Guitar Lessons

Electric and acoustic guitar lessons for students of all ages and ability levels.

Ability

Covering all ability levels, from beginner guitar, grades 1-8 to advanced guitar technique

Styles

Rock, pop, indie, blues, soul, metal and folk – plus learn how to approach, practice and learn music in general.

Skype/Zoom

Video/Skype/Zoom lessons available during the virus outbreak – and beyond, if you wish

Ability levels

I am very happy teaching giving guitar lessons to any age and level of student from complete beginners to experienced players. I have Grade 8 guitar (Rockschool), Grade 5 Music Theory, Grade 5 Drums and Grade 4 Piano. This gives me a breadth and depth of knowledge to teach all ability levels.

For more about my background, check out the About Me page.

Styles

I give acoustic or electric guitar lessons, covering rock, pop, indie, blues, soul, funk, metal and folk. However, more importantly than any specific style, I teach how to approach, practice and learn music in general. These disciplines can be applied to any style.

Location

I give guitar lessons in both Hampton Wick (KT1) and Sutton (SM1). These are easily accessible from Kingston Upon Thames, Teddington, Twickenham, Cheam, Carshalton and Morden. Both locations are easy to get to by car or public transport. The location page has full details of how to find me.

Hampton Wick guitar lessons are Tuesdays and Thursdays, Sutton guitar lessons are Monday and Wednesdays or during weekday daytimes.

Exams

I can support students working towards guitar grade exams if required. I have often found grades to be a good way of focusing and motivating my practice. However, this is not obligatory and it is entirely possible to become an excellent guitarist without taking grades. The grade boards I’m most familiar with are Rockschool and Trinity Rock & Pop.

Frequency

Guitar lessons can be booked regularly or on an ad-hoc basis. However, I strongly recommend regular lessons for the best possible progress, ideally weekly. Fortnightly may be enough for 60 minute lessons, as long as you are motivated and disciplined enough to practice regularly between lessons.

Age

I have taught students from age 6 upwards.

Prices

£18

30 minute guitar lesson

£36

60 minute guitar lesson

Please give 48 hours’ notice for cancellations, otherwise the full fee will be payable.

Beginner Guitar Questions

Short answer: No, you don’t need an amp when starting out.

Longer answer: An electric guitar makes some noise without an amp. It’s only good enough for playing / practicing on your own, but it will be enough to get you started. You will want an amp eventually, but in the short term focus on getting a good guitar and starting to learn. If you find you enjoy it and want to carry on then you can consider an amp then.

Short answer: It is OK to start with videos and books, although they are not as good as having a proper teacher. I’d recommend www.justinguitar.com. Have a look at his Beginners Course. It’s free and has lots of good videos.

Longer answer: You can get started with videos and / or books. The Justin Guitar link above is a good starting point. I was lucky enough to have a few lessons with him when I was younger. He’s very good, and he’s put a lot of time and thought into how he presents his material online. His beginners section also covers answers to some of these questions, so you can check to see if his answers agree with mine!

However, a real teacher is always better than videos or books. I’m not just saying that just because I am a teacher! You can’t replace the benefit of having someone watching what you do and giving you specific guidance based on what you’re doing. I find I pick things up more quickly when someone is showing me in person. Learning from books and videos takes longer. A teacher will give you feedback so you know which bits you need to work on and which you’ve mastered. When you’re starting out it’s hard to judge that for yourself. It’s also a great psychological motivator, knowing you have a lesson coming up – it encourages you to practice. Without lessons there’s the potential to pick up bad habits that take more time to correct later. There’s less chance of this if you have a teacher giving you personal tuition.

By all means get started using the videos on the Justin Guitar site. Then, if you find you’re enjoying it, seriously consider finding a teacher to have regular lessons.

Short answer: The Yamaha Pacifica 112 is a great  electric guitar for beginner to intermediate level. They’re £199-£225 online. The Yamaha F310 is a good beginner acoustic guitar and costs around £109

Long answer: I’ve always recommended the Yamaha Pacifica 112 as a fantastic beginners guitar. The J version costs around £169, the V version is £200. Get the V if you can afford it, but the J is still perfectly good enough to learn on.

