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Guitar Lessons for Adults

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2011 - 2013 Reviews


Adult beginner guitar lessons

Nov 2013

I am interested in learning how to play the guitar. I am a total beginner, so I'm looking for someone who is very patient! Any recommendations in Berkeley? Thanks!


May I recommend Caren Armstrong. She teaches out of the Village of Montclair and is absolutely wonderful. 510-517-4905 carenlessons@aol.com reenie
Adrienne Shamszad is a patient, kind, and skilled teacher. She is also an incredible musician. She teaches out of her home in the Glenview area of Oakland but may travel to Berkeley. 510-332-4847 Adrienneshamszad.com Anon
Hello, I recommend Joaquim Chikiro. Joaquim is a wonderful guitar teacher and musician! He can teach beginning guitar and address different style interests. Good luck! His email is: chkhiro@gmail.com Warm wishes, Bill
Pete Madsen [buzzyfrets@gmail.com] he teaches private and occasionally group lessons. highly recommended! -oren
I took lessons from Barry Solomon for a few years and he is a great teacher. He teaches in Alameda at the Alameda music School at High and Encinal. As a teacher he is very clear and patient, does not waste your precious time by showing of his music skills (he is a very skilled musician) or with lots of chatter, and he can teach many musical styles well, jazz, folk, pop, bluegrass, old time, etc. He is not on an ego trip but there to teach and he has taught for many years! You can email me with any questions. mirsun
Our family has taken guitar lessons from Michael Goldberg. His studio is on Ward Street, Berkeley. His clients are young children, teens and adults. My 15 year old daughter can read music and has a new appreciation for all types of music due to Michael's excellent instruction. Michael also teaches through the UC system (Berkeley and Davis) and also performs. He can be reached at 510.486-1863. pmog

Guitar teacher for adults, North-Berkeley-ish

Sept 2013

I would love to take beginning guitar lessons from someone meeting the following criteria:
-- nice, patient, systematic
-- more focussed on folk than on rock and roll
-- preferably female
-- lessons in El Cerrito/Albany/North Berkeley/Kensington
-- excellent teacher!

It's been a few years since anyone posted a review for adult guitar lessons, so I would love any updated recommendations! Thanks. Anonymous


Hello, I just met a wonderful man Joaquim Chikiro who recently moved back to Berkeley with his wife Aurelia (a wonderful artist!). Joaquim is a lovely guitar teacher who in just a short time showed me how I can use pentatonic scales to improve my fledgling guitar skills. He can help you develop basic skills that can be applied to different styles whether folk, rock or other. I found him to be very easy going, warm and clear. He also teaches a wide range of ages, is in the Berkeley area near the Gourmet Ghetto. Good luck! His email is: chkhiro@gmail.com Warm wishes, Bill
I can highly recommend Mori Achen as a guitar teacher, both for adults and children. I take private lessons out of his home studio in north Berkeley right next to the Crowden Music School, and my 8 year old daughter takes group lessons from him at Crowden. Mori is great and can really push you at just the right level regardless of whether you're a beginner or more advanced (and his rates are very affordable). He is also a sought-after performer at weddings and other events. He can be reached at moriachen1@gmail.com and has a website: http://www.guitarmusicartist.com. happy guitar student

Guitar teacher for beginner mom and son

June 2013

I'm looking for a guitar teacher who will teach my son (7) and I together but also me separately. I have a background (long ago and not in guitar) in music and he is a fresh, excited beginner. He's on electric, I'm on acoustic. Prefer lessons in our home, but open. Thank you. anonymous


Excellent Guitar Teacher : Pete Madsen. He is organized, flexible, really nice guy. He does private lessons, organizes excellent group lessons (also really fun)... His email: Pete Madsen buzzyfrets@gmail.com his website: www.learnbluesguitarnow.com But, he is way more than just blues! He has a son so could likely relate to yours. Big O
Hi, I highly recommend Lisa Zeiler as a guitar teacher for you and your son. My son took lessons from her for 6 years and loved it! She's great at engaging kids by choosing songs they really want to learn and she has a knack for teaching basic skills and even a little music theory while keeping it fun. She has lots of experience teaching parents and kids together and is also a really talented musician herself. Her phone number is (415)377-8588. Have fun! Anne
Andrew Harris, androckguitar@yahoo.com, 510-847-3098, has been teaching kids and adults since he was a student at Berkeley High. He graduated with a music degree a few years ago and is teaching music locally. Highly recommended by kids, parents and his JCC kids! Mom
I highly recommend Billy Ribak of Three O'Clock Rock. Billy started teaching my son guitar when he was 7, and now teaches him drums, bass, and piano/music theory (my son just turned 12 and is quite a musician, thanks to Billy). He is an excellent musician himself and an extremely gifted teacher for both kids and adults. He plays guitar and drums professionally, but is trained in viola and piano as well. Billy has a studio in downtown Oakland but also visits people's homes for lessons, if you're more comfortable with that. You can email Billy at info@threeoclockrock.com or check out his web site at www.threeoclockrock.com. LB

