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Are you a "Boomer"? Over 50...60...70? Think you're too old to learn how to play guitar?...Or don't have the time? Maybe you've tried to play before, but can't seem to get past the basics? You're about to see a proven guitar learning method designed for active adults, that's so easy, you'll be amazed at how quickly you're playing!

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From: Keith Dean

Pro Guitar Instructor

Date: Monday, May 22, 2017


Choosing Guitar Lessons

So you've decided to take up the guitar but don't know where to start. You're considering lessons, but with all the numerous choices out there it gets a little confusing and you're not sure which way to turn.

lessons 1The fact is, that playing guitar should be fun. It should be a source of relaxation and enjoyment. It can also be a little stressful in the beginning - learning all that new terminology, training your fingers to do things they've never done before, learning the names of notes, the blisters on your fingers and not knowing if you are playing it correctly!

Choosing the right direction for guitar lessons should be the least of your concerns and, rest assured, there is more than one right answer.

You can really narrow down your options to one of four choices - you can "go it alone", you can take private lessons, you can take a home study course, or you can take online lessons.

Going it Alone

This is not as bad as it may sound. There are plenty of successful guitarists that had enough raw talent and persistence to become very accomplished without ever taking the first lesson.

Most did it by gathering information on their own. Picking up tidbits here and there, learning to play songs from listening to the recording, and watching and learning from other guitarists.

The ones that master the guitar on their own typically start out with a lot of natural talent and desire, and most tend to start at a young age.

Private Lessons

There are advantages to learning guitar with a private instructor. Many students prefer the interactive, one on one environment of private lessons.
stage litesLesson programs can be tailored to the individual student and the instructor can guide the student in a hands on fashion.

The downside of private lessons for many is the sheer cost of it. A good instructor could, on a monthly basis, cost the equivalent of a weeks worth of groceries, or a motorcycle payment!

Another deterrent for some is having to abide by a regimented schedule, which may be a challenge for those with a busy life style.

Home Study Courses

Home study courses, which usually consist of a combination of lesson books and DVDs, can offer the convenience of taking lessons at the students own pace. The student is not tethered to a schedule and does not have to complete lessons within a time frame.
14_palm mute 1The downside is that some of the quality courses can be on the pricey side, and also, it can be cumbersome keeping up with books and DVDs. If the coffee gets spilled on the lesson book or the dog chews up the DVD, the student has to re-order.

Online Lessons

Online lessons are a great alternative for the student that prefers the home study environment, but does not want to keep up with all the course materials of a home study course. In addition, a good online course  can be updated, improved and revised and the student can reap the benefits of updates and improvements in real time.

The best online courses include audio and video, as well as text lessons with charts, diagrams and pictures. They are generally much less expensive than some of the other alternatives, although like home study courses, they lack the personal touch of a private instructor.

Some online courses attempt to bridge that gap by offering email support and/or forums for students in need of personal assistance.


Prior to the advent of the Internet, private lessons were the only game in town. Now, with advances in  technology guitar students can become proficient on the instrument without ever leaving home.
lesson 2Many students prefer a combination of the above choices, choosing to start with an online course and then graduate to private lessons later on. As a guitar instructor, I can say that I always prefer to take on a new student that already has the basics under their belt. It is always more satisfying to help a student develop their style on guitar as opposed to spending weeks teaching them how to play an "E" chord.

Ultimately the choice is different for every person, according to their own goals and needs. The important thing at the end of the day, is to get a guitar in your hands and start playing!

Please do not hesitate to contact us with any questions!

Transporting Your Guitar

In the early days you may not have occasion to take the guitar out of the house too often. Opting to  stay holed up in "practice mode" before unleashing your guitar prowess on the world.

But there will come a time when you will want to venture out the door with your guitar and, when that time comes, you will want to be prepared to help your guitar face the elements.
guitar case 1
Most guitars are composed of various woods and metals, materials that can be sensitive to changes in  climate. A difference in humidity or temperature, even a slight one, can have an impact on your guitar.

