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Why Do I Need a Guitar or Bass Teacher?

Why Professional Guitar and Bass Training is Important for your Success

We have all heard wondrous tales of the self-taught bassist or guitarist who makes it big. Many beginning musicians decide to teach themselves using these tales as justification. While it is true that one can, in fact, teach oneself to play, it typically makes for a much rockier road than necessary.

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Rancho Bernardo guitar lessons 619-306-3664

The advantages of having a professional instruct you far outweigh the disadvantages. This brief article will review some of the myriad reasons why you should consider professional instruction.

The Basics: Right Out of the Gate

Let’s say you have just bought your new guitar or bass. Are you holding it correctly when sitting down? How about while standing up? Are you fretting the strings properly? Is the thing even in tune? These are all critical in playing your instrument correctly, and if you have any doubts, an instructor will be able to alleviate them.

The Plan

It is important to have a plan to get from Point A (non-player) to Point B (competent player) and beyond. If you try to do this yourself, there’s an excellent chance you won’t reach your goal. You may even give up in frustration. An instructor will go over your plan with you and will be able to help you construct an achievable, step-by-step plan to help you reach your goals. This alone makes it worth the price for lessons, as it can save you months or even years of effort.

Progression (Not the Chord Kind)

If you try to train yourself, you may find it difficult to know when to progress or transition from one aspect of learning guitar (say, individual notes on the fretboard) to the next (forming chords from the notes). Your instructor has probably played for a while and will be able to use his or her experience to your advantage.

Feedback (The Non-Squealing Kind)

Learning by yourself from books or videos (YouTube or commercially purchased) may be effective up to a point, but there is one thing you simply will not get: immediate and constructive feedback. In a live setting, your instructor can make small adjustments to your playing early on which will reap huge advantages over the long run. To put another way, one small correction now can save you weeks of frustrating un-learning later on.


Books and/or videos have to, by their nature, be a one-size-fits-all affair. They typically cover only the basics and cannot be customized to your individual style, needs, or goals. By working with the instructor on the plan mentioned above, you will be able to tailor-fit your lessons to your goals. In addition, should your needs or goals change, your teacher can change it up much more easily than you would be able to do yourself.


If you are accountable only to yourself with your guitar lessons, there is a chance you may slack off from time to time. This may become a habit to the point where you no longer play on a regular basis. On the other hand, in a pro lesson format, you are also accountable to the teacher. This will keep you on track.

Addressing the Disadvantages

The primary obstacles to personal instruction are timing, distance and money. If scheduling lessons is extremely difficult or impossible because you work odd hours or live too far away from an instructor, there are numerous correspondence courses available. The time-tested success of correspondence schools (as well as the lower cost) can be worth it. Just understand that there will be a time lapse between the submission of your work and the feedback you receive. It is, therefore, still a second-best option.

Now, as to the issue of money: Paying for music lessons is an investment that will reap large benefits in the future if you apply yourself. Take an honest look at your financial situation. Can you make a few small cuts in other parts of your budget to cover lessons? If not, take heart. Numerous colleges offer extension courses in guitar and bass. Group lessons can be attended at a lower fee than individual ones. Correspondence courses are another viable option.

Back to the savant who picked up a guitar and became a star with no lessons. Did you know that many – actually, most – of these super-famous guitar players now have instructors that they practice with? Research your favorite and you’ll find out that they, too, reap the rewards of personal instruction.

Phone Glenn Sutton at: 619-306-3664.

Services include:

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