Free Guitar Tips

Playing Guitar Is Like Riding A Bike

I was teaching a few of my students recently, who were facing a very common challenge when it comes to playing guitar at a beginner level – strumming and changing chords at the same time. This is a hurdle that many early learners find very intimidating when they first start doing it. They’re typically not used to the multitasking and mental juggling required to change from chord to chord, without throwing off the strumming. You may be dealing with this yourself.

What needs to happen in order to permanently overcome this hurdle is quite simple, and I’ll explain it using an analogy.

When you first learn to ride a bicycle, what is the main challenge that needs to be conquered? It’s keeping your balance while riding. How do you do this? By continuously moving forward and keeping the momentum going. However, many kids are often nervous about falling, and that stops them from peddling. They don’t yet realize that it’s MUCH harder to keep your balance while sitting still.

Strumming and changing chords is the same, however in this case our “balance” is in our strumming hand. For you to comfortably strum and change chords simultaneously, you need to keep your momentum moving forward by keeping your strumming hand moving consistently, no matter what. This means moving it even if the next chord isn’t fully formed yet.

It’s very tempting to want to stop strumming so that you can get your fingers in the right place. However, if you want to effectively and permanently get your hands working together, you need to actually practice that multitasking. If you stop strumming, then you’ll just be switching from one task to the other instead of actually connecting them.

Don’t let your fear of making a mistake, hitting an unclean chord or hitting the wrong strings stop you from doing what you need to do to really play guitar.

In truth, if you find that this multitasking is hard for you to manage at first, you WILL make a few mistakes along the way. It’s part of the game, and even serious players will mess up every now and then. I’ve done it on stage – in fact, here’s a quick story:

In early 2018, my 3-piece band lost our bass player and were down to just the drummer and myself. However, shortly after this happened we were invited to open for the band Rosetta, a band we’ve admired for years. We took the gig, and I hooked my guitar up to 2 big amplifiers so that my playing was louder. I sounded huge alright, but I was also nervous – literally everything that wasn’t drums or vocals, was my guitar playing.

That sounds stressful, doesn’t it? I had no one to back me up… in front of a band I idolized!

While the gig went well overall, there was one point where I was playing a riff and my finger didn’t land on the right string. In fact, it landed between the strings, and when my pick played that string there was a squeaking sound. Remember, not only was I the only stringed instrument on stage, but I was coming out of 2 amplifiers, so I was super loud.

However, no one made a big deal out of my mistake. Why? Because I didn’t either. I didn’t have time to – the song was still going, so I had to keep moving forward, and it happened so fast that some people didn’t even realize it happened when I asked them later. It was so short that it didn’t even register in their minds.

Do you see how mistakes happen, even at a professional level?

At the end of the day, each mistake is a learning experience. They are going to happen no matter what, so don’t let them stop you from doing what you need to do to make progress. Just like how you didn’t let the possibility of falling once or twice stop you from riding a bike, don’t let the possibility of not hitting the next chord properly stop you from strumming, and tying your hands together so that you can actually play guitar properly.

And fortunately for you, messing up the next chord won’t result in bloody knees and elbows.

About The Author:

Ryan Mueller is a professional musician, songwriter and guitar teacher who regularly helps guitarists of varying interests realize their potential and exceed their expectations with their playing. He has been through these hurdles, and is dedicated to helping his students overcome them with his guitar lessons in Etobicoke.

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Discover The Main Tell-Tale Signs Of Bad Guitar Teaching

Tell-Tale Signs Of Bad Guitar Teaching

Working with a bad guitar teacher holds you back from becoming the guitarist you want to be. This makes it very important to know when you are working with a good teacher versus a bad one. Here are the tell-tale signs of working with a bad guitar teacher:

They use the same teaching approach for everyone…

Mediocre guitar teachers do not use a goal-based teaching approach to help their students achieve specific results based on their specific needs. Instead, these kinds of teachers simply print out the exact same lesson materials for everyone and teach every student in the exact same manner regardless of his/her musical goals. This approach is mostly directionless and usually keeps students coming back for just a few lessons until they get tired of practicing things they don’t care about (because they are unrelated to their unique goals).

Even worse, some teachers teach guitar from generic guitar books designed as a catch-all teaching material. This makes guitar lessons very dry, boring and uninspiring for the student.

They’re not showing you how to integrate your skills…

Have you ever worked hard to get better in one area of your guitar playing but still not felt like you are a great overall musician? It’s common for guitar players to practice really hard to get good at one thing while unknowingly neglecting other aspects of their playing. A bad guitar teacher doesn’t understand this and constantly gives you materials to practice in isolation without any context. For example, simply giving you scales to practice every week. Practicing things in isolation is certainly a part of learning new techniques and developing proper muscle memory, BUT your guitar playing will go nowhere unless you understand how to integrate all your skills together. Imagine being excellent at playing fast, but having no idea how to actually phrase an interesting guitar solo… this happens all the time for guitar players, and is the leading cause of boring solos that sound like scales/exercises rather than actual music.

