Learning to Play Guitar: How Often Should I Take Lessons?

Learning to Play Guitar: How Often Should I Take Lessons?

Learning to Play Guitar: How Often Should I Take Lessons?You’ve chosen a beautiful guitar. You have picks, a capo, a tuner, and a guitar teacher. Congratulations! You’ve begun your journey to becoming a great guitar player. But how often should you take lessons?

Mastering the guitar requires blending many skills together,  and using your body and mind in unison to create music. You must perfect your muscle memory and fine motor skills, while remembering many chords, chord progressions, and how to find particular notes on your guitar. Playing electric or bass guitar can also mean having to remember and understand the use of settings on the guitar itself, as well as your amp and pedals. To combine all these skills takes practice and perseverance. A great teacher is invaluable, as is a lesson schedule which suits your abilities and goals.

How frequently you meet with your instructor depends heavily on where  you want playing guitar to take you. Do you want to be a professional studio musician? Do you want to join a band? Or, do you want to express yourself through a creative and enjoyable hobby? The more you seek to achieve from playing, the more long-term and consistent your instruction will need to be. Which is the best way to learn guitar for you?

As a Beginner Student

See your instructor at least once per week when you are just beginning. Weekly lessons are the best way to learn guitar because frequent check-ins will keep you focused and motivated.

As a beginner, the most important part of your practice is consistency. Playing every day, or even two or three times a day, is the key to success. It’s easy to get discouraged when your fingers are sore and don’t seem to want to do what you tell them to. Luckily, your ability will improve quickly in the early stages of learning.

Start by practicing ten minutes twice a day while your fingers are becoming callused, then move up to thirty minutes a day. Longer, less frequent practices are less effective, so try to avoid fitting a two-hour session in each week. Instead, make time every day.

As an Intermediate Student

By now you might be self motivated enough that you need to be reminded to put your guitar DOWN! As confident as you are in the basics, there is so much left to learn. This is the stage when you can really find yourself in your music. Experimenting with styles of play, different ‘voicings’ of your guitar, and even writing your own songs are all benefits of continuing your lessons. Meeting with your instructor once per week is still the best way to learn guitar for most intermediate students, allowing for consistent skill growth. If you’re finding you need more time to master new material, you can always move to lessons once every two weeks until you feel more confident.

As a Professional

Success! You’ve decided to make your living doing something you love! You’ve learned so much and come so far, but there are so many styles and variations that you could likely go on finding new and different ways to play guitar forever. Taking the time for a lesson every so often can refresh your playing immensely. New skills lead to new and better songwriting, and more impressive performances, so try to meet with an instructor every month or two.

For Your Child

If you are pursuing guitar lessons for your child, keep in mind that lessons can cause a lot of stress. If a child is expected to practice for long periods of time, or do many things during one practice, an instrument can become a source of frustration and anxiety. So many children tragically give up on their lessons due to stress. Far better to learn one song per week until a child becomes more self-motivated, than learn two or three songs a week for a year only for your child to never pick up the instrument again due to stress! Try to find an instructor who can be flexible with your child, and who will keep things fun and interesting in the long-term.

In the end, guitar is like any other skill- it requires effort and determination on your part, along with the experience and guidance of a great teacher. When you’re passionate and motivated, you can achieve your goals. The best way to learn guitar is to keep at it, so get started, and stay true to your vision! The world deserves to hear your unique and wonderful song.

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Learning Guitar: Understanding Minor and 7th Chords

Learning Guitar: Understanding Minor and 7th Chords

11263145144_2358b335a4_kWhat are minor and 7th chords anyway? TakeLessons teacher Brian T. breaks down the music theory behind building these chords…

Learning guitar chords is one of the early challenges of learning the guitar. Very often a new student will find themselves presented with a host of fingering patterns that make little sense. “Why this set of frets and not that one?” the student wonders “Why, when I move my E major down a string does it become A minor?” With just a bit of music theory and a willingness to work things out, we can answer these sorts of questions on our own. With a bit of effort, we can even free ourselves from dependence on chord books and other reference materials!

Finding Notes on the Guitar

To make sure we’re all on the same page, we’re going to start by discussing the notes used in the western musical tradition and where they are found on the guitar. Western music is made up of twelve notes, which are commonly labeled in one of two ways:


Observe that A sharp labels the same note as B flat, C sharp likewise labels the same not as D flat, and so on. For our purposes, we can treat these alternate labels as interchangeable.

Let’s review how we find these notes on the guitar. Moving one space to the right on the chart above (this is called, confusingly for guitarists, a half step) is the same as moving one fret “up” the neck of the guitar. If we start with the 5th (A) string open, we have an A. Moving to the first fret yields an A sharp; the second fret is B; we find C on the third fret, and so on. With the charts above and your the open strings memorized (E-B-G-D-A-E), you can find any note on the guitar!

A Brief Overview of Chord Construction

Though there are twelve notes available, any given song will stick – for the most part – to a set of seven notes that form the “key” of the song. For simplicity’s sake, we’ll look at the key starting with A and containing no sharps or flats; this key is known as “A minor”.

