Guitar lessons @ Guitar Center

Dave Hicks

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I started lessons at the local version of GC, Sweetwater, on an instrument I've never played very much and gave up on before, namely C6 lap steel. We'll see how that goes. ;) My wife's taken lessons starting from nothing and made a lot of progress (on standard guitar - I guess that's "armpit guitar" in the steel world :D).

D.H.
 
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old soul

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I'd take lessons again in a heartbeat if I could find a good teacher close by. I had a fantastic teacher for about 3 years, until he got sick and recently died(we kept in touch, and always said we'd get together and jam one day).
There's just not a lot of interest in music nowadays, I dont think.
 

old soul

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I'd take lessons again in a heartbeat if I could find a good teacher close by. I had a fantastic teacher for about 3 years, until he got sick and recently died(we kept in touch, and always said we'd get together and jam one day).
There's just not a lot of interest in music nowadays, I dont think.
Let me clarify that last sentence. Growing up in the 70s, music lessons were very common for kids to take. I had to take piano for about 5-6 years, and most friends did too. I didn't want to, but that's the way it was. Looking back now, not sure why I didn't learn stuff I wanted to. Childhood ignorance and hardheadedness along with no feasible way to get sheet music I guess.
But for whatever reason now, seems very few kids take lessons.
 

JustABluesGuy

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Let me clarify that last sentence. Growing up in the 70s, music lessons were very common for kids to take. I had to take piano for about 5-6 years, and most friends did too. I didn't want to, but that's the way it was. Looking back now, not sure why I didn't learn stuff I wanted to. Childhood ignorance and hardheadedness along with no feasible way to get sheet music I guess.
But for whatever reason now, seems very few kids take lessons.

It was once expected that music would be an essential part of a child’s education. I got musical instruction in school as well. Unfortunately schools aren’t funding musical education well in many cases.

That’s sad because learning music seem to engage virtually the entire brain at once and can help the student in other fields. Einstein played the violin, and while he might have come up with his brilliant general theory of relativity even if his brain had never been exposed to music at all, would we really want to take that chance? 😜

I’ve see firsthand how music can “light up” dementia patients, just by listening to it. I’m hoping playing will stave it off it off for as long as possible in my case!
 

DekeDog

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My goal was to be able to play what's in my head intuitively and spontaneously, and to be able to teach myself how to learn. To get there without lessons from a good instructor would have taken me a lifetime. The problem I have is that what's in my head is not all that great. But, who cares? I'm still discovering, and I'm having fun.
 

JustABluesGuy

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My goal was to be able to play what's in my head intuitively and spontaneously, and to be able to teach myself how to learn. To get there without lessons from a good instructor would have taken me a lifetime. The problem I have is that what's in my head is not all that great. But, who cares? I'm still discovering, and I'm having fun.

It would be nice to be able to just play whatever you hear in your head, and that is the ultimate goal of all musicians (or it should be). I have some creativity issues as well. I’m good at finding keys and improvising, but I take my inspiration from the song, and from other players. When I have to pick the song, I tend to be very indecisive.

I’m one of those, “Whatever you want to play is fine with me.” kind of guys.
 

DekeDog

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If I was a beginner and wanted to take lessons, or if I was an instructor, the first things I'd want to know are what the goals are of the student... to learn songs, to learn music, to learn theory, to improve technique, whatever... I would then focus on those areas. Like hiding a pill in food to give to a dog, there are ways of teaching all of those things while concentrating in the areas of special interest.

In my case, I ultimately wanted to learn improvisation. My instructor divided my practice time into three sections: technique, theory (including site reading, scales/modes, chord theory, etc.), and learning/practicing songs. All three were oriented to my goal. I was told to give most of my attention in the areas where I was able to focus best/longest. (If it's not fun, then what's the point?) How you practice is very important; even more so than how long. If I was to do it all over again, I would orient all of my learning to hearing intervals, where they fall on the fretboard, and what they look like in musical notation.
 
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Ben Bishop

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Some great suggestions here. To find a good teacher (not that easy) you have to be realistic about what you need to learn. Do you know how to hold a guitar to minimize stress on the carpal tunnel, giving you better mobility and accuracy? Would you like to accompany a singer or do you plan to sing? Do you understand how chords work together, have you played a range of music or are you starting out? Many teachers are frustrated - they have a new player who wants to be a riffmeister. They hate to lose the income of a current student but the student won't learn. Interview a teacher - he's not there to make you feel good but to make sure you learn what you'll need. Does he have a plan? Are you ready to accept it? Try recording yourself if you don't have enough humility. My own practice regime can be harsh - a Tele, a Roland JC-22 and a metronome. I'm humble now.
 

JustABluesGuy

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If I was a beginner and wanted to take lessons, or if I was an instructor, the first things I'd want to know are what the goals are of the student... to learn songs, to learn music, to learn theory, to improve technique, whatever... I would then focus on those areas. Like hiding a pill in food to give to a dog, there are ways of teaching all of those things while concentrating in the areas of special interest.

In my case, I ultimately wanted to learn improvisation. My instructor divided my practice time into three sections: technique, theory (including site reading, scales/modes, chord theory, etc.), and learning/practicing songs. All three were oriented to my goal. I was told to give most of my attention in the areas where I was able to focus best/longest. (If it's not fun, then what's the point?) How you practice is very important; even more so than how long. If I was to do it all over again, I would orient all of my learning to hearing intervals, where they fall on the fretboard, and what they look like in musical notation.

Learning intervals has helped me a lot already, and I have really only just scratched the surface.
 

