ONLINE GUITAR LESSONS
I am now offering lessons over the internet by various video and connecting platforms. You can reach me through the Contact page here or feel free to message me through Facebook or Instagram. All class packages include free consultation before hand to tailor the lessons to what exactly you are looking to improve. Here are many topics I find important, am commonly asked about, and have taught in the past: Reading for Guitar, Constructing Chord Melodies, Swing Rhythm, Chord Voicings in 20s and 30s jazz, Improvising in Swing and Early Jazz Styles, Picking Patterns, Playing fingerstyle in the style of Mississippi John Hurt. I love the guitar and I am glad to take on any students who are genuinely interested in the instrument, whether you are a beginner or interested in something outside of my specialty. Feel free to get in touch and I'll let you know if I can help with what you are looking for. Below the lesson packages I wrote a bit about my approach and what I see as the beauty and difficulty of learning the instrument. If you're interested in lessons it may be worth a read before we start to tailor your classes. All the best to you all out there!
- 1 - 1.5 hour 'Master Class' - $40 USD.
- 3 class series - 1 hr classes - $75 USD
- 10 class series - 1 hr classes - $240 USD
Payment can be made through Paypal, Venmo, or QuickPay. Masterclasses and 3 Class Series paid up front. 10 class series can be paid in 2-part installments. We can schedule the classes for a mutually convenient time scheduled over whatever time period is most appropriate for the techniques and subjects we take on.
My Thoughts on Learning the Guitar
Guitar is a beautiful instrument in part because there are so many unique ways of playing and understanding the instrument. However the variety of approaches to the instrument, and a lack of clear pedagogy outside of the classical guitar world and the university programs which focus on bebop and beyond, can be roadblocks for many. After playing professionally for more than a decade I reached a point where I was playing with musicians who all had more training than I did. They all played instruments where there seemed to be a clearer path to mastery - violin and piano players had been taught classical and then moved to jazz, musicians who excelled at jazz on brass or reeds came up through school programs and then went on to conservatories. I love classical guitar but I was playing with a pick and loved old jazz recordings and folk music more. I learned well by ear and learned a lot from other guitar players, but I was frustrated when it came to reading and felt there where limitations to my technique. Technique of course affects your sound, which made it trickier to figure out which road to go down. Gypsy players and bebop guitarists had great technique but not the sound I wanted. When I asked other musicians about reading I was never satisfied with the advice. I picked up trumpet for a few months and realized I could read on trumpet with little effort despite my limited abilities and yet reading on guitar was still a challenge.
The big problem was that I couldn’t find good reading material specifically tailored to pick-style guitar. Plectrum style guitar, like the steel stringed guitar itself, arrived in the early 1900s. Until the 1920s guitar literature was written for classical technique. Once rock n’ roll hit in the fifties no one wanted to read ink! And sometime in the 80s I guess they came up with guitar tab and that’s how people were taught to read for guitar. Obviously I am painting in pretty broad strokes here. This isn’t a formal essay, but if you’re a guitar player whose looked into this stuff at all, you catch my drift.
I didn’t have a background in classical guitar and I was never interested in tab. When I looked at books that focused on jazz guitar I wasn't interested in the material. That’s when I started to search for method books published in the 20s and 30s that were written specifically for the newfangled steel-stringed plectrum guitar of the day. I found they approached technique almost in a classical manner but for playing with a pick. And though they were clearly written for pick style players in the jazz era they didn’t venture into jazz theory or how to improvise or anything that I always felt got in my way when looking at more modern jazz guitar books.
Everyone has a different way of approaching jazz. I am never interested in debating any one on how they think about music, least of all here. But personally, up to this point I have never been interested in approaching the guitar by memorizing jazz scales or modes. Guitar literature that focused on those ideas never held my attention. I play Segovia scales religiously but I never wanted to improvise based on theory. What I found in the content of this relatively short-lived era of method books were great technical exercises that challenged and improved my technique and unlocked my ability to read music for guitar. I found a world of classical-like etudes and melodies designed for plectrum style guitar and pieces written for student, up to professional levels, that had folk harmonies and the building blocks of the jazz harmonies that were most engaging to my ears at the time. In short, by digging into those books I reinvented my technique on the instrument that was already at the center of my life. The fundamentals that I relearned there are what I now use as the basis of my teaching approach.
So that’s just an introduction and a discussion of what’s at the foundation of how I approach teaching. Over the years I think I’ve developed a good way to help guitar players unlock some of the more challenging aspects of playing, such as improvising and constructing chord melodies. I think both these subjects are a lot like guitar playing itself - mastery is an endless road, but there are some very simple ways to understand the basics and get you started.
That’s plenty for now, and likely more long-winded than I will be in the lessons themselves. I’ve learned over the years to keep lessons as focused and as simple as you can. I have been lucky in my career to make my living mainly by performing. However over the years I've taught lessons to students of all levels ranging from beginners to teaching master classes to fellow professional guitar players. Any questions at all, feel free to get in touch.
Nice, if you've made it this far down the page you are a guitar player or a serious guitar fan! Here are links to check out Guitar Duets, Solo Pieces, and Recordings that feature my playing. Enjoy! Respect!
PLAYLISTS OF RECORDINGS