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It’s a fact that the fastest way to get good at guitar is by taking lessons (and practicing, of course). Sometimes, we are not always spoiled for choice when it comes to actually finding a worthwhile instructor.
In an effort to pivot and evolve with the market climate, Guitar Center has started to offer guitar lessons. But how much do these lessons actually cost, and are they really worth the price of admission?
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What Comes Included With Lessons From Guitar Center?
Before you even consider taking lessons through Guitar Center, you need to know what’s being offered. This is the only way to make the most informed decision when it comes to spending your money.
For the most part, what Guitar Center offers is what you would expect to find with any competent instructor. You won't find any help with marketing your music or getting on playlists, like you'd get with a playlist promotion service; check this review of Playlist Push for that. You'll simply learn how to improve your guitar-playing skills.
Rather than approach each student the same way, each individual will receive tailor-made lessons suited to their goals. This means that, no matter what style you have an interest in, there will be an instructor available for you. Although each individual’s instructor will vary, it can be assumed that you will receive the necessary lesson materials.
It should also be noted that these lessons are appropriate for both complete beginners and advanced guitarists alike. These could be a viable option if you’ve been looking for something to knock the rust off your playing chops.
Furthermore, Guitar Center Lessons have the added benefit of location flexibility. You can either take in-person lessons in a store, or virtually over the Zoom video chat client.
What Do Guitar Center Lessons Cost?
If you’re like me, you like to be able to view the cost of things ahead of time. That way, you’re not wasting time contemplating a factor that might not even be a realistic impossibility.
Unfortunately, if you view the Guitar Center website, you won’t find anything mentioned about the actual cost of the lessons. Instead, they request that you submit a form or call their representative for more information.
Whether they know it or not, this extra step can be a critical barrier to someone’s decision to take lessons. Most people don’t want to give their personal information away just to inquire about pricing.
But, to be fair, there’s actually a good reason why Guitar Center’s lesson prices aren’t listed publicly. I called Guitar Center’s service representative so that you don’t have to, and here’s what I found out.
The Billing Cycle
Before we get to discussing Guitar Center’s lesson prices, there’s something you need to know about the billing cycle. Guitar Center does not offer one-off lessons, and instead, operates similarly to a subscription service.
When signing up, you’ll purchase 4 lessons, with the purchase recurring after the 4th lesson is taken. These lessons are designed to be taken weekly (though, you likely have control over the frequency).
If you do take the lessons weekly, the lesson purchase will essentially be the equivalent of a monthly subscription plan. Because of this, all pricing quotes for Guitar Center lessons will include 4 lessons (as opposed to being priced singly).
Guitar Center’s lesson prices vary depending on the location in which you live. However, these pricing fluctuations seem to match the cost of living reflective of where the customer’s nearest store is located.
It’s also important to note that the price remains consistent whether you take in-person or online lessons.
The closest store near me is located near Toledo, Ohio, which is a fairly moderate city of about 271,000 people. Taking lessons through this store would cost me roughly:
- $90 for 4x 30-minute lessons
- $190 for 4x 60-minute lessons
With that being said, the customer service representative did mention that the highest she’s ever seen was:
- $150 for 4x 30-minute lessons
- $300 for 4x 60-minute lessons
Does that seem steep to you? You need to remember that it depends on where the store is actually located.
If the store is based in Los Angeles, the lessons will be much higher, reflecting the high cost of living. The cost of living in Toledo is significantly lower than in Los Angeles.
Because of this fluctuation, it’s important to inquire for yourself to see what your lesson rates are. However, it’s probably safe to assume that this is the price range you’ll find when you do happen to inquire.
Are Guitar Center Lessons Too Expensive?
It might seem like a bit of a shock to see guitar lessons costing so much. But it’s important to remember that this cost covers the cost of 4 lessons rather than 1.
When using my example of lessons in the Toledo, Ohio area, the rough math comes to about:
- $22.50 per 30-minute lesson
- $47.50 per 60-minute lesson
At the highest reported lesson price quote, the most you’ll likely pay per lesson is about:
- $37.50 per 30-minute lesson
- $75 per 60-minute lesson
Looking at the prices like that, it doesn’t seem as bad as the initial shock of the sticker price. But, how do these prices compare with the cost of lessons you might find elsewhere?
