Michael J Hutton - Guitar Coach Suffolk

Why is it so hard to learn the guitar?

#hardtoplayguitar Apr 08, 2020

This answer applies to anything you want to do but find difficult at first.

You need to get and stay in the right mindset which involves stop thinking about the fear of failing and imagine an end result of what you are trying to achieve e.g. Playing your first song to family and friends

Stay motivated to practice by setting smaller but achievable goals like remembering the 3 chords in this song or changing quicker between two more difficult chords, all requirements to playing that first song.

Everything we want to do and do well requires practice, no ifs and buts with this one. Ask anyone who is good at something why and they will all say the same, the time spent on purposeful practice. There is no such thing as just being gifted and not having to work at something. The ones that look gifted gave a history of hard work and graft devoted to realising their dream and opportunity is available to everyone, if you go and look for it.

So when you say to fulfil your passion is something...

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Why do people think strumming a G Chord on their guitar makes them a guitarist?

#icanplayguitar Feb 24, 2020

I saw this question on a forum and had to respond.  I hope the person who posted it was just curious and not being critical.

From the minute you first pluck a string or strum a chord you are playing guitar. If people are getting the creative output they desire from playing one string or chord then they are playing guitar. There is no right or wrong way to play any instrument, just different ways and just because someone’s style or creative output is not always to everyone’s taste doesn’t mean they are not playing the instrument correctly.

As stated above, they may have a disability of some kind or it may just be their preference. Are you going to tell Def Leppard’s drummer he’s can’t call himself a drummer because he plays with one arm or a para-olympian can’t call themselves a runner because they have no legs and are using blades?

The beauty of true human spirit is having the free will to choose or adapt to achieve what our hearts...

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Why is it not cool to play guitar anymore? - What Do You Think?

#cooltoplayguitar Feb 11, 2020

I don’t think it is less cool I just think that with more choice of ways to make a sound in music it has created new sounds and musical genres and possibly clouded the view on guitarists but it is still very cool you just have a bit more competition right!

Think about this, all around today are loads of massive music shops the size of hyperstores, far more of and bigger than we ever had in the 70’s, 80’s and 90’s and all have walls and walls of guitars. If it wasn’t cool to play guitar these guys wouldn’t be selling them on such a massive scale and they’ll all be falling like flies but that isn’t happening.

Another thing is that today more royalties are paid out to ageing rockstars than any other area of music. Now these acts are all pretty well guitar driven and their gigs are not just full of ageing rock fans either, there are kids and grandkids of these ageing fans really zoned into this stuff that weren't even born when some of...

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How has learning to play the guitar changed your life?

#guitarchangedmylife Feb 11, 2020

Something I was asked recently and What a Great Question!

Learning guitar to me gave me untold confidence and a career of my choosing plus life skills that took me all over the world. In short it was life changing.

As a youngster I lacked self-confidence which affected all aspects of my life both socially and professionally so learning to play the guitar then using that skill, meant that i was doing something others only dreamed of which attracted positive attention. Learning to stand up in front of an audience further built my confidence which helped in both socially and in things like job interviews. Later when i chose to make music my job both playing and teaching I learned more about other peoples needs and requirements and how to appreciate others and empathise with their needs and requirements. Being in Bands took me all over the UK and Europe playing a wide variety of venues and functions, a dream come true!

Moving on armed with only 2 O’Levels (GCSE’s) Grade 5...

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How can I improve my musical ability and expression?

#playwithexpression Feb 05, 2020

Improving your musical ability is just a matter of practice but this needs to be a practice method that works for you. For me it was about playing songs to the best of my ability, not how many scales can I remember or how many notes I can play in a second.

When practicing I tend to follow and therefore recommend the steps below as learning to play a song well keeps me motivated and makes the whole experience more enjoyable. Please bear in mind that lots of songs have the same or similar chords, solo structure which is worth understanding as you can leverage the skills and disciplines learned in one song into many songs which again lifts the spirits and keeps you motivated

Feel and expression can’t really blossom or be appreciated by you as a player until you have mastered the skills and disciplines to play those songs. As you become more familiar with those skills then the feel and expression will come quicker and almost instantly as you learn new songs.

Feel and Expression...

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How can I avoid clipping and adjusting the Volume Pot when playing a Standard Strat?