When you take guitar lessons from a great teacher, you learn how to integrate skills to balance out your strengths and weakness and become a better overall guitarist.

They give you too many things to practice…

Having a lot of things to practice is not necessarily a good thing. A poor teacher gives his students countless lesson materials each week. This causes the student to become overwhelmed, frustrated and bored. This makes practicing guitar feel like an insurmountable chore rather than fun. A good guitar teacher does not have to show you something new every week. There is plenty to learn when it comes to understanding how to use what you already know in different ways. This is one of the key ways a good teacher helps you get better without overwhelming you with tons of materials.

They don’t show you HOW to practice…

Finally, it is very important that you understand HOW to practice what you learn during a lesson. Mediocre teachers simply leave this part up to you and assume you know what to do when you get home. This puts the basically responsibility of teaching into your hands when it should be in theirs! A great teacher shows you how to practice during the lesson and makes sure you totally get it before sending you home. This way you practice correctly at home and make the most progress in between lessons.

If you find a guitar teacher who teaches as described above (or you work with one currently), move on to a new teacher. Find a guitar teacher with proven teaching credentials who has great students already. Then ask them specifically about the topics on this page to determine if they are the right teacher for you.

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Choosing a Guitar Teacher

 by Tom Hess 

The electric guitar has advanced far beyond the time when someone could teach himself (or herself) to become a world class guitar player. If your ambition is to become a competent guitar player and a competent musician, you need a competent guitar teacher. Even if your goals are more modest, you can reach those goals far more quickly, easily and efficiently with the guidance of the right guitar teacher. Much of the information that is needed to learn about guitar playing (and music in general) is available from many different sources. There are hundreds of books, instructional videos, CD-ROMs and, of course, the internet. Even though a lot of information is readily available, there exists a lot of incorrect, incomplete and otherwise bad information (this is especially true for a lot of information found on the internet!). You will need the aid of an excellent teacher to teach you how to fully understand and apply the correct information. You can save yourself a lot of unnecessary musical frustration and disappointment by studying with the good teacher. Remember that text books, CD-ROMs, instructional videos and the internet cannot answer your specific questions. They cannot offer you advice on your guitar playing, song writing, ear training, etc. They cannot listen to your playing and point out any mistakes or flaws that may be present. Some text books are great and I have seen some pretty good CD-ROMs out there too, but you still need the aid of an excellent teacher to guide you through everything and to help you to develop your abilities and musicianship correctly and efficiently. 

Great guitar teachers manage and schedule new materials and effectively explain its importance and meaning. A teacher should encourage you when you are doing well and correct you where you may have gone wrong. Good teachers will show you how to better organize your practice materials and show you how to effectively manage your practice time (this is crucial to your progress!). They help you to build up your confidence level (even if you are not consciously aware that this is happening). A great guitar teacher will help you to become secure with your technical skills so that you can execute difficult techniques on your guitar comfortably. These guitar teachers emphasize creativity (songwriting & improvising) and performing. Great teachers want to make sure that you fully understand what you are learning and, most importantly, teach you how to apply it by giving you detailed explanations and encouraging you to ask questions when something is unclear. A good guitar teacher sincerely cares about your musical growth and development. An experienced and competent teacher will take you far beyond what you could learn on your own. 

Unfortunately, guitar teachers are not licensed and there is no organization that oversees or regulates them. Anyone can claim to be a good teacher and there are lots of people who make this claim. The number of competent teachers, however, is limited. This brings us to this crucial question; How can a student find, choose, and then accurately evaluate a guitar teacher? 

Here are some questions that you should ask any guitar teachers that you are considering to study with. I have also included my own comments for each question: 

1. Can you please tell me about your teaching experience,

such as: How long have you been teaching guitar and approximately how many students have you taught during  that time? At least 3-5 years of teaching experience would be preferred.

Certainly no less than 1 year of experience. It is good if the teacher has taught a moderate to large number of students. It takes time for a teacher to really learn how to teach well and the main way that someone learns to teach is by teaching for a while. So a young teacher’s first students are like experiments. The teacher learns how to teach on-the-job by trial and error. The teacher learns how to teach over time and will make some mistakes in the beginning of his or her career. You don’t want to be one of those first 30-50 students. Let that teacher gain his or her experience by making mistakes on someone else. 

2. What styles of music do you teach best?

Make sure that you ask this question before telling the prospective teacher what style of music you want to learn. A lot of teachers claim to teach all styles of music well, beware of this. Do not be impressed by someone who tells you that he or she can teach every style of music well. If you really want to be a great rock guitarist, you want to take lessons from a rock teacher, not a blues or country player who claims to teach all styles well. Find yourself a good rock teacher. If you want to learn multiple styles of music that are not similar (like country, classical guitar and heavy metal) take lessons from more than one teacher for each of those styles. Unless you are a total beginner, you are better off with an expert teacher in your style of music, not a jack-of-all-trades teacher. 

