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So, I'm looking around at guitar teachers...

 
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plaidbeer
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Joined: 21 Aug 2010
Posts: 1256
Location: Houston, Texas

PostPosted: Tue Feb 01, 2011 3:00 am    Post subject: So, I'm looking around at guitar teachers... Reply with quote

For those of you who took and/or teach lessons, what's the best way to go about choosing a guitar instructor? I need some very basic lessons to help with forming chords and techniques.

Just wanted to ask your input on a few things:

1. What's a reasonable rate?
2. Does it matter if your teacher has similar or different tastes in music than your own?
3. Are there any other factors I should take into consideration when choosing an instructor?
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robroe
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Joined: 20 Apr 2006
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PostPosted: Tue Feb 01, 2011 4:12 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

my dad was in a band with a dude that ran a music shop. i took lessons from a guy there.



pretty simple.


i took lessons for 5 fuckin years, and learned how to read all sorts music. thats all i took away from it was reading music, and developing an ear for tuning (we didn't use a guitar tuner, he made me tune my guitar to his each week by ear).


you are going to learn chords on your own bro. learn your own songs.

i purposely told the lesson dude "look make me play shit that i normally wouldn't play, because i really want to learn how to play the thing correctly, i can learn Teen Spirit on my own"
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taylornutt
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Joined: 17 Sep 2009
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Location: Dallas, TX

PostPosted: Tue Feb 01, 2011 4:42 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I just started giving guitar lessons at my school last week. According to Robroe, I am doing the right thing. With the internet, you can learn songs, chords, and solos. I am trying to emphasize basics like tuning, caring for the guitar, basic terminology---strong foundation. I want my students to explore the music that interests them and introduce them to things they have not heard before.
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Billy3000
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Joined: 20 Apr 2006
Posts: 3033
Location: Atlanta

PostPosted: Tue Feb 01, 2011 5:16 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Pretty much anybody that is teaching guitar should be able to teach you whatever you want to learn. Most of my students want to learn songs that they like and need help with getting the techniques and strum patterns down. I have also had students that just want to learn how to play in general, so I stick to a book with them that goes over techniques, how to read music, etc. And I've had students that want to learn to write and play their own songs, so I teach them what they need to know, with a focus on chord patterns and keys.

When I was running my guitar lesson business myself up in NC, I was charging $25 an hour and $15 a half hour, and I was driving to my student's homes. I was undercutting all the shops by at least $15 per lesson with the added benefit of me coming to them. When I moved to Atlanta, advertising my lessons on Craigslist didn't work as well as it did in NC, so I got a job for a company that books my lessons, and gets me new students and plans my schedule for me so I don't have to and I get paid $23 an hour, and get paid for travel to and from lessons. I don't know what my boss charges for the lessons though. Considering that for only $5 less than what I was charging myself in NC, I don't have to deal with the advertising, scheduling, and bringing in new lessons myself, it's a pretty good deal for me.
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Johno
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Joined: 20 Apr 2006
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PostPosted: Tue Feb 01, 2011 8:53 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

just get a chord book & watch tutorials on youtube.

Or do it the old skool way just join a local band you will learn faster.
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George
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Joined: 03 Jul 2009
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PostPosted: Tue Feb 01, 2011 9:14 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Don't be discouraged by people telling you you don't need to take lessons. I've had lessons in on-off bursts of a year or so throughout my time playing guitar and I'd recommend it to anyone. Sometimes you need a boost and steer in the right direction.

1. With my last teacher I was paying 25 for an hour every 2 weeks which for his teaching ability and portfolio wasn't a rip off (and we pretty much always overran anyway).

2. I don't think it matters if they're into the same music as you but they have to be able to teach what you want to learn - if you want to shred and the guy is a folk and fingerpicking expert then look elsewhere and vice-versa. In their ad description they should give you a good idea what they can do.

3. Avoid any ads saying "ALL STYLES BEGINNER TO EXPERT", as they're probably chancers - a self-aware experienced teacher should know what he's limited by.
- I would also avoid jokey or stupid ads saying "BECOME A ROCK GOD" or something.
- A word of mouth recommendation from an opinion you trust is a good start for choosing one.
- Don't go for the cheapest option just because it's cheapest.
- I think most importantly you have to get on with and respect the teacher, and for them to take it seriously, and not be a funny man.
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lorez
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PostPosted: Tue Feb 01, 2011 9:34 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

maybe check this site out before you take lessons - http://www.justinguitar.com/

I would say though that it would be best to get some lessons at the beginning so that you don't fall in to some bad habits and get your technique down. Most important thing to do is have fun and if you aren't having fun find another teacher. see if any will give you a taster lesson or let you go and have a chat about goals and objectives.

good luck
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endsjustifymeans
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Joined: 10 Feb 2009
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PostPosted: Tue Feb 01, 2011 5:59 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Well... I can only go by my current instructor.

