Over on my music instruction page I talk about my overall approach to music instruction. On this page I’d like to talk specifically about what I offer on the realm of guitar lessons.
Beginners are especially welcome. Some people just want to play basic campfire versions of songs where they strum and sing the melody, or have a friend sing the melody. Many of my students fall into this category and I’m even working on book for this specific topic.
I usually structure each beginner classes around one of the three key elements of music: rhythm, harmony and melody. As we learn songs we see examples of these elements in action.
All Guitars Welcome
I teach electric and acoustic guitar with no preference for one over the other.
Younger Players Welcome!
I love my younger students and I often start them out playing simple melodies to give their hands a chance to limber up before they start reaching for more complex chords. (The Star Wars theme is a big hit.)
With intermediate level instruction, I introduce more advanced chords, more complex strumming patterns, and teach scale patterns on the neck. If desired, we can get into the beginnings of sight reading at this point.
Advanced classes go in whatever direction the student is interested in. This might be learning sophisticated soloing techniques, advanced compositional techniques, mastering various technical exercises, or just really getting into the nuts and bolts of what makes music work.
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Like everyone else I have my strengths and weaknesses on the instrument. Listed below are some styles I feel particularly strong in.
As a performer, most of what I play these days would fall under the category of jazz and I love teaching this art form. It’s fair to say that jazz is one of the more complex genres of western music but that complexity gives musicians a wide palette of musical tools to choose from. I focus on teaching students to use these tools to create interesting, improvised solos and musical moments.
Examples of concepts I teach include altered scales like the whole tone and Phrygian scales, musical sequences, using motifs to develop identifiable musical thoughts, and learning how to hear “where” a chord progression is going.
Musically speaking I’m more a fan of jazz pianists than other instruments, particularly Thelonious Monk and Bill Evans. But I love guitar players like Wes Montgomery, John Scofield and Barney Kessel.
Here are some examples of my jazz playing:
The blues is probably my first great musical love. In particular, I liked a lot of the artist from the 50s and 60s, players like T-bone Walker, Albert King (I once met him at a Canadian border crossing) and Freddie King. And, like everyone else, I have a love for Stevie.
At first glance, the blues can appear deceptively easy. But simply learning the scales and chords doesn’t pass on the “language” of the blues.
Here are some examples of my blues playing:
“Rock” has become such an all encompassing term it’s almost meaningless. Nonetheless, I grew up on a steady diet of popular rock music in the 80s and 90s, everything from Devo to The Cars to Nirvana. And my younger students are always introducing me to the great rock acts of today.
Rock music is a great way to learn the fundamentals of guitar, the chords and scales that make it all work. It’s also a great introduction to intermediate and advanced songwriting.
Here’s some examples of my Rock playing.
Here’s my dark secret: I used to hate country music. Then I lived in Los Angeles for several years and down the street for me was a small honky-tonk bar that featured country music seven nights a week. Soon I became quite a fan of traditional country, Bluegrass, Americana and the like.
Country guitar involves a specific approach, one was very beneficial for me to learn, as it helped with my jazz and blues playing. I’m a big fan of players like Jerry Douglas, Danny Gatton and Albert Lee (whom I once jammed with at a private party.)
Heavy metal is, of course, loathed by academics and music critics, but I’ve been a big fan since my teen years. Heavy metal music was basically my introduction to guitar music. As a teenager I was fan of the music and playing of groups like Black Sabbath, AC/DC, Guns-n-Roses, Metallica and so on. My favorite players were guys like like Randy Rhoads, Yngwie Malmsteen, Slash and Angus Young.
Heavy metal is probably one of the most technically difficult styles of guitar to play since so much is played fast. I’ve spent a lot of years refining my picking technique in pursuit of perfection of this dark art. This blog post is one example of my thoughts on the topic.
What do I suck at? Well, I play very little classical guitar. I also am not comfortable teaching anything in the Latin genres.
To get in touch with me about guitar lessons in San Diego, email me at email@example.com or use the Contact Form below: