Guitar Lessons in Riverside, CA
with Karl Johnson
Things you'll learn
These are just a few of the topics that I can help you with as you learn the guitar:

The Basics
While some of this may be obvious to a number of people, overlooking these basics can affect how quickly you learn how to play what you want to play. Simple things like how to hold the guitar properly, tuning, naming the strings and notes, the music alphabet, understanding rhythms, and the graphic relationships that exist on the fingerboard - and how to use them to remember the scales and chords you'll need to know to play the music YOU want to play.

Reading Music

While there are a great many guitarists of all ability levels that don't know how to read music, I've found that it will help you understand music in general more quickly and thoroughly than by just learning where to place your fingers on the neck of the guitar.


Proper and efficient use of your hand and finger muscles will determine not only what you're able to play, but how well - or fast - you'll be able to perform a particular song or exercise. There are quite a few ways to improve how accurately and rapidly your fingers will develop; think of it as a "gym workout" for your fingers.

Learning Songs and Ear Training
The ultimate goal of all the little things you need to do and understand is to be able to play music you like on the guitar. Whether that music is children's songs or TV show themes, Renaissance lute transcriptions, reading and improvising through jazz charts, or Dream Theater's latest 19-minute opus full of speedy guitar lines, I can help you learn how to play them quickly and accurately. In addition to that, there are several ways to help you learn how to play what you hear by learning to listen to music in a slightly different way. Spend enough time working at it, and you'll be learning and transcribing songs on your own!
Different Styles
What makes using the same set of notes and chords sound so different between blues, jazz, classical, and rock/metal music? I can help you understand and perform music from a number of different styles/genres, including blues, jazz, rock, fusion, progressive, country, classical, and (some) flamenco, as well as helping you learn to improvise in most (if not all) of these styles of music.

Music Theory
OK, it works, but WHY does it work? From understanding how scales and chords work together to understanding why an Ab7 chord is the V7 of G major (really!), from understanding the different species of counterpoint to how Bartok incorporated Fibonacci sequences and other "natural mathematics" into his compositions, and from what a C major scale is to why you can play a G# Dorian mode over a C major chord and have it still "work", I can help you break it all down into easy-to-understand pieces that you don't have to be a math major to really "get" and use.

Arrangement and Composition
Whether you want to write your own songs or compose more serious music, I can help you learn how arrangements are written for different styles of songs and styles of music.
If you have questions about taking guitar lessons with me, or would like more specifics on how to get started, please call me at (951)231-5070, or use the contact form on the home page of this website. Thanks!
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