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by James W. - Jacksonville Guitar Teacher
Jacksonville, Florida, a beach town on the Atlantic coast of North Florida, is the birthplace of southern rock and a great city to be a guitar player. Jacksonville - or “Jax” as it's known locally - has rich music roots, origins of jam band culture and a diverse, live downtown music scene, which includes local and national artists, southern rock, indie, underground, country western/cross-over rock, Christian rock, hip hop and punk.
Jax natives encourage guitar playing and original songwriting regardless of age or skill level. Guitar players in Jacksonville will find a mix of new and established sounds and genres, heavily influenced by southern and country rock and live performance. There are many opportunities for local talent, and southern hospitality is alive and well. For those who want to jam, take guitar lessons in Jacksonville and get a start in town, discover these Jacksonville venues:
Freebird Live in Jacksonville Beach attracts national talent and regional acts, so it’s a great exposure for young talent. They boast two bars, and seeing how a local band owns the “big stage” is a huge benefit to young musicians. Are you forming a band? Come watch and learn. This is the place to go to get your start. http://www.freebirdlive.com/
Shantytown Pub is “Your neighborhood Springfield pub." Downtown and open to 18+ crowds, aspiring guitarists and graffiti artists can get in. Intimate. The real benefit is that Saturdays are Record Label Night. It’s a chance to hobnob with label owners and reps, shop a demo and get tips on getting started in the music industry. Some musicians who met here formed their own bands. Artists and their dogs are welcome.
Burro Bar is an edgy experiment by the owners and friends of the old London Bridge Pub. Music is on every night. Simply submit your music to be accepted to the downtown fun, and set up and play. They have tech meets, live music, and a growing bunch of regulars – all aspiring artists are networking here! Local bands are encouraged to register. http://burrobarjax.com/
Underbelly’s is also downtown and was voted one of the top music venues in Florida. Guitar players would do well to frequent this hot spot not far from the Central Station. If you love jam music, this is it! If you think you’re ready, it is also a chance to observe, get up and play, jam with humble seasoned professional touring artists and learn from them. A great atmosphere. http://underbellylive.com/
Jack Rabbits is for national and local bands and is just south of downtown. This is a small venue and bar located just across the St. John’s River from Willow Branch Park where The Allmans had played Sunday afternoons for free. It doesn’t look like much on the outside, but inside its a-hoppin’! The staff are nice people; the sound system is stellar. Best of all, the stage is “roomy” so you don’t feel cramped when playing live. To get your licks in on guitar is not a problem, as this place is “built for live music.”
It’s a good idea to make the rounds and connect with other like-minded musicians so you improve your playing while taking guitar lessons in Jacksonville. And Jax will encourage you to do that in that down-to-earth way. People are not as judgmental about skill level here. I found that the kind of people I meet in Jax are full of energy to play, and socializing with them gives me a place I feel at home. I haven’t met anyone I didn’t like or who wouldn’t share knowledge. Live music is a way of life. It's easier to be inspired to study music in Jacksonville, due to the fact that you're surrounded by music makers who have been where you are now and now hold out their hand in friendship. And that’s what it’s all about.