots music and intensive fingerstyle study program for intermediate and advanced students. Fingerstyle Roots, Rags & Blues covers Delta Blues, Country Gospel, New Orleans, Ragtime, Early Jazz and the most amazing version of “The Mississippi Blues” that we’ve ever seen performed or heard here at TrueFire.