1) $35 an hour.
2) Yes in the beginning because it keeps it exciting to learn songs you know and love, but I don't know much about blues and my instructor does and I'm glad he's been teaching me some blues riffs... I feel like I'm pulling alot technique out of that that I wouldn't have learned with my general eighth-note-down-stroke tastes.
3) Lessons offered my locally owned shops are probably the way to go. It earns you cred with the store since they make a weekly income off of you and gives you some decent bartering movement when buying new gear.
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plaidbeer
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Joined: 21 Aug 2010
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Location: Houston, Texas

PostPosted: Tue Feb 01, 2011 7:20 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks for the input, fellas. The reason I want an instructor vs. just using a chord book or video (I've been using a Dummies book--yeah, yeah) is because I don't want to fall into bad habits like lorez mentioned. I know forming chords is a challenge for everyone starting out, but there are simply some chords that I can't form at all, such as F, Gm, Cm7, F7 and of course, barre chords. It's also a struggle go form chords using three frets (damned smaller hands). I think an instructor will help greatly in working on my form.

I don't know any guitarists here except for an ex-bandmate who lives in Ft. Worth and he never had an instructor, so I'm having to rely on info contained within the ads. Here in Dallas, we only have about 3 independent guitar stores and none of them offer lessons that I know of. Best Buy is the only place that does, of the stores (four 30-minute lessons for $70), but they don't post any info on their instructors. They all use the same book--Essential Elements for Guitar and teach a variety of styles.

There's another company that has a huge number of instructors (contractors most likely) and charges $37.50/hour. I did see an instructor who has 30 years of experience and plays in a Police covers band, so that's sort of intriguing as I've always liked Andy Summers' work with them. He was also in a band with Matt Sharp before Weezer.
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Billy3000
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Joined: 20 Apr 2006
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Location: Atlanta

PostPosted: Tue Feb 01, 2011 7:56 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

plaidbeer wrote:
Thanks for the input, fellas. The reason I want an instructor vs. just using a chord book or video (I've been using a Dummies book--yeah, yeah) is because I don't want to fall into bad habits like lorez mentioned. I know forming chords is a challenge for everyone starting out, but there are simply some chords that I can't form at all, such as F, Gm, Cm7, F7 and of course, barre chords. It's also a struggle go form chords using three frets (damned smaller hands). I think an instructor will help greatly in working on my form.

I don't know any guitarists here except for an ex-bandmate who lives in Ft. Worth and he never had an instructor, so I'm having to rely on info contained within the ads. Here in Dallas, we only have about 3 independent guitar stores and none of them offer lessons that I know of. Best Buy is the only place that does, of the stores (four 30-minute lessons for $70), but they don't post any info on their instructors. They all use the same book--Essential Elements for Guitar and teach a variety of styles.

There's another company that has a huge number of instructors (contractors most likely) and charges $37.50/hour. I did see an instructor who has 30 years of experience and plays in a Police covers band, so that's sort of intriguing as I've always liked Andy Summers' work with them. He was also in a band with Matt Sharp before Weezer.


I would stay away from the Best Buy lessons. When I moved to Atlanta, before I got the job teaching lessons, I interviewed with the company that handles all the Best Buy lessons. They have learning centers all over the country, and require that all their teachers have a set lesson plan that is approved by them. So there's no real room for individuality in lessons. Plus, since it's a national company, they never meet their teachers themselves. They just interview them over the phone.

The last guy that you mentioned sounds like the best option. Sometimes it's just good to have someone with experience and with a wider variety of styles. And don't diminish the value of the Dummies book! I was self taught for the first couple years of playing guitar, and I had the guitar for dummies book and it helped me a lot! Between that and tabs from the internet, that's how I taught myself to play guitar. My only other training until college was stuff that friends would show me, and a few group lessons at my parents' church. I knew more than everyone in my group from playing on my own a few years, so the instructor would give me some extra stuff when the lessons were over, he showed me some scales, and started teaching me some blues stuff that I wouldn't have learned otherwise.

I think if you're properly motivated to practice on your own, find new things on your own (and it sounds like you are), and on top of that you have a good teacher that knows how to play and teach various styles to coach you through some of the things that you might have trouble with, you'll be fine.
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Gabriel
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PostPosted: Tue Feb 01, 2011 9:04 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I had the same guitar teacher for 6 years when I first started guitar, he was really good at inspiring me and used to always try to help me play in as many styles as possible. He wasn't too great at theory and an average blues guitarist, but he was a great teacher and a huge help. He also never charged too much - around 16-18 if I remember correctly.

However eventually I wanted to move on, I began playing Jazz on my own - fiddling around with standards and learning to sight read from the real book. However when it came to improvisation I would always end up slipping back into playing a standard scale or mode over an entire progression - which is fine in Rock and Blues but in Jazz you have to really highlight the changes.

So recently I gave up with trying to mess around on my own and finally bit the bullet, starting lessons with a renowned teacher - he's taught pretty much all of the best guitarists in my area. He's not too expensive at 22 an hour and gives me plenty of material to work on.

I think its really important that your tutor really challenges you. You also shouldn't worry about playing different styles of music - for example I learnt a few of the Bach Fugues on electric and even though I don't particularly like that style I learnt an awful lot.
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