3. What is the cost of lessons?

Excellent teachers are in demand and usually already have a lot of students. These teachers often are not cheap. I can tell you that the going rates for good teachers in the Midwestern United States (where I live) is between $16-$24 per 1/2 hour private lesson (rates may be different in your state or country). There are a handful of teachers that offer correspondence guitar lessons for students who do not live in the same state or country as the teacher. Usually these lessons are less expensive in the long run (more about correspondence lesson programs later.) In general, don’t look for the teacher with the lowest rates, you usually get what you pay for. If you can’t afford to pay the higher rates for a really good guitar teacher, ask the teacher if you can take lessons on a bi-monthly basis instead of taking weekly lessons. 

4. Can you tell me how you teach the lessons?

This is probably the most important question that you can ask a teacher. The answer to this question can really help you to determine if a teacher is competent because this is actually a trick question. Anyone can tell you that they have been teaching for 100 years and that they have had 10,000 students and the cost is $1,000 per lesson because they are the greatest teacher of all time, but an inexperienced teacher cannot trick you with his or her answer to this question (unless he or she is reading this article.)

If a prospective teacher who does not know you, your musical knowledge, your guitar technique, your musical tastes, and your musical goals tries to explain how he or she will teach you, then this is not a competent  teacher. Not even the best teacher on Earth could answer this question if that teacher knows nothing about you, your goals, your playing level, your knowledge of music theory, etc. So what would an experienced and competent teacher say to you when you ask the question? Well, I can tell you what I do when a new prospective student asks me this. I explain to him or her that I can’t formulate a lesson plan for anyone until I learn a lot more about that student’s playing, goals, musical tastes, knowledge of theory, etc. For my correspondence students (who I don’t see face to face), I send them a long list of questions about everything that I need to know about their music background in order for me to know what is the best way for us to begin.

I also encourage the student to send me a tape or CD of his or her playing with a variety of his or her playing on it so that I have a clearer picture of what areas need improvement. Obviously, for my private students (whom I do see face to face), I can simply ask the questions that I need answers to and I can hear the student play in front of me. Only after all of this, I (or any other teacher) can really know how to teach that individual student. It seems obvious that you shouldn’t teach a 13-year-old-boy who has never played guitar before and wants to learn to play alternative rock the same way that you would teach a 27-year-old-man who has been playing for 16 years and wants to become a virtuoso in the style of Steve Vai or Yngwie Malmsteen. 

In addition to asking the questions above, here are some other things to watch out for: 

  • When students ask how to approach a certain technique or how to hold the pick correctly or how to most effectively mute guitar strings that are not supposed to be sounding, the advice of some teachers is to do whatever feels natural to you. Sometimes what you may think is the natural way to hold your left hand may not be the correct way at all. It is the teacher’s job to know those types of things, the teacher should be teaching, not letting you do whatever you feel like. For most things, there is a right and wrong way and you will better off learning it the right way from the beginning. 
  • Just because a teacher may have some talented students, does not mean that the teacher is good. This might seem like a good criteria for evaluating a teacher, but the fact is that sometimes advanced students were already good players before taking lessons from this new teacher. The only time that judging a teacher’s guitar teaching skills, based on his or her student’s playing skills, is really a reliable criteria is when those advanced students started taking lessons from the same teacher since they were beginners. 
  • Some teachers tell their students to try to learn from as many sources as possible and then leave it up to you to sort through it all and decide what works best for you. How are you supposed to decide that? How is a student to know what the best fingering is for a particular scale? Students typically won’t know how to determine what the right way is. This is one of the reasons why you have a teacher, it is his or her job to teach you these things, this is why you are giving the teacher your money! 
  • Do not assume that someone is a good teacher just because he or she may be an excellent player or has good credentials. I know plenty of competent players with advanced music degrees that I don’t believe are good teachers. I was fortunate to have some truly great teachers, but I had some incompetent ones too, along the way. Whenever I realized that a teacher wasn’t good, I looked for a new teacher. 

The following things are not required for someone to be a good teacher, but it certainly is to your advantage to have a teacher who, in addition to teaching you about guitar and music, can help you in some of these other ways: 

1. Guitar Pedagogy.

This is learning how to teach guitar. If one of your goals is to be a guitar / music teacher then you would benefit greatly from a teacher who can teach you how to teach a variety of techniques, music theory, ear training, song writing, improvisation, etc. You will also need to learn about how to deal with a wide variety of personality types. Every student is different and each of those students may learn and comprehend information in different ways. It is important for any teacher to understand this. You need to know how to explain the same information in several different ways so that you will be better able to teach all of your students well. 

2. Recording advice.

The better you become as a musician, the more likely it will be that you will want to record your guitar playing. If you have little or no experience in this area, then having someone who can help you is especially helpful. 

