Friday, December 20, 2013

Guitar Class Christmas Party

    These photos were taken during our recent Rufty-Holmes Guitar Class / Christmas Party on Monday, December 16.   We had a great time, performing about a 40-minute concert for our guests, and enjoying food and conversation.  

   We also gave away quite a few door prizes at this event. Thanks to all who generously gave gifts for our party, including : Griffin's Guitars, Blue Bay Seafood, Checkered Flag Bar-B-Q, Sweet Frog, Farmhouse Restaurant, K & W Cafeteria, Chick-fil-A, Ryan's, and many more!


Thursday, October 31, 2013

New Guitar Classes


New classes at Rufty-Holmes Senior Center .. 

Starting on Monday, Jan. 6


CALL 704-216-7714 to Sign-Up Now !


    • Come have FUN and LEARN to PLAY the GUITAR !
    • Six week classes running from January 6 through February 24.

    • This class will only cost $30 (including workbook).  

    • Regular eight-week classes will resume in March for the regular cost of $35 (including workbook). 

    • Absolute Beginner Class (ABC's) from 1:30 to 2:30 pm

    • Beginner 2 Class (ABC's) from 2:45 to 3:45 pm

    •  Intermediate Class  from 4:00 to 5:00 pm 

    •  We will be focusing on learning the basics of chord strumming and note reading during this session, plus learning to play new songs

    • Sign-Up NOW - by calling RHSC (Rufty-Holmes) at 704-216-7714 

Thursday, October 24, 2013

Bob Bennett- In Concert


Singer/songwriter and guitarist Bob Bennett, from the Los Angeles CA area, will be appearing "Live in Concert" this Sunday, Oct. 27 @ 3pm afternoon show in Columbia, SC. 

Bob rarely appears on the East Coast, so this is a musical event that is both rare and exciting.

What makes it even more rare is that this show is FREE.   An offering will be taken for the artist.

If you would be interested in attending this concert event, please reply to this post in the comment section and we will contact you with more information.

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

15th Annual Rowan Blues & Jazz Festival

This coming Saturday, Oct. 19- come & hear our groups from Rufty-Holmes & High Rock perform at the 15th annual Rowan Blues & Jazz Festival.   We are to appear at appx. 2:15 p.m.

Bob @ The Buskers Bash

Busker's Bash- Friday, Oct. 4th

I was privileged to perform at the 1st Annual Busker's Bash in downtown Salisbury this past Friday, October 4th from 6-8 pm.   I was located on E. Innes Street in front of the Bangkok Downtown.
Bob @ The Buskers Bash

  I was joined by a surprise friend -- Teresa Hulce -- on vocals.   If you happened by to listen to us, you probably saw something like this(see pic)  Thanks for coming out & supporting me and  all of the musicians!

Thursday, October 10, 2013

Original Songs Downloaded to YouTube

I'm happy to say that live versions of several of my original songs have been downloaded to my YouTube channel.

     They are--

1 "Squirrel's World" (a catchy bluegrass tune about the little animals in my yard);

2 "Cat's Wail" (a bluesy guitar instrumental) ;

3 "Set Me Free" (a bluesy prayer to God) ;  &

4 "Snooze" (a sarcastic, soulful look at sleep).

These were all recorded in August "live" at The Inn, a Christian night spot in Salisbury, NC. 

I'd like to personally thank Melinda Watkins for recording these songs and making them available for downloading to YouTube.

  I just noticed that there is a lot of "lag time" at the beginning of songs, where I either chattered or made a mistake and started the song over.   I hope to "edit" these to trim the time length of the songs down a bit;  until then, I apologize for making you watch the "unedited" versions.   At least, you get to see the "raw uncut" performance for now.

Hope you enjoy them  =)

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

My Guitar is My Friend

   I'll be honest with you.   I have a Love-Hate relationship with my guitar.   The title of this blog is "My Guitar is My Friend".. and it is..  really.   I love my guitar.  Very much.  If I had to pick one thing that I would take with me, if I were to go to a deserted island.. well, it would probably be one of my guitars.  The second thing(s) would probably be a CD player and a collection of my favorite disks.  

