David Oakes has been a student of the guitar for the last sixty years. While growing up in Virginia, his earliest studies were in classical guitar with an emphasis on Spanish music. David studied at the North Carolina School of the Arts and earned a bachelor of music degree in classical guitar performance. He studied with Jesus Silva with master classes with Andres Segovia and Pepe Romero. David continued to study with Pepe Romero in master classes and privately with Jonathan Marcus after graduating from college.
In the early 1980’s David’s interests in music grew to include more improvised styles of music. He attended Musicians Institute (GIT) in 1985 where he had the opportunity to study with many of LA’s top jazz musicians including Ron Eschete, Joe Diorio, Norman Brown, Putter Smith, Jaime Findley, as well as workshops with Joe Pass, Howard Roberts and Tommy Tedesco.
After leaving MI, David continued to study music and the guitar with two great masters of the instrument: Harmony and chord melody with Ted Greene and flamenco with Juan Serrano. Tommy Tedesco helped to jump start David’s playing career by using him as a sub for session work for TV and film. This work culminated with collaborations with both Tommy and his son Dale. Tommy and David recorded two concertos written by George Roumanis for guitar and orchestra. The CD was released on the Capri record label. Dale Tedesco had David write solo guitar compositions for background music for television that were used by both 20/20 and daytime soaps. From 1985-2011, David quietly earned a living in Los Angeles as a performing guitarist, recording artist, educator, author, composer and arranger.
As an educator, David has taught guitar and music at Musicians Institute from 1986-2011 and from 1992 - 2006 as an adjunct assistant professor in the studio jazz guitar program at the University of Southern California's Thorton School of Music. These two positions gave David the creative drive to develop a method of instruction for developing music reading skills in guitarist as well as classical/fingerstyle guitar techniques for mainly pick style guitarist. This culminated in the publishing of two books by Hal Leonard titled:
‘Music Reading for Guitar’ and ‘Classical/Fingerstyle playing techniques’.
In 1997, David also edited and recorded a book by Jimmy Wyble for Mel Bay:
‘The Art of Two Line Improvisation’
These teaching positions combined with the love of jazz and fingerstyle guitar also led David to extensively transcribe and arrange in the style of many or the great nylon string fingerstyle masters such as Lenny Breau, Chet Atkins, Jerry Reed, Jimmy Wyble, Baden Powell and Luis Bonfa.
David has been a featured performer and seminar instructor at the Chet Atkins appreciation society’s annual event each July in Nashville. Also, David also served as the music director for the Association of Fingerstyle Guitarists in Southern California. This group is dedicated to the advancement and education of fingerstyle guitar in this region. In the early 2000’s, David started to travel and give seminars and master classes to high school and college guitar programs.
As a private teacher, David is sought after by many of LA’s top professional guitarist who are wanting to improve or round out their skills to make themselves more marketable in the music world. Also, David has helped to coach many high school students for their upcoming auditions to music schools across the country.
From 2004 to his death in 2010 David had a working relationship with the legendary guitarist Jimmy Wyble. David assisted Jimmy in all the classes that he taught at Musician Institute. David also helped to develop Jimmy’s final curriculum that he taught at MI. Much of this website will be be dedicated to the teaching of Jimmy Wyble and his contrapuntal guitar concepts.
In 2014, David was diagnosed with a neurological hereditary condition known as essential tremor. These hand tremors have significantly slowed David’s performance and teaching career. However, he is not finished yet. This website will be a place where David will provide information and concepts from his 60+ years of guitar studies to guitarist of all levels.
This website and the information will be offered free of charge but if you would like to contribute to the maintenance and development of this website please feel free to contribute a few dollars. Thank-you.