3. Music business.

If you plan to record, release and sell your own CD, now or in the future, there is a huge amount of music business information that you will need to learn if you want to make any money. Some teachers who have released their own CDs, and are promoting it themselves, can be the best source of help for selling your CD. You can also learn other things like how to set up gigs for your band and how to get the press to write about you. 

So now that you have a better idea about what to look for in a teacher, the next question is, Where do you look for a really good teacher? This depends on if you are looking for a teacher to teach you privately (face to face) or if you are looking for a teacher to teach you through correspondence. Both are good and there are advantages to both ways. 

If you are looking for a private teacher to teach you face to face, check out these places first: Contact the music department at universities and colleges near you. Even if they can’t help you directly, they can usually refer you to someone who can help. Next, you can try your local music shops (where guitars are sold). Most music shops offer lessons, most of the teachers found here are not of the highest quality, but sometimes there are some really great teachers that you can find at these shops. When you call one of these shops, ask to speak to the manager or owner. Ask him or her, who are the most qualified teachers for you (your style of music and skill level). After you get the teachers names, make arrangements to speak to each of the teachers privately. Ask those teachers all of the questions that are written above. If you are not satisfied with any of those teachers, keep looking. 

If you are looking for online correspondence guitar lessons, your search will be a little different (and these lessons are usually a little cheaper in the long run.) You can look on the internet for these types of guitar teachers and you can also contact universities (in any part of the world.) The best thing about correspondence guitar lessons is that you can take lessons from any teacher in the world (that teaches via correspondence)! What I would look for in a correspondence guitar teacher is someone who has been doing this type of teaching for a while. Even though correspondence guitar lessons are not face to face, the lessons should be personalized for you, your skill level, your musical knowledge, your style of music and your musical goals. Stay away from a one-size-fits-all method or the cookie-cutter style courses. Everyone is different and is at a different level, has different musical goals, likes different music, so the lessons (whether face to face or correspondence) should be tailored specifically to your needs. 

After teaching guitar / music for over 19 years now, I can tell you that using the information above can really make a huge difference in finding an experienced high quality teacher. An incompetent teacher can severely hinder you ability to fully develop your guitar and music skills. If you are not progressing well, but you are spending a lot of time practicing, find another teacher. You can download the free guide on how to choose a guitar teacher at

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Easy Exercise That Will Make Your Rhythm Bulletproof

The number one reason why beginning guitarist struggle to contribute to a band may not be what you think it is. Do you think it‘s important to know chord shapes and be able to play them smoothly? That is an important skill but not an essential. Do you think Do you think it‘s the ability to get the right tone out of your instrument? Well yes that differentiates players from good players. Do you think it‘s the knowledge of lots of songs? That‘s not really that important for most bands. 

The skill we are talking about here is the ability to keep a rhythm and play tightly in that rhythm. This is an essential skill because even if you play the smoothest chords, get the best tone out of your instrument and know a lot of songs all of that will not help you at all if you cannot play them at the right time. So to make sure you never hit it at the wrong time in a situation that is important you should invest some of your practice time into it. To give you an Idea how you can do this I will show you an excellent exercise and some variations on it. 

The exercise

Take a simple phrase that has a multiple of 4 notes in it and learn it on your guitar. It does not matter whether you take them out of a scale or just take any four notes. Here is an example phrase from the G major scale:

Play this phrase to a beat from a metronome with each note as a quarter note. Raise the speed continually until you reach a speed at which you cannot play the phrase cleanly and correctly for 5 times. 

When you have established that speed divide it by half and play the notes as eight notes. Because you halved the speed of the beats and you play two notes per beat you playing speed is exactly as fast as before.

Repeat that process once more i.e. half the speed of the beat again and now play the phrase in 16th notes. You should still play at the same speed but the beat will only occur every four beats. 

All of the above was a preparation for the real exercise which follows now.

Now that you are playing a phrase in 16ths your job is to start playing the phrase from the first 16th for one minute. Then start your phrase on the second 16th and play that for a whole minute. After that you start your phrase on the third 16th for a minute and finally your start on the fourth 16th and play that for a minute.

You will find that it‘s not easy to do these things because you are fixated on the beat. The challenge clearly is not a limitation in your fingers because you are have proven in the former steps that you are able to play the phrase at that speed. The only limitation is your ability to feel and count rhythm.

To make the beginning easier I recommend counting 1-2-3-4 on each beat to get a feel when the 16th notes should ring. Then start your phrase on the appropriate time. 

A small variation would be to still start on the first 16th but starting on the second, third or fourth note of the phrase. Some find it easier to start this way.

If you struggle with the speed allow yourself to reduce the speed by 10% to 20 %.

You can apply this training exercise to any piece, lick, riff or phrase you learn to play on your guitar and it will make your playing significantly tighter. Another added benefit is that you learn how all those phrases and licks sound if you change the emphasis of the beat. This will inevitably open up new door to your creativity.

