28/10/2014 - Sophia Hosts G7th Capo Bluegrass Guitar Masterclass

Sophia is excited to host two guitar workshops in association with G7th Capos for Acoustic Avalon Guitar Show at Leicester Racecourse this year. Join her on Saturday 8th November at 1pm and Sunday 9th November at 12.00 Noon for her Bluegrass Guitar Masterclass, full details below.


Sophia Johnson is one of the UK’s leading female acoustic guitarists. She has been playing since she was seven years old, training as a classical guitarist during her formative years, and then moving into the spheres of bluegrass, western swing and gypsy jazz in her late teens; switching from nylon to steel strings, and from being a mainly finger style guitarist to using a plectrum. Sophia was a member of critically acclaimed jazz/flamenco fusion group Trio Gitano, after which she went on to form bluegrass & swing band The Toy Hearts, with her sister and father.

The Toy Hearts continues to be her main musical project, with whom she has recorded 4 albums, she plays lead guitar, sings harmony vocals and is a principal songwriter for the band. Sophia has been working as a professional musician for the last ten years performing, writing, recording and teaching, as well as touring extensively across the UK, Europe and the USA. In 2013 Sophia spent 6 months living in Austin, Texas with her band, where she was a regular performer in the bars and honkytonks of the live music capital of the world. Sophia has been profiled in Guitarist, and is notably the only British female to be featured in prestigious American publication Flatpick Guitar Magazine.

In Association with G7th Capos, Sophia Johnson will be giving two bluegrass guitar workshops at this year’s Acoustic Avalon.

This is a rare opportunity to learn the tips, tricks and technics that has helped solidify Sophia as the Uk’s leading bluegrass flatpicking guitarist.

Sophia will focus the workshops around using a capo. In bluegrass music the rhythm guitar functions primarily to fill out the middle of the harmonic spectrum, for this reason most players favour using chord shapes with as many open strings as possible. Similarly when playing lead lines the use of open strings is important both stylistically and to give the player as much projection and sustain as possible. For the reasons outlined above, almost all fiddle tunes in the key of A would be played with a capo on the second fret using the regular shapes of G, C & D. Similarly songs/tunes in D/E/F are often played with a capo using the C shape.

Sophia will be covering playing in the key of A, using G runs, and licks with open strings, decorating the basic chord shapes of G, C & D, and looking at some typical ‘A’ fiddle tunes like Salt Creek, Cherokee Shuffle & Red Haired Boy. As she plays in a band with a female vocalist Sophia will often have to move songs into different keys so they are suitable for a woman’s vocal range, they Keys of B and Bb are often particularly useful in this respect.

This is definitely one masterclass not to be missed!