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Guitarskool Home

Private Guitar Lessons in Pukekohe, Auckland

Learn guitar from a professional guitarist. 

The Guitarskool Difference

Learn from a professional guitarist with over 30 years of teaching experience.

The most common way that guitar is taught is on a ‘song by song basis’. There are understandable reasons for this approach. Firstly, this is the most common reason that people go to a guitar tutor in the first place - to learn how to play their favourite songs. Tutors use this method because:-

1. It provides a ‘quick fix’ for students.

2. It keeps students coming back to learn the next part of the song. Therefore, a steady supply of revenue for the tutor.

3. The tutor has a set of songs that they already know how to play and they don’t have to do any further learning themselves.

Unfortunately, this ‘parrot fashion’ way of learning often results in poor performances of the material.

Here at Guitarskool I will teach you the necessary skills and then we’ll choose a song (that you like) and apply those skills. This results in the performance that you’re after - not a ‘half baked effort because you lack the skills involved in playing the song’. 

Playing the guitar is not all that hard (after all, millions of people can do it) - but my advice is to learn the skills that all guitarists use. This will make playing all of the songs you like a lot easier.

Why using only the ’Song - by - Song’ method (without some skill building) has some serious flaws:-

To play an average song that sounds similar to the recorded version that you’re familiar with may contain many component skills. On guitar, these include:- knowledge of chord shapes, being able to change quickly between chords, using a pick effectively, eliminating stress and strain (through good posture),strumming and rhythm patterns, finger-picking and hybrid picking (playing with the pick and fingers at the same time), understanding how to read notation (standard notation, TAB, chord charts), effective fingering; so that your notes and chords can be clearly heard. You can add specific skills, depending on the styles of music you are most interested in, such as bending strings, mastering a good vibrato, legato techniques, harmonics, double-stops.

These skills make up what I call ‘The Guitarist’s Toolbox’.

If you try to learn how to play the guitar using only the ‘song by song’ method, these skills are hurried over or in most cases completely ignored (maybe you don’t know that they even exist). Another common problem is that students often go from one song to the next and end up forgetting how to play the first song they learned. Understanding about how songs work helps you to memorise them. Choosing songs that are too long can also cause difficulty. Usually after a month or more of playing the same song it’s quite common that students never want to play or even hear that tune again. The song takes such a long time to learn because the student has to learn many (if not all of the necessary skills and commit them to muscle memory) at the same time as learning the actual song. But imagine, if you already know how to strum, know most of the chords and know which notes sound good together; how learning songs becomes easier and a lot quicker.

In short, if you ‘don’t know the skills - you don’t get the thrills’.

The ‘song by song’ method (by itself) is simply not effective and can be a waste of money.

The Guitarskool Solution

This is the method that professional guitarists use

(it’s how they’re able to JAM on a tune without ever having learned that particular song)

The Guitarist’s Tool Box

is a collection of hundreds of riffs and licks covering every style of popular music (pop, blues, jazz, country, rock, latin etc.) that will allow you to increase the things that you can play. Each riff and lick has its own technical challenges. I’ve selected these because I feel they’re the most useful and help define each particular style. You’ll recognize the sound of these riffs & licks (they’re everywhere). Think of them as ’the common language’ spoken by proficient guitarists. Whichever type of music you like, you’re going to find them in there; and this will open the door to you being able to play hundreds of songs at ‘the drop of a hat’. It will also help you immensely if you want to write your own songs.

Fact #1: You can only play what you know how to play. It doesn’t matter how much you like a song, if you can’t get your fingers around the riffs and licks, it’s going to be a tough job. However, most riffs & licks in the Toolbox can be learned in just a few minutes.

You don’t have to learn the complete Toolbox, in fact, you simply select those that appeal to you and you think that you can play (with a bit of practice). After you get enough tools in your Toolbox, I’ll get you to choose a song that you like and teach you how to learn it. See, the emphasis is on you being able to do it yourself!

What else does the Toolbox do for you?

1. It helps you to train your ear.

2. It teaches you common chord progressions in all types of music.

3. It makes you a better all-round player.

4. You get to understand what you’re playing (what most tutors over-complicate by calling it Theory) - this is where our one-to-one lessons come in. I’ll guide you step-by-step.

5. It gets you ready for a jam session, join a band or a duo or just to accompany a singer (the singer might even be yourself).

Just think! Could you (or anybody else) try and fix a car without any tools?

That’s a bit like trying to play music without the Toolbox!

The Toolbox works because:-

As well as differences between styles of music, there is much in common.

1. There are only a certain number of chords (most songs are just Major and minor chords).

2. There are only 12 notes in music.

3. The number of rhythms (strumming patterns) is not infinite (5 or six strumming patterns will enable you to play most songs).

4. There are only certain things that you can do on the guitar (and yes, there are a few of them). You can strum it, pick it, slap it, slide it, hammer it, harmonic it, bend it, tap it.

5. There are only two directions you can strum a guitar, down and up (sideways just makes a scratching noise - of course you can do that if you want to).

All of these are in the Toolbox (apart from sideways strumming).

There is much to be gained in this approach - in fact, it’s the only way!


If you’re ready to get started on putting together your own personalised Guitarist’s Toolbox  Contact me by clicking on the email or contact form below. You can also phone me for a chat (the numbers are below).

Click here for my students' reactions to the Guitarskool Method!

Please contact me for further info (see details below).

You can also email me by using the contact form on this website.


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