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Tim Stafford

Bluegrass guitar in Kwa-Zulu Natal, South-Africa!

By Tim Stafford

Tim Stafford – Flatpick & Songwriting safari.

26 January, 2018 – 31 January, 2018, Kwa-Zulu Natal, South-Africa


Tim Stafford is just a great guy and his warm spirit and thoughtful nature made this trip very enjoyable and memorable for us all .Tim plays with some of the best tone and timing in the game, and it was a real honor to have him as our 2018 Flatpick & songwriting safari instructor.

Not only is Tim a great guy and wonderful musician, but he is also a brilliant instructor. We were fortunate to have Tim with us to instruct us on the art of songwriting and how to hone and perfect the basics of the flatpick style of guitar playing.

Tim started off with the basics of guitar playing, the five T’s – Timing, Tone, Taste, Technique and Tuning, and shared his experience and methods on how to practice and improve upon each aspect. He shared his practice of working with Funk backing tracks to improve your sense of timing and to deepen your groove. He showed us how to use the tuner to tune your ear instead of the guitar. We talked on the importance of a good pick, and how to maintain good tone through out your solo by using hammer on’s, pull off’s and down strokes. When it came to taste, it was all about keeping it simple and playing the melody. His ideas on technique were all about efficiency of motion and making the guitar sing.

The sessions were informal and laid back and we all ( the 4 of us), had a great time learning from, and playing music with Tim.

Tim lead a group songwriting session where the group co-wrote a very special song, and it was a real fun and insightful experience to sit and write a song with such an accomplished songwriter.

A typical day out on safari with Tim went as follow. At 05:00 AM we woke up and got ready for our first game drive of the day. With the sun rising red on the horizon, the crisp fresh air and a cup of coffee, the mornings were set to be glorious. After about three hours of being out in the African Savannah, and typically viewing anything from Giraffes, to Buffalo, to Zebra, Rhino and Hippos, we would head back for a delightful breakfast.
After breakfast we would have our music sessions for a couple of hours, and relax some in the afternoon just before we departed for our second 16:30 game drive

On our second last day out on safari, Tim treated the group to an inspiring and intimate sun set performance while out on our afternoon game drive. We all sat relaxed in camping chairs with G&T’s and listened to some of the most beautiful guitar playing in the heart of the African Savannah. Tim picked he classic Wildwood flower, and a couple of his own compositions – Indigo Blue and Horse shoe bend.

The Kwa-Zulu Natal Savannah was lush and green, we had great weather and we saw ample wildlife out on this 5 day music safari. We were all enriched by the musical instruction, the concerts, jamming and the magnificence of the African wildlife. New friendships were made, and we all left as richer musicians and people. Thank you Tim, and here is to another Music Safari with you in the future.


Wiam Otto
MSWIA Music Safaris