   You know that something is a "favorite thing" when you keep on going back to it over and over, and over again.   And you know because, when you really need a "fix", it always comes through for you.  I've often been lonely, or frustrated, or a combination of the two, and found that my guitar provided an outlet that not so many other things do.. a way for me to work out my feelings and emotions through a musical instrument.

  I love that my guitar is portable.  I do not have to "go-to" my guitar.  I can bring it with me, wherever I go.  I can always have it with me, or nearby, to pick up.  When I want to hang out and play some music, my guitar is always there.  It's always available to me.

  And yet-- even though I love my guitar-- sometimes I hate it.   It's done nothing to me to really deserve this feeling.   Of course- it's an inanimate object, right ?   Sometimes I wonder. And I can't really pin this on the guitar.   Not like I might be able to on a particular person that I find annoying or irritating.  But sometimes, it just wears on me.

  I've gotten to know my guitar really well over the years.  We've shared a lot of experiences together, good and bad.   But I think the one thing that bothers me the most about my guitar is that-  it reflects me.   It's like a mirror or perfect picture of myself.   And so, when I'm feeling on top of the world, or excited and joyful, my guitar seems that way to me.  But when I'm down or frustrated about something in my life, my guitar also reflects that.  

  In a couple of weeks, I'm getting the opportunity to play for the first time in a festival, the local Blues & Jazz Festival.   I'm looking forward to it.   I've got some friends and students that are joining me to play for it.   We're picking out some nice jazzy/bluesy songs.  But if the truth be told, most of the blues that has come out of my guitar has never found a song title or a place of performance.  It's been those quiet, subtle moments in the middle of the night when I've picked up my guitar and twanged out a seventh chord, or did a string bend.

  I think all relationships have a "ying" and "yang", a plus and minus, a good and bad.  And what's cool is even in the bad moments, my guitar seems to come through for me.  Because it allows me an outlet for those feelings.  And while the situation may not seem so good at the moment, somehow after awhile it starts to get better.

  Thank you, Friendly-Guitar-180, for being my good and trusted friend for so many years.   Here's to many, many more.

Thursday, September 5, 2013

View "Squirrel's World" Video

OK- it's time to go & help your 'ole pal Bob out.. VIEW my VIDEO.. "Squirrel's World"


You can VIEW it as many times as you wish.  If you choose to watch ALL of the videos, please go back and view mine more than once, because if you don't, all you do is neutralize your vote for me.

The more VIEWS, the more chance I have of winning the Contest & the Grand Prize !

THANKS Everyone !!

New Guitar Pics

My photographer friend was nice enough to do an informal Photo Shoot with me while we were together at a birthday party the other night.

  Here are the Results.  What do you think ?   Please let me know...

  Which is your favorite pic ?


Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Watch "Squirrel's World" Video


 In just a few days, a Live Video of my song "Squirrel's World" will be available for viewing online.  It was filmed recently at a local competition called "Senior Idol" where I performed and competed with other local singers and artists with various talents.

 To read more about this, please CLICK on "Guitar Guy" or "Guitar Gigs". There will be a WEB LINK at those locations in the next few days for you to go view my video and also "LIKE" it, which will help me to win the contest and a $100 cash prize.

  I already have another song, an instrumental blues tune called "Cat's Wail", on my YouTube channel.   Just CLICK here under "Guitar Guy" or "Guitar Googles" to find a Video link.

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Learning Guitar TAB

  Guitar TAB is short for "tablature."  It is a unique form of music note reading for guitar.  We are going to learn the basics of TAB here.  I teach TAB in my guitar classes and we use it almost weekly to learn to read notes and in playing songs.

