Gilbert Nelson’s Basic/Early-Intermediate Jam Camp in Boomer, NC — using the Wernick Method* (just prior to Merlefest)

September 13-16, 2021

Monday – Thursday prior to MerleFest at the beautiful and spacious grounds of the Camp Harrison YMCA at Herring Ridge, 10 miles outside of Wilkesboro, NC. Lodging and meal packages available directly from Camp Harrison.

Closet pickers, this is for you!

  • All bluegrass instruments welcome
  • No jamming experience necessary
  • You will be jamming the first morning!
  • Encouraging teaching by Gilbert Nelson, assisted by Leigh Nelson and Dee Rosser.

In 2021 we will again present two concurrent camps:

Basic Bluegrass Jam Camp

is for novice through early intermediate jammers; a Wernick Method Jam Camp hosted by Gilbert Nelson.

Intermediate-Advanced Bluegrass Jam Camp

is for experienced jammers directed by Pete Wernick (limited to 50 students).

Both camps will run Monday-Thursday 9:15am-5:00 daily, in separate but close-by locations at Camp Harrison. Both camps’ students will have meals together and may arrange accommodations on-site (link coming soon).

Total Tuition = $425

  • Includes lunches, snacks, and Camp Harrison student fee
  • Other meals and on-site bunkhouse or tenting or RV accommodations are arranged directly with Camp Harrison
  • Once we receive your payment, we’ll contact you via email for registration info.
  • Prefer to pay with check or money order? Email [email protected] for details.
  • Have questions? Contact Gilbert at: [email protected]

Not sure which camp is right for you?

Basic Bluegrass Jam Camp

(for novices-early intermediates) is a Wernick Method Jam Camp directed by Gilbert Nelson. To qualify: be able to change smoothly between 4 chords, G, C, D, A.

The Basic Jam Camp is comparable to elementary and middle school for bluegrass, with classroom-style instruction on jam skills and lots of time jamming in coached small groups, with instruction on instrument skills, by instrument.

If you don’t qualify for the Intermediate-Advanced camp, this camp is the one for you.

Intermediate-Advanced Bluegrass Jam Camp

This camp can be likened to high school/college for bluegrass.


Participants must:

  • Be experienced at bluegrass jamming including following guitar chord changes
  • Be able to play comfortably in the keys of G and D, and use the chord number system
  • Be able to sing in pitch and lead songs (“good voice” not required)
  • Be willing / able to fake instrumental solos on most songs in G or D (except basses and rhythm-only guitars).

If you’re not sure if you qualify, write Pete regarding your skills in these areas.

Click any photo to enlarge.

Comments from Gilbert’s students:

“Gilbert and Leigh, you have empowered me this weekend… I’ll have you to thank the rest of my life.”

“I highly recommend the class and would do it again in a heart beat.”

“I wish I had met Gilbert years ago!”

“Thanks for the help and confidence I received, letting me feel I could do this.”

“He made everyone feel welcome and important to the success of the group.”

“Why didn’t someone explain these things to me before?”

“I can count on one hand the master teachers I’ve known and Gilbert is one of them.”

“Gilbert, you have an uncanny way of blindfolding my musical presuppositions . . .you always find ways to help me ‘get it’.”


Visit our FAQ section. If you still have questions feel free to email us at [email protected].

*Wernick Method Classes teach real bluegrass jamming!

  • All bluegrass instruments welcome
  • No jamming experience necessary
  • You will be jamming the first class!
  • Friendly, encouraging, knowledgeable teaching.
  • Gentle tempos! Mistakes expected!
  • Music reading not needed or used
  • Singing not required, but encouraged and taught.
  • Easy 2- and 3-chord songs, slow speeds.
  • Soloing not required! “Faking” solos taught.
  • Understanding, low-pressure, time-tested teaching
  • Intermediates welcome, and given added challenges
  • Hands-on learning in large and small groups
  • Learn many bluegrass standards
  • Full ground rules and etiquette of typical jams
  • How to lead songs and how to follow new songs
  • How to find melodies, fake solos, sing harmony
  • Ear skills taught and emphasized, as in real bluegrass
  • Group and individualized instruction on backup skills

Do you qualify? It’s easier than you may think!

If you play guitar, mandolin, banjo, fiddle, bass, or dobro… you can be part of a bluegrass jam.

Only requirements:

  • You must be able to tune your instrument (electronic tuning devices welcome) and
  • change smoothly between G, C, D, and A. (Fiddles and basses need to know which notes work with which chords)

For more info or to send payment in the mail, email [email protected].