The new guitar pedagogical empire – YouTube


There are some really remarkable guitar teachers out there online and I don’t just mean remarkable in their playing or teaching ability, but it’s their continued resourcefulness and determination to do their thing out there on the internet which is the most impressive thing.

I’m interested in lots of styles including blues, jazz, flamenco, African music so it’s been interesting to see how that’s panned out on YouTube lessons by various (1000s!) of teachers.

The first time I really took interest in what a teacher was doing online because his material really helped me progress in my understanding, was in 2008, an American flamenco teacher called Jason McGuire. He set up multi-view videos so you could see exactly what his right and left hand were doing – I didn’t even notice it was filmed in front of his bedroom drawers – I was entranced by his playing!

Justin Sandercoe – uberlord of online guitar teaching… more than 1 million YouTube subscribers!

Mike Outram – master jazz guitarist sharing his knowledge

Levi Clay – if you want to see what the modern musician/ teacher’s way of life is all about, check out this guy…
he could be between lessons then live transcribing for some of his patrons while plugging his new book – impressive productivity! One aspect of his modern approach to securing a reliable, sustainable income is to charge his transcription clients for his time, not the job done. This also helps deflect possible legal action of the fact he transcribes copyrighted work.

LickNRiff – nice cute gimmick with dogs on sofa but thorough teaching gets him the views.

Jens Larsen – a master of visual presentation.

GuitarJamz – no nonsense in your face rock guitar plus other pop and jazzy stuff. Wait a minute, nevermind Justin’s 1 million fans, this guy’s got 2 million fans!! We are not worthy!!

Guthrie Govan – a guitar god emerging in the internet age (well I’d never heard of him before watching YouTube),
guthrie2Guthrie isn’t an online teacher as such, he’s more known as just an unbelievable performer of all styles on electric guitar and is now regularly rubbing shoulders with the likes of Steve Vai and Joe Satriani at special guitar shows where the heavy duty shredders strut their stuff to 1000s of fans across the world. On the educational side of things, Guthrie regularly writes for Guitar Techniques magazine.

There will have to be a separate blog post on solo guitarists on YouTube, Adam Rafferty, Sungha Jung… incredible players!

Budget Spanish / classical guitars

budget guitars

Classical or Spanish guitars are the best guitars to learn from because half of the strings have soft nylon strings which are easy on the hands (and ears!) and the neck is wider so you have more room to play notes without blocking others. Here are some budget guitars of this type that sound surprisingly good for the price!

Valencia CG-160

Jose Ferrer

Yamaha C40II

Fender FC-1

Of course, with guitars being so cheap I have no idea how they’ve been made. It’s a bit like when you buy a great pair of jeans for £4 in a budget mega-retailer… you just hope there are not poor people in a factory on the other side of the world hammering out item after item for 15 hours at $2 a day!!

Fingerpicking exercise 1

Here’s a 16-bar fingerpicking exercise with a similar chord sequence to Pachelbel’s Canon (but in C major not D major). I guess the most fitting context for this fingerpicking technique is folk/ country style – but it’s a useful technique you can apply to many settings.

Here is the audio:

and here is the PDF file:

Too much information…

The internet is obviously great for many things, but the expectations it creates for people to share information creates negative behaviour – such as stalking

An old guitar agency contacted me so I could renew my profile. Actually it’s only old to me because I haven’t thought about it for a while, it’s actually an up to date registry of teachers in contemporary music.

What was disturbing for me though was that, as well as uploading a picture of yourself, you were expected to type in your full name, your full address, email, social media… pretty much everything except your phone number – which is strange in itself because exposure of your phone number is less dangerous than some of the other exposed details.

Of course the benefits of putting the maximum amount of details on to a profile benefits a potential student or customer – it’s good to know the maximum amount of information so you feel like you can make the right choice. But when uploading this amount of information is the norm, those on profiles put themselves in vulnerable positions.

On the registry that I was updating my profile, a random browsing of teachers in the area showed a lot of guitar teachers who were generally men, but many singing teachers and piano teachers were women. It does seem a risky business doesn’t it, to post all your details and your picture on a profile like this, where people can access with no login. I guess, as we also know we risk being hacked when we use bank apps on our mobiles (but we calculate that it probably won’t happen), we share our details trusting MOST people looking will be nice, normal people!