Now that we’ve established our key, we’re ready to make some chords! Each chord has a “root” note which gives the chord its name. We start by labelling the root “1″, and count up from it until all the members of the key have a number (we may need to loop around). If we’re making an A chord in our chosen key of A minor, it looks like this:

To form the chord, we play the notes labeled “1″, “3″, and “5″; in the case of our A minor chord, these are A, C, and E. That’s all there is to making a basic chord! Now of course, your guitar has more than three strings, so you’ll usually need to double up a few notes. Just make sure that the deepest sounding note is the root, and you’ll be good to go.

Lets look at building another chord in A minor. This time we’ll form a C chord.

This time our 1, 3, and 5, are C, E, and G respectively.

What Makes a Chord Minor

If you’ve been playing along (and I hope you have, as this is the best way of learning guitar chords) you may have noticed that the A and the C chords we constructed above sound markedly different. The A chord sounds somber, even sad, whereas the C chord is cheerful. This is because the A chord is a minor chord, while the C chord is Major. Let’s look at why this is:

The distance between two notes, in half steps, is called the interval between them. As we saw before, each chord consists of a 1, 3, and 5. The interval between 1 and 3 is called, quite reasonably, a 3rd. Not all thirds are the same size. A look at the chart of the key of A minor shows that there are three half steps from A to C. There are, however, four half steps from C to E, which is also a 3rd. The smaller three half step version of the 3rd is called a “minor” 3rd, while the larger four half step version is known as a “major” 3rd. A minor 3rd leads to a minor chord, and likewise a major 3rd yields a major chord. We can see this using the two chords we built earlier, A minor and C major:

A minor 3rd yields a minor chord. That’s really all there is to it!

Adding 7ths to Your Chords

We need not limit ourselves to chords with only three notes! If we wish, we can add another just as we did before – by skipping one note in the key. We end up with a chord containing 1,3,5, and 7; not surprisingly this is called a 7th chord. Much like 3rds, 7ths come in two varieties: major and minor. The most common combination is a major chord with a minor 7th. This is usually formed on the dominant (V) member of the key, and heralds the return of the tonic (I/i). Lets look at an example, again from the key of A minor:

E major 7(V7):

Other combinations are possible, however – try them out! I find that the major 7th on a major chord yields a warm, sweet sound, while a minor chord with a minor 7th sounds a bit gloomy. The minor chord with a major 7th inspires in me a sense of foreboding. What does it inspire in you?

Conclusion

Hopefully this post has given you a bit of a better sense of what minor and 7th chords are, and how to construct them. Ultimately, the best way of learning guitar chords is with fingers on the fret board. Name a chord, figure out what notes make it up, and find it on your guitar – preferably somewhere down the neck where things are a bit less familiar!

BrianT.

Brian T. teaches Economics, Geometry, Grammar, and Math in San Francisco, CA. He has been playing guitar for 14 years. He received his BA in Mathematics and Economics at University of San Francisco, where he studied Classical Guitar and Music Theory for three years.  Learn more about Brian T. here!

 

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In-Person, Online, or DIY: What’s the Best Way to Learn Guitar?

19713904_a6092fe9ee_oThe guitar is a beautiful instrument which lends itself flawlessly to expression and creativity. Adaptable and versatile, it allows the intent and emotion of the artist to flow through it, AND it’s easy to begin. After learning only a few easy chords you can not only play songs, but write them! Once you get the hang of it, playing guitar allows you to emulate your heroes. Many of your favorite songs are simple to learn on guitar, and it’s a wonderful feeling to play for your friends and family.

With its frets, many chords and alternate tunings, learning guitar can seem intimidating at first. Unlike piano, the scales are not set out in straight, obvious lines, and chord patterns can be difficult to master at first. Luckily, learning guitar does not depend on your ability to read musical notation, or ‘notes-on-staff’. Instead, you may prefer tablature, which marks the notes to be played on lines representing strings as you would see on the guitar itself.

Whether you’re interested in learning acoustic, electric, or bass guitar, you need to begin with some sort of instruction. There are many options available: online guitar lessons (YouTube, for example), private Skype lessons, books with audio discs, DVDs, or a traditional private tutor. When seeking instruction for yourself or your child, deciding what is the best way to learn guitar can be difficult, so let’s go over the options in more detail.

Do-It-Yourself (DIY)

At-your-leisure learning, whether through books, CDs, DVDs, MP3s or online guitar videos, is a flexible and convenient way to begin.

Pros:

  • Due to the plethora of materials and teachers, you can sample many media and teaching styles easily to find what works best for you.
  • Lessons can happen any place or time you find convenient.
  • You can decide precisely what you would like to learn, and take as much time as is needed to master it.
  • In most cases, DIY is the least expensive option for beginners.

Cons:

  • If you are practicing incorrectly, there’s no one to correct you.
  • Progress can be slow due to not being motivated by a teacher and not having a set schedule.
  • Important skill building may be missed when you are creating your own lesson plan ad-hoc.

