OFGC Club History
Prelude - "Basement Pickers"
Most folks that enjoy playing the guitar in the
"thumb picking" fashion of Chet Atkins, Merle Travis and Jerry
Reed are typically male, older, introverted, and are pretty much
isolated from the rest of the music world – and, usually relegated to
the "basements" of their homes. Which is where the term
"basement picker" comes from. And, because this form of guitar
playing requires an immense amount of concentration and practice to even
get "close" to how Chet played it – they are always very
passionate about their "sport." However, due to the fact that
these pickers are sparsely scattered all over the world and that this
dying art form hardly ever gets any media attention or any live
performances in clubs, theaters, arenas and such – they have pretty
much spent their entire musical lives in virtual isolation having had
given up hope of ever finding another picker to enjoy their music with.
The Internet Helped Us Get Started
In the Fall of 1997 your club organizer, Palmer Moore, didn't know one
other thumb picker and decided on a whim to type "Chet Atkins"
into the Yahoo web search engine on the internet that I just got hooked up
to. There wasn't a whole bunch of hits that came back, but it did list the
original "Chet Atkins Web Site" (not officially so, but it had some
great activity.) From it's Discussion Forum I became aware of many important
entities including the Chet Atkins Appreciation Society (CAAS,) Tabledit (great tablature
software), and the existence of many more basement
educated pickers like myself.
After a few posts, I got an e-mail from a guy that also lives up here in Ohio
by the name of Chris Vickers. We found out that we had pretty similar
tastes in Chet and Merle music and started getting together once in awhile to
enjoy some "pickin'. Neither one of us had ever attended a CAAS
convention, so we drove down together in July of 1998. Which turned out to
be the first of the rest of them. --- We had the time of our
lives. And, we met many many more folks just like us - and a few from
Ohio. We also found ourselves very attracted to the Picker's Clubs Room at
that convention and got to know the organizers of the clubs from Kentucky (the late Tuck
Chattanooga (Bill & Gary Denham), and the hot new Georgia club (Ed
Cummins). And, we got to thinking that it might be a great idea to
start a local club up here in Ohio when we got back home. So, we did.
"Ohio Fingerstyle Guitar Club Was Formed"
So, in 1999 Palmer and Chris started a club
purpose of finding "all" the other guitar pickers in Ohio and
surrounding areas and give them a platform to get together every now and
then to share their love of finger style and thumb picking guitar. And,
to ensure that this style of guitar playing gets passed down to future
generations through educating younger players.
Our first meeting (called a
Pickin’ Party) was February 13th, 1999 and we had about 15 - 18 people show up.
People from all over Ohio (and adjacent states) drove as long as 3.5
hours to get here to meet other players and sit in a big circle we
formed where everybody, in turn, got to play a tune or lead a tune we
could all play on. It was a lot of fun for everybody that came, and for
many it was the first time in their lives that they had ever met another
Since then we have grown to over 300 members through
primarily word of mouth and some local press coverage.
We formed a club to accomplish several purposes:
- Bring together others that enjoy playing and listening to finger style
music primarily in the thumb picking style of Chet Atkins, Merle Travis and
- Promote that style of guitar playing and attempt to ensure its longevity
by educating both listeners and new guitar players.
- Support and promote our local professionals that play that style of music.
Financially, we do not have annual dues or anything
like that. We fund each party by asking for donations at each event.
Click here for more information on our Pickin'
Parties or Membership