So last week I ruffled a few feathers.
I sent out an email talking about how most guitar teachers NEVER really teach good basic technique.
Someone said, “Well, Erich Andreas teaches this stuff”.
The gist of my reply was that if he’s like most other tutors, I doubt he does.
That was not an attack or anything on Erich, and it’s NOT personal…
…BUT it’s my honest opinion on most guitar teachers.
Anyway, some folk got defensive about this. Here’s one of them.
“Just for the record. Erich Andreas is an outstanding acoustic (and electric?) guitar teacher with extremely well organised material. I was using his course before I decided to focus on classical guitar and use Allen.”
Best wishes for the New Year.
I must say just for the record, I was NOT criticising Erich.
I was simply stating something I stand by…
That is the fact most guitar teachers avoid teaching proper fundamental technique.
No offence meant to him, but as far as I can see, I don’t think Erich does either.
In fact, before writing this email, I got one of his starter courses, browsed through the first few lessons, and looked at his course syllabus.
…And guess what?
I just don’t see it.
There’s nothing on core fundamental technique.
Sure, he seems to teach some typical basic stuff pretty well by the look of it.
…BUT he makes the critical mistake I see time and again from most tutors.
That is, in one of the very first lessons, he teaches a complex picking exercise across all six strings at a fast tempo.
This is NOT how beginners should start.
In fact, practising this typical exercise (which most tutors also teach) will lead to mistakes, frustration, tension, and lots of picking of the wrong strings.
This all leads to bad habits and the guitarist possibly doubting themselves and their own ability.
The truth is, there are multiple things guitarists need to do BEFORE trying that stuff.
Some people seem to keep missing the point of this.
…And you know what, there are some good teachers out there and maybe Erich is one of them.
…But I won’t sugarcoat it.
I’d much rather tell it to you straight because this stuff is that important.
A guitar teacher can be as organised and OCD as Sheldon Cooper from The Big Bang Theory, have the communication skills of JFK, and the gleeful patience of Mary Poppins…
…But if he or she cannot go into detail on the absolute basics of core technique, then ALL of that is futile.
I mean, why is it thatgolf instructors, fitness coaches, and woodwork teachers all cover the basics on a deep level?
Yet guitar teachers are like:
“Okay, so it’s day 1 of your guitar playing, here’s how to play a scale, a crazy picking exercise, and a really challenging C Major chord! Off you go!”
That’s like a woodwork instructor saying:
“So you’ve never done woodwork before, here’s a table saw and a plan of the shed we’re making – let’s get chopping planks of wood. Oh and I won’t tell you how to use any of the saws safely. Good luck – I hope you don’t lose a finger!”
I’m not a woodwork guy, but you get the picture.
Teaching guitar without core fundamental technique is dangerous, hence why I’m vocal about this.
I simply care too much about my students to not say it as it is.
So of course you want to be organised, learn in an orderly manner, and have fun playing beautiful music (that is all key)…
…But NEVER neglect good core fundamental technique.
Here’s a tip the YouTube teachers rarely (if ever) say…
If your fingers are sore or you are in pain when you play…
Something needs to change.
Often it is not the guitar or your strings that need to change, but it’s your core technique that needs tweaking.
The good news is that a lot of core fundamental technique is not hard – the tweaks can be quite simple.
They just require knowledge and, of course, consistent application.
One of the simplest technical tweaks I teach students is something I cover on day 1 of my very inexpensive course.
You can find out more about this below:
Keep working on your core technique – everything builds on top of it.
Get that right and all the fun stuff becomes even more fun!
P.S. By the way, you only have to read the dozens of comments from students in the course saying such things as this about day 1’s lesson:
“I can’t believe how easy it is to make each chord with so little pressure. The one finger technique really helped me to ease off how hard I was pressing. Thanks Dan!” – Tony
“Very good advice. I feel a lot more relaxed and the notes sound better.” – Peter
“Thanks so much for helping me to remember to relax…it’s not like I’m drilling into a sidewalk” – Thomas
“Very cool! I don’t have to have craters in my fingertips! Thankyou!” – James
“For a long time I’ve tried to learn guitar. I am guilty of the death grip. My fingers were not only sore but had grooves in the tips from pressing the strings too hard. This light touch will be very helpful. This is not something I’ve been told before. Thanks.” – Mark
P.P.S. This post was originally taken from Dan Thorpe’s private email list. To get blog posts like this sent to you which are full of great tips to make fingerpicking, strumming, and learning guitar more enjoyable (especially if you are over 40) join Dan’s list. It’s 100% free, HERE.