New Student FAQ

When should I start my child on guitar?

My experience has been that 4th or 5th grade is probably the best but there have been exceptions.  For several years, I've volunteered in a local elementary school to help teach a unit on guitar to all the 4th and 5th graders.  Most of the students in that age group are able to play a 3/4 to full size guitar.  I've had students ranging in age from 8 years old to 60s.

We don't have a guitar and I don't know the first thing about how to get one.  What do I do?

  1. Tell all your friends/family/co-workers that you're looking to borrow a guitar to get your child started on guitar lessons. You'll be surprised how many guitars are gathering dust in someone's closet just waiting to be played!  Parent finds guitar - Kiddo is deliriously happy!  Priceless!  If your child ends up taking to the guitar like a duck to water, you can give your loaner back and invest in a guitar.
  2. If you find a guitar, I'll be glad to give you my opinion on whether or not it will be a good choice for your student.  There is a wide variance in the way guitars are built and cared for.  If the strings are too far away from the fretboard, it can make learning very difficult.
  3. If your child has smaller hands - a 3/4 guitar is a good choice.  Here are couple of examples:

Yamaha GigMaker Acoustic Guitar Pack - includes guitar, gig bag, tuner, strap, extra strings, picks, and an instructional DVD

Yamaha GigMaker Deluxe Acoustic Guitar Pack - same as above, but with a little nicer guitar.

These guitar package ideas are great for the beginner and have everything your student will need to get started.  As with most things, an increase in quality means an increase in price.  If your beginner student becomes a serious guitarist, you'll know it and at that time you can consider getting a better instrument.  I'll be glad to help guide you when that time comes.

There isn't a guitar store in Northfield or Faribault.  So I like to send folks to  Groth Music in Bloomington, MN. They're family owned and have a very helpful staff. They have a wonderful selection of acoustic guitars and cater to students.

Please feel free to contact me - I'll be glad to assist you in finding a guitar for your child. Contact me at: lessons@patshelby.com


Is there anything else I need to buy?

An ELECTRONIC TUNER.  There's nothing worse than trying to play an out-of-tune guitar.  Trust me on this one - a tuner is a must have item and takes all the pain out of tuning the guitar!

If you live in the Midwest, like I do, winter can be tough on guitars.  I recommend keeping your guitar in a case and use a HUMIDIFIER.  If you have a beginner guitar, I wouldn't go to the expense of buying a case and humidifier.  Those guitars (like the ones I mentioned above) aren't made out of the quality woods that require protection.  However, if you own a fine instrument made out of "real" wood, then a hard-shell case and HUMIDIFIER are must-haves in Minnesota.  The lack of humidity can damage the guitar and cause playability problems.  From fall to spring, keep the guitar in it's case and humidified.

Another MUST HAVE item for new students is a GUITAR PICK.  I recommend the .60mm size.  They're my personal favorite and I use them for both electric and acoustic.

Consider getting a CAPO.  Armed with this nifty device, it's possible to transpose any song into virtually any key.  If you're a beginner...you don't need one to get started on the guitar, but eventually your student should have one.  They make a great gift for a non-beginner student.

For younger students (2nd grade to 4th grade) I recommend getting THIS GUITAR METHOD BOOK.  This is the best book I've found to keep kids engaged in learning how to play the guitar.

If you prefer, I'll be glad to order these items for you.  The item(s) will be waiting for your student at my studio.  I'll simply bill your account.


My student has outgrown their 3/4 guitar.  What guitar should I get now?

This is a great "next step" guitar.  It's available with and without a built in amplifier pickup.
 

I've got my guitar and I'm ready to start!

Sign up for lessons by going to my REGISTRATION page!

Did I answer you question?  If not, just email me at lessons@patshelby.com and I'll do my best to help.