Hourly Rates

One hour lesson - from £25.00

Five lessons - from £100.00

Group lessons - from £9.00

The Musician's Union rate for a guitar teacher is £30.00 per hour

Patient & Friendly

I believe in all of my student's to learn to play the guitar. I offer encouraging feedback which is essential to learning and perfecting a new skill. Regardless of how quickly you learn, I will be patient and help you improve. I am also a member of the Musician's Union.

DBS/CRB Checked

Children are the musicians of tomorrow and can absorb new skills, such as playing the guitar, much faster than we can. I have experience teaching children and am fully DBS/CRB checked

Earn Your Grades

I am qualified to get you through your official acoustic guitar grading exams, (London School of Music) to take you from a complete beginner guitarist to an advanced guitarist.

Proper Technique

On February 28, 2014

We all know proper technique is important in guitar playing to keep your body healthy. However, one aspect I’ve noticed from observing both my own students and students in my college music department is a lack of a real warm up routine.

People usually play chords near the nut for only a few minutes then jump into complex jazz and classical pieces. Or as I’ve been prone to in my past, fast displaced octave runs. This can lead to injuries later on in your playing career. I recently had a run in with a repetitive injury. It takes time away from playing. You can head issues like these off and keep them away.

Your muscles and tendons need to get working a bit before you do anything complex. Otherwise there will be a strain on them which down the road can cause issues. Here are a few tips I’ve picked up that might be new to you.

1. Before you even touch your guitar, do a few stretching exercises with your hands and arms. Remember, guitar playing involves more than just fingers and wrists. Your forearm, elbow, and shoulder also come into play. I won’t go into detail about what kind of stretches, as there are many you can do.

2. If you are in a cold environment before playing, allow your hands to warm up before attempting anything. You’ve probably noticed how it’s hard to move your hands when they’re cold. Doing so can put added strain on those muscles and tendons. Strain is never good. A tip a doctor gave me is to allow them to warm up without subjecting them to a heat source. The rapid change in temperature can also cause some issues.

3. So when it’s time to play, warm up near the body, not the nut. Simply put, there is less distance between frets up near the body than at the nut. Playing up here first will allow your hands to start moving at lesser distances. This will help because you will stretch less when your hands aren’t in optimal playing shape.

4. There is no need to play fast at all during a warm up. Take your time with it. Typically, this warm up period can last 15 to 20 minutes. Even big name guitarists take some time to build up to speed. I recently read an interview where both of Slayers guitarists take about an hour to reach their top playing speed. They work up slowly to it. The same approach applies to us as well. I simply can’t state the importance of a proper warm up routine. It will help you to play the instrument for a lifetime. Don’t think that injury can’t happen to you. It’s entirely preventable. If you notice pain or stress building up, stop and find the cause of it. Are you fretting too hard, are you placing your wrist at an odd angle, etc. When I teach, proper posture and warm ups are first on the agenda. It’s often hard to break out of bad habits on the guitar. By having a good routine in place, you’ll be able to enjoy the guitar for as long as you wish. Hopefully, something here has been informative to you. Maybe not to move advance players, but for beginners. I’ll be submitting a lesson next on some warm up exercises for you to have a look at. Take care till then.

Speed Developer Exercise

On February 28, 2014

Speed Developer Exercise

Description: Play guitar faster with this printer friendly instructions for guitar playing speed-developer exercise.

1. Align 1st finger to 9th fret.
2. Allocate one finger per fret so that the 2nd finger takes care of the 10th fret, the 3rd finger the 11th fret and the 4th finger the 12th fret.
3.Play the following notes using the fingering pattern 1 2 3 4 3 2:

e----------------------------------------------------------
B----------------------------------------------------------
G----------------------------------------------------------
D------------------------------------9-10-11-12-11-10------
A-------------------9-10-11-12-11-10-----------------------
E--9-10-11-12-11-10----------------------------------------

e------------------------------------9-10-11-12-11-10------
B-------------------9-10-11-12-11-10-----------------------
G--9-10-11-12-11-10----------------------------------------
D----------------------------------------------------------
A----------------------------------------------------------
E----------------------------------------------------------

e--8-9-10-11-10-9------------------------------------------
B-------------------8-9-10-11-10-9-------------------------
G------------------------------------8-9-10-11-10-9--------
D----------------------------------------------------------
A----------------------------------------------------------
E----------------------------------------------------------

e----------------------------------------------------------
B----------------------------------------------------------
G----------------------------------------------------------
D--8-9-10-11-10-9------------------------------------------
A-------------------8-9-10-11-10-9-------------------------
E-------------------------------------8-9-10-11-10-9-------

5. Move down another fret and repeat the whole exercise.
6. Continue working in this way down the fretboard one fret at a time until you have reached the first fret.
7. If pain or cramp sets in stop and relax your hand and start the exercise again a few minutes later.
8. Focus on accuracy: fingers just behind frets, even tone, connected (legato, not stacato) notes, rhythmic timing, strict up/down alternate picking.
9. This exercise done accurately and patiently will develop speed. Done quickly and carelessly it will simply waste time!

String Names

On February 28, 2014

Open String Names

Description: A simple idea for helping your student remember the basics of playing the guitar. Printer friendly diagram showing names and numbering of open strings on the guitar.

To understand this lesson, sit with your guitar on your lap as if you were playing it. Look down at the strings. Now look at this diagram below. The diagram represents all the string on the guitar. You will see from the bottom of the diagram the horizontal line is marked as the bottom string and work upwards to the top string. Now on the guitar, the string closest to your chin is the bottom string and the string closest to your leg is the top string.