Remote Instruction

Online guitar lessons via video calls provide an alternative to in person lessons, where you can communicate in real time with your teacher without leaving your home.

Pros:

  • Great for students with mobility issues or tight schedules.
  • Assistance is available as you learn, and you progress at your own pace.
  • The selection of teachers is not limited to those in your geographical area.
  • Often this option is cheaper than private lessons.

Cons:

  • Internet connections and software are not always reliable.
  • It can be quite difficult to learn guitar when your only model is a reverse image of what you’re trying to play.
  • It may be difficult to catch subtle mistakes when your teacher is not actually there with you.

Group Instruction

In larger towns and cities, group lessons are sometimes offered at community centers or after hours in schools. Often high school or college students, or retired musicians, provide weekly lessons to a small group.

Pros:

  • Learning with others can be enjoyable, especially if you find a group which fits your age and skill level.
  • Unlike online guitar lessons, there is a teacher on-site to help you correct mistakes.

Cons:

  • There is little personal attention. Your teacher may not catch your mistakes, leaving your skills sloppy and incomplete.
  • There can be many distractions as it’s easy for a group to get off topic.
  • Much of your time may be devoted to solving other people’s problems.
  • You have little input into what you’re learning.
  • Everyone moves at the same pace, even if you are capable of learning more quickly, or need more time.

Private Lessons in-Person

One-on-one learning with a skilled teacher focused on you, your interests, and your progress.

Pros:

  • Your teacher is a professional who can bring all the benefits of years of practice to you.
  • All of their technical skills and tricks are at your disposal.
  • You set the pace. You can choose between styles and methods, notation or tablature, and which songs you want to play.
  • Regular lessons and homework keep you on track and motivated to do your best.
  • The education you receive will be complete, and will give you the skills you need to become truly talented.

Cons:

  • One-on-one lessons are generally the most expensive option.
  • You’ll need to find someone in your area whose schedule is compatible with your own.

Whether you choose online guitar courses or a more tailored experience, learning guitar is a rewarding and enjoyable pursuit. Remember to take pride in your accomplishments and have fun. The best way to learn guitar depends on your goals and what will best help you to achieve them. Good luck!

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5 Things to Know Before Buying a Used Guitar

5 Things to Know Before Buying a Used Guitar

130674346_b0b161761f_oIf you’re in the market for an inexpensive guitar, you’ve probably noticed there are many, many used guitars for sale. How do you find a great guitar and avoid the lemons? Follow this guide from guitar teacher James W. and you’ll be on your way to finding the perfect new-used guitar…

Buying a used guitar can be a fun and rewarding experience if you know what to look for and what to avoid. Let’s delve into the details in a step-by-step way that makes sense. First off, what kind of guitar do you wish to own? Since buying is the pain and owning is the pleasure, it is good to know what to look for.

1. Let Me Give You A Hand

Are your hands big or small? I recommend that you choose a guitar based on your ability to wrap your hand all the way around the neck. This is not just personal taste, it’s a physical thing. There’s no point in making things harder by picking a neck that is too big to play comfortably, with strings too high off the fretboard to play a chord or two.

Search for the kind of guitar you love to play and check it to see if the setup was done recently. If you are not sure, ask the owner. Chances are they bought this guitar used or new and had to have the strings lowered and the intonation set for it to play in tune. Are the tuners looking new? Were they an upgrade? Good tuners will keep the strings in tune longer, and a good setup means the guitar will be easier for you to play.

2. Tonewoods

Mahogany, maple, rosewood, spruce, alder, ash, and basswood.  Ah the wonderful phrase: “That guitar has good tonewoods.” Most good acoustics have a spruce top and mahogany back and sides. Some use maple for the top or other laminated woods for the back and sides of the guitar. I do not recommend buying a guitar with laminated back and sides. Laminate guitars can be too easily damaged and dinged or dented. Stick with quality solid woods. Something else to consider: Tonewoods have warm aural qualities and improve in sound with age.

3. Pickups

Look for guitars for sale with stock pickups by Fender,Fishman, Gibson, Godin, Dimarzio, EMG, or Seymour Duncan, as these are all quality makers. Today there are as many types of guitar pickups as there are musical genres. If you listen to Stevie Ray Vaughn play blues you may say single coil is the way to go. Both single coil and humbuckers are passive and rely on magnets to work. Listen to them and compare the tone of each one through a good amp like a Marshall all tube( valve) amp or a Fender Champ Amp. Then decide what you prefer. Remember to keep it simple and put good strings on that guitar once you get it home. Ernie Ball Slinkys (0.10’s) for electric guitars and Elxirs for acoustic guitars are good choices. I also like EVH Premium electric guitar strings.

4. To Coil Tap or Not to Coil Tap

Coil tapping is simply rewiring the guitar tone and volume knobs (a.k.a. pots) to “push and pull” so you can get more variety of sounds out of one guitar. In the case of my Telecaster, coil tapping has given me the sound of up to 7 guitars in one. If you see an electric guitar with this built into it and everything else looks good including the price then you may have found your prize. Snap it up!

