Kal David’s Blues Guitar Workshop

  • Tides Right Tides Right
  • Manuel Antonio Costa Rica
  • Jun 22 - 29, 2019 (8 days)
  • $3,800.00 - Workshop Price Single Lodging $3,300.00 - Workshop Price Shared Lodging $1,200.00 - Additional Spouse in Same Room - No Workshop - In Addition to Single Lodging

About This Event

Kal David’s Blues Guitar Workshop

Vista Ballena Hotel

Uvita, Costa Rica

June 22 – 29, 2019

If you play guitar and love the Blues, we’d like to invite you to this exclusive and intensive week-long course in Costa Rica by the consummate Blues artist and teacher, Kal David. There will be daily classes, live performances and ample time for practice, jamming and one-on-one teaching to expand your musical horizons and expression in music’s most indelible art form, the Blues.

We aim to provide you the perfect balance of learning and leisure in one of the most bio-diverse countries on the face of the Earth – countless species make their home here – Toucans, white-face monkeys, and sloths bounce playfully along palm tree-lined beaches and the lush, tropical beauty that is Costa Rica. There is every kind of adventure tour imaginable nearby. It is a magical place to help you escape from the distractions of your day to day life so that you can relax and focus on the learning experience to expand your skills as a musician.

So that you can experience the most that this region has to offer we have selected the perfectly located Vista Ballena Hotel – (contact info blocked) – perched in the hills of Costa Rica’s wild southern coast. The 20 room hotel is set high among the mountainous jungles of Costa Ballena with picture perfect views from the pool with its incredible views of the the Pacific ocean and the world famous “Whale’s Tail” sandbar in the ocean below.

Classes will take place on the amazing Yoga Platform in the Hart Center – (contact info blocked) – at the hotel. Performances will take place on the hotel stage overlooking the bar, restaurant, infinity pool and ocean views. All meals will be served at the Mi Amore Restaurant at the hotel or you are welcome to explore the many fine restaurants in the area.

 After you experience this incredible music workshop we are sure you’ll want to explore more of what Costa Rica has to offer. We’d be happy to assist you in extending your adventure in Costa Rica.

 About Kal David

From his roots in Chicago Blues in the sixties and the seminal double lead guitar band Illinois Speed Press, through fronting the influential band The Fabulous Rhinestones in the seventies and working with some of the blues greats like Etta James, Johnny Rivers and John Mayall in the eighties and nineties, and his many albums right up to this present day, to say that Kal David is just a great Blues guitarist would be a shame, although he is that, indeed. Kal David is a true living legend of music.

Other Blues guitarists don’t come close to his wide range of styles and the colors on his palette. Kal David is a fine and experienced guitarist who can bring you to your knees with his soulfulness and his depth. Kal is also a true vocalist, a professional with way above vocal chops. His gritty, yet polished vocals along side the interplay with his trademark Gibson Firebird is a wonder to behold for any Blues fan.

Kal is also a brilliant and patient teacher. His Blues Guitar Master Class DVD is well known by aspiring guitarists seeking to accomplish a wide range of styles while achieving confidence, speed, and improvisational skills. If you have a chance to learn from him in person, you should not hesitate to find the opportunity.

“It is incredibly wonderful and satisfying to share my years of experience and passion for what I do with a aspiring guitarists and know I’ve made a difference in their lives and sustaining the future of the Blues as an indelible art form.”

Kal’s extensive credits look like the who’s who of the music industry. Working for long periods with Etta James and Johnny Rivers as well as doing a long stint with John Mayall and the Blues Breakers. Kal also has performed and/or recorded with BB King, Peter Cetera, Paul Cotton, Smokey Robinson, Joe Walsh, Bonnie Raitt, John Lennon, Stevie Wonder, Brian Wilson, Paul Young, Robbie Dupree and a host of others.

Workshop Daily Lesson Plan

Gain speed, confidence on stage, and learn to improvise.

Not a class for beginners!

Non class time is for practice, jamming, one to one teaching or chilling at the pool or the beach, tours and adventures or just enjoying the beauty and wonder of Costa Rica.