To understand the note of each string, try to remember the phrase: Elephants And Donkeys Grow Big Ears. The relates to the notes E A D G B E of the strings on the guitar.

image string names

Further finger exercises

On February 28, 2014

This free guitar lesson will be all about further finger exercises to build finger strength in all 4 fretting-hand fingers.

These will also be good for building coordination between your picking hand and fretting hand. A few things before we begin, however:

1) Use a metronome when practicing these (try this one).
Simply select a number on the metronome, this will be your tempo/speed in beats per minute. Start at a low tempo and build up the tempo as you improve your finger speed. I cannot stress enough the benefits of using a metronome. Having that steady tempo really forces you to focus on playing in time and gives you a great foundation to build technical skills and speed.

2) Don’t try to fly through these at lightning speeds. Start of slow, and be accurate. If you start noticing that your notes aren’t ringing clearly or you are going out of time, slow down a bit and work your way back up. Speed comes with accuracy. I’ve seen many guitar players forget about that.

3) Don’t numb yourself with drills and finger exercises. Break up your practice time with other things. Play some songs, learn some riffs. Don’t bore yourself with one exercise. OK so let’s get down to business.. These first few exersizes are spinoffs of your typical chormatic patterns.

EX1
-------------------------------------------------------------------------
-------------------------------------------------------------------------
-------------------------------------------------------------------------
-----------------------------------------1-------1-2-----1-2-3---1-2-3-4-
---------1-------1-2-----1-2-3---1-2-3-4---2-3-4-----3-4-------4---------
-1-2-3-4---2-3-4-----3-4-------4-----------------------------------------

-----------------------------------------------------------------1-------
---------------------------------1-------1-2-----1-2-3---1-2-3-4---2-3-4-
-1-------1-2-----1-2-3---1-2-3-4---2-3-4-----3-4-------4-----------------
---2-3-4-----3-4-------4-------------------------------------------------
-------------------------------------------------------------------------
-------------------------------------------------------------------------

1-2-----1-2-3---1-2-3-4-
----3-4-------4---------
------------------------
------------------------
------------------------
------------------------

To do that descending, just follow the pattern backwards

EX2
-------------------------------------------------------------1-2-1-3-1-4-
-------------------------------------------------1-2-1-3-1-4-------------
-------------------------------------1-2-1-3-1-4-------------------------
-------------------------1-2-1-3-1-4-------------------------------------
-------------1-2-1-3-1-4-------------------------------------------------
-1-2-1-3-1-4-------------------------------------------------------------

-4-3-4-2-4-1-------------------------------------------------------------
-------------4-3-4-2-4-1-------------------------------------------------
-------------------------4-3-4-2-4-1-------------------------------------
-------------------------------------4-3-4-2-4-1-------------------------
-------------------------------------------------4-3-4-2-4-1-------------
-------------------------------------------------------------4-3-4-2-4-1-

EX3

-----------------------------------------4-3-2-1-
---------------------------------1-2-3-4---------
-------------------------4-3-2-1-----------------
-----------------1-2-3-4-------------------------
---------4-3-2-1---------------------------------
-1-2-3-4-----------------------------------------

-1-2-3-4
---------4-3-2-1---------------------------------
-----------------1-2-3-4-------------------------
-------------------------4-3-2-1-----------------
---------------------------------1-2-3-4---------
-----------------------------------------4-3-2-1-

EX4

-----------------------------------2---4-4---2-----------------------------------
---------------------------2---4-1---3-----3---1-4---2---------------------------
-------------------2---4-1---3---------------------3---1-4---2-------------------
-----------2---4-1---3-------------------------------------3---1-4---2-----------
---2---4-1---3-----------------------------------------------------3---1-4---2---
-1---3---------------------------------------------------------------------3---1-

 

Part 2

These next part of my lesson does not require tabs.

Individual finger strength is something that a lot of guitarists seem to overlook. I have found a few different things that really help build individual finger strength and independence. These will also help you with control.

Pressure And Control

Here’s a great exercise to bring into perspective how tense you are while playing without even noticing.

Pick a fret, any fret will do on any string. Now mute the string with your finger and slowly apply pressure until you hear the note ring out clearly. Notice how light you are pressing? Try playing through some exercises and scales without pressing any harder than that. It takes some concentration doesn’t it?

An important part of finger strength is being able to control how hard you are pressing down on the fretboard. Having that control enables you to apply many different expressions to your playing.

Metronome

Again, I cannot express how much working with a metronome can help you. Just use the one I recommended, if you don’t already have one of your own. It is important to note that when you increase your tempo on a metronome, not to increase it by too much. You can overload yourself and get frustrated easily if you do so.

Please be warned, that improving your speed and technique will take time. But it will be  worth it in the long run when you can play through an exercise at 200 bpm smoothly. When increasing, try not to increase more than 4-6 bpm at a time. I stick to 4, just because it’s simple for me when using that metronome I recommended to you earlier.

All in all, just experiment and find things that work for you. You can take any chromatic pattern and change it to make it more difficult. Instead of 1-2-3-4 try 1-3-2-4 or any other variation. You can even try string skipping, or changing the pattern on each individual string. The possibilities really are endless. Thank you for taking the time to read through this. Hopefully these exercises help you as much as hey helped me.

Most Common Chords

On February 28, 2014

Open Chords

Description: Reference diagrams showing fingerings for all common open chords on the guitar.

These are the most common chords and it would be a good idea to familiarise yourself with these chords. Many popular songs would use a combination of these chords here.

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