5. Invest in a Hard Shell Case

A hard shell case can keep your pride and joy safe from just about every calamity known to man. It may be a used guitar but you still invested your hard earned dollars in it, so it’s wise to protect it. A hard shell case will cost more than a gig bag, but it will pay for itself in peace of mind. Trust me on this. I cannot express the trauma you feel when a baggage handler at the airport throws your guitar on the conveyer belt!

It’s good to understand the choices and maybe even be a bit picky. Educate yourself by going into your local guitar store and trying out several of their guitars for sale to see what makes you smile- “I like that one but I don’t like that one” and so on. Always buy trusted brands like Fender and Gibson and Martin with quality parts built right in. Look for a guitar that has been maintained in good shape by the previous owner. Guitars are like cars; they must be maintained and cared for. And remember, if you have any questions along the way, your guitar teacher will be happy to help!

James W. teaches guitar, singing, and acting lessons in Jacksonville, FL. He specializes in teaching pop, rock, and modern country styles. James has been teaching for 10 years and joined the TakeLessons in 2010. Learn more about James here!

 

 

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7 Easy Country Songs to Play on the Guitar

7 Easy Country Songs to Play on the Guitar

13918623384_819fee1841_hCountry fans, grab your guitars and start strumming! Guitar teacher David G. made this round up of easy country songs to play on the guitar just for you…

In the modern music era, country music has become widely popular among all ages of listeners more than any time before in music history. One of the main reasons for this trend in the 21st century is most country musicians fuse their music into a genre called country-pop. When country music first came out, lyrics were typically about the simple times in life addressing everyday tasks or the pure beauty in simple situations.

Currently, modern country songs still incorporate these aspects in their lyrics but place more emphasis on relationships between people as well. In this article, we are going to go through a few easy songs to play on guitar by various country artists. I will explain how to play these songs, and give helpful tips to practice transitioning between chords if you are in the early stages of learning guitar.

1. “Cruise” Florida Georgia Line

Capo 3 G – D – Em – C 2. 2. 2. 2

For this song, The Florida Georgia Line plays the same chord progression for the entire song. Before starting this song place a capo on the 3rd fret of your guitar so that you can play “G form chords” while actually being in the key of Bb.

When I write out music for my students I like to simplify a song into a simple chart that tells the student everything they need to know about how to play the song they are learning. If you look at the chart above it tells you two pieces of information. The first aspect of the chart tells you what chords to play along with the order; and the second aspect tells you that you are going to strum each chord two times before changing to the next chord. (I.E. Strum a G chord two times then a D chord two times then an Em chord two times and then a C chord two times. Once you get to the end repeat the line)

To practice this song accurately turn a metronome to 75 beats per minute and practice matching up one strum to each click on the metronome. (I.E. One strum equals one click)

2. “All Over The Road” – Easton Corbin

Capo 3 D – Em – G – A 2. 2. 2. 2

For this song, Easton Corbin plays the same chord progression for his entire song. Place a capo on the 3rd fret of the guitar just like our first song. This chart tells us that we should play two strums on D then two strums on Em then two strums on G then two strums on A. Place your metronome on 100 beats per minute and practice playing one strum per click on the metronome.

3. “Country Girl” – Luke Bryan

No capo E – G – Asus2 – E 4. 4. 4. 4

For this song, Luke Bryan plays the same chord progression for his entire song. This chart tells you that you should play four strums on E then four strums on G then four strums on Asus2 then four strums on E. Place your metronome on 100 beats per minute and practice playing one strum per click on the metronome.

4. “If I Die Young” – The Band Perry

Capo 4 F – C – G – Am 2. 2. 2. 2

For this song, The Band Perry plays this chord progression for their entire song. Place your capo on the 4th fret of the guitar. This chart tells you that you should strum two times on F then two strums on C then two strums on G then two strums on Am. Place your metronome on 65 beats per minute and practice playing one strum per click on the metronome.

5. “Everything Has Changed” – Taylor Swift

Capo 4 D – Em – G – A 4. 4. 4. 4

For this song, Taylor Swift plays the same chord progression for her entire song. Place your capo on the 4th fret of your guitar. This chart tells you that you should strum four times on D then four strums on Em then four strums on G then four strums on A. Place your metronome on 80 beats per minute and practice playing one strum per click on the metronome.

6. “This Is How We Roll” – Florida Georgia Line

Capo 1 C – G – D 2. 2. 4

For this song, The Florida Georgia Line plays the same chord progression for their entire song. Place your capo on the 1st fret of your guitar. This chart tells you to strum two times on C then two strums on G then four strums on D. Place your metronome on 65 beats per minute and practice playing one strum per click on the metronome.

