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Best guitar lessons in NYC
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The best places to take guitar lessons in NYC

Master the acoustic guitar at one of the seven best places to take your first guitar lessons in New York City

Written by
Alanna Schubach
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Sure, you’ll see fliers hawking guitar lessons in music stores and record stores in NYC, but there are more solid options for mastering the instrument well enough to play the best songs. Anyone from total novices to seasoned strummers can learn a few things about the guitar at these spots. Plus, this being New York, your teachers will be top-notch musicians who have performed in some of the city’s best live-music venues—and might be able to get you a gig at one, too (if you put in enough practice).

RECOMMENDED: Full guide to classes in NYC

Where to take guitar lessons in NYC

1. Beginners 1: Guitar for Absolute Beginners at New York City Guitar School

Looking to write your own music, start working as an amateur performer or just wanting to impress folks at a party with your rendition of Wonderwall? Well, you can achieve all of these goals by enrolling in an introductory guitar class at the New York City Guitar School. In this course, which is designed for students who haven’t so much as touched a pick before, you’ll learn basic chords like D, G, Em, C, D7, Am, C, A and E and you’ll study real sheet music from professional artists. This hands-on, beginner-friendly guitar course is perfect for anyone looking to start down the road to musical greatness.

2. Guitar for Absolute Beginners at Brooklyn Guitar School

Learning guitar can be intimidating, especially if you don’t have a strong musical background. Don’t let that worry you and instead enroll in this introductory guitar course that is perfect for students who have absolutely no prior guitar experience. In this course, you’ll get step-by-step instructions on all of the vital guitar fundamentals you need to learn in order to start reading sheet music and playing your own pieces. You’ll also get access to comprehensive video tutorials, giving you ample resources to practice at home. You’ll also learn how to play using real music from artists like John Legend, Sublime, Taylor Swift, Coldplay and more.

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3. Guitar (Beginner) at 92nd Street Y

In this introductory guitar class, you’ll start at the very beginning and work your way from someone who can barely hold a pick to a master of the fundamentals of playing guitar. In this small group course, students will learn how to strum, read sheet music and play vital introductory chords. This course is a great way to learn the basics of playing guitar as you learn common patterns, bass riffs and how to play along with a recording. Once you complete this course, you’ll be ready for more advanced guitar classes (either at the 92nd Street Y or elsewhere).

4. 92nd Street Y Guitar Institute

Learn guitar at one of NYC’s most respected education centers: the 92nd Street Y’s School of Music boasts high-quality private and group instruction for all ages. Beginner guitar classes, for instance, are led by a professor from the New School for Jazz and Contemporary Music, and private lessons are conducted by career musicians. And students can attend free faculty performances or the Art of Guitar concert series, where artists do a pre-show chat for bonus inspiration. 1395 Lexington Ave (212-415-5580, 92y.org). Private lessons, $56–$90.
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5. Flamenco / Spanish Guitar Private Lessons at Diego Campo's Guitar Lessons

While most people associate the guitar with rock (electric) or country (acoustic), there are many different guitar traditions across the globe. In this class, you’ll get private lessons in the art of Flamenco guitar, one of the most recognizable music traditions of Spain. With these private lessons, you’ll get time to develop your technique, learn traditional songs and chords and get an immersive lesson in the history and traditions of Flamenco. With flexible scheduling options available, all you need to do it bring your guitar and folder and you’ll be on your way to learning the art of Flamenco.

6. Spring Jazz Intensives at New York Jazz Academy

Another option for learning to play guitar that isn’t rock or acoustic is jazz guitar. In this spring camp (open to teens and adults), you will learn the art of the jazz ensemble and you’ll have a chance to learn your instrument and learn how to work as part of a group of musicians each taking up a part of the improvisational performance. You’ll participate in a variety of clinics focusing on everything from playing your instrument to performing in a live environment. You’ll even have the opportunity to visit a number of different historic jazz clubs around the city to truly appreciate the long tradition of NY jazz.

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7. Adult Beginner Guitar at Williamsburg School of Music

Learn guitar while strumming along to music by world famous artists like Green Day, the Beatles and Johnny Cash in this introductory guitar course. In this class, you’ll learn the essential skills and techniques that you need to become an experienced guitar player and you’ll learn the habits and practice regimens that help professionals stay on top of their game. You’ll get personalized lessons and plenty of time to practice, even if you have no prior experience reading sheet music or playing an instrument. You’ll also spend time learning skills that are transferable to all kinds of guitars and all genres of guitar music.

8. Ukulele (Beginner) at 92nd Street Y

The ukulele is a Portuguese instrument that has become popularly associated with tropical islands like Hawaii, where it has gained a lot of popularity. It is also an instrument that is popular with musicians who play the guitar, including Taylor Swift, and actors like Ryan Gosling. In this course, you’ll learn the basics of ukulele chords, the use of finger picks and some simple songs. The ukulele is one of the easiest instruments to learn for beginners and the skills you pick up in this class will be applicable to other, more advanced music courses, making this a great place to get started on your musical journey.

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9. Williamsburg School of Music

Owned by a father/son team, this music school is especially great for wannabe rock stars, and the staff caters to folks of all ages, styles and skill levels. Discuss your interests with your instructor in private lessons or learn to master guitar riffs from Johnny Cash, Bob Dylan and more in adult beginner classes. For parents, Rock Band, where children rehearse for a live performance, is a solid option for getting the kids to expel some energy outside the home. 400 Bedford Ave, Brooklyn (718-215-0677, williamsburgschoolofmusic.net). Private lessons, $35–$80.

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10. Astoria Music

Miles away from the impersonal vibe of big music stores, this family-oriented shop has been serving the neighborhood since 1922. Owner George Phillips, himself a musician, is known for his warmth and his expertise in selling, renting and repairing instruments. At the in-house school, you can study guitar or bass with instructors trained in music education and jazz performance. Unusually, Astoria Music also offers lessons on the bouzouki, a Greek stringed instrument related to the mandolin, if you’d rather strum something more unique. 34-17 28th Ave, Queens (718-204-0400, astoriamusicstore.com). 30-minute lesson, $30.

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