Guitar Lessons for Adult

March 2013

My husband wanted a guitar as a birthday gift and now we need lessons! Looking for either private or small group lessons within the Berkeley area. Many thanks in advance for recommendations! Jennifer


Robbie Dunbar is a patient, creative, well educated (Masters in Music Comp.) guitar (& piano and other instruments) teacher in Berkeley and Lamorinda areas. He travels to your home so that makes it easy for you and works weekends too. He's very flexible. He calls his business ''From Bach to Beattles and beyond...'' His number is: (925) 323-9706. He teaches adults and children, beginners and advanced, songwriters, composers, and ... Jocelyn
My husband has been taking lessons from the best guitar teacher ever--Matthew Heulitt. He is patient, kind hearted and extremely gifted. Not only is he a fantastic guitar player, but he is also an incredible teacher. It takes a very special person to be able to do both successfully. I just wish we had started working with him earlier! http://matthewcharlesheulitt.com/ Happy wife of a MH guitar student
For adult guitar lessons, I can't recommend Hale Fulton enough. I have an 8-month old who is enchanted with the guitar (thanks to many musician friends and Music Together). I decided to borrow a friend's guitar and take some lessons, enough to play a few things with my son (I have a background in piano and violin, but zero guitar). I started from scratch with Hale - He quickly read my experience level (like I said, zero), and talked to me about what I wanted to learn, goals, etc. Hale is very experienced as a musician, as well, and clearly loves what he does. As a teacher, he brings this joy to the process of learning. He's easy to talk to and provides a helpful structure and basics curriculum (chords, technique, hand-outs with diagrams, strum patterns). I also love the fact that he works with children. I intend to work with him for the long run. You can contact him at halefulton@gmail.com or 510-798-5662. Svea
I am taking lessons from Kerry Yates. He is fantastic. He teaches out of Subway Guitars on Cedar and Grant on Wednesday, Thursday and Friday afternoons. He will teach you anything and he is patient and fun. My 13 year- old is taking bass lessons from him also. 415-531-2595 Joan

2009 - 2010 Reviews


Guitar and singing lessons for beginner

Aug 2010

I am in my early 40s and want to learn to play the guitar and improve my singing. Essentially trying to pick up enough skills so I can participate when others are playing and singing at family events, camping, Strawberry Music Festival, etc. I am looking for an instructor who might be able to help me in both (learning to play and sing a book of songs, etc). I am not super folky -- more alternative/rock and roll. And am imagining someone who is talented, but is also fun/lowkey and encourages people who simply want to participate musically in the world because it makes them happy! Ideally Rockridge or Elmwood, but I could travel. Its never too late!


I highly recommend Robin Flower. She teaches guitar, mandolin, and fiddle, to kids and adults. I found her to be fun, engaging, and patient. Mostly, she just seems to LOVE music. Check out her web site: http://robinflower.net , send her an email: flower2mcl@earthlink.net , or give her a call: 510.482.9479 Bill

Inexpensive Guitar teacher for advanced beginner

Nov 2009

My wife really wants to get better at guitar. Looking for a teacher in fingerpicking/folk styles who isnt too pricey and close to N Oakland. Thanks!


