When I think of Rick Washbrook and his ability to play guitar, I don't know where to start. There is so much to express.
Virtually every lesson with Rick Washbrook would open my eyes to new techniques, speed picking, and blues scales that became my foot hold for my spontaneous innovations on the guitar. He has a level of expertise in terms of knowledge and skill that cannot be put into words. Washbrook would start a lesson and as the time went by it felt like he was taking me to a sacred place.
From 2001 to 2003, I studied guitar with Rick Washbrook at the Sir William Mackenzie Inn located in Kirkfield, Ontario. At the time, he was living in the mansion originally built for Sir William Mackenzie, co-founder of the Canadian Northern Railway. Beside the Inn was the Gate House Restaurant where he performed a regular solo guitar show on Sunday nights.
To give you a hint of Rick Washbrook's dedication to his art, I can recall a timeless moment.
The Inn was not fully heated in the winter, only certain rooms. One particularly cold day in February we were freezing! In order to keep ourselves and our instruments warm during my guitar lesson, we had to sit close to the stove in the kitchen. He was a one-man music school. That pleasant image will stay in my mind forever. I could really see the dedication of the man’s mind as he sat there in front of the stove, generously pouring out his knowledge and love of the instrument. The music and conversation flowed with ease. From that day on, I felt that same dedication in me.
In 2004 when Rick Washbrook returned to Toronto, I continued studying with him by correspondence cassette tape lessons. At times I found it to be even more of a great learning experience because scattered between his guitar lessons on the cassette, he would tell little stories about the music business and his life on the road. I would then record a cassette of my progress and mail it back to him. I continued religiously with the cassette lessons a month for three years! My technique improved and my appreciation for the instrument grew immensely. Today I play my Blues licks faster and with more feel. I’ve been playing guitar for about 18 years now.
I wondered whether someone at Rick’s level could really teach me in a way that I could connect with, despite my limited experience. I found out that not only could Rick Washbrook teach, he would graciously share so much information on many styles of guitar and Blues guitar I love so much that I could spend months developing the techniques and exercises.
Rick Washbrook is a very giving person who sees music as something to be shared and not squandered. He treats the guitar like an orchestra, with six voices or strings that must be first trained before they are blended to produce beautiful harmonies. His way of thinking about the guitar and teaching methods are unique; he doesn’t rely on conventional textbook methods. He has sifted through his different learning processes over the years in order to develop his own teaching approach. Rick also has a deep respect for the late Canadian jazz fingerstyle guitar genius, Lenny Breau, and he taught me how to play many of Lenny's techniques. He was able to draw technical performances out of me that I never knew I possessed.
Anyone wanting to improve their playing in any guitar style would be amazed at the talent they discover within themselves after a lesson with Rick Washbrook.
Also watch Rick Washbrook on YouTube
By: Warren Graves
One Man / Music School / Rick Washbrook / Aurora / Blues Guitar Student Testimonial
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Rick Washbrook has 38 years experience playing the guitar. He has a wide variety of
blues licks from the style of many of his favorite guitar players. He showed me the basic and the alternate blues scales. My blues solos are so much better now, and I dont get lost on the guitar fret board. His method to teach speed picking is awesome because he teaches you to keep the picking hand relaxed at all times.