Why, How & What I Teach
My life has been basically a love affair with the guitar, and I started playing when I was 15 years old. In those days all the great players of the era; Jimi Hendrix, Eric Clapton, Jeff Beck, Jimmy Page, Johnny Winter, et al, were performing at small venues in the San Francisco Bay Area where I lived, and I saw many shows, studied the records and the instruments and equipment being used, and so learned the chord shapes, scales and sounds of all those legends, and began to perfect the ability to play like them (I eventually found my own guitar voice along the way, as well).
When I started playing in bands, I realized I had to be able to communicate with other musicians, and I learned to count the bars & rhythmic patterns, know what notes I was playing, and general music theory, so that I could communicate, and learn more music, more quickly. That blend of elements is what I teach today, and I have become the teacher I wish I had as a kid.
Everyone brings something different to the table in terms of talent, and many people find it difficult to teach themselves, so when it comes to guitar playing and learning, I tailor a custom plan for every student and focus on the music that interests them. As a student, one can almost incidentally learn the theory as one goes by learning songs one is interested in, and paying attention to the elements of those songs and to patterns across songs. All the details, whether of rhythm, chords or soloing, can be easier to grasp when the songs are familiar to and liked by the student, so I generally let students choose their own music. As a result, I have taught a wide range of material through the years; from Led Zeppelin to Taylor Swift, Ozzy Osbourne to Jimi Hendrix, Brad Paisley to John Mayer.
I am extremely proud of my many teaching success stories through the years, and have always tried to be affordable and available to those who are committed to learning. If interested in taking lessons please let me know.
I give lessons starting at $40 per hour. You can come to my location in Selma, OR where I have a nice sound system and amplifiers set up. I can also come to your location or work something else out if necessary. I also give lessons over Skype 24 hours a day. I have a large collection of videos recording myself playing hundreds of songs that my students have requested that I can share with you for you to study.
Here’s an example of one of my lessons.
Frequently Asked Questions:
- What is the best type of guitar to start lessons with, acoustic or electric?
- I recommend acoustics, as they are easier on the rest of the family during practice and can be used more easily in outdoor settings, because the volume level is less. This does not mean that I won’t teach a new student on electric, and that is something we would discuss before a first lesson.
- How old should a student be to start guitar lessons?
- Generally 9 or 10 is the recommended age, but younger with parent supervision and possibly a smaller sized guitar can work.
- Where can I get a good beginner’s guitar?
- I personally like buying used rather than new, for cost, resale and sound reasons. The internet, Guitar Center and Craigslist are all good sources, and you can find good deals on eBay and reverb.com, as well.
- Do you offer lessons for more than one person at a time?
- Yes, although, in general, one person will tend to be more committed to learning than another. I have had a number of successful father and sons, mothers and sons/daughters. If you want to learn together, please contact me.
- What kind of progress can I expect?
- Generally, students can play a complete song within a month or so, some sooner, some later. If you can’t play a song within a month by yourself, it does require dedication to practice and to your lessons.
- Do you travel to give lessons?
- Schedule willing, I will travel for lessons. I have a wonderful setting at my ranch in Selma Oregon, as well as the backroom of You Dirty Dog in Cave Junction, and teach semi-regularly in the San Francisco Bay Area (where I’m from), as well, and I am willing to travel to students’ homes for private lessons.
- I’m not local, do you do any lessons online?
- Yes, contact for details!
- Can you help me purchase a guitar/amp?
- Yes, I can help you search for what you need within your price range using a number of sources. I believe in the “buy them for less than you can sell them for” ethic.
- What type of plans do you use?
- I tailor lesson plans for individuals in the order of priority depending on their skills. When I give lessons, I have students choose their own music. I chart the songs and do demonstration videos for them, and questions are always welcome and encouraged.
- Can parents sit in on lessons?
- Absolutely, yes.
- Do you teach intermediate/advanced?
Reviews and testimonials from my students
“I’ve always wanted to learn an instrument and recently decided to go down and buy a guitar and get scheduled up with lessons. Rick was advertised at the guitar center with free lessons with the purchase of the guitar. I’m a busy dad with a limited amount of time to practice. Rick is super-patient with me and very helpful with little tricks that make the guitar more fun. I’m getting the hang of the guitar after several months and look forward to my lesson each time. Rick knows a lot of history which adds color to what I’m trying to learn. He can play any song I bring in and teach me how to play it. I’d highly recommend Rick to a beginner like me.”
“I started taking lessons with Rick when I was 37 years old, having never held a guitar before. What Rick offers that is unique in lessons is an ability to hear a song and teach it immediately. I decide what I want to play and sometimes don’t even get to tell him before the lesson; even if he’s never heard the song before he can determine what it is, where it’s played, how (if there is capo or different tuning), and nuance of technique, and then teach it right away. The lesson is exactly what I want to play on any given day, and it keeps me motivated and excited to learn more. Details of music theory and history of various genres are taught in context of songs that I pick, not out of a book. The book I have is now composed of a couple hundred songs that I wanted to learn, from country to rock to folk to blues. This is why I have been taking lessons every week for over 3 years; it’s always new and always fun, and specific to what I want to learn.”