Roger is a wonderful teacher for all ages and levels. His number is 510-599-6788. I am not only a parent who has watched him teach, but also an instrumental music teacher and can tell you he really teaches well and with a friendly lovely demeanor. Irene
My husband and I have been helping out at Acme Music at 3715 MacArthur Blvd (Laurel District) and there is an amazing guitar player and teacher there named Dave Creamer--some of his former students include Tuck Andress, Rory Stuart, Joe Satriani, etc. Dave has played with Miles Davis, among others. He can teach any style. Lessons at Acme are $24/30 minutes. You can call the store and arrange to talk with Dave 510.530.7234 annette
I would like to recommend my son's music teacher, Ernie Mansfield, (510) 524-2055 of Mansfield Music, who teaches guitar (acoustic and electric) as well as piano, flute, clarinet and saxophone. My son has been a student of his for over 2 years and has taken both piano and guitar with him. Ernie is an extremely kind and patient teacher who seems to know exactly how to keep students of all ages and levels engaged, and who is especially good at finding music and ways to meet each student's musical interests. The bi-annual recitals at the old Freight and Salvage are always fun. Many students play duets with Ernie and some of the older students play their own compositions. It is not a pressured performance environment that is not Ernie's style, but rather a relaxed one-hour of music. I highly recommend that you call Ernie and discuss your interests, I'm sure he'll be able to accommodate you. Jennifer

2007 - 2008 Reviews


Private guitar lesson for my husband & me

Dec 2008

I'm looking for a beginning guitar teacher who can come to our home to give me and my husband lessons. We want to learn kids songs to play for our 2.5 year old daughter and friends. Anna


My son and I have been lucky enough to work with Dave Willocks, who has just moved to the East Bay from Manhattan where he had a thriving practice teaching guitar. He is a graduate of the University of Miami's prestigious jazz program and is very knowledgeable about all aspects of guitar. He plays beautifully and makes learning fun--I would say he is a gifted musician and teacher. He is just beginning to build his new base of students--as he just moved here several weeks ago. You can reach him through his website www.davewillocks.com. I believe he teaches anyone from the age of 9 through adult. susan

Need private guitar teacher for adult

March 2008

Hi. I live in North Oakland and am looking for a recommendation for a guitar teacher who has a studio near me or can come to my house to give lessons. I have two kids under 3 so going more than 10 minutes away isn't really an option. I want to learn Bonnie Raitt songs and some lullabies, so I don't need an expert. Just someone to help me with these two tasks. I have about 10 years experience and two guitars (baby Taylor and a Gibson) but a terrible ear. Thanks! mari


Barry Olivier is a fabulous folk guitar teacher with years of teaching experience for all levels, beginner to advanced. His studio is near Alcatraz & Regent (probably within your 10 min. travel time, as requested), a cozy and inspiring place (filled with pics of guitarists, etc). His teaching method is song-based - let him know what you want to learn and he'll go with it and have some great suggestions of his own. He's warm, nurturing (offering juice, tea, snacks), has a great laugh and is well-organized. You'll go home from a lesson feeling well taken care of and with a CD of the songs plus his tips as well as easy to read song sheets. Enjoy! brenna
Hi, About the guitar teacher for adults, my husband has been taking lessons from Julia Lau and he really is enjoying it. He started from an absolute beginner level and he is playing several songs already, just a few months into it. She has private lessons at her house in Oakland. I met her and think she is down to earth, professional and talented. Her main webpage is http://www.julialau.net/_nav/index.html It doesn't mention a link for her private lessons there. She had a craigslist ad for private lessons. Perhaps you can contact her either through her website or find the craigslist ad now that you know her name. I hope you pursue it. My husband is having fun and actually singing around the house, which I love to hear. HJ

Guitar Teacher in Berkeley

Feb 2008

Can anyone recommend a good guitar teacher for an adult in Berkeley? I am an advanced beginner and I'd like to learn folk, rock n roll, blues, and fingerpicking. Thanks.


My son had taken guitar lessons from Michael Goldberg for several years until he went to college some 3 years ago. He was very happy with the lessons. Michael lived in Berkeley (510)486-1863. Elena
I would like to recommend Scott Beynon for guitar lessons or even bass lessons. We have been taking lessons weekly from Scott for quite a while now. He's really patient and nice and has been playing for 30 years so he knows what he's doing. He's great with both bass and guitar. I like him because he puts the lessons together around whatever kind of music you like and want to learn. He's located in Castro Valley but maybe he travels I'm not sure, but give him a call. He's just a nice guy and a great teacher. His cell is 925/895-4266 Tell him Laura sent ya.
Hands down excellent guitar teacher is Barry Olivier. I'll bet I'm not the only one who recommends him here. He has been teaching for about 50 years, and is the quintessential Berkeley folk music guy. He's also a warm and lovely person. His phone number is 530-5525. Good luck. Melissa
For adults advancing into their guitar expertise, I'd like to recommend Pete Madsen. Pete's a great communicator with a sense of humor, and an amazing musician too. Look him up at: http://www.buzzyfrets.com/ music lover
My daugher and a couple friends of hers as well, LOVE her guitar teacher, Regina Pontillo. SHe is located in Berkeley near Cedar Rose Park. She is very flexible, talented, also throws in some singing lessons sometimes which is more fun because it makes the whole experience better, she is hip and over all, really making it fun for my 12 years old. Her number is 331-7061 Sarah

