5 Ways to Balance the Cost of Guitar Lessons

3413422661_69043d875a_bThinking of learning to play guitar but put off by the price of lessons? It’s possible to get great results without dropping tons of cash, just follow this guide from guitar teacher Derrick C.

Price is one of the big determinations in people’s decision on whether or not to take guitar lessons. It can be a significant expense, but there are ways to lower the costs without sacrificing the quality of lessons.

1. Take guitar lessons on a bi-weekly or monthly basis

The standard for private guitar lessons is to come in once a week for a 30 minute or 60 minute lesson. Coming in every other week will cut the price in half, and your teacher can give you enough material to work on for two weeks. Another option I’ve suggested to students is to take 3 lessons a month, which lowers the price, maintains some consistency, and allows for a week off in case they’re busy at work or have a lot going on.

2. Buy used guitars and amps

One of the biggest expenses of learning a musical instrument is the cost of the gear. You can save some money by buying a used guitar instead of a new one. Typically, used Yamaha acoustic guitars such as the FG700 can be purchased for around $100-150, depending on the condition. There really isn’t much that can go wrong with an acoustic guitar that isn’t going to be immediately visible when you buy, so there’s nothing to lose by purchasing one from a private seller.

Got an electric guitar and need an amp? Get a used Line 6 Pod 2.0 for $50 off of Craigslist instead of an amp. You can plug headphones into it or plug it into any sort of stereo system or powered speakers that have a standard headphone jack. The sound quality of the older model is just as good as the newer ones.

3. Cut expenses elsewhere

Do you really need to have a thousand cable channels and pay $150 a month to watch the handful of shows you actually like? Your life will be better if you ditch cable altogether and spend your money on music lessons. Then spend the time when you used to watch TV playing guitar. If you have a show that you really love and don’t want to give up, see if you can buy episodes from Amazon Instant Video or another online source. I do that to watch The Walking Dead instead of paying for standard cable. If you already have a cheap cable plan but are paying a lot for your smartphone plan, shop for a cheaper carrier.

4. Take lessons with a friend and split the cost

I’ve had students do this in the past and they really enjoyed it. You just have to make sure both of your schedules will allow this, and have a plan for an alternate day if one of you can’t make it and you need to reschedule.

5. Fund your lessons with birthday and holiday presents

That’s right, tell your friends and family to buy you lessons for your birthday. Obviously you only have one birthday a year, but if you get four or five free lessons out of it, you’ve lowered your expenses by 25% for a third of the year.

Guitar lessons may be a little pricey at first glance, but they are definitely worth it if you really love music and want to learn to play an instrument. YouTube videos can supplement lessons but will never replace private instruction, regardless of how many people think they’re learning to play guitar by watching them. Try some of these money saving ideas instead and sign up for lessons with a qualified instructor.


Derrick C. teaches acoustic guitar, bass guitar, guitar, and music theory in Dedham, MA.  He has a Bachelor of Arts from Wright State University and won Boston’s Best Places for Guitar Lessons award in 2013.  Derrick has been teaching students since 1991.  Learn more about Derrick C. here!



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