FAQ

Do I need to have my own guitar?

 Yes.   Practicing at home regularly is a must in order to have success with  playing guitar.  It is possible to rent equipment, but there are many affordable options.  Whether you are looking for an electric, acoustic or classical guitar, I can help make an appropriate recommendation. 

What type of guitar should I start with?

 I  recommend that each student choose the guitar type that interests them  most.  Electric guitars are a bit easier to play but require an amp.   Acoustic guitars are a bit tougher on the fingers but that is quickly  overcome with enough practice.  Classical guitars have nylon strings  which are easier to press down but they have a wider neck.  These are  typically used for finger-style playing (i.e. classical, flamenco).  

What style/size of pick should I use?

 A standard shaped pick will suffice for most.  Start with a light to medium gauge (0.5 - 0.75 mm).                   

Do I need fingernails to play finger-style guitar?

 For  classical guitar, it is ideal to have fingernails and learn how to  shape them to generate the best tone and to produce a loud enough  sound.  This is not absolutely necessary though, but strongly  recommended.  For acoustic or electric finger-style playing (different  style from classical), it is better to not have fingernails as the steel  strings will tear the nail. 

What guitar brand should I get?

 This  is not too important.  If you like the guitar and it sounds great, then  you are good to go.  There are so many options available.  Some trusted  names are Fender, Gibson, Taylor, Seagull, Ibanez, Gretsch, Breedlove,  Yamaha, etc. 

How often should I practice?

 I  recommend a minimum of 3 separate 30 minute practice sessions per  week.  This is just a minimum though.  Your practice will increase as  your enjoyment of playing grows.  If you are just starting out, be  careful and don't burn yourself out by practicing too much.  What is  important is how effectively you practice and acknowledging every  improvement.  Learning guitar will present challenges, but mindful  practice and guidance will get you where you want to be. 

What if I didn't have time to practice before my lesson?

That  is OK.  Come to your lesson and we will pick up where we left off.  It  is better to reinforce material than to not attend.  You will not be  wasting your or my time and we will have plenty of material to discuss  and work on. 

What is a great method for practicing?

Have  set days and times for your practice.  Have a goal for each practice  session.  Set a timer (30 minutes - 1 hour) and when the time is up,  move on to something else.  Focus on specific concepts instead of trying  to plow through everything each practice session. 

What does it mean to "hit a wall"?

There  are tons of ideas/techniques to learn on guitar.  Everyone will have a  moment when they think it is too hard for them.  This is not true.  It  just takes a great attitude, persistence and patience. 

If you could only give one tip to your students, what would it be?

Have  patience and leave your ego at the door.  Guitar is tougher than it  seems and it is easy to trick yourself into having unrealistic  expectations.  Just stick with it, acknowledge your improvements along  the way and enjoy the process, and you will soon be rewarded with a  lifetime of enjoyment.  Oh, and PRACTICE!  (That is more like 3 tips.   Oops!) 

What genre of music is the best to learn?

Simply put, the best music to learn is the music that you enjoy the most.                                                                       

Is it important to learn to read music?

The  ability to read music is empowering.  It can put any music at your  fingertips.  It teaches you a lot about how music is created as well as  unlocks the guitar's maze of notes.  I highly recommend learning to read  music but it takes honest effort and lots of patience.  As always, it  is up to the student, of course.   

Is learning guitar easy?

There is a lot that goes into music and the guitar is a very dynamic instrument with many possibilities.  There are easy concepts to learn, as well as intermediate and advanced concepts.  It depends on what you hope to accomplish.  If you put the practice time in, you will be successful without a doubt.  I make sure I give my students level-appropriate material and I also expose them to many varied concepts.  It is not ideal to wait for things to be "perfect", whatever that means.  You just want to keep consistently practicing, learning and enjoying the journey! 

What is guitar tablature (TAB)?

A  modified system of "reading" notes that is specific to the guitar.   There are 6 lines (strings) and the numbers on the lines represent the  fret numbers.  TAB has its place but the main limiting factors are that  you won't know what notes you are playing and also the complete absence  of rhythm. That being said, it has a lot of utility in certain  circumstances. 

Who is your favorite band and what is your dream guitar?

Those are tough questions but I will have to go with Led Zeppelin and a Gibson ES-175.