Behind the scenes at Guitoberfest

//Behind the scenes at Guitoberfest

Behind the scenes at Guitoberfest

I want to share with you what it is that goes into the making of something like Guitoberfest, an Online Classical Guitar Workshop.

As many of you might know, I ran Guitoberfest for the first time in 2014, and it was a live workshop in New York City. It was a great experience but I did run into a lot of scheduling conflicts with teachers and prospective students. Trying to align a group of people for multiple weekly sessions can be a challenge!

This year, after bumping into Kevin Gallagher on a city bus, I thought that running Guitoberfest Online would make a lot of sense. It would allow people to study at home when they had the time. But, this meant that I had to get all of the teaching on video before hand. These are not short lessons either we are talking hours and hours of footage.

I have been doing this kind of filming for my own purposes for several years, and I have learned a lot in the process. The pressure is low as I can re-take shots if I need. It can take a lot of time but it is not the end of the world if I make a mistake.

With this workshop however… I was using a lot of resources to hire talent, equipment and space. All of this was going to converge on one day and I had to get all the footage/audio in one hit.

I knew the key was going to be organization, so I was up till 3am two nights in a row getting everything in order and testing some new equipment. Mainly a lavalier mic (one that attaches to a shirt or top to record the voice).



Because we need to see both a straight on shot and close up details for technique demonstration, I used two dslr cameras (canon 6d if you are interested) One had a wide lens and the other a zoom lens to capture the hands. I employed a talented videographer for the zoom shots and she did a wonderful job. Coincidently, she is Ben Verdery’s daughter. After seeing her work on Ben’s videos I knew she was up to the task.

With two cameras you need to synch up audio otherwise hands are moving to the wrong sounds. In place of one of those stripey clackers (you know “take 1!”) I just asked the teachers to clap, which lead to a lot of silliness.




The audio was a bit of a jungle.

Two main microphones, a lavalier and a condeser (to pick up the guitar) and FIVE potential places for problems.

Lavalier transmitter – lavalier reciever – preamp going in to the computer – computer recording software – linked up to the main camera…

all of this leads to stress and slight paranoia, but it all worked out thanks to the testing I had done.




One of the real blessings of this process was that I am close with everyone involved. They are not only great artists in their own right, but wonderful people. Personally this is how I like to run projects, with people I believe in and people I like. It has always been a good recipe.





The final part is happening now, in fact this blog post is real time procrastination! I need to edit all the lessons to make them smooth, divide them into logical partitions and sub sections and add any necessary examples. If I get bored I might add in some mustaches or a cameo by Godzilla.


Stay tuned, and if you think you would like to join us, sign up here:


2016-10-24T00:19:50+00:004 Comments


  1. John Van Dyck September 9, 2015 at 9:00 pm - Reply

    Thx so much Simon for your work in getting this together. Can’t wait to experience the results of your labours. Do you ever sleep?? :-)

    • Simon September 9, 2015 at 11:39 pm - Reply

      Ha, I do sleep and I am very glad when it happens, but for most of the time I seem to do a good job at keeping myself on my toes…

      I love doing this job and building a community so it is very enjoyable despite the long hours.


  2. Paul Laveurt September 10, 2015 at 8:16 am - Reply

    Hi Simon,

    In my day job, I spend a lot of time animating and doing motion graphics for a living so I absolutely understand what you’re going through! What strikes me as very impressive is how multi-talented you are, the learning curve to produce ‘commercial quality’ videos can be tough and takes time and commitment to master the subtleties.

    Brilliant guitarist and now this, what vitamins you take? or is there something in the New York water?



  3. Linda Tsardakas September 10, 2015 at 9:08 pm - Reply

    Greetings from Germany! The preview of the videos is so enticing, I can hardly wait for Guitoberfest to begin!
    Best regards,

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