7. “Compass” – Lady Antebellum

Intro F – C – G 2. 2. 4

Verse (1st :15 – Yeah it’s been a bumpy road) (2nd 1:12 – forgot directions on your way) F – C – G (4x) 2. 2. 4

Pre chorus (:34 – you want to give up cuz it’s dark) Dm – C – F (2x) 3. 1. 4

Chorus (:42 – so let your heart sweetheart) F – C – G – Am – F – C – G (2x) 2. 2. 2. 2. 2. 2. 4 F – C – G (2x) 2. 2. 4

I wanted the last song that I shared with you to have a chord progression that isn’t the same for the entire song. If you look at this chart it separates the song into sections. (Intro/Verses/Pre Chorus/Chorus) It is the same process as the other songs, but you just have to pay attention to where the different sections come in, which I made note of in the chord chart with beginning lyrics of the section and approximate time in the song. Place your metronome on 70 beats per minute and practice playing one strum per click.

Conclusion

Country music, especially modern country music is full of easy songs to play on guitar. If you analyze all of these songs they generally use a very small amount of chords for an entire song. The best way to practice changing chords is to practice left hand alone, transitioning chords as slowly as humanly possible for at least a week before playing them full speed. The reason for this style of practice is to give your hands and brain an ample amount of time to learn what functions have to occur to successfully change chords.

Good luck and have fun!

DavidG.

David G. teaches classical guitar, guitar, music theory and piano in Buffalo, NY.  He received his Bachelor of Music in Music Education from SUNY Fredonia, as well as his Master of Music Performance from University at Buffalo.  Not only is David is a multi-talented musician as a performer and composer, he is also an educator creating a music program called Spectrum Music specializing in Autism & Aspergers.   Learn more about David G. here!

 

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3 Alternate Tunings Every Guitarist Should Try

3 Alternate Tunings Every Guitarist Should Try

5577599735_36217ef428_b (1)Did you know tuning your guitar a different way can open up tons of new possibilities in your playing? Guitar teacher James W. shares three of the most popular alternate guitar tunings you’ll want to explore…

It is estimated that singer-songwriter Joni Mitchell created over 58 open tunings for guitar in her quest to create new songs over the course of her 50 year career in popular song. She was able to be remarkably inventive in her playing simply by experimenting with the guitar’s tuning. Styles that use open tunings or alternate tunings include folk, blues, pop, rock, and even djent styles of music. Here are some basics…

1. You tune so that your open strings when strummed play a chord, and that chord is the key for your song.

2. Open tuning means you will need to learn new shapes or fingerings to play open chords. You can also play a chord by strumming all the open strings or barring just your index finger across all six strings.

How to Tune Your Guitar to Open Tunings

We are going to deal only with three of the most popular keys used for open tuning for now. Each tuning below is low to high on the strings. Use your electronic tuner and tune your guitar down to the chord for the key you want to play in today.

The advantage of knowing these tunings is that they open the door to more ideas, more fun, and more songs to play either with your fingers exploring new fingerings or using a slide to play slide guitar and take a solo during the song.

If playing lead guitar has been difficult for you up until now, cheer up because tuning your guitar to Open E, Open D, or Open G may be your passport to freedom. Open tunings create a full sound that is both pleasing to the ears when strummed on guitar, or when playing melodies with one or two fingers, and of course when jamming with other guitar players.

Open E: E B E G# B E (tune down low to high)

Open E Secrets: Open E is one of the most popular tunings in American music. For instance, Derek Trucks of the Allman Brothers frequently tunes to Open E. He absolutely flies along at a nice tempo creating beautiful sounds for his audience. He has played with bands live all over the world. This includes legendary musicians like Doyle Bramhall and Eric Clapton and his spouse Susan Tedeschi in the Tedeschi Trucks Band. His influences came from Duane Allman and countless others like blues music legends Robert Johnson and Mike Bloomfield.

Today this tuning is used by John Mayer, Joe Bonamassa, and Sheryl Crowe. Bands like Train and Goo Goo Dolls use this tuning on acoustic guitar and electric guitar to make the melody and vocal really dance. It is definitely worth exploring.

Open D: D D F # A D (tune down low to high)

Open D Secrets: This is one of the most satisfying keys to play in, write a song in, and sing along with if you enjoy creating a pleasing harmony. Classic songs like “Suite: Judy Blue Eyes” by Crosby Stills Nash and Young use this tuning. In fact without Stephen Stills’ acoustic tuned down to Open D it would lack the support the song needs.

Open G: D G D G B D (tune down low to high)

Open G Secrets: This is a key most anyone can grab on to and sing a song in. With the exception of C Major, which is home, this may be the most comfortable of choices in western music, which makes it a must-know for guitar players all over the country. The droning quality and sweet tones make us feel good.

Also we notice the variation tuning G-G-D-G-B-D was used by Joni Mitchell for “Electricity”, and “For the Roses”, both Hit Songs for her. Altering this tuning slightly to G-D-G-B-D for his five-string guitar, Keith Richards of The Rolling Stones plays his songs “Start Me Up”, “Honky Tonk Women”, “Brown Sugar” with authority, conviction and a swagger the recalls the early blues master Muddy Waters, and Father of Rock and Roll, Chuck Berry. Keith made it clear that open tunings freed up his creative spark.

