GUITAR BUYING ADVICE (scroll down to bottom of page for recommended models)
Guitar size

I generally start children on Guitar at age 7 where a 3/4 (three-quarter) size guitar is usually best. From age 5 upwards I teach Ukulele. I don't like to teach children on half size guitars as I find Ukulele works a lot better.
Year 7 is usually the age where they can move on to full size, although it depends on the individual. I will recommend the next size of instrument when it becomes too small, or feel free to ask me.
Guitar Type
I recommend nylon string classical style guitars to start on for the young beginner, the strings are softer on the fingers and are more playable. If you already have a steel string acoustic or electric that is fine as long as I think it is suitable.
Guitar Quality
It's best to spend as much as you can afford, as generally you get what you pay for with Guitars. The more expensive ones are better made, use better woods etc. which all count towards the enjoyment when you are playing. The playability, sound and feel is an important factor with an instrument that will hopefully become something they spend a lot of their time with. If you are not sure whether they will take to the instrument, one sure way to make sure they don't  is buying the cheapest or second hand shop guitars.
Scroll to the bottom of the page for recommended instruments
What else will I need? 
  • My Guitar Tutor book available here
  • A good guitar bag with pocket/s and a shoulder strap for easy carrying to and from lessons.
  • A music stand (for home practise)
  • Plectrums (or Picks) and somewhere to keep them -pick tin?
And also recommended but not strictly necessary straight away
  • tuner
  • metronome
these items can be bought from music shops or as "apps" on a device such as iphone/ipad etc. The metronome app I use is called "Tempo"
  • strap -remember to buy the end pin and have it fitted if you get a strap. This is optional.
  • music book bag.
  • spare strings
  • capo
Keep instrument clean with a cloth. Wipe down strings and body/neck after playing. Avoid knocks which can damage the guitar. The neck is quite vulnerable  on a guitar. Keep away from extremes of heat-radiators, leaving in a car overnight etc.
When strings become discoloured they will start to lose tone and volume and at this point need changing.  A Strings lifetime varies but as a general rule should be changed every 6 months. If you are unsure if strings need changing ask me. I offer a full string changing service for £10 or £16 if I have to buy the strings for you. I will also clean the fretboard with the strings removed in this service. You will need to leave your guitar with me for this.

Obviously a crucial factor in how much progress is made is the amount of practise that is done. This will vary from person to person, age, what their goals are etc. but as a general guide I have outlined some reasonable minimum practice times below.

Complete beginner (primary school) -30 mins a week
after 6 months of lessons or in years 5 or 6 - 1 hour a week
complete beginner (secondary school or adult) 1 hour a week
post grade one - 2 hours a week

This time should be split across the week e.g 1 hour a week could be done in 3 20 minute sessions. Getting a set routine will also be a good idea.

I will set homework every week which will be written in the notebook or record book. Usually it will be 2 or 3 things to practise, which you can tick off once practised.

Alongside the homework there should also be some time spent playing for simple enjoyment, this could be making up a tune or improvising(I'm always pleased to hear student's compositions!) , a tune already learnt in a previous lesson etc.

Please provide positive encouragement to practise.  

Practise tips
  • Practise a tune or short phrase repeatedly until perfect. Even when perfected keep repeating to get it truly into the fingers.
  • read carefully what you have been asked to do
  • listen to yourself as you play, or get someone to listen to you. How does it sound? Does it sound right? Could you do it better?Or for the more advanced- record yourself and listen back.
  • if something is too difficult write down what it is and ask me to go over with you in the next lesson.
  • Begin with Scales, Sightreading and finger excercises to warm up
  • If possible, leave Guitar out of case and in sight (on a stand) as this will encourage playing and be a visual reminder

Beginner lessons

Beginner Lessons are 20 minutes or half an hour in length.
I like to keep the lessons relaxed and enjoyable but also challenging and focused. I do have a waiting list of people wanting to start lessons so I do expect students can put in the required effort and commitment to learning. The lessons are a two way thing so I appreciate feedback (let me know if something is too hard or too easy!), feel free to suggest music etc. For beginners I have a set programme of learning in place but am always happy to teach a few favourite songs if they are possible.

I teach general guitar for beginners this includes
  • Single note playing (melodies)
  • Riffs
  • Music reading (stave) and tab
  • Chord playing
  • Aural skills
  • Theory
  • Improvising and Composing

Beyond this a student can then move on to either Electric Guitar or Classical Guitar styles or continue with General playing. Bass or Ukulele can be learnt from complete beginner level.

If you are already playing and joining me as an intermediate or advanced player then we can discuss your goals together, and tailor lessons to suit your goals

Please encourage your child to listen to music and develop a taste. There is a whole world of music for them to enjoy and particularly Guitar Music. I will be making a list of recommended listening and posting soon

The progress a student makes is largely down to the individual (how quick a learner they are, how dedicated, natural ability for the instrument) and the time put into practising. Some weeks/months can go by without seeing any noticeable improvement but then all of a sudden a player can jump up to the next level, so it's best to judge progress over the long term.
Learning any instrument has its challenges but overall should be enjoyable and rewarding and this should matter most of all.

Recommended makes and models


The Valencia is probably the most affordable Classical (aka Spanish) Guitar.

Yamaha C range (model c70)

The Yamaha C range are pretty good quality with comfortable playing and decent sound

Other good beginner makes I have come across are

Jose Ferrer

I get my students under age 7 to start on Ukulele for a while and then move onto Guitar. Some of them stay longer with it up to Grade 3! The main reasons being that it is easier  because
  • Smaller body so it is easier to hold
  • Less strings – 4 not 6
  • Wider strings- so less plucking mistakes
  • The sound is bright and sometimes louder than the equivalent half size guitar

The Samick or Greg Bennett Uke has a lovely rich sound. It retails around the £50-60 mark but is well worth the extra money. Other ones In this price range I recommend are the Laka Vu or Redwood C20.

Less expensive beginner makes such as Mahalo and Makala are acceptable and make good first instruments.