Well, unfortunately, there isn’t exactly a hard rule about what the cost of guitar lessons should actually be. Much of it actually depends on the instructor themselves, and the type of experience they offer.
In my own area, Guitar Center’s lesson costs for a 30-minute lesson are relatively comparable to other avenues. Sure, teachers instructing for $15 or $20 per lesson probably could be found with some considerable searching efforts.
I would venture to say the same goes for those areas in which Guitar Center’s lesson fees are the highest. If their lessons were exorbitantly more expensive, prospective students wouldn’t have much of an incentive to go this route.
With that being said, these prices are fairly average, even if they cost a few dollars more than usual. By offering this service, Guitar Center needs to meet its overhead demands while also paying the instructor.
Then again, you might have some better luck searching out a specific teacher if you’re prepared to spend some money. For instance, during COVID, I took lessons from Daniel Donato for about the same price as a 60-minute lesson.
If you’re willing to go the extra mile and seek out somebody who has specialized skills, maybe go that route. For everyone else, maybe it’s best to weigh the pros and cons if you’re facing a tough decision.
What Are The Benefits Of Taking Lessons At Guitar Center?
Not everybody lives in an area where there’s a vast swath of guitar instructors within a 10-mile radius. While learning through video lesson websites can work, it lacks the personal touch that in-person lessons provide.
Finding a good instructor that matches your learning style and tailors the material to your goals is essential. Unfortunately, this is easier said than done, as many often drift from teacher to teacher (although this isn’t necessarily bad).
But, even if you have the innate desire to learn, your awareness of the local network might be severely lacking. Who would you even seek out if you don’t know who plays and there isn’t a store in your town?
Well, that’s where Guitar Center’s services are actually quite commendable. Going this route will add a significant amount of convenience to your life by eliminating this search process.
Guitar Center’s network of instructors is quite large when you consider the number of stores that are open. Even if you don’t live conveniently close to a store, online Zoom lessons are still worthwhile.
This ultimately means that you can take personal lessons from the comfort of your home. Plus, the online factor ensures that your own personal schedule maintains a degree of flexibility.
And, as we just mentioned, the prices are relatively reflective of what you’d probably find offered in your area.
What Are The Disadvantages Of Guitar Center Lessons?
The biggest disadvantage to taking lessons through Guitar Center is the fact that you cannot buy standalone lessons. It’s hard to know whether you’ll connect with your instructor on a deeper level before you actually make the purchase.
If you were to seek out a respectable instructor, they’d likely give you the first lesson for free. That way, you can feel out the instructor and they can discern where you are in your journey.
Going that route, you’d essentially have a risk-free opportunity to see if an instructor is the right fit for you. You also aren’t out of money that you spent with an obligation of more lessons from an ill-fitting instructor.
Do watch out, as Guitar Center regularly runs promotional events offering a free lesson. This might help sweeten the deal for you if you’re unsure whether this is the right service for you.
Of course, Guitar Center probably does have measures in place to ensure that you can find the right instructor. It would be safe to assume that the network of online instructors is much larger than your local store.
However, that’s another part of Guitar Center’s disadvantages. The specifics of the service are a little ambiguous beyond the simple statements of what’s included in the lessons.
Not everybody has the burning desire to inquire about things that could be stated on their website. But, because of the price fluctuations depending on location, this does serve a practical purpose.
Then, there’s also the socially-perceived stigma of taking lessons from the Walmart equivalent of guitar stores. Some people may have an aversion to this because they feel they might get made fun of.
However, it’s vital to remember that the contents of the lessons are what is of most importance here. Taking lessons through Guitar Center is, indeed, better than not taking lessons at all.
Guitar Center Lesson Prices, Final Thoughts
Guitar Center’s lesson offerings are a unique opportunity for anyone looking for lessons. For some people, this might be one of the few options available to actually take local in-person lessons.
If you’re interested, it’s best to call Guitar Center’s customer service hotline so you can get your own personal quote. Their friendly staff will guide you, helping you sign up to start learning how to play the guitar.
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