  If you are familiar with sheet music, you already know the concept of "five lines & four spaces".  Guitar TAB is different, yet similar at the same time.  Instead of lines and spaces, we just have six (6) lines.  These lines stand for the six (6) strings of the guitar.

  The six strings of the guitar are as follows- (try not to get confused- it's really simple).

1st string- E   2nd string- B   3rd string- G   4th string- D   5th string- A   6th string- E

  Be forewarned- when you are viewing guitar music- or even songs in our classes- the "cheat sheet" (string numbers to the LEFT and string names to the RIGHT) will not always be provided.  These are shared for your benefit in learning and memorizing the strings.  Do your best to put these to memory, so that later, you will not need to keep referring back to these.

  Many times, you see the strings listed in REVERSE order (E-A-D-G-B-E) because as you are holding your guitar, the sixth string (low E) is on top, and the first string (high E) is on the bottom.  If it helps you, there are a couple of acronyms that we have shared to memorize the names of the strings.   Some players may not need these to help, but if you do, here they are.

    E- Every  A- Angry  D- Dog  G- Growls & B- Barks at E- Everyone

E- Eddie   A- Ate   D- Dynamite   G- Good   B- Bye   E- Eddie

  Instead of notes (on music lines & spaces), guitar TAB has the notes indicated by fret numbers.  If you haven't already learned, the neck of the guitar contains what is called the fretboard, and on the fretboard are the guitar frets.  These metal bars separate the guitar into various places for us to finger (or fret) notes.   We place our fingers on the fretboard between the various frets to make different pitches.  The higher up the string we fret, the greater tension on the string, which produces a higher pitch.

  The guitar usually will have around 22 or 23 frets.  We are only going to be concerned with the first five (5) frets as we learn to play as beginners.   Count the first five frets.  You can play each string in each fret.  Try playing each note with the same finger as the fret you are playing. 1st fret- 1st finger, 2nd fret- 2nd finger, 3rd fret- 3rd finger, and so on.   Keep in mind that at this stage, all of your fingers are probably not as strong or as flexible as the others.  Your pinky will probably be the worst of all, because many times, we do not use it as much.  Work on getting all of your fingers to be flexible and usable to play.

  Here is an exercise that you can learn to play.  It is a good exercise to warm up with each and every time that you practice your guitar.  Expect that it will be difficult at first.  You have to use your fingertips to play the notes on the guitar.   It is a bad habit, but most beginners tend to "lay" their finger down to make the notes, instead of using the fingertips.  This is made worse if you happen to have long fingernails.  Guitar players should trim their nails so that they are able to play with the tips of their fingers.

  This exercise should accomplish two things.  First of all, it will help you get to know your guitar and its fretboard better.  Eventually, I will teach you how to name the notes as you play them.  For now, just concentrate on getting a clear tone with each note.  You will hear some muting (or muffled tones) in the beginning.  This is caused by one of two things- either you are not pressing the string down firmly enough.. or.. you are playing the note too near the fret bar.  The second way that this exercise will help you is in exercising your fingers and making them more flexible and your making your fingertips tougher.  As you play, you may experience some pain or discomfort in your fingers.  The longer you play, the less you will be bothered by this, and eventually, you will begin to stop feeling it at all.  Be encouraged- as they say, no pain- no gain! 

  Start on the sixth (6) string.   Don't get confused.   Remember- the sixth (6) string is the string on the TOP of the guitar.  0 = "open."  This means that you play the string, but you do not use your fingers to fret the note.   You play it "open" or unfretted.  Then use your first finger, place it in the first fret, play the note, and then move up, ascending one fret and one finger at a time.  When you get to the highest note noted (no pun intended), then move up to the next string.  When you get all the way up to the first string, play up to the 4th fret, and then- because we are out of fingers!- slide your pinky finger up to the play the 5th fret.  Then if possible, play all of the notes in descending order.  As you begin, your note playing will be choppy and sloppy. (this time- pun intended!- you can laugh at me)   It will neither sound particularly smooth or soothing to your ears.  This is no piece of cake, but with practice, you should be able to play it fairly well in a few weeks.  Keep working at it !

