Frequently Asked Questions

Learning with The Guitar Social FAQs

Membership, and what to do once you’ve signed up

I’ve signed up to membership via the website, what now?

You can now go and book up to 6 sessions a week. Some of these are one off workshops and some are recurring weekly courses. Check the level that the workshop or course is listed at and see our guide on the courses page for how to know which level you are.

How do I access the workshop materials?

After the workshop, normally the following day you’ll be sent an email with some follow up materials and a suggested practice guide. See ‘After the session, what to expect’ for more details.

I’m unsure which course is right for me. Can you help?

Of course. Feel free to get in touch with us via email or phone and we can talk you through your current level and what you’re wanting to get out of a course. With your membership you can also come to more than one course so feel free to try out a few different levels

Do you offer courses and workshops for more intermediate level players?

Yes. Each term we add new courses and workshops and some examples of past courses that we’ve done which are aimed at intermediate players are Modes, The CAGED system, advanced rhythms and Jazz blues to name a few. Get in touch if you’re worried a course may be too hard or easy for you.

I see you offer a beginners course through the Beginner’s academy. Are these for complete beginners?

Yes, our beginners’ courses are aimed at the player who has never picked up a guitar before. If you can play a few chords you’re welcome too. Much beyond that and you’ll probably want to look at some of the other courses we offer.

I can probably only attend one or two sessions a week, do you do a discounted membership?

Many can only come on one day a week. At £75/month, this still works out at around £18/session which is still cheaper than you’ll find elsewhere

I need to take a break from membership/ it’s not for me, can you cancel it?

This is something you’ll need to do yourself through Cademy

I’ve signed up to a session but now can’t attend. What do I do?

Please cancel your spot through Cademy. Places are limited so we ask anyone who has signed up to please try and attend

In session – What to expect

How long is a session?

Times vary from 45 minutes to an hour and ten. When booking onto a session, check the start and end time

How many people normally take part in a session?

We tend to have between 7 and 12 musicians. Beginners we cap at 9 so that you get the time and attention that a beginner needs.

Do I need my own guitar

Yes please. We have one or two spare but these are hot commodity and the quality is deteriorating slowly

I’m an electric player. Do I need to bring my own amp

Yes please. Again, we have one or two spare but they are more often than not, not available

After the session – what to expect


How do I know what to practice?

When we send the follow up material, we will detail out a recommended practice list and schedule. E.g. – spend 5 minutes working through these finger exercises then 3 minutes with this riff, 5 minutes working through this song etc.

What practice materials will I be sent?

You’ll receive short videos detailing specific aspects to practice and any related written materials e.g. tabs, chords or scales.

What if I miss a session?

If you’ve signed up to one of the 4 or 8 week courses then not to worry, just watch through the follow up videos we send.

How many hours of practice will I need to commit each day?

We attest that little and often if way better than a few binge practice sessions. In our recommended practice schedule, we’ll details out about 20 minutes worth of practice per day.

Outside of session

How do I stay connected to the other people on my course?

Come to our events. We run a couple a week, normally attended by between 30 and 50 TGS members and that is easily the best way to connect with other musicians.

For all courses we set up a dedicated WhatsApp group which you’re welcome to join. This is a place to ask questions to your tutor and fellow students or just have general conversation about guitar and music.

WhatsApp is for the more social side of The Guitar Social. We ask that any questions specifically for your tutor of TGS managers come directly to us via email.

I’m doing a one off workshop, will there be a WhatsApp group?

We don’t create a WhatsApp group for one off workshops so go ahead and sign up for a course if you want to be in a WhatsApp group, or come along to an event if you want to get to know other guitar players.

Events

What sort of events do you put on?

We run a range, from musical performance to bingo and quizzes. All events have a musical element and the purpose of them is to have fun and get people connecting. The quizzes are never serious and the prizes most likely are something you don’t want in your home.

Who can attend the events?

Some events are free to anyone and everyone, such as our weekly open mics. Some event’s come with a small ticket price, and some events are members only. Have a look on our events page to find out what’s coming up

I want to perform. Any events for that?

We have weekly open mics and a monthly event called candlelight live where players of all levels play a song, either their own or a cover. We encourage everyone who wants to try playing live to give it a go. Even if they’ve only been playing for 5 weeks. You’ll find yourself amongst a very receptive and appreciative audience.

How many people come to your events?

Normally between 30 and 50 people.

The Guitar Social Retreats FAQs

What does the retreat price cover?

The price quoted for any trip covers the cost of the planning, the organisation and carrying out of the trip, including group equipment, supplies, accommodation, administration, workshops and staff, except for the following, for which you must be responsible: vaccination fees, travel insurance, cost of travel to and from the start / return point of your trip including your international flights, cost of passport and visas, personal equipment and personal expenses while on the trip and any other expenses specifically excluded on the trip description.

Unless otherwise stated on the particular retreats page on the website, travel to and from the holiday destination is not provided by us, nor is travel within the destination.

Unless otherwise stated, food and drink is not provided during the holiday or retreat. The only food and drink that is provided is that which is listed on the information page where you book the holiday. If coming on bandcamp, all of your food and drink is provided by us, so go mad.

I see you have an itinerary. Is this set-in stone?

No. The itinerary is a guide and will often change a bit based on things like the weather, the mood of the people on the retreat and other factors related to the place we’re in. The plan may not always be adhered to, but we can promise that we’ll do everything in our power to ensure you have a good time.

As this is a Guitar Social holiday, will I learn guitar?