Interested in learning more about alternate tunings and other ways to experiment on the guitar? A great guitar teacher can show you all the tricks and tips you need to make your guitar playing come alive!

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James W. teaches guitar, singing, and acting lessons in Jacksonville, FL. He specializes in teaching pop, rock, and modern country styles. James has been teaching for 10 years and joined the TakeLessons in 2010. Learn more about James here!

 

 

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10 Inspiring Quotes from Famous Guitarists

10 Inspiring Quotes from Famous Guitarists

They are great and successful. They have been called geniuses while alive, and their music still inspires hundreds of young musicians today. They make us understand that knowing music texts is not the only factor in becoming a legendary musician.

Their contribution to the development of different music styles is hard to estimate, and today we share their words with musicians who dream of worldwide fame, and try to reveal the secrets of these wonderful people’s success and charisma.

So, catch your muse, play a guitar – and may inspiration be with you!

1. Jimi Hendrix

“Music doesn’t lie. If there is something to be changed in this world, then it can only happen through music.”

The point is, that Hendrix was not the best guitar player among his contemporaries. The fact is, he played more naturally. He was a creative person, and there was such an impression that he did not have to make any efforts for his work to become better. Hendrix personified the music he played: he was this music himself.

2. Keith Richards

“Music is a necessity. After food, air, water and warmth, music is the next necessity of life.”

There is a reason why people are ready to give a lot to see Richards’ playing. He created many amazing and diverse songs and melodies. His guitar playing has always been innovative, and his usage of constantly changing approaches has always been in at the heart of The Rolling Stones’ sound.

3. Eddie Van Halen

Famous Guitarists Quotes Van Halen

“If you want to be a rock star or just be famous, then run down the street naked, you’ll make the news or something. But if you want music to be your livelihood, then play, play, play and play! And eventually you’ll get to where you want to be.”

Van Halen’s skills come from the way he plays his guitar. He mastered the technique of tapping to perfection, and he even improved it. He is 60 now, and he continues to tour.

4. Robert Leroy Johnson

“When the train, it left the station, there was two lights on behind,
Well, the blue light was my baby, and the red light was my mind.”

There is a good reason why almost all articles about Robert Johnson have one and the same featured image of him: only two portraits of this blues musician are available today. Most of Johnson’s life was spent out of commercial success. Though he played in the streets, he is probably one of the key blues musicians in history.

5. Ry Cooder

Famous Guitarists Quotes - Ry Cooder

“No second chances in the land of a thousand dances, the valley of ten million insanities.”

Ryland Peter Cooder is a charismatic, multifaceted and extraordinary musician best known for his starring role in Buena Vista Social Club. Ry started as a teenager and a promising blues musician, and he became famous for his slide guitar work.

6. Carlos Santana

“Most people are prisoners, thinking only about the future or living in the past. They are not in the present, and the present is where everything begins.”

The “glass” tone of Santana’s guitar playing is easy to recognize once it appears in a song. His characteristic fusion of Latin rhythms, blues and jazz has become almost a cult, and his 65-year-old career deservedly led him to ten Grammy Awards and three Latin Grammies.

7. Jimmy Page

“I believe every guitar player inherently has something unique about their playing. They just have to identify what makes them different and develop it.”

This Led Zeppelin guitarist has become one of the greatest players of all time. However, he is also one of the greatest composers and producers in the world of rock. Having such an extensive set of songs, solos and rhythms, Jimmy Page has easily become one of the titans in music industry.

8. Eric Clapton

Famous Guitarists Quotes Eric Clapton

“When all the original blues guys are gone, you start to realize that someone has to tend to the tradition. I recognize that I have some responsibility to keep the music alive, and it’s a pretty honorable position to be in.”

The only three-time winner of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Award, Clapton has revolutionized a guitar playing and become one of the most respected and influential musical figures in the era of rock. His style has changed over time, but he always held on to his blues roots.

9. Chuck Berry

chuck-berry

“You don’t just go to the studio and say, ‘I’m going to write a hit.’ It becomes a hit when people like your compositions.”

Berry is best known for being one of the first rock and roll guitarists. As a result, he served as an inspiration for famous guitarists such as Beatles and The Rolling Stones. Chuck Berry was economical and clean as a guitarist, and he was bright and witty as a showman.

10. Jeff Beck

Famous Guitarists Quotes Jeff Beck

“I don’t understand why some people will only accept a guitar if it has an instantly recognizable guitar sound. Finding ways to use the same guitar people have been using for 50 years to make sounds that no one has heard before is truly what gets me off.”

As well as Eric Clapton and Jimmy Page, Beck is one of the three famous guitarists who played with The Yardbirds. Thanks to them, he entered the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and entered it again as a solo guitarist. He produced some of the most exciting and dizzying guitar melodies in modern music history; and although Jeff Beck is not as commercially successful as many his contemporaries, his influence to the world of music can not be underestimated.

About the author:

Lesley J. Vos is a private educator of French language for high school students. Her interests include writing, reading and music, and she is always open to something new and inspiring. Lesley is a blogger who is honored to write for popular educative blogs such as Edudemic, Bid4papers Blog, Student Advisor Blog, Getting Smart, and others. Lesley is writing her first e-book at the moment, and she hopes to publish it this year.