  If you have any questions about learning Guitar TAB or about the above exercise, let me know.  I will be glad to clarify and answer any questions that you may have.  See you in class !

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

PAT TERRY- "In Concert"- Sunday, August 18

  My friend and talented songwriter PAT TERRY will be "In Concert" this coming weekend, Sunday, August 18 @ 6pm @ Trading Ford Baptist Church, 3600 Longs Ferry Rd, Salisbury NC.

  COME and JOIN US for a Fantastic Concert Experience with PAT TERRY!

Friday, July 19, 2013

Beverly Watkins to Perform at Rufty-Holmes

Beverly Watkins to Perform at Rufty-Holmes

  Beverly "Guitar" Watkins, Atlanta's favorite Blues Mom, will appear in a special FREE Mini Concert at Rufty-Holmes Senior Center on Friday, August 2nd at 2:00 p.m.  This performance is being held courtesy of Rufty-Holmes and the Rowan Blues and Jazz Society. 

  A special benefit concert will be held that evening at 8pm at the Black Box Theater, 405 N. Lee Street in Salisbury.  Tickets for the evening concert are $10 at the door.

  Ms. Watkins has been playing guitar since age 12 and has recorded and performed with artists such as Ray Charles, B.B. King, and James Brown.  She frequently performs at major blues festivals around the country and internationally.

  You can read more about Ms. Watkins at
 or at concert is FREE but seating is limited.  To register for the concert, please call RHSC at 704-216-7714.

Monday, July 15, 2013

Testimonial- by Libby Owens

My dad taught himself to play guitar when he was in the Coast Guard in the 1950's.  As a child, my brother, sisters, and I would come running in the evenings when Daddy pulled out his guitar.  We'd sit on the floor at his feet and listen as he played and sometimes sang.  Good old songs like "She'll Be Coming Round the Mountain", "The Old Gray Mare", as well as songs made popular by the likes of Johnny Cash, Ernest Tubb, Hank Williams, and many old favorite hymns.  If you're old enough you remember the TV show "Hee Haw."  In our minds our daddy was every bit as good as anyone who ever sang and played on that show and we told him often he ought to appear on it.  Still, I never thought much about playing guitar myself as I wasn't naturally gifted in music.  

  After we became adults, my younger sister took some guitar lessons, mostly from friends, and learned the basics.  I picked up her guitar a couple of times, but strumming hurt my fingers so I never pursued it.  Several years ago after I'd made an off-hand remark about wishing I could play guitar, my husband gave me one for Christmas.  I realized pretty quickly that I didn't know the first thing about the guitar.  I didn't have any idea how to make separate notes, nothing more than a quick strum across the strings.  So, the guitar stayed in its case for about 3 years.  I thought occasionally about taking lessons, but couldn't really afford to do so.  I did ask my dad to teach me, but somehow what he told me never made sense.  

  Then one day I saw the new Small Group class listings for church, and someone named Bob was going to lead a Beginner Guitar small group.  I figured, "Hey, I have nothing to lose if I still can't play after taking lessons, and maybe I can make my daddy proud of me."  The first night of class, I came away feeling completely inadequate.  Not only did my fingers hurt after just a few strums of the strings, but nothing that was said made any sense to me.  The teachers (Bob and Barry) promised me that if I practiced strumming every day, my fingers would quickly toughen up.  I did, and they were right.  I was amazed at the difference it made so quickly.  So the next week I felt ready to go, ready to learn!  But after that class I still felt overwhelmed.  I was the only one who didn't know at least a little about a guitar, and most had done some playing in the past.  I didn't even know enough vocabulary to talk about a guitar!  I was the only woman in class, and felt intimidated by that also.  I almost quit several times.  Bob was so patient with me, he knew I was totally clueless from the first night.  

