Martin Taylor Guitar Retreat - California

Benicia, California
13-15 January 2017

Learn fingerstyle, jazz and acoustic guitar with Martin Taylor and Peppino D'Agostino

Retreat starts in...


Players of all levels and styles are welcome at the Martin Taylor Guitar Retreat in sunny California, USA. Whether you’ve been playing for years, or you just know a couple of chords, you'll be able to immerse yourself in learning guitar at this three day guitar retreat with two of the world's leading acoustic guitarists; Martin Taylor and Peppino D'Agostino. 

From fingerstyle to acoustic to jazz and more, Martin and Peppino will give you insight into the techniques, styles, and tips to inspire and improve your playing. The retreat is designed to gather guitarists of all levels from around the globe with a common goal - learning, playing, eating and sleeping music.

This is the third time a Martin Taylor Guitar Retreat has been held in the USA. Don’t miss this chance to spend a week-end in the Golden State of California, home of some of the world's best music. What could be better than a musical holiday where you really learn something and have a great time with like-minded people?

The Martin Taylor Guitar Retreat will take place in Benicia in Northern California, just outside San Francisco on the 13th-15th January 2017. NAMM Show, the world's premier music products trade show, happens a week later near Los Angeles, and is a great event to attend straight after the retreat finishes.

During the day you'll learn directly with Martin and Peppino and every evening you can sit back with a California wine or local handcrafted beer and take part in intimate, once-in-a-lifetime jam sessions. Just bring your guitar, get ready to learn, jam, make friends and have fun!

Martin Taylor Guitar Retreat California 2016

What Is The Martin Taylor Guitar Retreat About?

The Martin Taylor Guitar Retreat is all about hands-on playing.  This retreat is about helping you achieve REAL RESULTS and having fun in the process.

You will leave the retreat with:

  • Improved technique and a new confidence as a guitarist
  • Plenty of exercises to continue to progress your playing
  • New tunes for your repertoire
  • Inspiration and new friends
  • Opportunity to play onstage with Martin & Peppino

The Daily Schedule

Friday 13th January 2017

2:00 - 3:00 pm Students Arrive

3:00 pm - 4:00 pm Retreat Welcome & Introductions

4:30 pm - 6:30 pm Afternoon Workshop

7:00 pm - 8:30 pm Dinner

9:00 pm - 11:00 pm Evening Jam

Saturday 14th January 2017

7:30 am - 9:00 am Breakfast

10:00 am - 12:30 pm Morning Workshop

12:45 pm - 1:45 pm Lunch

2:00 pm - 5:30 pm Afternoon Workshops

6:30 pm - 8:00 pm Dinner

8:30 pm - 11:00 pm Evening Jam

Sunday 15th January 2017

7:30 am - 9:00 am Breakfast

10:00 am - 12:30 pm Morning Workshop

12:45 pm - 1:45 pm Lunch

2:00 pm - 5:30 pm Afternoon Workshops

7:30 pm - 9:30 pm Performance at Local Venue (optional)

The Location

With a population of 28,000, Benicia is a small waterfront town in the Bay Area less than an hour from Oakland or San Francisco and twenty minutes from the Napa Valley. This charming hamlet gives visitors a chance to relax as they stroll the compact downtown's boutiques, antiques stores, and restaurants. This one-time state capital (1853-54) and location of the first Army post on the West Coast is dotted with historic sites and is a haven for the creative set — about 500 artists make Benicia their home.

Benicia - A haven for the creative set.

About Martin Taylor

Martin Taylor - Guitarist

Martin Taylor is a Grammy nominated fingerstyle guitarist, solo jazz guitar virtuoso and online guitar teacher.  Pat Metheny says Martin Taylor is "one of the most awesome solo guitar players in the history of the instrument" while Jeff Beck thinks Taylor "out-shred’s all of us put together….I’ve never seen anything like it".  As one of the world's most popular online guitar teachers and providers of guitar lessons online, Taylor now helps people in over 58 countries learn how to play guitar and become better guitarists.

He has collaborated with the biggest names in guitar music including Tommy Emmanuel, Jeff Beck, Chet Atkins, Frank Vignola, Barney Kessell, Earl Klugh, Herb Ellis, Scotty Moore, Julian Lage, Andreas Oberg, Albert Lee, Ulf Wakenius, Tony McManus, Martin Simpson and Laurence Juber.  In addition to this he has been awarded two honorary doctorates, a BBC lifetime achievement award, an IAJE Jazz Educators award, Top 10 albums in both the USA and UK, a record 14 British Jazz Awards and in 2002 he was appointed MBE 'For Services to Jazz Music' by the Queen of Great Britain. Today his online jazz guitar lessons and fingerstyle guitar videos have been watched by over 1 million guitarists worldwide.

About Peppino D'Agostino

D'Agostino, a native of Italy, has been hailed as “a guitarist's guitarist” by Acoustic Guitar magazine as well as “a giant of the acoustic guitar” (San Diego Reader), and holds many top guitar awards - even his Peppino D'Agostino Seagull Signature Guitar model was ranked in June 2014 as one of the 10 best signature guitars by Guitar Player Magazine.

D’Agostino has performed in more than 26 countries; been featured at prestigious international music festivals, and frequently plays with prominent artists around the world, including Tommy Emmanuel, Leo Kottke, Martin Taylor, and Eric Johnson. His 17 recordings include releases on Favored Nations, Mesa/Bluemoon, Acoustic Music Records, and other labels.