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10 Free Guitar Videos to Help You Get Started

10 Free Guitar Videos to Help You Get Started

3398111658_fd545f1bd1_b (1)Whether you’re looking for an extra challenge between guitar lessons, or you need a refresher on some basic guitar concepts, YouTube is a treasure trove of instructional videos. But how do you find the best ones when there are so many free guitar videos out there? Follow these recommendations from guitar teacher Milton J.

Congratulations on your decision to take guitar lessons! This incredible instrument has given me joy beyond belief ever since I picked it up when I was 13 years old. As you begin your journey to musical mastery, here are ten wonderful free guitar videos you can watch to help you get started shredding, strumming, and soloing towards guitar amazingness!

This wonderful online teacher of Master Guitar Academy named Robert Renman provides a slew of lesson videos for beginning guitarists to the most seasoned ones. His introductory, two-part video on the Major Scale is a definitive must first-watch for a beginner. Scales are one of the first things you should learn on the guitar, and this video will help you master an important one.

Part 1

Part 2

These videos by Nate Savage of GuitarLessons.com will help beginning guitarists understand how to hold their guitar and position their fingers to create the chords being taught. Mr. Savage categorizes these chords as the “8 Chords You Must Learn,” as you will find these chords repeated in some of your favorite songs. After getting the fingerings down for those chords, you can check out the next video from Mr. Savage that’ll introduce you to strumming.

8 Chords

Strumming

In the next series of videos, Matt McCoy from the YouTube channel Acoustic Selection and our old friend Nate Savage from Guitar Lessons let you in on the few things they wish they had been taught when learning to play the guitar, as well as common mistakes even the most gifted of guitarists can make.

3 Things I Wish I was Taught

7 Common Mistakes

In these next two free guitar videos, YouTube lesson provider Andy Crowley will teach you how to play a few songs! Nothing’s better than getting introduced to the guitar, chords, and then some songs, right? In these videos, Andy Crowley shows you a few chord progressions that can be used across multiple songs you may know, and some you may not but will grow to love as well! These videos will help you understand the parallels many of your favorite rock or pop songs make in their progressions, further encouraging you to continue with this wonderful instrument!

10 Songs with 2 Chords

10 Songs with 3 Chords

Lastly, but certainly not least, learning major scale positions is very important to your development as a guitar player. These two videos should get you started in learning two tenets of major scales – pentatonic and diatonic major scales. What’s more is these scales will put you on your way to understanding melodies in your guitar playing and lead you to soloing as well! I’d advise you to take your time through both Marty’s pentatonic scale lessons and Mark Cote’s 5 Forms of the Diatonic Scale, as there’s a wealth of information in both that is best digested in smaller doses than just watching the video start to finish.

The 5 Positions of the Major Scale

The 5 Forms of the Diatonic Scale

I hope all of these free guitar videos help you in your quest to become the very best guitarist you can be. Happy playing!

Milton

Milton J. teaches guitar, music performance, music recording, piano, singing and songwriting in Corona, CA. He received a double Bachelor of Arts degree in Ethnomusicology and African-American Studies from University of California Davis, and is currently taking classes at University of Redlands for his Vocal Music Performance degree. Milton has been teaching students since 2011.  Learn more about Milton J. here!

 

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Getting Started: How Much Are Guitar Lessons?

Getting Started: How Much Are Guitar Lessons?

5317943190_38098a9057_bWhen you’re looking around for guitar lessons, be aware that there are many different things that can change the cost per lesson. While the average price for guitar lessons falls somewhere between $20 and $40, a few important factors can determine whether you’re at the low or the upper end of the spectrum.

Instructor and Student Experience

Most guitar teachers starting out are not only trying to teach music; they are also trying to get their name out there into the music community. The average price for guitar lessons for instructors who have less than 5 years of teaching experience is much less than the average for instructors with 20 years or more.

Along with the experience of the instructor, your experience is also a factor. As you progress and can play at a higher level, you need a teacher that can help you continue to learn. In addition, you might find that you would like to specialize in a certain area of guitar playing. Many instructors have a specialty as well, and those who are able to adequately teach these specialties can command a higher average price for guitar lessons than those that maintain a standard beginner or intermediate curriculum.

Lesson Duration

Naturally, the more time you spend with your instructor, the more that he or she will be charging you per lesson. Usually, guitar teachers will start you out with a 30 minute lesson once per week. As your skill level improves, you might find that a 45 minute lesson or even a full hour of instruction is necessary for continued advancement.

The right guitar lesson length for you can be discussed with your guitar instructor at any time. Since a 45 minute lesson will cost only slightly less than 150% of a 30 minute lesson, your private lessons instructor will be getting more out of each week. If you feel like you’re always running short on time, don’t hesitate to ask your private guitar lessons teacher whether increasing the time each week would be beneficial.

