Electric Guitar Lessons for Beginners

Many of my students begin lessons on the electric guitar.  There are several benefits to starting out this way.  The body size and shape of most electric guitars are smaller, lighter, and easier to manage for beginning students.  The string gauge is lighter making it a bit easier to play as well.  Student’s who are learning guitar between the ages of 7-10 have better success starting with a 3/4 sized guitar.  Students who are starting at ages 10 – adult will do just fine with a full sized electric guitar.  Most of my students will learn on a regular right-hand oriented instrument even if they are left-handed.  However, it’s perfectly fine for a student to learn on a left-handed guitar if that feels more comfortable to them.   Please see my “Getting Started” page for more information on recommended guitars and accessories.

Topics of Instruction:

Technique

It takes a little bit of time to get comfortable playing notes with the left hand while also plucking or strumming strings with the right hand. So, I work with my students on exercises and music scales to help them develop their strength and coordination.  I also will utilize popular single-note songs to accomplish this as well.

Understanding how the guitar works

From day one I try to help beginning students establish a concrete understanding of how information is organized on the guitar.  The guitar can be initially confusing since it is a bit different from other instruments, such as the piano, strings, or brass.  Essentially, the guitar is organized to the number 5.  I will work with students to memorize their string names, the notes on the fretboard, and how that relates to thinking about topics such as chords and scales.

Reading guitar music

One of my goals is to equip students to be able to decode written music so they can teach themselves songs.  Initially, I help students learn how to read tablature (which is a very guitar oriented form of music notation) so they have the skills necessary to learn songs that they can find on the internet.  After some time I move onto to teaching standard music notation.

Chords

For beginning students I often introduce simple 2-3 string chords that are found in many rock-oriented songs.  I also will introduce a set of 15 guitar chords that are standard for the guitar.  I also find it helpful to have students begin applying what they know to sections of songs which makes the journey of learning much more enjoyable!

Rhythm & Strumming

I introduce topics of strumming and rhythm to my students once they start gaining some mastery over chords.  Rhythm, in many respects, is math in motion.  I help students understand how to think about time-keeping (meter) while they develop their ability to play a repertoire of about 15 different rhythm patterns found in popular music.

Lead Guitar

Learning and creating guitar solos is a very rewarding aspect of the electric guitar.  When students are ready and interested, I will introduce well known guitar solos that are friendly to beginning students.  I also will break down the primary components of soloing to include scales, harmony considerations, common musical solo ideas, and how to think about musical form when learning or creating a guitar solo within a song.

Songs

Songs represent the tangible rewards and achievements of working hard to learn a new instrument.  They also function as motivating goals for myself and my students.  From my experience, songs are the motivating reason why we start taking lessons in the first place.  Because of this, I want to find out, as soon as possible, which songs my students are most interested in learning. In face,  I will try to find a song that a student can begin to learn in their first lesson if its a reachable goal.

Electric guitar styles & songs:

This table below represents some of the music styles and songs that I teach on the electric guitar.  It is not a complete list and changes according to music trends and what my students request to learn.  Please feel free to contact me if you have interests in music styles that are not found below.

Music Style

Song/Artist

Classic Rock

“You Really Got Me” recorded by Van Halen
“Back in Black” by AC/DC
“Iron Man” by Black Sabbath
“Smoke on the Water” by Deep Purple
“Sweet Child O Mine” by Guns n’ Roses
“Purple Haze” by Jimi Hendrix
“Stairway to Heaven” by Led Zeppellin
“Another One Bites the Dust” by Queen
“Crazy Train” by Ozzy Osbourne
“Walk this Way” by Aerosmith

Modern Rock

“No Sleep Till Brooklyn” by the Beastie Boys
“Seven Nation Army” by the White Stripes
“Enter Sandman” by Metallica
“Run to the Hills” by Iron Maiden
“Snow (Hey Oh)” by Red Hot Chilli Peppers
“Everlong” by the Foo Fighters
“Holiday” by Green Day
“Teen Spirit” by Nirvana
“Spoonman” by Soundgarden
“Alive” by Pearl Jam

Blues

“The Thrill is Gone” by B.B. King
“Hideaway” by Freddie King
“Red House” by Jimi Hendrix
“Texas Flood” by Stevie Ray Vaughan
“Stormy Monday” Recorded by the Allman Brothers.

Country

“Country Boy” by Albert Lee
“Outstanding in Our Field” by Brad Paisley
“21” by Hunter Hayes

Jazz Guitar

“West Coast Blues” by Wes Montgomery
“Billies Bounce” recorded by George Benson
“Minor Swing” by Django Reinhardt
“On the Stairs” by Pat Martino

Movie Soundtrack themes

“Star Wars”
“Pirates of the Caribbean” theme song
Indiana Jones Theme song

Video Game Themes

Plants Vs. Zombies Theme song
Minecraft story mode Intro Theme
“Bonetrousle” from Undertale
“2B a Master” from Pokemon
“Overworld” from Terreria
Legend of Zelda Theme Song
Super Mario Brothers Theme Song

 Lessons for Intermediate/Advanced level students.

I am also comfortable working with students who have prior experience with the guitar.  In general terms I work with intermediate/advanced students on further developing their technique, expanding their repertoire, and extending their understanding of chords and harmony.  Many of my upper level students often take intermittent hourly lessons as I’m able to provide a lot of content that they can develop further on their own.

If you haven’t done so already….

Contact Gordon to get started with lessons or find answers to additional questions you may have about acoustic guitar lessons.

Take a moment to Meet Gordon Tibbits and get acquainted with his story.

Learn more about Gordon’s Teaching Philosophy

Find out more information on Lesson Rates & Scheduling.