This article was written by Rene John Kerkdyk. He teaches guitar on Hildesheim, Germany. If you are looking for guitar lessons in Hildesheim be sure to drop him a note.

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Songwriting Tip: Passing Chords

By Annie Bzdawka

Passing chords are often used in jazz progressions, but have you considered using them in other genres?  You can can add glitter and excitement to a chord progression which may feel like “it just needs something,” adding tension or kicking it up a notch.  You can add them to a chord progression which appears every time you play the verse or chorus, or you can change up the last verse or the last chorus by giving a passing chord a nifty cameo appearance, to spice up that last verse or chorus!

Generally, passing chords help you get to the next chord in the progression (your “target” chord) and are inserted into your progression for 1 or 2 beats, right before your target chord.  Thus, unless you’re playing jazz, you probably don’t want to add a passing chord to every chord in your progression.

You may find that you like your passing chord enough to add it to your progression, so you would hang on that chord longer than you would a passing chord.  Check out example #2 for how I did this in one of my songs! 

Choosing your target chord can be based on any artistic decision.  Perhaps you want to add tension right before the last chord in the progression, or maybe the 2ndchord in your progression.  There’s no right or wrong here.  It just depends on what you think sounds cool.

The idea is that you add a passing chord BEFORE a certain chord you have in your progression, which is your target chord.  The point is to make sure the passing chord sounds good and adds a quick burst of emotion right before hitting your target chord.  

1. Chromatic passing chord = A chord that is one ½ step above or ½ step below your target chord.  Add in this chord right before your target chord.  

– My chord progression: | F | Am | G | C |

– Target chord = C

– My choices are a B chord, or a C#. I prefer the C#, so here is my new chord progression: | F | Am | G  C# | C | where the C# acts as a passing chord, so I play it for just one short beat before beat 1 of the C chord.  

2. Secondary Dominant = The Dominant 5th (the V7 chord) of your target chord.  Add in this chord right before your target chord.  

– My chord progression: | F | Am | G | C |

– Target chord = Am

– The V7 chord for Am is Em7, but let’s also see what E7 sounds like.  I prefer the E7 over the Em7, so that’s the chord I will add in.  Here is my new chord progression: 

| F E7 | Am | G | C |

– But I think I like that E7 chord a lot, so I’m going to add it in as more than just a passing chord.  I’m going to change the duration of the chords in my progression to this:  

| F | E7 | Am  G | C | so the E7 now takes over the entire 2nd measure, and the Am & G chords are each played for 2 beats in the 3rd measure.

-This is a good example of how my original passing chord got added into the song so now it’s more than just a passing chord; it’s a chord that ended up changing things quite a bit!

3. Tritone = Tritone (b5) of your target chord.  Add in this chord right before your target chord.  

– My chord progression: | F | Am | G | C |

– Target chord = G

– The tritone is a C#, so here is my new chord progression: | F | Am C# | G | C | where the C# acts as a passing chord, so I play it for just one short beat before beat 1 of the G chord. 

4.  Use The Melody = Add a passing chord using a note in from the melody line.  Here’s the chord progression I am using: | F | Am | G | C |.  This song is in 4/4, so each measure is 4 beats.

My melody line is represented by the notes right above the lyrics

F        Am         G       C  (chords)

F        E  C       B       C  (melody)

Good morning, Dar – ling

I want to add a passing chord before the Am.  This means I will add a passing chord in the measure where I’m singing an F note (and playing an F chord).

Here are some options for chords that have an F:

F (already being used in this measure)




I like both the Bb and the Dm, but I can’t decide.

Here are my 2 choices:

F  Bb  Am        G      C  (chords) 

F         E   C      B       C   (melody)

Good  morning, Dar – ling


F   Dm Am         G       C   (chords)

F           E   C      B       C  (melody)

Good    morning, Dar – ling

I like them both, so I think I’ll use them both!!!  The 1st, 2nd, & 3rd lines in the verses will be: 

| F   Dm | Am        | G      | C   | and 4th line will be: 

| F   Bb | Am        | G      | C   |

That Bb is kind of quirky, so I’ll make the 4th line in every verse be a little quirky!

Passing chords can really add a lot to your chord progressions, so experiment with this, and see what kinds of added tension and excitement you can bring to your songs with these passing chord ideas!

About the Authour:
Annie Bzdawka is the founder of the Milwaukee Music Academy, located in Milwaukee, WI.  She’s been singing professionally for over 25 years, and has gained critical acclaim as a singer and songwriter.  She teaches voice, guitar, and piano.

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Snow Day Jan 2019

Week 4 – HANDOUT Rhythm Words and Power Chords


Part 2

Power Chord Songs



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A Beginning Student’s Perspective on Performance

By Brittany L.

Recently I was given the opportunity to sing & play for a benefit concert, and being so new to playing guitar I turned it down without much hesitation.  I thought there was no way I could possibly be ready to take on a solo performance and I certainly didn’t have the confidence or skill to make it happen. 

