The age-old question with learning the guitar has always been “where do I start?”, and then, “where do I go from here?” Either way, we’re talking about many styles that can be learnt and many avenues the learner can decide to take.
I have always seen that beginners always start with a very specific kind of guitar playing they want to concentrate on, but it never fails that they eventually will want to branch out into the various styles and techniques that are available to the guitarist there days. I can recall years ago when I was selling a hugely diverse catalog of videos at a guitar show booth, and a potential customer came up to me and looked at the wall of videos and said “now let’s see what I don’t have!” Well, in one quick line that person let me know just how diverse a guitarist’s tastes can be, and it was clear to me that a heavy metal player may want a country tape, a blues player may want a classical tape, and on and on. The cross-pollination of a guitarist throughout his or her playing experience can be so diverse as to be limitless, and this is really what makes for a player with real depth.
I have always enjoyed teaching the many styles I have learned, and I have also always found that each player and student has their own distinctive “fingerprint” to their sound that makes their own style into even what we could identify as their own sub-category of sound and stylistic approach.
After all, I started with my love of the blues and of country guitar, yet I still ended up being considered a kind of “pioneer” in certain playing styles within these well-established musical genres. It just shows how we all lend our own take on things in the end, and that with each ensuing note, we are always changing how music is both played and how it’s learned.
Relatively, the guitar is a rather “young” instrument compared to most others, and therefore the teaching techniques that are used for it are very individual and are constantly being re-defined. This was so evident during the years of me creating all those Hot Licks video and audio lessons with so many unique artists. Since we were self-taught artists helping you to teach yourselves as well, we were literally re-defining how the guitar was being taught on the spot. If you decide to take up an older, more classically established instrument such as the violin or the piano, you’ll see that the instruction is far more rigid, and the rules are quite a bit more “etched in stone” than the freer ways in which we are used to learning the guitar.
So, in the end, the fact is that I really love the guitar and also love teaching it. The many styles I can cover and the ways in which I can adjust to a student’s specific needs also spices things up, and remember to always try to broaden your musical horizons, all of us guitarists deserve it! Enjoy!