Archives

Video – Better Barre Chords

When we start playing barre chords, getting every note to ring clearly can be frustrating. Here are some tips to help solve those problems and an exercise I give my students that improves their barre chord playing, clarity, and stamina.

Read More…

Video – Strumming Perfect Upstrokes

Beginning guitar players will have some initial difficulty with strumming and rhythm. for many players, part of the difficulty is learning to strum upstrokes. In this video I explain the ‘secret’ to playing upstrokes, along with a simple practice technique that will make your strumming and rhythm playing smoother and more fluid.

Read More…

Video – Chords are Notes, not Fingers!

Beginning guitar players usually learn their first chords by following the little dot chord diagrams which show where to put their fingers. But this usually results in thinking of chords as shapes of fingers, rather than shapes of notes, ignoring the contribution of open strings to the chord. It’s a common mistake that slows down our learning and progress. I explain why.

Read More…

Truth About Truss Rods – Part 1 – The Basics

No single part of a guitar is more terrifying or mysterious to many guitarists than the humble truss rod. For years we have been told that we can ruin our precious and fragile guitars by just looking at them funny. But truss rods are very simple devices and are nothing to be afraid of. So let’s dispel the fears and the myths.

Read More…

Guitar Lessons for Your Kids – Advice to Parents

Photo by Eva Hamori

A love of music and the ability to play is one of the greatest gifts you can give your child, one that will last the rest of their life. As a guitar teacher, my role concerns the lessons themselves. But time spent between lessons is just as important, perhaps more so. That means that you as parents play an important role in supporting your child’s interest and improvement. Here are some pointers that I hope you find useful.

Read More…

Beginner’s Notes – The Correct Thumb Position

By far the most common mistake I see with new students, be they novices or people who already play, is not about how they place their hand on the guitar neck. In fact it’s about about how they place their thumb. Getting their thumb in the right place is often the single biggest thing they can do to make playing and learning the guitar easier. Let me explain…

Read More…

A Little Lube goes a Long Way

Keeping guitars in tune can be difficult at the best of times. Aside from the inherent compromises of guitar construction and how the human ear would rather hear things, we’ve all had those days when we’ve beautifully tuned a guitar and yet two minutes later it sounds like poop all over again. Let’s look at some solutions…

Read More…

How often should I take guitar lessons?

A frequent question asked by my guitar students concerns the lessons themselves – how often should their guitar lessons take place? In an international city like Paris, a lot of my guitar students are ex-pats or international students. With hectic work or school schedules and frequent international travel I understand that finding time for lessons and practice can be a difficult task. So when trying to decide on your lesson schedule, the question comes down to this…

Read More…

How often should I practice?

"The Best Part of the Day" by Brittney Marshall

“How often should I practice?” is the most common question asked by my guitar students. Every student I teach has their own unique needs and goals. And they have their own unique schedules and problems too – there is work, or school, and chores, homework, friends and families to see, other hobbies, interests, and activities and they all compete for time. It’s absolutely normal that finding the time to learn an instrument, to take lessons and to practice, can be a difficult task. But no matter who my students are, how old they are, and what other things they have going on in their life, there are a few things that I recommend for everybody.

Read More…

A Little Knowledge is a Dangerous Thing

Photo by Mike Bitzenhofer

Many a great guitar has been ruined by well-meaning but bad advice. And many a great guitar is also ruined by people who overestimate their experience and abilities with a screwdriver or a file. These are obvious lessons but so easy to forget that I think it’s time I reminded you with some real world examples (yes, the names have been changed to protect the innocent)…

Read More…

Capos and Tuning Problems

A recent forum post asked the following question: My guitar goes out of tune when I put on a capo. Is this normal? What can I do about it? Can this problem be worse on the lower frets? Does string diameter matter? The answer to all these questions is “yes”. Let’s look at why.

Read More…

How Babies Can Help Us Practice Better

Baby and Guitar

Music and language are frequently compared. The similarities are quite obvious with a little thought but our first spoken language we mastered as young children without any formal tuition. We had to pick it up as we went along. Mastering an instrument is very difficult to achieve in the same manner but there is a lot we can take from babies learning to talk that can help us to learn faster and play music better.

Read More…