  I told my dad I was taking lessons. I'd wanted to surprise him, but I couldn't wait.  Most nights after class I would call him on the way home and tell him what we'd discussed.  He was so encouraging, he kept me going when I felt totally overwhelmed and wanted to quit several times.  I'll never forget the first night in class that we all strummed through a song while Bob played and sang the melody.  It was mostly using only G, and maybe a C, but it was exhilarating when we ended the song and I realized I had pretty much kept up and we had completed a song!  That night I called my dad and told him I had played a song, and it was cool to hear his chuckle of approval! 

  My very favorite class was when Bob taught us how to read tab notes.  It felt like a light bulb went on in my head.  I had picked around on a piano years before, and I knew a little about reading notes.  So tab notes made sense to me, and I could finally pick up my guitar and hear a tune, a real song, coming from it. 

  These days, I'd love to say that I practice and play my guitar often and entertain others with it.  But lying is a sin, so I won't do that!  I do pick it up and remind myself of the basics every so often, then sit and pick out a few songs.  I have played with my dad a few times, and my sister.  I'm ashamed to admit that the last time I did, my dad could tell right away that I had NOT been practicing!  Daddy doesn't get out much anymore, and spending time with him and my guitar is one way I can bring him happiness. 

  Taking lessons from Bob gave me the basics of guitar playing and one day I may be ready to play more and use it for others.  Right now though I am content to know how to pick a tune out of it and enjoy it in my own home and occasionally with my dad and sister.  

  Thank you, Bob, for your patience and for never ever making me feel that playing was out of my league and above my head (because I sure felt that way).  You always assured me that I was capable of learning, and helped me to believe in myself.  I appreciate the opportunity you gave me and am so glad you were open to using a talent you have to glorify God and benefit others.  You have proven that you CAN teach an old dog new tricks!  

Libby Owens

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Muriel Anderson Concert- Aug 4th

Just heard from the concert sponsors at St. Patrick's in Mooresville and they are going to offer us the Student Rate of $10 for any Adults attending the concert.

  That means a 1/3 off the Regular ticket price.. so please come and join us !!

If you are not already planning to go, or haven't let me know, please send me a comment below.. or an email..  thanks a lot.. Bob =)

Muriel Anderson -- In Concert

Sunday, Aug 4th @ 7pm
St. Patrick's Episcopal Church
201 Fairview Road
Mooresville, NC
Admission: $15 /Adults -- $10 /Students

Go Hear Her Music @


Tuesday, July 2, 2013

New Guitar Class Planned at RCCC

New Guitar Class Planned at RCCC

  The plans for  --BRAND NEW-- Guitar Classes at the RCCC North Campus in Salisbury have been temporarily postponed..   I will be updating this page again when I find out more details about a definite starting date.  Keep posted !


Friday, June 28, 2013

Performance at 2013 Blues & Jazz Festival

Guitar Classes to Perform at 2013 Blues & Jazz Festival


  We received an invitation to perform at this year's Rowan Blues & Jazz Festival, held in downtown Salisbury, NC.   Mark the date.  It is on Saturday, October 19 !!

2013 Rowan Blues & Jazz Festival -- Saturday, October 19
     We'll be performing a few tunes as a group, along with some solos or duets, & some surprises.  We're working hard & looking forward to it & hope you will plan to be there to support us & enjoy our performance.

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Taylor 314-ce Available

Hey Folks~
  I may have an opportunity to get a good deal on a Taylor guitar.  Please pray that I can work it out to be able to afford this great instrument.  Right now, it seems difficult at best.  If any of you folks are truly blessed financially and would consider investing a gift in a needy musician, let me know.  Right now I'm using a guitar with a buzzing fretboard and no pickup.  A really nice guitar would sure come in handy!

Friday, June 21, 2013

GuiTar Heel Blog Launched

History of the GuiTar Heel
by Bob Wingate

I finished my first logo for GuiTarHeel today.  How do you like it ?  Leave a comment.

