The Tuttles in 2015
Jack grew up in a musical family in rural Illinois and began playing guitar at age 5. When Jack was about 12 years old, he began playing bluegrass banjo (he learned from hearing his father play) and a little later took up mandolin and then fiddle. He began teaching full time at Gryphon in 1979 and has worked very hard on developing a complete lesson program on banjo, mandolin, fiddle and guitar. He has taught thousands of students over thirty years, many of whom have become top players in the Bay Area and beyond. He has been especially successful with children, some of whom have grown into major talents on the local and national scene. His current and past students heavily populate the jam scene in the South Bay and on the Peninsula. He is also the music editor of Fiddler Magazine and has written twelve instructional books. Jack has developed and taught special seminars in History of Bluegrass, Critical Listening to Bluegrass, Bluegrass Improvisation and Music Theory for Bluegrass and he is known across the nation for his work in music education.
Jack also taught his own three children, Molly, Sullivan and Michael, who are all nationally recognized bluegrass talents. Molly is the 2017 and 2018 “Bluegrass Guitar Player” of the year, as voted by IBMA members, the first woman to ever capture the award. She has also voted “Instrumentalist of the Year” by the Americana Music Association. In 2019 Jack’s son, Sullivan, finished second in the prestigious National Flatpicking Championships in Winfield Kansas. The Tuttle kids and Jack have performed throughout the US, Europe and Canada. Their YouTube videos have over three million views.
Jack has performed at many notable events, such as: A Prairie Home Companion, Hardly Strictly Bluegrass, Strawberry Music Festival and Merlefest. He has been a mainstay every year at the prestigious CBA Bluegrass Camp in Grass Valley, one of the largest bluegrass camps in the country. He also has taught at the Sore Fingers Music Camp in the UK, the Walker Creek Music Camp, the California Coast Music Camp, the Festival of American Fiddle Tunes and the Northern Bluegrass Circle Workshop (in Canada). In 2012, 2016 and 2017, Jack won the Northern California Bluegrass Society’s Bluegrass Fiddler of the Year award. He has recorded various albums in his career, including a duet album with his daughter Molly and two with The Tuttles with AJ Lee. Jack has worked as album producer and sound engineer as well.
In 2007, Jack was presented with the California Bluegrass Association’s distinguished Honorary Lifetime Membership Award and in 2014, he was awarded a Lifetime Achievement Award by the Northern California Bluegrass Society.