Chas Grasamke — 36 Year Veteran Instructor at Musicians Institute Guitar Program (GIT) Announces Retirement

1987 Grasamke

Chas in 1987

Beloved instructor, fingerstylist, Beatles specialist, and essential member of the Musicians Institute family– Chas Grasamke has hung up his teacher’s hat for the last time at MI in order to “pick a few” on his own.

Initially as one of the very first graduates of GIT (class of 1977-78), and then as a faculty member for 36 years;  Chas is known for his extraordinary patience, encouragement, great finger style chops and eternally sunny outlook.  Chas has been an inspiring teacher and mentor to several thousand MI students, and over the years he taught many essential courses including: Guitar Reading, Coffeehouse LPW, Intro to Guitar, Lifemanship, Private and Open Counseling Sessions. Incredibly, over the course of 36 years at MI, Chas missed only one day of teaching and never took time off for vacation.

34 Grasamke

Accompanied by an ever present smile, cup of coffee and trusty nylon string guitar– Chas is truly “one of a kind” and will be deeply missed by all of us at MI, who just want to say “thanks for coming in today”, and we honor Chas for his many years serving as the soul and conscience of GIT.  It’s been a great ride…thanks Chas!

1984 Grasamke Paschal

1994 Finn Purcell Grasamke


  1. “It’s aways a GREAT day to play guitar.” And “They’re write articles about you” — two of my favorite Chas quotes. 🙂

  2. Chas, thanks for explaining fingerstyle guitar so easily for me. I have used your concepts with my own students since 1985 and enjoyed taking my “MI Final Exam” with you. I wish I had been able to say “thanks” at the Reunion in 2012. I appreciated your example and try to bring a little Chas to all my guitar students- teaching with patience and love. Enjoy your retirement!

  3. Chas, best wishes in your retirement! You were such a positive and helpful teacher and influence when I was a GIT. I hope we get to catch up on things soon!
    Ron Thompson GIT ’80

  4. Chas – congratulations on your retirement – you have earned it for sure. Chip and I remember so many moments with you at the school. We’ve always remembered your patient smile and positive attitude. You are and always will be one of the best:-)

  5. You may say I am dreamer, but I am not only one, I hope someday you will join us. Chas , through your students you turned bad days in to good ones even to persons you never met . Thank you for existing.

  6. Congratulations Chas! When I was there in ’81-’82 I was all about being lead guitar in a band and you gave me great advise about learning to play solo guitar-which I have. Thanks Chas!

  7. The SIXTH BEATLE!!!

    WOW!!!!! What an amazing era of educational/inspirational contributions!!! Chas, you are the MAN!!! I have learned TONS from you, and I was never even in one of your classes!!!

    Well, I’m saddened I won’t get to bask in your radness as much as I was lucky enough to, these past several years. BUT, I look forward to hearing about your personal plucking madness!!! And hanging with ye, outside of that fine institution’s hallowed halls 🙂 ALL THE BEST TO YOU, maestro!!! MI will never be the same… but is all the better for your bad arsliness!!


  8. Chas and a guy named Joe Elliot gave me my introduction to music theory at M.I. during the beginners only summer session of ’92 or ’93. I was inspired to enroll full time the following semester. Chas was assigned to be my one-on-one counselor, supervising my progress with weekly private lessons. I won the jackpot there. What an amazing guy. So gentle and respectful and kind. And INSPIRING! I’m sure I was an absolutely terrible guitarist at the time, but Chas made me feel like I was being taken seriously. He found the one or two things in my playing that could be praised, and used those things to launch me into the future! M.I. was an intimidating place in those days. It was before the Japanese buyout happened, and only a couple years after Howard Roberts’ death, so it still had that amazing Howard Roberts culture which was very palplable. Joe Diorio and Ron Eschte and Scott Henderson were walking around the hallways every day. On any given week you could find somebody like Pat Metheny or Joe Pass doing a seminar in the auditorium downstairs. And man, the other students were just burning players! It was a downright scary environment for a beginner, but inside that private room in our weekly sessions, Chas Grasamke made me feel SAFE, and he made me feel important. I went on to play professionally. As just one of his thousands, I’m sure he doesn’t remember me, but I often think of Chas and I feel like I owe him a ton of thanks. A truly beautiful guy.

  9. Chas taught me guitar during my summer session at MI in 1988. He had a way of always makings us smile and laugh. Chas taught us to always jam with as many musicians as possible. I wish him all the luck in the world. Thank you for teaching me guitar Chas.

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