Fred Sokolow

There’s really not enough room here to sing all of Fred Sokolow’s praises or list the 100+ instructional books he’s written for guitar, dobro, banjo, mandolin, and ‘ukulele.  And that doesn’t even include the decades he’s spent as a professional musician! As a performer in the 1970s, Fred playedwith the likes of John Herald, Frank Wakefield, and Jerry Garcia and opened for the Grateful Dead, the Doors, B.B. King, and Country Joe and the Fish. And he never stopped ticking.

2012-5-Fred_Sokolow-colorToday, Fred lives in Santa Monica, where he performs retro jazz guitar, often with the former British rock star, Ian Whitcomb, and the legendary folk singer Tom Paxton. He also continues to produce an astonishing array of instructional books, CDs, and DVDs, including the latest: Beatles for Fingerstyle Ukulele and Jazzing up the Ukulele.  We got to know Fred at the West Coast Ukulele Retreat and the Wine Country ‘Ukulele Festival several years ago and we are excited to have him back, both as a member of the Flea by Night Band and as a highly regarded workshop instructor and performer.

We ar1376747823e fortunate, too, that Lynn Shipley Sokolow, a professional musician who plays both upright bass and banjo with “Sugar in the Gourd,” will be able to join us in Wine Country. Besides being an accomplished musician, Lynn is also a published poet and lyricist, selling over half a million records. In addition, she is a former entertainment manager who has worked with Geffen recording artists Quarterflash and Berlin,  and has  several gold and platinum albums on her wall. Not only will Lynn be backing up her hubby, Fred, on the stage, she is always willing to bring up the bottom for anyone who might need a bass assist at the open mic or jam.

Here’s what Fred will be teaching:


The best way to lose the blues is to play the blues. And since the blues is at the heart of all forms of American music (jazz, rock, country, you name it) you really do need to learn to play the blues on your uke. In addition to strumming some classic blues tunes in this workshop, you’ll learn some single-note soloing/jamming techniques that will help you ad lib blues solos regardless of the key you’re playing in. You’ll also learn how to play blues chord changes in any key, using movable chord shapes. (Level 2 – 3)


If your uke is armed with “high” G string,  you can play both old time and bluegrass banjo styles with it. And who better to teach you than Fred Sokolow who wrote a book on this very topic. In this workshop you’ll learn some basic picking and strumming patterns you can use on any tune (clawhammer and Skruggs-style) and some of the tunes from Fred’s book: such as Wabash Cannonball, Bile Them Cabbage Down, Friend of the Devil, and Paint it Black!  Who knew? (Level 2 -3)


Ah. The magical Circle of Fifths!” Let Fred Sokolow help you unlock the mystery and power of this amazing device and learn how chord progressions work in pop, jazz, blues, rock, country…..any genre, at all. And (just in case you’re wondering why you need to know this) once you learn these patterns, it will be that much easier to learn new songs and be able to play them in any key (instead of having to memorize everything & learn by rote). There’ll be more than one “light bulb moment” as Fred illuminates the types of chord movement in all kinds of songs. Better wear your shades.  (Level 2 – 3)


Tired of the same old same old?  Have you mastered every strum, chop, and finger picking technique that’s out there?  Are you ready to try something completely new and up the ante on your playing? If the answer was “yes” to any one of these, you need to “slide”…….a technique that will enhance any and all blues, Hawaiian, and country tunes. In this workshop you’ll learn to play slide ‘ukulele in one or two open tunings (and learn what that means, if you don’t already!)  You will need a glass or metal slide or bottle neck for this workshop. But if you don’t have one already, we will have them available at the KaniKaPila booth at the festival. (Level 3 – 4)

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