After chatting with [my teacher] one day about the opportunity I decided to pass on, he asked me “what’s the worst that could happen?”

While the idea of playing in front of a room full of strangers evokes an alarming amount of possible scenarios, the chance that any of those would actually happen is unlikely enough that I decided to go for it.

My performance was anything but perfect.  There were missed chords, fumbling fingers and things that didn’t sound right.  But I kept going, took it a line at time and made it through!  I don’t know if you ever hit a point where you feel completely ready for a performance or totally confident that you will nail every note, but I can honestly say I’m glad I went for it.  It was a great learning experience, I know what to work on for next time, and no one took their money back!


Featured StudentAt the time this article was written, Brittany has been a guitar student for 4 months and 15 days. She has done 5+ performances and has been named Guitar Student of the Month twice so far on her musical journey. 

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Guitar Supports – Cushions, Suction Cups, Clamps, or Magnets

by Mark Mara of Quarter Bend Guitar Studio

Guitar Support


Proper posture is vitally important to not only your longevity as a player, but your technique, and overall tone as well. Making sure your guitar is properly supported can eliminate both frustration and potential injuries.

With all of the different types of guitar supports on the market, it can be difficult to figure out which one you is right for you. I’ll provide a brief overview of several of the popular methods along with their potential benefits and drawbacks. This article will break supports down into 4 main categories:

Suction Cups

Why guitar supports?

The traditional guitar foot stool has been used by guitarists for many years, and may still be the most popular method of achieving proper guitar positioning while seated. Unfortunately, sitting for an extended period of time with one foot elevated can lead to issues and pain in the lower back. As a result, many guitarists are moving towards alternative methods of supporting their guitars.

Suction Cup Supports

Many of the most popular guitar supports use some sort of suction cup system. In general, these supports use anywhere from 1-4 suction cups that attach to one or more locations on the side of the guitar. They work very well for standard sized acoustic and classical guitars but are not typically used on smaller scale or electric guitars/basses(most suction cup supports require about 4-5” of space on the side of the guitar). Another thing to keep in mind with suction cup supports is the finish of your guitar. Guitars with a natural finish or a french polish may not support suction cups. Guitarists get around this by applying self adhesive vinyl or clear suction cup protectors to their guitars (link below). This will also keep your support from leaving a mark where the suction cups attach.

Let’s take a look at some popular suction cup supports:

ErgoPlay Tappert Classical Guitar Support: The ErgoPlay Tappert is a guitar support with 3 suction cups and an arched bar. Two suction cups attach to the upper middle side of the guitar and one to the lower side. The bar has a grip material on the bottom to keep if from slipping on your leg and is adjustable from one side. This support is considered one of the more reliable suction cup supports because the way the guitar sits on the support keeps it from falling if one the suction cups comes off. Some drawbacks of this support are that some guitarists feel the design of the Tappert doesn’t allow them to get their guitar as vertical as they would like and it isn’t collapsable so it is not as travel friendly as some of the other supports on this list.

*Note- There is an higher quality option from the company called the Troster. It has all the same features as the Tappert but is adjustable on both sides (as well as the tilt), has 4 suction cups instead of 3, and can go 2” higher.

Price: $55 for the Tappert, $75 for the Troster


Tenuto/Gitano Guitar Supports: Unlike the Ergoplay support, the Gitano and Tenuto guitar supports are small suction cup supports that utilize a metal and material design to form a triangle shape off the side of your guitar that rests on your leg. I group these two supports together because they are the two most popular supports with this design style. These supports have a simple design. They both use a 4 suction cup design that changes the position of your guitar based on where you place it on the side of your guitar. The Tenuto line of supports now include slim models for thinner guitars as well as pro models which come with strap and tilt adjustments. The Gitano/Tenuto are also incredibly portable and fit in most guitar cases. While there are not may complaints about the suction cups coming undone, if it were to happen there would be nothing to keep the guitar from falling to the ground.

*Note- There are many similar/cheaper options of this style of support such as the Tenor, Oasis, and Flanger supports. The Tenor support uses 2 suction cups rather than 4 and is regarded as an affordable alternative to the Gitano or Tenuto. The Oasis/Flanger supports use one, larger suction cup which comes with a locking mechanism that has yielded a mixed response among guitarists. Many people are weary about the force the support hits the guitar with while triggering and releasing the locking mechanism.

Price: $16-35 for the Oasis/Flanger/Tenor, $35 for the Gitano, $42-62 for the Tenuto


Other Supports: There are two other supports that are a mix between the design of the ErgoPlay and Tenuto style supports that are not listed above as they do not seem to be quite as popular among guitarists. They are the A frame and the Neck up. I’ve provided links for these as well.


Cushion Supports

 Cushion supports are quite different from the other types of supports on this list in that you do not attach anything to your guitar. Guitar cushions simply rest on your leg with the guitar on top. They are simple, effective, and a go-to for many guitarists. Some common complaints about guitar cushions are; some difficulty in the cushion staying in place, poor selection of sizes for the cushions, not very travel friendly, and no support for left handed guitars.