Guitar necks have a tendency to twist in reaction to heat or cold, strings go sharp upon entering an air conditioned room, and on a high humidity day playing outdoors, you can feel the fretboard soaking  up the moisture.

What can you do to protect your investment?

First of all, of course, you want to make sure you have a sturdy hard shell guitar case or a heavily padded gig bag that fits your guitar securely. This may sound like stating the obvious but back when I owned a music store it would never cease to amaze me the number of people I would see hauling a “naked” guitar around in their back seat or trunk. This is just asking for trouble, so even if a case or gig bag is not in the budget right now, at least try to wrap it in a heavy blanket or, if you have saved it, the box the guitar came in when you purchased it.

Guitar cases come in all shapes and sizes and the merits of the different varieties are the subject of another discussion, but if your guitar is traveling with you on a regular basis a good hard shell case is your best bet. The operative word here is “good”.

guitar case 5I once flew into  Chicago with my late ‘60’s Les Paul which I transported in the original beat up case. The case had a lot of wear and tear and a couple of the latches were not working properly so I used to take an old belt and strap it around the case as a safety measure. When I got into O’Hare and got on the long escalator down to the baggage claim area, I never will forget the shock of looking down at the turnstile as my guitar came around the conveyor belt. Even from that distance I could see that the belt had slipped off and the case lid had popped open. Visions of broken necks, snapped tuning pegs and cracked head stocks immediately raced through my mind. The escalator was packed and there was no way to get down there any faster so by the time I finally did reach the bottom I had also reached a state of panic.

Fortunately the story had a happy ending and nothing was broken but it could have just as easily ended in disaster. I have never forgotten that incident and what an idiot I felt like afterwards for being so careless.

Ever since then
I never flew again without first putting my guitar in a solid hard shell case, and then putting that case in an anvil flight case. When I flew to London a couple of years ago for some gigs in Wales I took my beloved PRS Triple Soap Bar securely locked in a case and then in a flight case so, when I reached the baggage claim in Gatwick, it was good as new and when I took the guitar out it was still in tune! Never trust the luggage jockeys to abide by the “Fragile” sticker they put on when checking your guitar in. You should, in fact, fully expect them to take it as an invitation to take your axe on a little “cargo surfing”.
guitar case 2 When considering your best options for transporting a guitar it is best to assess what your particular situation is. If you are just going back and forth to guitar lessons at your local music store and you don’t leave the guitar in the car for long periods in extreme weather then you should be fine. Likewise if you are simply going over to a buddy’s house to jam a little.

If you are playing with a local band and gigging a lot you will need to exercise more caution, especially if the guitars are getting thrown into a trailer with the rest of the equipment. I personally will never let my guitar ride in the trailer, even if I have to make the drummer ride back there to free up room in the van for my guitar! (just kidding, bad drummer joke!)

Then again, if you are a road musician you probably already have your guitar snuggled down pretty tightly between gigs but I have found that a flight case works just as well for putting a guitar in the cargo hold of a tour bus as it does an airplane. It just helps for a little peace of mind when all the equipment is shifting while banging over potholes.

guitar case 3Regardless of where you will be transporting a guitar there is one good habit you can get into. When taking the guitar from a hot summer day into a cold air conditioned building  – or visa versa – always try to let the guitar sit with the case lid cracked open (or zipper unzipped) for a few minutes before taking it out of the case. This gives the guitar a chance to slowly get acclimated to the new climate. It is always good to be mindful of the effect that going from one extreme temperature or climate to another is going to have on your guitar. In addition, never ever leave your guitar in the trunk. It can do terrible things to your neck and can ruin or crack the finish on your guitar.

At the end of the day transporting a guitar is nowhere close to rocket science. But it is important to always remain aware of what kind of environment you are taking your guitar from, and to; as well as where it will be riding during the trip. A well built guitar is a pretty resilient creature and with a little extra effort, and the right case or gig bag, you can rest assured that the investment you made in that treasured axe will pay you back with dividends for years to come.

Please do not hesitate to contact us with any questions!