Do I need a guitar to take lessons?
The quick answer is yes. . . Most people are hesitant to invest in a guitar before they attempt learning the instrument which is totally understandable. Unfortunately, it’s like learning to ride a bike without the bike. If you’re unsure about taking the plunge, keep this thought in mind – if you can type, text or tie your shoes you can play the guitar. Everyday I work with people from the ages of 10 to 80 who play things they never dreamed possible on the guitar. All they had to do was buy the guitar and find the right instructor. . .
What kind of guitar should I buy?
Here is an article outlining a simple plan for finding and buying a guitar that best fits your situation:
My guitar needs repair or a setup. Where should I go?
A well setup guitar with fresh strings makes playing/learning guitar so much easier and a lot more fun! I always recommend using smaller, locally owned repair shops. The big chain stores are OK, but they leave a lot to be desired regarding expertise, customer service and pricing.
Currently I send all students to Out On A String located in Gilbert at Gilbert R. and Pecos. They have done a ton of work on my personal instruments and ALWAYS go above and beyond what is expected. Please see their contact info below:Out On A String 3107 S Gilbert Rd Ste 101, Gilbert, AZ 85295 (480) 899-6627 http://www.outonastring.com/repair.html
When learning to play guitar do I have to practice every day?
There is no way around it. The more often you practice the faster you will improve and reach your playing goals. Even a hobbyist learning to play guitar needs to practice every day when possible to become proficient. However, practicing every day is not the real issue here. It’s the mind set and perspective associated with practice that gives practicing a bad name. Most players see practice as an act of drudgery they “have” to do in order to get to the good stuff – which is playing music on the guitar. . . What if we flipped that idea on its head and made practice the fun stuff? Sounds weird, right? Fortunately, by fine-tuning the perspective associated with practice I’ve been able to make the time spent learning new things as fun as actually playing music for others. In most cases, our students actually look forward to sitting down with their instrument to practice.
On a different note, music is definitely something that returns what is invested into it. The more often you practice correctly, the faster you improve as a musician. A short daily practice session is much better than a longer practice session once or twice a week. As players progress and see improvement what usually happens is they want to practice more often and for longer periods. Practice becomes more like a game and a fulfilling source of fun.
If I can teach myself to play on the internet and youtube, why should I take lessons?
Teaching yourself an instrument can start out as a rewarding adventure. However, there always comes a time when the self-learner hits a wall and becomes stuck. It’s at this point most people lose interest and give up. There are several reasons for this, but the main ones are below:
1) Lack of Reliable Sources: There are definitely some great resources on the web to learn from. Unfortunately, the reliability of most online sources can’t be verified. Who’s to say the online lesson material isn’t being provided by a 14 year old novice with little or no teaching experience. The lack of personal interaction on the internet enables unscrupulous people to prey on the unsuspecting. . .
2) Lack of Feedback/Guidance = SLOW Progress: Let’s assume one is able to find good information and starts working to learn it. . . What if the information is applied and practiced incorrectly? What if bad playing habits, or worse, injury occur because of improper playing techniques? Again, most people lose interest and give up. This is where an experienced guitar instructor and coach makes a HUGE difference! Getting guidance and feedback on what to play and how to properly play it provides a ton of benefits including progressing faster, staying motivated and saving time and money in the long run.
3) Gaps in Playing Knowledge Lead to Destroyed Musical Confidence: Trying to piece together all the components needed to play guitar at a competent level, and then applying those components in the correct order leaves a lot to chance. . . There’s nothing more humbling than showing up to a jam session or other musical event and realizing there are some huge gaps in your playing. It could be the lack of timing, ability to hear with a musical ear, understanding of music theory or just how to interact with other musicians musically. Regardless, it’s a hard lesson to learn and even harder to push on and continue playing after such a difficult situation. A quick analogy would be someone teaching themselves to be a doctor using only the internet with no outside guidance. Sounds ridiculous, right? However, the chance they will be successful is pretty much ZERO! I’m definitely not comparing doctors and musicians, but it sure helps put things into perspective.
My relative plays guitar and he said (fill in the blank). What you said is exactly opposite. Who should I believe and why?
While I’m sure your uncle/grandmother/cousin/friend etc. has your best interest at heart, please try to keep an open mind when loved ones offer advice about playing guitar. If uncle Joe is a professional guitar player or teacher you may want to listen closely. However, if that’s not the case, here are a few things to consider:
1) Can the person actually play in the style, or at the level you want to play?
2) Does the person make a deliberate attempt to stay on top of the latest and most effective ways to teach, play or learn guitar?
If you answered no to either of the above questions it might be in your best interest to just say “thanks for the advice” and seek out a competent instructor to verify the information you received. There is a lot more involved with learning to teach, and then actually teaching guitar, than most people might think. In fact, most of the information concerning how to teach and/or learn guitar dating back more than 5 or 10 years has proven to be totally false, and in some cases, dangerous to the inexperienced player. Always verify any “friendly” advice you receive about playing with a qualified teacher. Who knows, by doing a bit of investigation you might be able to help your uncle find a new path to playing success that he was unaware even existed. . . Win-win for both of you!
Can’t find what you’re looking for? Just send your question(s) using the form below. . .
“I thought that guitar lessons would be very difficult for me to keep up with and that I would get easily frustrated in the beginning. . . I learned how to play the guitar very quickly and received a lot of support from Ty.”
Angelo Hernandez – Mesa, AZ
“I had always felt that I needed lessons (I am basically self-taught). But I was apprehensive. Both from the fear of the unknown, as well as not having the self-confidence to be able to learn and play better. . . Completely different now. I have gained a much better understanding of the guitar . . . Greater fretboard knowledge . . . A better understanding of notes and keys and their relationship . . . and my confidence level has improved. . .
Ty is a fantastic instructor that will get you motivated and excited to play every day. His teaching methods are easy and fun to learn.
You still have to do the exercises, but man – it’s fun!”
Fred Boye – Guitarist, Mesa, AZ
Here’s to your success and excellence in mastering the guitar and making music . . .