Folk guitar for an adult

June 2007

Maybe it's a midlife crisis, but I just decided I really want to learn to play the guitar (folk). I think a group class would be more social, not to mention cheaper. I looked in the archives, but the last recommendation for group adult guitar classes was from 7/03. I checked the Berkeley Adult School website and they are not offering any guitar classes this season. Any suggestions? Berkeley or Albany would be most convenient for me; El Cerrito, Oakland, or Emeryville less convenient but probably doable. Wanna play the guitar


I took the guitar class at Laney. It was great.

2005 - 2006 Reviews


Jazz guitar teacher

March 2006

Looking for a good jazz guitar teacher who is easy to understand and who teaches intermediate students. Also, someone who is not too expensive. music lessons wanted


Somebody posted today looking for a jazz guitar teacher. Call Wayne Anderson at (510) 534-6516. He is extremely talented and a very kind and patient individual. Tell him I sent you! Dave
Ernie Mansfield is a great guitar teacher, is very versatile, and works with lots of different styles of music, and students of all ages. You can reach him at 510-524-2055 or http://www.mansfieldmusic.com ernie AT mansfieldmusic.com Tom

2004 & Earlier


Acoustic Guitar Lessons for Adult

Nov 2003

I'd like to give my husband acoustic guitar lessons for Christmas. I've checked the site and found a few names and some old phone numbers. Does anyone have a current phone number for Steve Gibson and/or a recommendation for a great guitar teacher? Thanks! Jennie


Check with 5th String music store (near Ashby BART) to see if they can track down Steve Gibson and/or recommend another teacher. A long time ago, I took lessons there from Cindy Lowe and liked her a lot. Valerie
The best acoustical guitarist around, recommended by the Conservatory, and the son of a famous composer, is Gyan Riley who is available for teaching. His e-mail address is gwunderthump@yahoo.com. He will be performing on December 14th at the Berkeley Art Center. If you want to be transported into another, beautiful world, you can hear him play. Linda
I have been taking acoustic guitar lessons with Caren Armstrong for over a year now, and I wish I had met her a long time ago! Caren is a local singer/songwriter/performer. She is very knowledgeable, intelligent and a terrific guitar player and teacher. I have been consistently impressed with her ability to tailor the lessons to my interests and needs. She can be reached by phone (510-339-9649) or email (carensing@aol.com). Burr
Nov. 2003

Guitar Teacher: I can strongly recommend my teacher, Jeffrey Rugato, for all levels of guitar from beginner to advanced. He is an excellent, gifted teacher who excels at not only developing your skills but also your understanding and intuition about the guitar. He also helps you quickly move into developing your sty and musicality. He has a large knowledge base about various styles of music and guitar and so can customize the lessons to student interest. He is friendly and flexible and can work well with children through adults. My husband and I have been taking lessons with him for several months and not only love improving our guitar playing but also have a great time in the lessons. Jeffrey can be reached at 510-652-5432. His rates are negotiable and all are under $30/hr. Heather


Affordable weekend lessons?

July 2003

My Husband loves to play, just needs more instruction to move forward. It would be great if lessons were on the weekends or weeknights. And on the affordable side since we just had a baby. We live in Berkeley so something in the area is best. If anyone has any recommendations I would appreciate it. I have browsed the old posts, but would love some current offerings. Shannon


I have been taking classical guitar lessons for about 1.5 years from Ron Galen, who teaches at Tupper and Reed on Shattuck, south of University in Berkeley. His rates are reasonable ($30/30 min., or $60/60 min.), and I find him to be an excellent adult teacher: patient yet exacting, great sense of humor yet serious about playing well. He is well-trained, plays in a Brazilian band, and continues to push himself as well as his students. I find that he is understanding about my desire to play, yet can't always manage to practice as much as I (or he) would like. Good luck to your husband!

