What should I bring with me to my first guitar lesson?
Your guitar, a notebook and a will to rock and roll!
Why do I need to bring a notebook with me to a guitar lesson?
The notebook is going to be your own personal custom fitted guitar learning book. I write down everything we talk about in our lessons and make sure your homework for the week are crystal clear. This way, whenever you need to remember an old subject or concept we already covered, you can just leaf through your notebook and find it. In addition, I have found that people tend to grasp and fully understand certain topics better and faster when they’re explained to them visually.
Can I borrow a guitar or do I have to buy one?
You can definitely borrow a guitar, just make sure that you are free to keep it for a while, because you’ll need it to practice at home between lessons.
Do you teach music theory? Will I have to learn some?
I do and you probably will, but the good news is that with me you’ll never learn theory just for the sake of learning theory. I teach what I like to call “Applicable Theory”, which is a fancy way of saying that whenever we talk about a theoretical concept, I’ll show you how to use it on the guitar and have it contribute to your playing right away. In my experience, this way of learning makes music theory much less “scary” for aspiring guitarists and really helps them to translate their new found theoretical knowledge into better guitar playing. On a side note: when explained correctly and in the right context, music theory is not only easy, but can actually be pretty fun. For real!
What kind of a guitar should I buy?
If you’re a beginner, I recommend that you get a Classical Guitar, which is sometimes referred to as a Nylon String Acoustic Guitar. You can get a pretty decent one for about $100, and they usually last for years. There are a lot of other advantages to starting out with a Classical Guitar, such as the the nylon strings – which are easier on your fingertips, the wide and easy to reach neck – which better accommodates all hand sizes and the bare simplicity of the instrument – that helps to focus on the actual playing.
Can I start learning with an acoustic or an electric guitar?
You can definitely start learning with either an acoustic or an electric guitar, but you should know it might be a bit harder. On the other hand, you won’t be the first to do that, so feel free to try it out. If I ever feel that you’d be better off switching to a classical guitar, I’ll be sure to let you know.
I like to wear my fingernails long. Will I have to cut them in order to play the guitar?
Unfortunately yes. Long fingernails will get in the way of pressing the strings to the fingerboard, thus not allowing you to produce a proper note. Sorry…
I always felt self conscious about my hands being too big/small - can I play guitar?
Not only can you play guitar, my friend, but having irregular size hands might actually turn out to be an advantage, allowing you to easily master techniques that others find hard. Besides, there are specially fitted guitars for people with smaller hands, such as 1/2 and 3/4 size guitars. For you bigger handed folks, there are plenty of models that offer thicker necks and wider fretboards that will make you feel right at home. The bottom line is: don’t worry about it, you’ll be playing guitar in no time!
How much will I have to practice in order to be a good guitar player?
There’s a direct connection between the amount of time you spend practicing every day, and your ability to play the guitar. However, since playing music is not a competitive sport, you won’t have to practice 2-3 hours a day to be able to play songs and have fun. I usually instruct beginners to start with 10-15 minutes a day, 5 times a week. As we progress, you’ll need to invest more time into your practice routine. Ideally, I’d like my more advanced students to practice for about an hour a day, 5 times a week. However, it is entirely up to you. If for any reason you can’t spend that much time practicing, I can give you a weekly exercise that will fit your timeframe, while incorporating some actual practice time in our weekly lessons. While you might advance a bit slower, at least you’ll be doing it efficiently and have fun in process.
I’ve been playing guitar for a while now, but I feel stuck and don’t really know how to improve my playing. Can you help me with that?
I sure can! Introducing you to new ideas, techniques, methods, scales and musical concepts, will help you break out of your rut and regain that long lost enthusiasm. In addition to that, I will make sure you improve gradually from week to week and help you establish a proper practicing regimen. I’ll teach you how to be meticulous about your playing and maybe even show you a secret trick or two ;)
What are your influences and who are your favorite guitar players?
I always loved Eric Clapton’s playing, ever since I was a kid. Looking back on it, he is probably one of the reasons I ended up picking up a guitar. I was always into Slash, as well. I think he is an amazing guitar player and I love his style, sound and feel.
I got a lot of my blues training by listening to guys like BB King, Albert King and Freddie King, and trying to imitate their style. Other guitar players I really dig are Andy Timmons, Greg Koch, Stevie Ray Vaughan, Brad Paisley, Joe Bonamassa, Buddy Guy, Richie Sambora, Angus Young and the list goes on and on…
As far as influences go, I think that The Beatles were my first musical love, and I’m a huge fan to this day. I grew up listening to a lot of Punk Rock and I can usually relate to any song that has loud drums, screaming guitars and a kick ass chorus. I also listen to Classic Rock, a ton of Blues, good ‘ole Country, some Jazz and if I’m in the right mood – some classical music, too. To be honest, I like good music – regardless of the genre. If the song is good and well performed, I’ll like it more often than not.