Where You’re Located

If you live in a small town, this significantly limits your options as compared to a larger urban or suburban area. On the other hand, the average price for guitar lessons in a smaller community could be much less than the prices found in a larger area.

If you are located in a rural area, but are willing to drive to a slightly larger community, you might find the best of both worlds. While the prices are higher in larger population centers, this ties in to the first factor, the expertise of your guitar instructor. Often, there are teaching studios or schools where you can progress from one private teacher to the next as your ability improves.

Where You’re Receiving the Lessons

Besides your geographic location, the physical location also can impact what you find for the average price for guitar lessons. There are three main options for where the lessons can take place:

  • At a studio or your instructor’s rehearsal space
  • At your home
  • Online via a video chat setup

Out of these three, the most expensive option is to have your instructor travel to meet you at your home. While this can be the most convenient, it often comes at a premium. If you need your guitar lessons at your home, it saves you time, and travel costs. At the same time, those costs need to be picked up by someone else, in this case, your instructor. The average price for guitar lessons increases if the lessons occur at the student’s home, especially if the private lessons instructor charges mileage or or for the time spent traveling.

Online lessons can be quite inexpensive, but are not ideal for the only means of guitar lessons. Without having your instructor in the same room as you, things can prove quite difficult if there are specific fingering patterns or other intricacies that need to be discussed. Having at least one in-person lesson per month is a good rule of thumb to keep your ability progressing at a steady rate.

So…What’s the Bottom Line?

More important than the four factors listed here, is that you shop around to find the best instructor for guitar lessons. If you are just starting out, you won’t require a world-class guitarist as a teacher, but you will still want someone who is knowledgeable and has a few years of experience in teaching beginning guitar players. The beginning instructor will usually have a much lower average price for guitar lessons than the advanced teacher; keep in mind that higher level lessons will cost more down the road.

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Learning to Play Guitar: How Long Should My Lessons Be?

Learning to Play Guitar: How Long Should My Lessons Be?

10430371614_4255e624e2_kNot sure how long your guitar lessons should be? Take some advice from guitar teacher David G. and you’ll be on the road to success…

When prospective students are looking for a potential music teacher they are searching for a number of different aspects to their lessons. Most private teachers have a range of options for lesson times that they offer their students, the most common being 30 minutes, 45 minutes, or 60 minutes in length. There are a number of things to consider when choosing how long your guitar lessons should be.

30 Minute Lesson

I recommend that most beginning guitar students start with a 30 minute lesson for a number of reasons. If you are brand new to learning how to play guitar it is important during your first few lessons to gauge your interest level in the instrument. Many people have an idea that they want to learn to play guitar but it is not only a financial commitment but a time commitment as well, so it is important to think realistically about how much time and money you are willing to put in to work on the instrument.

For younger students specifically, a 30 minute lesson is a perfect slot of time because most students cannot focus effectively for a longer period of time than 30 minutes. In your first few lessons your teacher will be giving you a lot of information about a variety of aspects of learning to play and practice guitar effectively.  At times this can feel overwhelming for new students but it is important to remember that when  learning anything your mind needs time to absorb all the material that is being presented; it will get easier.

45 Minute Lesson

Most students that choose to have a 45 minute lesson are at an intermediate level of experience playing the guitar and are more serious about learning how to play guitar at a faster rate of time. Generally speaking your teacher will price the lessons so that you get more for your money by choosing a 45 minute lesson vs choosing a 30 minute lesson.

I personally recommend my students select a 45 minute lesson if they are in the age range of 12 to 18, where they are able to focus for longer periods of time, and you mutually feel that the student is progressing at a rate that is suitable for that particular individual.

60 Minute Lesson

Students that select a 60 minute lesson fall into a number of different categories. Most commonly I recommend that students take a 60 minute lesson if they are an advanced guitarist or if they are a prospective college student looking to audition at a school specifically for studying music. Similarly to the 45 minute lessons, teachers generally price a 60 minute lesson so that it is the best overall deal for the student where you are paying a price that maximizes your time with your guitar teacher.

A 60 minute lesson is mandatory for students looking to enter college as a music major. The reason for this is that at your music school you will be taking a 60 minute lesson with your professor at most major schools for music. As an advanced student your teacher will expect and demand more out of your playing. When you are auditioning on guitar at a school for music you are expected to be proficient in scales, arpeggios, sight reading, and performing repertoire at an advanced level. I like to segment my 60 minute lessons into categories to address each of these topics and allow students sufficient time to master their material and concepts.

Conclusion

When selecting your lesson length with your private guitar teacher consider cost, level of commitment, your experience with the instrument, your ambitions with the instrument, and what feels right. Learning guitar is an incredibly rewarding and exciting instrument as you progress with your experience. Best of luck and remember to always work hard and have fun!

DavidG.David G. teaches guitar, music performance, music theory and piano in Buffalo, NY.  He received his Bachelor of Music from SUNY Fredonia, as well as his  Master of Music Performance from University at Buffalo.  David is a multi-talented musician as a performer, composer and has been teaching students since 2006.  Learn more about David G. here!

 

 

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