Milspec

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My issue is going to be finding the “right” teacher. It will likely be fairly expensive finding them. I’m not a beginner, though I have missed some basic theory because I AM self taught, and I’ve been playing (and probably picking up some bad habits along the way) for decades.

I need someone who can help me correct some ingrained technique problems, and help me fill in the gaps left in my theory knowledge. They will hopefully be able to recognize and help me with issues I don’t even realize I have!

Like many, I was self-taught as well and after 5 years of screwing around with the guitar I hired an instructor. That was the classical guitar instructor because that was all that I could find. On our first meeting he told me to just play for 5 minutes. Didn't care what, just keep playing for 5 minutes while he took notes. At the end of the 5 minutes, he told me that I was doing 17 things wrong!

I became defensive right away, but the very first lesson he gave me opened my eyes and was a real game changer. He told me that a lot of self-taught players learn by looking at chord posters (guilty) and it shows you how to form the chord shapes with fingers 1,2,3,4,5 starting at the high E so people learn to form the shapes from the high E to the low E. He told me that I needed to scrap that thinking and start forming chords from the top down instead....essentially the opposite of how I learned. It was far more precise moving downward with gravity than to reach upwards and he was right. My changes were faster, smoother, and more accurrate...money very well spent in just the first suggestion.

Now as for the other 16 mistakes, I was ready to fight. I just wish I could have stayed a student of his, but he was interested in the cash rather than my development and it showed by the 4th lesson. Looking back, I think he saw me as a guy with money rather than as a student wanting to learn. That might be because I didn't start learning until I was 40 or maybe he just needed the money, but it quickly fell apart to where I had to cut the ties.
 

JustABluesGuy

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Like many, I was self-taught as well and after 5 years of screwing around with the guitar I hired an instructor. That was the classical guitar instructor because that was all that I could find. On our first meeting he told me to just play for 5 minutes. Didn't care what, just keep playing for 5 minutes while he took notes. At the end of the 5 minutes, he told me that I was doing 17 things wrong!

I became defensive right away, but the very first lesson he gave me opened my eyes and was a real game changer. He told me that a lot of self-taught players learn by looking at chord posters (guilty) and it shows you how to form the chord shapes with fingers 1,2,3,4,5 starting at the high E so people learn to form the shapes from the high E to the low E. He told me that I needed to scrap that thinking and start forming chords from the top down instead....essentially the opposite of how I learned. It was far more precise moving downward with gravity than to reach upwards and he was right. My changes were faster, smoother, and more accurrate...money very well spent in just the first suggestion.

Now as for the other 16 mistakes, I was ready to fight. I just wish I could have stayed a student of his, but he was interested in the cash rather than my development and it showed by the 4th lesson. Looking back, I think he saw me as a guy with money rather than as a student wanting to learn. That might be because I didn't start learning until I was 40 or maybe he just needed the money, but it quickly fell apart to where I had to cut the ties.

Thanks for the feedback. It seems like he gave you a good value on that first session anyway. I’ve had a few bad experiences with lessons.

The free lesson from GC when they first started with it was useless. The guy asked what song I wanted to learn. I explained that I didn’t have a problem learning songs, but I just wanted to learn the guitar better. I knew I had an issue with extraneous noise occasionally on releasing bends, so finally just asked him if he could help me fix that issue.

I was using a classical guitar that he supplied and I wasn’t able to reproduce the noise issue on that guitar.

Anyway, you get what you pay for, and it was free so I’m not complaining. He might be a great teacher for someone else.
 

Vibroluxer

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I wanted to share my experience regarding lessons at Guitar Center. I spent two years trying to learn the guitar at 64 using guitartricks, Fenderplay and a few others. I practiced 3 - 5 hours a week, joined various user groups and stalled at a beginners level and almost gave up.

About two months ago, I saw a special at the Seattle Guitar Center for “in person” or online lessons and thought “why not”? I‘m kind of an education geek and noticed most of the instructors had music degrees from good schools and were performers in local bands or solo artists so I signed up for a weekly 30 minute lesson.

I did “in person“ before Omicron went nuts and switched to online after a month. I’ve learned more in two months than I did over two years and couldn’t be happier with my progress and plan to continue for the rest of the calendar Year. I’m learning theory, useable scales, playing to musics tracks and more importantly for a beginner - proper technique.

I know everyone has their opinions about formal lesson, Guitar Center, etc. - I‘m just sharing that it’s worked for me and only wish I had started two years ago.
I am exactly the same way.
 

Skyhook

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I'm nominally self taught

The problem with that is that your teacher is desperately trying to teach you stuff while learning it himself.

And since absolutely nobody requested it... here's a picture of my guitar teacher(among others).

pic_5_455141_k455142_1200.jpg


(spoiler: He's the guy with the guitar)
 

teletail

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I am a very big supporter of in-person lessons from somebody who actually knows how to teach. It absolutely is worth the money.

IF we ever get back to a time when people are no longer scared to get within 6 feet of another, I might resume lessons myself. I had a really good instructor (initially anyway) several years ago (a classical trained artist) who corrected a lot of my bad self-taught techniques in just the first few lessons, but he started to just going through the motions during lessons...I had to end it. No sense to paying somebody who just wants to teach you a cool lick or wasting the time showing off a new piece that he had been working on.

I know of an excellent guy right now, but he is 40 minutes drive away and not sure I want to add that to my life right now....Spring maybe.
Skype/zoom lessons are your friend. I've taken lessons from people across the country and even a lesson from someone in Germany. I was studying with someone an hour away when that which may not be mentioned hit and I switched to Skype lessons. I think you have to be a bit more disciplined, but I've had lessons with six different teachers via Skype and they all worked out fine.
 




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