Frequently Asked Questions

What type of guitar should I get as a beginner?

It depends on what genre of music you are most interested in playing. There are three main types of guitars: Electric guitars, Steel string acoustic guitars, and Nylon string guitars. Electric guitars have an amplified, bigger-than-life, and at times distorted, sound and are used mainly in rock, punk, blues, country, jazz, metal, reggae, and funk. Acoustic steel string guitars are used predominantly in folk, country, blues, pop, and they have a brighter, more sustaining tone that is typically associated with the acoustic guitar. Nylon string guitars will have a mellow, more muted tone that is heard mostly in classical, flamenco, and latin music.

What specific brand is good for a beginner guitar or bass?

As with just about anything, the amount of money you are willing to invest will reflect the quality you receive. If you think you will be playing guitar for many years to come than it is probably wise to spend a little more up front so you don’t feel like you need to upgrade too soon, where as if you or your son/daughter are just “trying it out” you might not want to invest as much.

The following is a list of recommended guitars and basses for novice students, with price and quality in order from high to low.

For acoustic Steel string guitars:

  • Seagull S6 – These Canadian-made guitars are crafted using solid cedar tops and mahogany back and sides. Amazing quality and sound for the price, I can’t recommend these guitars enough!
  • Yamaha FG800 – Made with a solid sitka spruce top and nato back and sides, this guitar is priced lower than the Seagull, yet still retains some quality.
  • Yamaha F335 – Built with a laminated spruce top and Meranti back and sides, this value priced guitar offers relatively good playability and tone for the cost.

For Electric guitars:

  • Fender Player Series Stratocaster – Made in Mexico, these classic guitars are less than half the cost of their American made counterparts, yet retain a lot of the same hardware and build quality. A good versatile guitar for blues, rock, and country.
  • Schecter Omen 6 – A good starter guitar for hard rock and metal, the Omen 6 is a very affordable guitar with great build quality that is comfortable to play.
  • Squier Affinity Strat Guitar Pack – A very inexpensive guitar pack that includes: a Guitar Strap, Instructional DVD, Electronic Tuner, Stereo Headphones, Gig Bag, Cable, and Pick Sampler. The quality of the guitar is not the best, but it is a good buy if you are on a budget.

For electric bass guitars:

  • Fender Players Series Jazz Bass – Just like the Standard Stratocaster, these Mexican-made basses offer qood quality and sound for the price.
  • Schecter Stiletto Extreme Bass – Priced lower than the Fender Jazz bass, the Stiletto is a comparable substitute if you are looking for a little more style and louder output.
  • Yamaha TRBX504 Premium Bass – A competitively priced bass that is good for beginners, Yamaha is known for producing quality instruments for the price.
  • Ibanez GSR400 – If you are on a budget, this bass is a good recommendation for starting on.

For nylon string guitars:

Yamaha guitars are a good standard with a range of student models to meet your budget. Recommendations with price and quality in order from high to low:

What about an amplifier? Should I buy a nice one to start?

I would invest more in the guitar or bass and start with an inexpensive amp, and then upgrade as you get more advanced.

What do I need to bring for guitar/bass lessons?

All you will need to bring is your guitar or bass, a pick (for guitar), a strap if you are more comfortable using one, and a three ring binder. I have an amplifier and cable to plug in to and I will provide you with materials and a lesson plan to practice during the week.

How often should I attend lessons, and what length of lesson is good for me?

I recommend being on a consistent schedule to progress as a student and to have a timeframe to motivate you to practice for. 1 lesson a week is normally good, although I have students that do two lessons a week for a more accelerated program. I do very few hour lessons every other week, as I need to schedule someone to alternate with these students and I don’t do half hour lessons every other week because it is not enough of a commitment for a student to advance. If you have the time to practice, an hour lesson will give you more exercises and focus to keep from developing bad habits, plus I offer a discounted rate for weekly hour lessons.

Are there any other supplies I should get for playing guitar or bass?

An electronic tuner and metronome are both very important tools you will use as a practicing guitarist and/or bassist. A good tuner that clips on the guitar or bass headstock is the Snark Super Tight Instrument Tuner. Although a clip on tuner will be more accurate and easier to use, the free N-Track Tuner App for iOS, Android, or Windows phone is a good alternative. A great free metronome App I recommend is the Pro Metronome App for Apple iOS or Android. Guitar Tuna for Apple iOS or Android is another relatively decent free alternative that has a tuner and metronome in one App. A proper music stand for practicing is an excellent investment, as is a guitar stand. Students are typically more motivated to practice if they don’t have to pull the guitar or bass out of a case or closet.

How long will it take for me to get good?

Good is a relative term… it is always hard to say how long it will take for a student to advance, it is largely dependent on the amount of time they put into practicing, plus having the right instructor to guide them. Some students pick up the instrument more naturally than others as well, but I will say I have had students that had a harder time in the beginning surpass naturally inclined students because they worked harder at it. Learning to play an instrument is no different than learning to play a sport, it takes practice to improve.

Is the guitar or bass easier to play?

The bass is overall an easier instrument to play as you generally play single notes and not chords. It is a lot of fun to play as well!

Do you have students that alternate between guitar AND bass lessons?

I do! I have several students that alternate between guitar and bass lessons, as well as students that learn songwriting, producing, recording, and mixing audio. There are no differences in price in the type of lesson and you are free to alternate between any of these subjects at any time. However, if you are just starting out I would recommend beginning on guitar and getting a good foundation down before starting to learn to play the bass guitar.

What pick should I use for playing guitar?

A medium gauge pick is good to start with as it is a good balance between ease of use and sound quality. Thin gauge
picks have a tinny sound to them while heavy gauge picks sound the best but are usually a little more challenging to use for a beginner because of the stiffness. In general, I personally prefer the sound of the 1 mil Dunlop Tortex picks, although I might use a different thickness or material to achieve a specific sound when recording. If you find the pick is slipping from or turning in your fingers, you may want to get one that has a non-slip texture to it, such as the Dunlop Nylon Max-Grip Pick.

Do you teach students how to read music notation?

I do and I require students that are serious about learning jazz or classical guitar to learn to read music notation. For all other students, I will teach them to learn to read notation if they want to. Nowadays, everything is written in tablature so it is not an absolute necessity to learn notation and the student’s limited time is usually better spent working on technique, scales, improvising, and learning songs.

Will you come to my location?

I only teach out of my location in Laguna Hills, Ca.