#fenderstratocaster Feb 05, 2020

If I use my fingers to pick the strings my hand tends to sit forward a bit so I don’t have the problem but if I use a pick then I am more prone to resting my hand od the bridge then hitting the volume knob can occur but my main problem in this position is the side of the hand resting on the bridge rubs on the saddle adjuster screws and gets very sore.

I guess the answer is to adjust your playing accordingly (easier said than done I know) as the Start has been around for decades and if this had been a huge problem then I would assume the design would have been altered long ago.

The other thing to consider is that the position of the volume pot lends itself to being controlled by the little finger to create a non-attacking or swell sound effect that has been perfected by many (Jeff Beck for one) as a desirable effect which is only possible on standard Strat so I guess it’s horses for courses and if your preferred style causes a problem for you then implementing one of the...

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How to Memorize the Notes On The Guitar Neck

#musicalclock Feb 05, 2020

I would start with what I call the musical clock which is the 12 notes in a full octave rolled into a circle to replicate a clock (also with 12 points for each of the hours) This makes it easier to picture.

Starting at the top with A can work our way around the clock with the musical alphabet for which I use this rhyme.

The Musical Alphabet is A to G and Everything has a Sharp (#) except B and E

So if you can now picture that clock and start from the Top (A) then the A String on the Guitar is the note of A (Obvious I Know), the 1st fret will be A#, the 2nd Fret B, and so on (see below)

F=Fret S=String


0 A

1 A# or Bb

2 B

3 C

4 C# or Db

5 D

6 D# or Eb

7 E

8 F

9 F# or Gb

10 G

11 G# or Ab

12 A

So, reading through this is reading the musical alphabet as above

Once you know the musical alphabet and how it translates to the A String you can then transpose this to the other strings so for the E String (which will count for Thin E and Thick E


0 E

1 F

2 F# or Gb

3 G

4 G# or Ab

5 A


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Follow This Tip to Nail Your Guitar Solos

#nailyourguitarsolos Feb 03, 2020

Do you struggle to pick out all the notes in a guitar solo you are trying to learn?

Or you got the notes but just can’t seem to get the right feel?

When I learn solos with fast sections or a particular feel in it I slow the recording of the solo down. This is how I now approach this problem with my 1–2–1 students and in my online guitar community. These days there are loads of Apps that can slow down audio without changing the pitch but even if it does change the pitch then if you slow down to 1/2 speed then it will be an octave lower but still in the same key. You can then analyse the solo easier and just focus on the section you are trying to master. Always learn longer pieces in bite size chunks then gradually re-assemble them as this can improve your motivation, satisfaction and enjoyment when you master a small section. Also don’t over practice just for the sake of it. If you have had enough and it feels like a chore then put the guitar down, do...

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Playing and Teaching Guitar - Who Needs Qualifications?

Maybe I should re-phase that before I start. 

You don't need official qualifications to make it in this world e.g. certificates and diplomas.

Now I'm not saying Formal Qualifications are a bad thing either and I have gathered some over the years but I have done them to further my knowledge and fuel the passion I have for that subject.   Unfortunately these the main selling point seems to be that you need them to get a job so the emphasis seems to have switched from learning and having a passion for the subject to the education establishments being marked and judged on how many people pass and the teaching methods adapted to satisfy that criteria.

The result is that when looking for employment in most companies many of them won't even accept you for an online or telephone interview unless your CV qualifications sections is full of certificates.

Rare are the days when you could walk into a business and get an interview where you can get a chance to sell...

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5 Tips to make your guitar practice more productive and enjoyable

#guitarpracticetips Feb 01, 2020


Motivating yourself to practice your guitar can really be a struggle sometimes so I have a few Tips that can help make it a more positive and enjoyable experience

1.  Keep your guitar to hand

Try to make it easily accessible at all times like on a stand in the room or maybe a wall bracket if you need to keep it out of reach of small children etc. 

Doing this keeps it visible which will also act as a constant reminder and means that it is easy to pick up if you only have a few minutes.  If it is locked in a case under the bed you are far less likely to go to all the trouble of getting it out so consequently your practicing and progression will suffer.

2.  Get to know the components of your piece 

Make sure you know all your chords, the count and the strum you are going to use.  Practice your chord changes and if any are challenging then "Think One Finger" when changing between them, maybe you can leave a finger on like C to D7 or move a finger...

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