For many people, the differences in the types of guitar cushions are negligible. Here are two well respected brands:

Dynarette/Yifan Guitar Cushion Support: The Dynarette and Yifan are cushions made of a spongy material with a zipper leatherette cover. The cushions come in two different sizes. Some guitarists find the larger size obtrusive and will even opt to use the smaller cushion in conjunction with a foot stool at a low height. While the cushions have a slip resistant material on the bottom, some guitarists find them hard to keep in the same spot.

Price: $32-50 for the Dynarette, $22 for the Yifan



Clamp Supports

 Clamp supports attach to the side of the guitar and are connected to an arched leg support. They are reliable and provide the player with good positioning and range of motion. Since the guitar is resting on the clamps there is little to no worry about the guitar falling. The downside of clamp supports is that they do not work with guitars that have a raised fretboard.

When it comes to clamp guitar supports, there is one style that has been the frontrunner for years:

Murata Guitar Rest: The Murata guitar rest has a comfortable leg rest that does not slip easily. It clamps to the side of the body of the guitar and has a hinge allows for a wide range of motion. The guitar moves with you as you move. Overall, this rest has very positive feedback from guitarists. There have been complaints that the support could be a bit taller.

Price: $78



Magnetic Guitar Supports

 Magnetic guitar supports work by attaching magnets to the side wall of your guitar on the inside. The support then attaches magnetically to the outside of your guitar. These supports offer great stability but require you to attach the magnets on the inside with an adhesive and can be more expensive than other guitar supports.

Much like the clamp supports, there is one magnetic support that stands above the rest:

Sagework Atlas Barnett Guitar Support: This support comes with strong magnets and an adhesive for attaching them on the inside of the guitar. It has two adjustable sides with adjustable height, angle, and tilt. The support has a nice wood exterior and provides excellent support and control. Some downsides are; a high price point for a guitar support, needing to install the magnets inside the guitar, and concern that magnets will leave a mark.

Price: $120



Are you looking to get more out of your guitar playing? Trying to reignite the excitement and motivation in your practice? Contact Quarter Bend Guitar Studio for the best guitar lessons in Lancaster, PA!


Free Guitar Tips

FREE BONUS LESSON – Applying Triads

Hello Students!

If you’ve been taking lessons at Quarter Bend for a while you’ll notice that we tend to circle back to discussing the construction of basic chords, also known as triads. You often find yourself being quizzed on how to play a G major on these strings or an E minor on those strings. I think it’s important that you see why we might need this information in a realistic situation AND I also think it’s important for you to continue to work on this skill even when we aren’t necessarily focused on this skill in your current lesson plan.

Here’s the situation: 
Let’s say you want to learn this song:

Guitar Triads Application Song PDF

…and you manage to get your hands on a real copy of the music OR an internet chord chart.

We’ve got some chord symbols across the top of each measure and nothing else. No cheat sheet on how to play the chords. No breakdown of the “strum pattern” either. How can this be? What do you do?

How Can This Be?

With many American pop/rock/folk/country songs like this one, the chords are implied. That means that there isn’t necessary one instrument strumming the chord, but instead several instruments (including the voice) are joining forces to create the chord. So in most instances, there isn’t a guitar player in the back strumming a Bb chord to Down, Down, Down, Up, Down…

How Implied Guitar Chords Work

Take a look at the first measure of the ‘Refrain’ of our song. The implied guitar chord is a Bb (the notes in a Bb chord are Bb D F), but there isn’t really an instrument strumming a Bb chord. Instead a piano and vocal line together are making up the Bb chord throughout the course of the entire measure. So the parts are totalling up to equal the chord over time. The Bb chord will sound great here and it will really help you sing along, if you so choose.

Since there isn’t really anyone strumming chords, there isn’t a definitively correct way to play that chord. That leaves a lot open to:
1. the guitar player’s creative choices
2. the sophistication of the guitar player’s chord vocabulary
3. what the guitar player can actually execute

This is why we learn how to build chords! So you don’t panic when you encounter new chords. I also do not see much value in searching the web for “How to play a Bb chord on guitar.” You wind up memorizing a bunch of brand new chords, and they often don’t make sense together! As I often say, it is much easier to memorize processes that in is to memorize a ton of notes.

What Do I Do?

Now that you know what is going on and why, let’s figure out how to play these chords. Step one is to refer to the triad guide that you received from me. Here’s a copy for you. This is a lot of info at once, it is intended to be worked on over several weeks to several months… work on learning one row at a time!

Step 1:

This is really just a reminder: “b” means FLAT. Beginning guitar students sometimes mix up “flats” and “minors” A flat lowers a single note by 1 fret. A minor is a sad/serious sounding chord. Therefore, Bb means play a MAJOR CHORD that is one half step below the note B.

