Voyager Recordings & Publications


We have taught at many workshops. We prepare instruction materials for use at these workshops, or at homel.

Phil'sGuitar Workshop

Phil's guitar workshop teaches chord formations and techniques for playing in any key without a capo using simple chord formations which he learned from his father, a traditional Kentucky player. The open chord formations facilitate moving bass line playing, using what Phil calls the "wiggle finger." The barred open "A" chord formation, in particular, must be mastered to get the full benefit of the bass line techniques discussed at the workshops. The "Hillbilly Way of Playing Traditional Backup Guitar Without a Capo" uses a system of four basic chord formations without making any barre chords, with a couple of 7th chord variations. Learning and practicing these chord formations will help one understand the nuances of backup technique, which requires familiarity with the chord formations and ability to change from one to another rapidly. This workshop focuses on a backup style commonly used in fiddle backup, bluegrass, and old-timey music. It is not an easy style to learn, but opens the door to making backup guitar come alive and present "tricks" you can use to frame your backup to support the lead player. I cannot be mastered completely in a lifetime, and is not found too much today. If you want to have a big "bag of tricks" from which to construct a great backup, try to learn this method. When you get it down, you can back up a fiddle tune without playing a single chord, only bass lines.

The following materials are in Adobe PDF format and require Adobe Acrobat Reader to view and print. If you don't already have Adobe Acrobat Reader, it can be downloaded from

Phil's Backup Guitar Chords

How to Play Traditional Guitar in Any Key Without a Capo the Hillbilly Way

Phil's Guitar Workshop Notebook

Phil's Guitar Workshop CD Tracks in MP3 format: (These can be downloaded and burned to CD. The notebook contains music notation and tablature for all the tracks.)

1. A Fill 1.
2. A Fill 2.
3. A Fill 3.
4. A Fill 4.
5. C Fill 1.
6. C Fill 2.
7. C Fill 3.
8. D Fill 1.
9. Three D Fills.
10. E Fill.
11. Two G Fills.
12. G Fill 2.
13. A Run 1.
14. A Run 2.
15. A Run 3.
16. Run in Key of A A-D-A-E-A-D-E-A.
17. Run in A through chords A-D-E-A.
18. Run in C through chords C-F-G-C.
19. C run through C-F-G-C, a variation of Run 18.
20. Run from D-D.
21. Bass Line in D through chords D-A-G-A-D.
22. Bass Line in D through chords D-G-D-A-D-G-A-D.
23. Transition Run from D to A and back to D.
24. Walking run through chords E-A-D-A-E-A-D.
25. Walking bass line in F.
26. Line in G through chords G-D-G.
27. Bluegrass G run.
28. Walking bass line in G through Chords G-C-F-C-G.
29. Bass line through G-C-G-D-G-C-D-G.
30. Run G-G.
31. Bile Them Cabbage Down
32. Soldiers Joy
33. Golden Slippers
34. Old Coon Dog
35. Olga Waltz.
36. Irish Washerwoman
37. Missouri Chording in D.
38. Missouri Chording in G.
39. Missouri Chording in G variation.
40. Missouri Chording in A.
41. Missouri chording in C.
42. Missouri chording in F.
43. “Hillbilly Way” chord system where the I chord is in Formation 1 (F formation).
44. “Hillbilly Way” chord system where the I chord is in Formation 2 (A formation).
45. “Hillbilly Way” chord system where the I chord is in Formation 4 (D formation).
46. Damping closed chords to cut off the ring and play “sock” rhythm.
47. Damping open chords.
48. Waltz backup illustration.
49. Sally Johnson.
50. St. Adele’s Reel.
51. Cabri Waltz.
52. Jig in C.
53. Atkins Polka No. 4.
54. Norwegian Waltz.
55. A & E Waltz.

Phil's Mandolin Workshop

Phil has been playing mandolin, both bluegrass and fiddle tunes, for many years. This notebook contains information about the various types of mandolins and how they are used, and instruction materials covering many styles. It shows the system Bill Monroe used for chording the mandolin with only one chord formation and its modifications to play in any key. This system is not included in most mandolin chord books, but opens the door to a system where, when you find the 1 chord for a key, you can play all the other chords you probably will use without knowing the key of these chords, using the chording system.

Phil's Mandolin Workshop Notebook (pdf format)