When not performing D’Agostino also enjoys teaching. He has made various teaching videos, has individual students, and through the years has been a guest instructor at various guitar programs such as Creative Vacances in La Moreau, France, Acoustic Alaska Guitar Camp, Swannanoa Gathering, and Guitar Workshop Plus. Truefire, an online instruction company, has released two courses in which D’Agostino explains his influential guitar techniques and approach to composition. One thing is true – Peppino is always thinking guitar.

Pictures and videos from previous Retreats

Benicia Promenade

Historical Benicia

Napa Wine Country

Nearby Golden Gate Bridge

What Martin & Peppino Will Teach At The Retreat

  • 7 Steps Of Solo Guitar Playing
  • Gypsy Jazz Guitar
  • Acoustic Fingerstyle Guitar
  • Jazz Guitar Technique
  • Lead & Rhythm Playing
  • Improvisation
  • Guitar Composition
  • Lots of tunes...

Martin Taylor Guitar Retreat - Benicia 2016

Martin Taylor Guitar Retreat - Benicia 2015


The Gold Package includes accommodation at either The Shorelight Inn, Benicia Inn, Heritage Inn or Union Hotel. The three main lodging options are within walking distance of each other and where the workshops will take place. The Shorelight Inn Since its grand opening in the spring of 2012, the Shorelight Inn has been owned and operated by Stephen F. David, longtime resident and business owner in Benicia. He personally attended to the majority of the refurbishment projects necessary to restore this beautiful historic building to its current remarkable condition. The original structure, known as The Anderson Hotel and also referred to as the Pink Palace was moved a half block to its current location on the Benicia waterfront. Built at the turn of the Century, the Shorelight Inn is 8,000 square feet, with each individual Suite averaging 400 square feet in size. Surrounded by quaint local businesses and a spectacular waterfront walking trail, the Shorelight Inn is perfectly situated in the heart of Benicia at the end of West E Street. The Benicia Inn The Inn at Benicia Bay has 7 beautiful rooms to relax the soul and mixes a rich history with modern amenities. This 1854 Victorian is located in downtown Benicia, just half way between the charming main street and Benicia’s Marina/Yacht Club. Like a European retreat, our garden oasis combines that old world feeling with a sense of privacy. Without being too far away, The Inn and Spa at Benicia Bay lets you get away from it all. Union Hotel The comfortable décor of this Benicia, CA hotel is reminiscent of California's past and is highlighted with touches of European elegance. In the middle of the nineteenth century, this beautiful cream colored hotel welcomed guests from all over the world with warm hospitality. The tradition continues today at the Union Hotel in lovely historic Benicia. Each luxuriously appointed guestroom features a private bathroom with Jacuzzi, distinctive amenities, private phone lines, and period interior. Some suites feature spectacular water views and spacious bathrooms with Whirlpool Jacuzzi tubs for two.

Shorelight Inn

Benicia Inn

Union Hotel

Heritage Inn


Silver Package
  • All Workshops (13hrs of instruction)
  • Welcome goodie bag
  • Sunday night performance slot (optional)
  • 2 Lunches & 2 Dinners
  • Wine/beer at Dinners
  • Evening jam sessions!


Retreat starts in...

Frequently Asked Questions

Q. When does the retreat take place.

A. The retreat classes run from the Friday afternoon until Sunday evening.

Q. Where does the retreat take place.

A.The retreat classes will take place in downtown Benicia close to the three main lodging spots.

Q. Can my partner attend even though they won't participate in the classes.

A. Absolutely, non-participating partners are very welcome and the price per non-participating partner (sharing room) is $295 which can be paid by CLICKING HERE.

Q. Can I rent a guitar?

A. It may be possible but supply is limited and not guaranteed. Contact Donna ([email protected]) and she'll put you in touch with the local music store in Benicia.

Q. What about accommodation?

A.The Shorelight InnBenicia Inn, and Union Hotel are in the center of Benicia and a five minute walk from each other.  The Heritage Inn, which is less than a mile away will be used only if the other hotels are full. Lodging is included in the Gold Package. If you would like to request a specific room (filled on a first come-first serve basis) check out their websites and send your room request and any other accommodation questions to Donna Wapner at [email protected] 

Q. Can I book extra nights of accommodation?

A. Yes. Once you know the hotel room that you are assigned, you can contact the hotel directly to book extra nights.

Q. Who can I contact if I have other questions related to the retreat?

A. Please email [email protected]

Q. Can you accommodate those with dietary issues?

A. We are happy to cater for people with diet issues. Vegetarians and basic diet requirements are included in the price.

Q. Is the venue and accommodation suitable for those with mobility issues?

A. We are not able to accommodate anyone with severe mobility problems. Please get in touch with [email protected] to discuss your particular needs.

Q. What is your cancellation policy?

A. You can receive a full refund minus any credit card/hotel booking fees within the first 30 days of booking. If you need to cancel after the 30 day period then you would receive a refund minus $500 and any credit card/hotel booking fees we incur as a result of your cancellation. After November 30, 2016 there will be no refunds unless we have a waiting list.  Please consider getting travel insurance to cover unexpected occurrences.

Q. How do I get there?

A. You can travel to Benicia either by air or road.

By air: Benicia is 45minutes from Oakland International Airport and an hour from San Francisco International Airport (SFO).

Public transportation to Benicia from the airports include: BART (to Pleasant Hill) - - and Evans Airporter to Vallejo -

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