Choosing Guitars

I prefer my students to come to their first lesson before buying a guitar. It gives me a chance to suggest a suitable sized instrument. I lean towards guitarists starting on smaller instruments so that they are comfortable and can easily adopt a suitable posture, rather than buying a larger guitar because it will last them longer. A student model guitar is cheap (certainly in relation to how much you are paying for lessons!) so I may suggest a particular size, even if it will only last you a year. There can be an issue with quality control with these guitars. A music shop should ensure that your guitar is reasonable. I would be happy to get one for you if you are concerned about this.

Type of guitar?

I only teach classical guitar.This means you will need a classical (nylon strung) guitar, not steel strung acoustic or electric guitars. The guitar should be a traditional shape, without a cutaway or it can not be used for exams. As for makes, Valencia and Ashton guitars are fine, the Aria AK 20 is a good quality guitar but these will cost a bit more and tend to be harder to track down.

Left Handed?

I prefer my guitarists to play right handed; no other instrument offers a left handed alternative. You have to develop an equal amount of dexterity in your hands so there is no advantage in learning left handed. It actually creates problems too: Left handed guitars are not as common, therefore they are more expensive and you have less choice. You can just re-string a cheap guitar, but this is harder with a better quality instrument. There is also the problem that left handed guitarists can not just pick up a friend’s guitar and play.

Other equipment:

You will also need a guitar footstall to help with posture, and a music stand. The guitar will probably come with a case, but you will have to buy one if not. An electric guitar tuner is a worthwhile investment, it will be a while before you are confident tuning by ear. You will be working through a tutor book. I use ‘Don't Press Too Hard! – Book 1’ by Stephen Gordon and David Cottam. It is neither formidable nor patronising so I can use it with my youngest and oldest students. So, here is the rough breakdown, I have rounded everything up:

Classical guitar £30-60, up to £100 if you can track down an Aria

Footstall £10

Music Stand £15

Electric tuner £10-30 depending on what is available

‘Don't Press Too Hard!' £7