Ok.  Here's what you've all been waiting for.. for so long.. the story of GuiTarHeel (that's me) in a nutshell. And I am a bit of a this shell.

  We start back at the early age of eight (8) when my dad brought this guitarist over to our house.  I don't know how this was arranged, but in he walks with his electric guitar and amp, and proceeds to "wow" us with his incredible guitar wizardry.  After an hour or so, he leaves and either then or shortly after, my dad presents to me this incredible $25 guitar.  I don't know where he got that!  I didn't really learn to play that thang, but I did bang the heck out of it, playing along with my favorite Beatles tunes. (I know- this really ages me.. ohh well..)

  After awhile, my interest in my cheap guitar waned, and then I began piano lessons, which actually managed to drag on for about eight or nine years.  At the age of 17, one of my friends invites me to a youth group that he's attending, so I go check it out.  That first night was during the summer, and everyone was sitting outside on the grass while a group of guitar players and other musicians were leading them in songs.  I caught the bug again.  I wanted to play guitar. This time- really badly

  I asked my youth leader to accompany me to the local music store, and I bought my very own guitar- it was a Yamaha FG-180.  It looks something like this.  My profile pic is of me, playing that guitar in one of my favorite places.. sitting in a rocking chair on my front porch. 

   This guitar has been on the beach with me,  playing while watching the early morning sun rise over the Atlantic, in the back of a pickup truck during a fall youth hayride with a bunch of teenagers who decided it would be cool to stuff my guitar full of hay, and basically everywhere else that I've been over the years.  And I still have it now, and play it almost every day.

  I began teaching guitar during a time in my life that was very busy.  I was a full-time college student (with 21 class hours) and three part-time jobs, one of which was giving private guitar lessons for two days a week at a local music store.  That went on for about two years, and eventually phased out, and the store closed. And I sorta gave up teaching guitar indefinitely. Then recently I was asked to lead a small group at my church.  Usually these were Bible study groups, but I asked if I could do something a little different and have a guitar group with a goal of helping people learn to play and use their musical talents.

  Sometime after we started, a lady in our group complimented me on being a good guitar teacher and asked if I had ever thought of giving lessons.  She didn't realize that I had taught previously, neither did she have a clue that I was already contemplating what I could do to earn some extra money.  So this comment by her got me thinking.  A quote came to mind that I had
heard, "love what you do & do what you love."  This made perfect sense.  I had been playing guitar for many years and had a passion for it.  It was only obvious that I should use my talents to help others in developing their musical skills.

  So I set out, determined to get started teaching guitar again.  I made up some flyers and cards, advertising lessons.  It was around October, and so they had a Christmas theme- Give the Gift of Music.   But no one responded.   It appeared to me that no one was really in the Christmas giving mood, at least not for guitar lessons.  Or either my marketing skills were lacking.    But I was still determined, so instead of private lessons, I went in a different direction, and began contacting venues about holding group guitar classes.  The first group to show interest was the local senior center, and after a bit of conversation and planning, even though our students were limited to senior adults over the age of 55, we launched our first beginner class.. with a group of seventeen (17) students!   This response far exceeded any of our wildest expectations!

  We are now in our second round of classes.  After the first class, we expanded into two classes to allow for an Intermediate level.  We will be launching a brand new group of classes on Monday, July 8.  If you are a senior adult, whether a beginner, or dusting off an old guitar from the closet or attic, you are welcome to come join us.  Let's have some fun learning the guitar!   Call the Rufty-Holmes Senior Center at 704-216-7714 to sign up!

If you're sitting there and thinking to yourself, "I'm interested, but I'm not a Senior adult,"   don't worry... we've got you covered.  At least soon.  We're working on launching a new Guitar Class for all ages.  It will likely be offered by the end of summer, sometime in August or September, at a local college or other venue.  Keep posted & we will share all of the details!

[ Editor's Note- see blog entry for July 2nd- a new class to be offered at RCCC- has been postponed, but more details will be announced pending a definite class starting date. ]