Group Guitar Lessons for adults?

July 2003

Does anyone have experience with group guitar lessons, such as those at the Piedmont Piano Co. or Piedmont Adult School? I'd really like to learn guitar, but find the cost of private lessons rather daunting. Do group lessons give enough individual attention so that rank beginners such as myself can make some progress? Elizabeth


The Alameda Community Multicultural Center offers some wonderful music classes on a donation basis. An acoustic guitar program is offered for teenagers and adults with little, some or no experience. Drop in or continuous students are welcome. The class meets every Tuesday from 6pm-9pm. ACMCC also offers a Latin Ensemble Class that focuses on Latin American instrumental pieces. Learn how to compose and arrange songs in various Latin American music in a small group environment. This class meets every Thursday from 6-9 pm. For more information on the ACMCC offerings call 510-521-9405. GD.LK. elaine
About five years ago, I took a group guitar lesson through Berkeley Adult Education. I thought the teacher was excellent, and your experience will most likely depend on the instructor and not the group aspect. My instructor made beginning guitar doable and homework was fun. I would suggest that if you are not prepared to practice outside of class, that you might not get the most of your lessons. Also, people tend not to follow up on these classes, so that by the end of the session, we were down to two students (including me), so I felt as if I was getting a private lesson. Daphne
You could try calling ALMA in Orinda (just off Hwy 24). We go there for music lessons 3 times a week and it is only about 8 minutes from Rockridge (when traffic is light). They only charge $18/30 minute lesson -- that's for private lesson, but they also just charge $18/hour per individual for groups. The groups they currently have going are more like ''band'' or ensemble, but you could contact them and see if they know of anyone else that they could pair you up with. Sorry, I don't know the number but they are in the phone book. Best Regards! Tiffany
June 2003

I don't think there has been a recent posting for a guitar teacher so thought I'd post this since I just recommended my brother-in-law to a parent whose child was intereseted in guitar lessons. I often see people recommending family members and since my brother-in-law has brought so much music into my childrens' lives I feel proud to recommend him: David Cohen is an experienced classroom teacher who loves working with kids and teaching music. He is building a vibrant business giving children the gift of creating their own unique musical expression through the guitar. He really enjoys teaching songs the kids really want to play, as well as giving them a solid foundation to become a well-rounded guitarist. Very reasonable rates. He is now accepting students during the summer and for the fall. His number is (510) 845-0199. Marissa


I'd like to put in a plug for a great guitar teacher for both kids and adults. If you are looking for someone who is not only patient but effective, contact Steve Inglis at 510-843-1874. He teaches out of his house in Berkeley. He is an incredible guitarist but more importantly, he is a fabulous teacher! allison

guitar teacher for an adult beginner

September 2001

I am looking for a guitar teacher for an adult beginner. Sheryl


Re: a guitar teacher for an adult beginner, I recommend Robin Flower, 510-482-9479. She teaches out of her home in the Glenview neighborhood of Oakland. She teaches all styles and all ages and is a truly gifted and experienced instructor. She and her partner perform locally as the singing duo "Flower and MacLaren." Ellen
You didn't say what kind of guitar you are interested in studying -- but if you are interested in acoustic, and interested in folk music with an emphasis on finger picking, Barry Olivier is your guy. He's been teaching for over 40 years, and was a key figure in the Berkeley folk music scene. I've studied with him for a few years he's wonderful - patient, kind, and knowledgeable. For Barry, it's all about the joy of making music. He has a funky studio in Rockridge, and can be reached at 510-530-5525. Dayna
My friend STEVE GIBSON is an excellent guitar teacher who works with both adults and children, at all levels of experience. Steve teaches private lessons at his house in Oakland, near Piedmont Ave./Mountain View Cemetary. He specializes in teaching rock and jazz styles.

He and his partner Jeremy Steinkohler (drum instructor) run group classes through Band Works, and they produce student concerts about every two months at Ashkanaz, which are very very fun community events. Both have taught for several years at Cazadero Family Music Camp in summer.

I've known Steve since we were 18 (we're now in our mid-30s) -- he is a wonderful, funny, warm guy, an excellent musician, and gets very high praise from his students.

He might not be taking any new students at the moment, but he could probably reccommend other teachers, or put you on a waiting list. In any case, I would start with Steve for information about taking lessons from him or information about other teachers and classes. His number is (510) 420-1895. Sara D


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