Day One

Arrival and transport from airport. Get settled in room and on your own until dinner.

Welcome Dinner

Get to know your classmates and instructor, sample the natural bounty of fresh Costa Rican cuisine.

Day Two- classes from 10am-noon, 1:00pm-3:00pm


Comfort zone discussion- I will take you outside your comfort zone (what you normally play each time you practice) and expand it with these classes.

Time allowed to practice is… The rest of your life!

Warm-up fret board exercise- Up and down the neck using alternate picking.

T-Bone Walker- Discussion on his importance.

9th Chord exercise-song, “They Call It Stormy Monday”.


Pentatonic scale- Position 1 exercise

Cycle of 5ths- Learn to transpose to any key

Learn song, “Nothing New” (Kal David)

Instructor performance- Evening

I will perform with a local rhythm section for the students to inspire and entertain.

Day Three (Half Day Class)-class from 10am-1pm

Warm-up exercise

Continue “Stormy Monday” exercise, using dynamics

My favorite dominant 7th chord and substitution chords from this form + exercises

Exercise: song “Johnny Be Goode”(Chuck Berry)–my arrangement

You are free to explore Costa Rica or take a tour (jungle hike, eco-safari, beach, river rafting, waterfalls, ziplining, just hang by the pool and many more options.

Day Four-classes from 10am-noon, 1:00pm-3:00pm


Warm-up exercise

Review Pentatonic scale

shuffle and basic Rhythm patterns

Major scale-position 1


Review chord exercise

Hammer-ons and picking

Hammer-ons as an element of playing chords and licks

Play pentatonic scale against blues in C, Jam!

Jamming Etiquette- A discussion on “what you ultimately want to achieve at a jam session?”

Learn to relate to other players- It’s not a competition, be supportive of other players.

Elements of a jam- Call & response, repetition, the silence between notes.

Most important,… When in doubt, lay out.

Dynamics- One of the most important elements of music.

Rhythm , Melody,  Harmony, and Dynamics.

“Jamming with John Lee Hooker” story

How to comp- Bo Diddley story

Playing 4s- How to do it – (8 bars, 4 bars, 2bars)

Song, “Yonder Wall” improvise using pentatonic scales, Jam!

Day Five (Half Day Class)-class from 10am-1pm

Warm-up exercise

Review Day Four, discuss.

Major scales- Introduce position 2

Pentatonics- Introduce position 2

Use of Pentatonic scales

Blues progressions, major, minor

Play Pentatonic scale against a Cmi chord

Vamp Cmi to F, Cmi to Fmi, C7th to F7th- Jam!

You are free to explore Costa Rica or take a tour (jungle hike, eco-safari, beach, river rafting, waterfalls, ziplining, just hang by the pool and many more options.

Day Six-classes from 10am-noon, 1:00pm-3:00pm


Warm-up exercise

Review position 2 of pentatonic scale

Review position 2 of major scale

Nashville Charts– Roman numerals instead of chord symbols are easily transposed.

Memorize I, IV, and V of all keys.

Using Cycle of 5ths.

Finding relative minor key using cycle of 5ths.

Play relative minor pentatonic scale (A Pentatonic) against any major progression the key of C that has a lot of 6ths or any major progressions with Maj 7ths

Song, “Next Time You See Me” (Junior Parker) Play in 3 keys using cycle of 5ths to transpose. Jam!


Playing with Vibrato

Singing guitarists usually sing/play with similar vibrato

B.B. King-  Example of singing/playing using similar vibrato

Mike Bloomfield-hyper personality-rapid vibrato

Terry Kath-rapid vibrato

Eric Clapton-“Slowhand” slow vibrato.

Use these examples, your musical taste will dictate how you articulate them.

I use 3 types of vibrato:

Parallel Vibrato

Move your hand up and back parallel to the neck. Press hard on the string and pull it first towards the bridge and the back towards the nut. You can make a chord have vibrato with practice. Mostly a jazz thing.