I own a Pacifica and often take it to gigs as a back up guitar in case anything goes wrong with my main guitar. It’s good enough that I’d be comfortable playing live with it if necessary. They’re really versatile instruments and the build quality is consistently good. It will be a long while before you needed to ‘upgrade’ to a better instrument.

For acoustic guitar, many of my students have started out with the Yamaha F310. It does everything you need for a beginner guitar. It will get you started well. If you continue playing for more than 18 months and are really into it you might then consider upgrading to a higher quality instrument, but the F310 will keep you going for as long as you need.

There are lots of cheap electric guitars out there and the quality varies hugely. Personally, I would avoid anything less than £100, anything that comes in a ‘kit’ with an amp, and steer clear of Squiers. Also, don’t buy a guitar with a ‘floyd rose’ or ‘floating tremolo’. You don’t need to know what they are, just don’t get one! They make the guitar much more difficult to learn on.

The best thing you can do is go to a shop with someone who plays guitar and try it with them, but I realise that’s not always possible. If you do see anything online that you like the look of and want my opinion then email me the link and if I know anything about the make I’ll let you know.

Short answer: Yes, it’s OK to buy online. You will have to learn to tune the guitar whether you get it over the internet or from a shop. Watch the video on www.justinguitar.com about tuning your guitar.

Long answer: A puritan would say you should never buy an instrument you haven’t tried first. I definitely wouldn’t buy a guitar for more than £400 without having played it first. But for beginners guitars I think it’s OK to buy online. Whatever you get will probably be good enough to learn on, and after 2-3 years you will probably be thinking about upgrading anyway.

You will need to tune the guitar when you receive it. However, even if you bought it from a shop it’s possible it might need tuning by the time you got it home, so you’d have to learn that either way.

Short answer: 6-9 months to get comfortable with the basics.

Long answer: I usually say it takes about a 6-9 months to get to ‘campfire guitar’ level – i.e. you are comfortable strumming the chords to well known songs around a campfire, bbq, etc. while people sing along. You can keep time, change chords smoothly, etc. You’ll be making good music that everyone can enjoy.

This assumes that you put in about 30 minutes of practice most days of the week. After 6 months you’ll have the basics down, then another 3 months to get really comfortable with it.

It might be possible to do it quicker than that if you are especially disciplined or you practice more than 30 mins regularly, but that timescale is a good guide.

After that there is always more to learn. Music is such a vast topic that you can never learn everything there is to know. Once you get to that stage you can decide if you’ve learnt as much as you want, or if you want to delve in to another area – rock, blues, acoustic, jazz, metal, the possibilities are endless! I’m always talking to my students about what they are interested in and what they want to learn to make sure I’m tailoring the lessons to their specific tastes and goals.

Short answer: £36 to £72 per month, if you’re serious about it.

Long answer: I recommend weekly 30 minute lessons. Try to keep them quite focused and to the point. You get material to practice, you practice it through the week, then review it next lesson with your teacher and get some more stuff to work on.

If weekly is too much of a time commitment then hour long lessons every 2 weeks are OK. This relies on you to be disciplined and keep practicing between lessons. Some people find that harder without the ‘deadline’ of a lesson coming up.

Both the options above will cost around £60 per month (assuming 4 weeks in a month).

If that’s too much of a financial commitment then 30 minute lessons every fortnight does work. It might take a little longer to progress, but you’ll still get there. This will cost around £36 per month (again assuming 4 week months).

Testimonials

Here are a selection of the teaching reviews I’ve had on my Google listing

5/5
Matt has been more than a teacher, he’s been a coach and mentor that has helped my son achieve more than he thought was possible. That’s rare and game changing.
5/5
Matt is an excellent guitar teacher. He has been teaching my daughter for almost six years and he’s gone above and beyond the simple teaching requirements.
5/5
Matt has been teaching our 8 year-old for the last two years. He has been a very patient, encouraging teacher. He adapts lessons to enable his student’s progress and enjoyment in playing guitar.