Step 2:

Decide if the chord is major or minor. The chord has a little “m” after it, it is minor

Step 3:

Discard all numbers (for now). Unless you already know how to play an F7, Fm6, or F9, toss those numbers right out. F7 turns into an F major. Fm6 becomes F minor. F9 becomes F major.

Step 4:

Take one line at a time and find the roots of those chords.

In this case, we’re looking at “Bb, F, Bb, Eb.” Find those single notes. Write them down if you need to.
Example: Bb is the 6th fret of the 1st string. F is the 6th fret of the 2nd string, and so on…

Step 5:

Choose the appropriate chord shape(s).  So that means take the roots in step 4 and line it up with the RED dots from the chart. In the example in step 4, I found Bb on the 6th fret of the high (skinny) E string. So I’m going to find the major chord that has the red dot on the skinny E string and build that shape there:

Creating Guitar Chords

Step 6:

Repeat, practice, and enjoy!


The process can take a little while in the beginning. It’s a skill, just like anything else. Put in a little work each day and you’ll find that your guitar chord vocabulary will double, triple, or even quadruple in a relatively short time.


Happy playing!


Article Free Guitar Tips

The Most Essential Ingredient for Success

By Aldo Chircop

Here’s a typical question that I hear all the time:

“How long will it take me to become good on guitar?”

From the point of view of a beginner, it may seem like a legitimate question. Unfortunately, it’s a
question that nobody can really answer. I will go as far as saying that it’s a ‘meaningless question’.


Because those asking it already know, deep down, that there is no real answer to that question.
What that question reveals more than anything, is the mindset of the person asking it.

The blunt part of me wants to answer: “It will take you as long as it will take you, bum! And if you
need to ask that question, then you have already lost.”

It may sound harsh and unsympathetic, but it’s also the truth. When you ask the ‘how long will it
take me’ question, it just shows that you ‘wish’ you could become something, but that you don’t
really WANT it.
You’re trying to bargain on the cost of it, as if you could ever negotiate what it takes to acquire a
skill. What you’re really saying is: “I wish I could become good, but only if it doesn’t involve a lot of
hard work and time.”

There’s an enormous difference between wishing for something, and truly wanting it. Those who
truly WANT something don’t need to ask that question. They know that it will take whatever it will
take, and they are prepared to do exactly that to reach their goals.

Therefore, the first thing I want you to do is to eradicate that loser’s question from your mind, and
replace with a much better question. A question that doesn’t try to bargain on what’s needed, but
that goes straight to the core of it, such as this one:

“What’s the one thing that’s most essential to my success?”

I’m glad you asked, since I have the answer to that question. And it’s a genuine answer this time.
Here it is:


es. Good, old fashioned persistence. It’s not glamorous, but it’s what works and what’s needed.
Reaching a certain level of skill requires a certain amount of consistent, intelligent effort. There is
just no way around it. This is true for any learnable skill you can think of, and music is certainly no
exception. No one ever becomes great at something by accident.

If you want – not merely wish – to succeed, then you will have to pay your dues. You will have to stay
on the path and put in some consistent effort for as long as it takes to get the results you want. In
other words, you will have to persist

The biggest factors that will determine your success are your own desire to succeed whatever it
takes, and an unshakeable belief that you will succeed.


There may be times when things will seem hard, or progress seems to slow down for a while.


There may be times when life gets in the way and interferes with your focus and practice time.


There may be times of stress or sickness, or upheaval in your personal life. These things can happen
to anyone, and happen they will. Then your desire and resolve will be tested.


Have faith that you will conquer any obstacles and setbacks. Stay on the path. Don’t quit taking
lessons and practicing because ‘the time is not right’, believing that you will resume when ‘things get
easier’. That rarely happens, believe me. The more time passes, the more you see yourself
regressing and the more likely you are to get even more discouraged from ever starting again. All
your previous efforts will then have been wasted. Instead, do your utmost to stay on the path.


If life hits hard, hit back even harder! Instead of giving up, redouble your efforts. You don’t get
stronger by quitting. You get stronger by strengthening your resolve even more.


Keep visualizing your goals, and appreciate the great benefits that music training gives you, like
increased concentration, determination, self-discipline, enhanced coordination, brain development,
better academic achievement, stress relief, creativity, self-expression, and self-confidence. Music
can be the greatest positive influence in your life, and a haven from life’s troubles when you need
one. It will give you fulfillment, a sense of achievement, and the self-respect that comes from
knowing you can do something demanding if you really want to. And no one can ever take that away
from you. Once you achieve something which you previously thought was unattainable, you will
know how amazingly satisfying it can be. You will relish that feeling and look forward to many more
such moments. It will make all the effort more than worthwhile.

Persist, persist, and persist again!

About the author:
Aldo Chircop is a guitarist, composer, producer and guitar teacher based in Malta. He is president
and chief instructor of Malta Rock Academy, home of the best blues, rock and metal guitar lessons in