No matter how self-motivated you are as a guitarist, it’s a good idea to take guitar lessons.
Being “self-taught” is mostly a myth, and there are only ever a few people that can learn to play well without the guidance of an experienced teacher. They are the exception and not the rule.
If you’re learning entirely on your own, there’s a good chance you will pick up bad habits and learn bad technique.
In some cases, this “bad technique” can turn into a signature playing style, but again that’s rare.
At some point, you should take lessons, even if it’s only for a couple of months. So, how much do lessons cost? Let’s explore.
How Much Do In Person Lessons Cost?
In person guitar lessons generally cost $30 to $90 per lesson. Sometimes, you can get lessons for cheaper (e.g. $20), while at other times they are considerably more expensive (e.g. $120 or more).
That’s going to depend on a lot of factors, which we’re going to look at below.
Length Of Lessons
If you take lessons at a studio or guitar store, you’re generally going to get 30-minute lessons (although you can make other arrangements – more on that later).
It may be possible to book one-hour sessions with your teacher, or even longer, but it can be cost prohibitive, as the business may not offer discounts for longer lessons.
You may not get the best rates if you take lessons at a studio or guitar store, but the costs will at least be predictable.
You’ll know exactly how much each lesson costs (e.g. $30 per lesson) and how much it’s costing you monthly too.
Of course, you can take lessons in other locations too – something I’ll be covering in a moment.
Generally, longer lessons cost more, even if double the lesson time doesn’t always equal double the cost.
In person lessons can occur in your home, in the teacher’s home, at a store or studio, or another agreed upon location that the teacher has access to (e.g. church, school, community hall, etc.).
If you travel to your teacher (i.e. to their home) or have them travel to you, your options begin to broaden, and you can likely book 30, 45, 60- and 90-minute lessons.
Discounts or adjusted rates will be at the discretion of the teacher.
Where traveling to your teacher’s home may be more affordable, having them travel to you can cost more, because they may include travel, gas and other applicable fees in their price.
As a general reference, some teachers charge about $1 per minute (i.e. $30 for 30 minutes, $60 for 60 minutes, etc.) for private lessons.
But again, it can vary quite a bit, and you will find teachers who charge more and teachers who charge less.
The Teacher’s Experience & Education
It’s one thing to take lessons with a run of the mill teacher, who may be perfectly adequate, versus someone who’s well-known and well-regarded in your community.
This isn’t to suggest that better teachers always charge more, but as a rule, it holds true.
Some teachers also specialize in certain genres or playing styles, whether it’s country, blues, jazz or otherwise.
Teachers like that usually don’t work out of a studio or guitar store and offer lessons independently.
They can also command higher fees (e.g. $120 per hour or more), because not everyone can do what they can do.
You don’t necessarily need to start off with a well-established teacher. But it’s good to find someone who has a solid reputation and can help you master the fundamentals.
Some teachers and studios offer incentives for purchasing lessons in bulk.
Retaining students is hard work. If a teacher knows in advance that you’re committed to a month, three months, six months, or even 12 months, they may be willing to offer a bit of a discount.
You don’t save in the immediate since this could mean putting more money down upfront. But long-term you get to reap the benefits of savings.
Everyone has different systems, with one of the common ones being that you save $5 for every lesson you book in advance.
How Much Do Online Lessons Cost?
In most cases, you can expect online lessons to cost about the same as in person lessons, anywhere from $30 to $90, sometimes more, sometimes less.
Because online lessons can be convenient for both the teacher and the student (i.e. no travel involved), teachers are sometimes willing to offer discounted fees for their online students.
But that depends entirely on the teacher, and because you can book lessons with just about anyone who’s willing to offer them to you across the globe, you could also end up spending more.
Here are the main factors affecting rates:
Length Of Lesson
Again, the length of the lesson is a major factor affecting rates.
30 minutes, 45 minutes and 60 minutes are the most popular options with wiggle room for other arrangements, depending on the teacher.
Taking online lessons usually means using video conferencing tools, whether it’s Skype, Zoom, Google Hangouts or otherwise.
Skype and Google Hangouts are free, but other software can cost you a bit of money.
30 minutes is often adequate for most students, but it’s nice to have a bit of a buffer for online lessons, because video conferencing technology isn’t always perfect, and it relies heavily on your internet connection too.
The tradeoff is that you can record your lessons with the teacher’s permission, so you can review what you learned with them at your convenience.
Location is not a factor in the sense that you can likely take lessons from the comfort of your own home, and likewise, the teacher can teach from their home studio as well.
But you will need to coordinate lessons based on your location as well as the teacher’s location because you may be in different time zones.
As well, if you choose to learn from an international teacher (one who speaks English), their rates could be considerably cheaper or more expensive, depending on the location.
The Teacher’s Experience & Education
As with in person lessons, the teacher’s qualifications can affect their rates.
It’s amazing that you can take lessons with anyone across the globe (i.e. someone who’s taking students). But you will often pay more for teachers who excel in their area of study.
It is worth mentioning that a good player does not always equal a good teacher, and that’s where experience and education can still make a difference.
If they are experienced and methodical in their approach, there’s a better chance you will learn and improve faster.
Again, package deals could apply depending on the teacher. It only makes sense for them to incentivize students who are committed to taking more lessons for longer.
Even if you’re not planning to take lessons long term, I would recommend signing up for at least eight lessons.
If you aren’t sure about the teacher, then it’s fine to sign up for a trial lesson or maybe two lessons.
Lessons are generally worth what you put into them, and they can only help your growth as a guitar player.
But you must be proactive in making the most of each lesson by spending time in study and practice. Even the best teachers can only help you so much if you’re not willing to invest in yourself.
So, be proactive and share your goals with your teacher.