About Classic Folk Guitar

If you’re like me, you love the folk music of the Sixties, when folksingers like Peter, Paul and Mary, Bob Dylan, Judy Collins, Phil Ochs and Tom Paxton played the music that defined an era. If you’re nostalgic for the great music that rose up from the folk tradition and became known as “The American Folk Music Revival”– then you’ll want to pick up a guitar and experience the pleasure of playing that music yourself.

Whether you used to play guitar back in the day, or you’re a first-time guitar student, I’ll teach you the folk music you love in the comfort of your home, direct from my home in Kentucky. All you need to get started is your own guitar, a computer with a built-in or external (usb) webcam, a decent internet connection (the faster-the better) and a free Zoom account. You can get one here.


You’ll be surprised to see how much it feels like we’re just sitting across from one another; it’s just that the classroom is your own home! Try it out to see how it works for you – no charge, no risk!

Folk Music and Coffee Houses

By Dennis Whitt

Folk Music is a subject very near and dear to my heart. I grew up playing guitar and listening to Peter, Paul & Mary, Simon & Garfunkel, Gordon Lightfoot, Joni Mitchell, Judy Collins, Bob Dylan, Joan Baez, and many other prominent folk guitarists from that era. Each of these artists had a lot to say about war, peace, love and “the establishment”. They were not afraid to put themselves and their music out there to be scrutinized in those tumultuous times.

The above picture shows me and two other members of my first folk music group playing at a coffee house in Columbus, Ohio. It was taken by The Columbus Dispatch newspaper in 1964. That’s me on the left side of the stage playing my guitar.

Their music was thoughtful, provocative, timely and beautiful. For me, there was nothing better than to sit down with my guitar, a bottle of tab (one of the original diet colas) and my 33 rpm albums and carefully guide the stylus on my record player to the exact (or sometimes the approximate groove) of a song that I wanted to learn and listen to a passage over and over again until I had mastered it.

I learned many songs this way while growing up in Columbus, OH all the while developing my guitar playing techniques which I would come to refer to as Classic Folk Guitar. (More about that later)

Eventually, I hooked up with like-minded singers and musicians. We wrote the lyrics to our favorite songs out by hand unless someone had a typewriter and actually knew how to use it, wrote out our set lists, then (usually on a Friday or Saturday night) we would pile into a Volkswagen Beetle with our instruments protruding from the windows and headed out to one of the local coffee houses. These establishments were often part of a church outreach program or were sponsored by a local college.

Playing at coffee houses was a “trip” in the vernacular of the times performing in front of an audience who actually came to listen to the music and to be inspired by if not talent, at least by the passion with which we played. I recall that the crowds were always attentive. Quiet, yet enthusiastic and applauded after each song.

There wasn’t much money in it; maybe some free pop and snacks or some gas money but we were always gratified by the experience and were continually searching for another coffee house to play.