Guitar Center Lessons Review – Is It Good? (2024 Prices)

Author: Dedrich Schafer | Updated: | This post may contain affiliate links.

Every day, countless people decide that they want to start learning how to play guitar. But the question is always, “Where do you start?”

Fortunately, it has never been easier to learn how to play guitar. Guitar Center is among the many resources available to beginners.

In this Guitar Center lessons review, we’ll take a look at how much lessons at Guitar Center cost, what to expect, and some potential alternatives.

How Much Are Guitar Lessons at Guitar Center?

Guitar Center offers two types of lessons: Express and Standard. Express lessons are 30 minutes, while Standard lessons are 60 minutes.

Lessons are also grouped into sets of four. In other words, you are paying for four lessons at a time.

Lessons are paid for upfront each month. There is also a one-off $30 registration fee, up from $20.

Unfortunately, there isn’t a standardized price across all Guitar Center locations. Prices vary slightly from area to area, and certain areas are going to be cheaper or more expensive than others.

There is also no quick way to compare prices. You have to go to the Guitar Center lessons page and enter your zip code to find out the price for lessons.

It seems that online and in-store lessons are also the same price. As for the price, Express lessons are $100+ and Standard lessons are $200+.

Major city areas also seem to be quite a bit more expensive. I compared a Richmond, VA zip code with a Los Angeles, CA zip code.

Express Lessons:

  • Richmond – $109
  • Los Angeles – $125

Standard Lessons:

  • Richmond – $219
  • Los Angeles – $250

Booking a Lesson

As I mentioned, you have to go to the lessons page on Guitar Center’s website to find out the price. This is also where you can book or contact regarding lessons.

Once on the lessons page, you simply have to answer a few questions about your lessons. You will first select your instrument, then whether you want in-store or online lessons.

You will then be asked which days you are available for lessons, followed by a time of day. You then enter your zip code to find the nearest store.

You will then be greeted with a list of all the available instructors and their locations. Each instructor has a short bio to give you a little bit of an idea of their personality.

You can then either book lessons right away or contact an instructor if you have any further questions.

What to Expect from Lessons?

Instructors at Guitar Center aren’t just talented musicians that have been playing for a few years. Guitar Center does extensive background checks on all of their instructors to ensure that they are qualified.

Many of the instructors even have advanced degrees from respected music schools. They are also friendly and personable, giving students a comfortable and stress-free learning experience.

Lessons also follow a standardized curriculum. This is to ensure steady, visible progress to keep students motivated and enthusiastic to learn.

This also means that every Guitar Center store follows the same curriculum. If, for whatever reason, you decide to continue lessons at a different store, you can easily pick up from where you left off.

Other Alternatives

Even though Guitar Center offers high-quality lessons, they are still quite expensive. Of course, you are getting what you pay for, but not everyone is able to afford these lessons.

Before settling on Guitar Center’s guitar lessons, you should ask around about any private guitar teachers in your area. Find out about other people’s experiences and what they paid.

Chances are you can find a great teacher in your area for less. You should be able to find lessons for as little as $30 – $40 per 60-minute lesson.

And if you are looking for online lessons, there are plenty of great services. Guitar Tricks is a great service, and offers a 14-day free trial so that you can try them before you start paying. Services like Riffhard are also great because they let you learn directly from some of your favorite guitarists.

These services are far cheaper than both Guitar Center and private lessons. Monthly memberships can cost as little as $19, while even yearly memberships are less than $200.

They also usually allow much more freedom regarding scheduling. You can also learn at your own pace.

Choosing the Right Lessons for You

When I was teaching guitar a few years ago, the bulk of my students were total beginners. Most of them had never picked up a guitar before. Some didn’t even listen to guitar music!

Starting from scratch meant teaching students what the various parts of a guitar actually are. There was no point telling a student to play a C major with the root on the eighth fret of the E string if they didn’t know what a fret was.

I mention this because different teachers are well suited to players of different levels and personalities. Just about any guitar player can show a beginner a few chords and the names of the various parts of the guitar.

However, intermediate players looking to expand their knowledge of the instrument need to assess their own playing level and decide exactly what they want to get out of lessons.

The key question you must ask yourself is this: what exactly do I want from lessons?

The most common answers I heard from students were:

  • I have never played music before and want to play my favorite songs.
  • I have some experience and want to improve one aspect of my playing.
  • I want to join a band and write songs.
  • I am a competent player in one area and want to become competent in other areas (for example, an electric player switching to acoustic).

If you can answer the above question honestly, choosing a teacher becomes much easier.

Different guitar teachers will specialize in different areas.

Some are jazz aficionados looking to pass on their deep, detailed knowledge to a less advanced player.

Others are shred wizards who can help you take your playing to warp speed. Some are best suited to total beginners, and others are advanced musicians who simply want to build up the next generation of players.

When you know what you want, you can choose a teacher based on their ability to pass that knowledge on to you.

Guitar Center lessons are probably best suited to more inexperienced players. Advanced guitarists are most likely to be of a similar playing level to the teachers available at Guitar Center.

Getting Your Money’s Worth: Working Outside the Lesson

Here’s something many guitar players seem to forget about their lessons. 90% of your improvement will come outside the classroom.

For those of you who have heard that before, here’s a far more precise lesson:

The better you get, the more work you must do to improve.

A total beginner must practice between lessons. Even fifteen minutes per day will take anybody from total musical ignorance to competently strumming their way through their favorite songs in a few months.

However, as you improve at any skill, the effort and time required to improve becomes much greater. This is true of playing guitar: you make most of your progress as a player in the first year, then slightly less in the couple of years after that.

The difference between two guitar players who start at the same time, with the same teacher, and have the same lesson schedule is how they spend their time outside the classroom.

Your guitar teacher can only show you the way. When you invest in guitar lessons, carefully consider how much time you have available to practice between lessons.

Guitar Center’s lessons are usually structured so that each lesson builds on the knowledge gained from the previous one. That means that you have to devote time and energy outside the classroom to mastering, or at the very least becoming competent, with the previous lesson.

Guitar lessons are a great way to turbocharge your playing. I was an entirely self-taught player until I took an online jazz course a few years ago, and doing so felt like it doubled my playing ability in under a year.

Considering that I had been playing for about fifteen years at that point, I was thrilled with the progress I made.

That required consistent practice of each lesson so I could make the most of the next one. Consistency just meant a minimum period of time each day committed to playing guitar. Sometimes it was just fifteen minutes. Other days it was a few hours.

Finding the time to practice between lessons is critical to progress.

Before setting on guitar lessons, be sure that you’ll be able to consistently practice between sessions so that you can get the best experience out of learning to play the guitar that you can.

Before Settling on Guitar Lessons

Before you commit to taking lessons with someone, make sure they are a good fit for you. Make sure that the instructor knows what you want to learn and your goals.

Also, make sure that you like their personality as this will ensure you enjoy being taught by them. If possible, try to have two or three trial lessons before committing to full-time lessons.

Final Word

Learning to play guitar is easier than ever. Guitar Center is just one of the many options available to both new and experienced players to help them advance on their guitar journey.

Be sure before signing up to lessons that you know what you want to achieve with them, that the teacher you’ve chosen can help you get there, and that you’ll be able to practice consistently between lessons.

Most importantly, enjoy the experience of learning a new skill and appreciate the journey of becoming a better musician.

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About Dedrich Schafer

Dedrich is a guitar player, songwriter and sound engineer with extensive music production and studio experience. He mostly listens to classic rock and punk bands, but sometimes also likes listening to rap and acoustic songs.

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