Perpendicular Vibrato

B.B.’s technique:

Anchor your thumb on the back of the neck and hold down a string and rock it back and forth-not too much so as to make it sharp, but just bend it enough to detect a slight pitch change.

Bending for Vibrato

Albert King- 4 fret bends and the vibrato note- “squeezing a note”.

Another variation of this type of vibrato is bending your string before you play it. Then strike the note and let the stretch loosen so that the pitch goes down. I will explain and demonstrate in detail how these are done.

Song “Born Under A Bad Sign” by Albert King

After the afternoon class on Day 6 we will rehearse for 1-2 hrs for performance on Day 7

Day Seven-classes from 10am-noon, 1:00pm-3:00pm


Bringing It All Together

Warm-up exercise-should be perfect and getting faster by now

Improvise using major and minor pentatonic scales and major scales.

Improv secrets revealed! Using what you already know.

The Dorian mode. It’s a Major scale starting on the 2nd note of the scale.

Using this mode and pentatonic scales in your playing is very useful.


Review what we have learned. Questions.

Play Song “Who’s Been Talkin” (Howlin’ Wolf)- Jam!

Student Performance- Evening (Live Audience)

Day Eight

Departure. Transport to Airport or you can continue your stay in Costa Rica, TidesRight would be happy to help with your plans.

TidesRight will provide the following services in addition to your participation in the Blues Guitar workshops and performances and lodging at Vista Ballena Hotel:


There will be a TidesRight representative to greet you and we will provide an air conditioned shuttle van, leaving early afternoon on your day of arrival from San Jose, Costa Rica (SJO) Airport that will transport the group to Uvita, Costa Rica and your accommodations. Travel time is approximately 3 hours, including one stop for restrooms, snacks and beverages. The exact meeting time and place will be announced based on participants’ airline schedules. If you wish to use alternative transportation, we can assist you in arranging rental cars, plane flights on Sansa Airlines to Quepos/Manuel Antonio airport or alternative shuttles. Please allow for at least one hour to get baggage and go through immigration and customs. In the baggage area, you can purchase duty-free alcohol and sim chips for your mobile phone if needed.

We ask that you provide your flight information as soon as you have it available so that we can accommodate your needs.

There will also be a shuttle that will be traveling back to San Jose on the last day of your stay in the morning, at a time to be determined based on participants’ airline schedules.  We are providing the group shuttles from the airport and back, it is your responsibility to get to San Jose Airport (SJO) at the appropriate time and be at the reception area of Vista Ballena Hotel at the designated time to make each shuttle.


We will be providing breakfast, lunch and dinner for the group each day at the Mi Amore restaurant at the hotel. The open-air restaurant boasts an exquisite panoramic ocean view where you can delight in the beautiful sunsets and indulge in nature while enjoying a tropical cocktail. With an Italian edge, all food is prepared with fresh, local, and seasonal ingredients that will appeal to your inner epicure. The poolside bar is situated alongside a split level pool and stage.

You are also welcome to experience other local fare at the many local restaurants in the area at your own expense.

A lavish Welcome Dinner will be prepared for the group on the first night and a festive Farewell Dinner will be served on the last night. Wine, beer and mixed drinks will be served at an additional cost.

What To Bring List

Your guitar(s)


Small practice amp

Spare Strings

String Winder

Wire cutter (small)

Guitar tuner (preferably small clip-on type)


Insect Repellent


Rain gear

Hiking sandals or shoes, 2 pair they may get wet

Pants and light jacket –  it gets cool at night






The trick is to combine your waking rational abilities with the infinite possibilities of your dreams. Because if you can do that you can do anything.

Venue Highlights

We are developing a community of creative artists who wish to foster and encourage other artists to explore their deepest and most authentic creative selves. We will work with you on your curriculum and how it can best integrate with the unique features, venues and experiences of the selected locale. We will take care of the details so you can focus on the exploration of your creative passion with your students. We will provide the opportunity for you to share with emerging artists and your peers the diverse, inspired and amazing tableau that is our world while participating in a unique learning and exciting travel experience.

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