Yes, all of our retreats have a schedule of workshops and jams which you can take part in if you wish to. The full schedule of workshops and jams will be given closer to the departure date.

I’m vegetarian/vegan. Will there be food for me?

You won’t be alone in that I promise and there will be ample selection of the finest vegetarian or Vegan food for you.

I have food intolerances/ allergies. Will there be food for me?

Chat to us. If we can cater for you, we of course will but we don’t want to put you at risk by giving you anything we shouldn’t so we’ll work together to see what we can offer you.

Are the retreats refundable if I am unable to make it?

If you are unable to make it for personal reasons we have a cancellation policy.

If you cancel 12 weeks or more before the retreat you get 80% back minus the deposit

If you cancel 12-6 weeks before the retreat you get 70% back minus the deposit

If you cancel 6-4 weeks before the retreat you get 50% back minus the deposit

If you cancel any less than 4 weeks before the retreat you get no money back

We can’t offer refunds on deposits unless we choose to cancel the trip

We recommend everyone take out travel insurance in case you need to cancel or in case we need to cancel and cannot provide a full re-imbursement.

Rather than cancelling, can I transfer my place to someone else?

Yes you can. You’ll need to arrange this between the two of you.

Will I get my own room?

We try to offer a range of accommodation options but some of the retreats we go on have limited sleeping arrangements so normally require a shared room. Read the retreat description to understand better the sleeping arrangements and then get in touch if you’re still unsure.

What’s the standard of the accommodation like?

It varies. Some of our holidays are for those on a budget and others are for those looking for a bit more luxury. The price will often reflect this. Get in touch if you want to talk through the amenities.

How will the day be filled?

We normally have a couple of workshops on offer, an evening jam, we tend to prepare and eat meals all together and people like to form their own jam groups during the day. Each day will normally consist of some sort of trip or activity such as a visit to a local sight-seeing spot or a walk somewhere.

How old do you need to be to go on a retreat?

Above 18. There is no maximum age and we have people spanning all the ages coming to retreats.

Beginner guitarist FAQs

How long does it take to learn guitar?

How long is a piece of string? The textbook answer is that you’ll never stop learning. The TGS answer is you will be playing a song by the end of your first session with us. And by the end of the 4 week beginners course you’ll have played 4.

Stick with 20 minutes of practice a day and play stuff you enjoy and you’ll find yourself progressing very quickly.

We also recommend finding other people to play with (when allowed) as this helps keep you motivated and you’ll learn off each other.

Will my fingers hurt?

It depends on the guitar you have. Some hurt more than others but we promise the finger pain will go away.

Some tips for how to prevent the pain – don’t play after just washing your hands; try not to put your fingers in your mouth to lessen the pain and do little and often practice to help your fingertips to harden.

I have an electric guitar. Is that okay?

Whether you have an electric, acoustic or classical all will work fine in these sessions. Just make sure it’s in tune.

I want to buy a guitar. What do you recommend?

Get in touch with us, telling us your budget and whether you’re looking for acoustic, electric or classical. We don’t recommend spending any less than about £100 on a new guitar as it won’t be fun to play and you’ll probably either end up stopping all-together, or buying another one in a few months. We’ll help you find a good one in your budget.

What’s a capo?

It’s a peg like device bought for about £10 that you put across your stings to change the key of the guitar. You won’t need one in the beginners course but it’s useful to own one as a lot of the songs you’ll want to play will call for a capo.

How do I tune it?

There are two main types of tuner: a clip on one and an app. Both work by listening to the sound of, or feeling the vibration of the string and telling you when that string is in tune. Head to YouTube for instructional videos on how to tune or get in touch and ask for our help.

Nicola Cortese
Nicola Cortese
03/02/2022
I started a course in Jan as a beginner with Thomas and I can already play 5 songs!.. with simple chords :) both Thomas and Fiona are really lovely and they really know how to teach whilst having fun! I'd highly recommend dropping at one of their Thursday's open mic! Tons of fun and talent for free!!!
Jonny Pollard
Jonny Pollard
02/02/2022
Very friendly learning environment, was a bit nervous to play with a group having not played socially for many years, but it was super relaxed, and I learnt a lot in the first session. Looking forward to the next session!
Adam J
Adam J
01/02/2022
Had a great time tonight! I joined on to the beginners course a couple weeks late, but Fiona was great at running me up to speed before the class. Tom was a great instructor, and managed to get us to cover lots of ground in a short space of time. The group was super freindly and relaxed, and im looking forward to going back next week!
Jakub Špaček
Jakub Špaček
01/02/2022
Having played guitar in my past within academic environment I have to say The Guitar Social club opened my eyes with their amazing and vibrant atmosphere with company of great people. Lessons are really fun and easy to follow. Feel really motivate just after few classes and my connection to the instrument greatly improved!
Paula Smith
Paula Smith
31/01/2022
Unbelievably great, not kidding.
Marcella Puppini
Marcella Puppini
31/01/2022
This exactly what I was hoping it would be. A fun and engaging way of learning a new instrument at a lovely venue, with great people and great teaching. Thoroughly recommended.
hashtagobi
hashtagobi
31/01/2022
Only been going 2 weeks but it's a great environment with good pacing throughout the lessons. The community is quite helpful + open to learn so it's really a great space for anyone wanting to hone their guitar chops!
Kevin S.
Kevin S.
27/01/2022
Is it a guitar school? A social events group? A music workshop for all ages and abilities? An open, non-judgemental route to performing? A holiday club that includes jamming on guitars around the campfire? Well–it's all these and more. The Guitar Social is built around founder & lead tutor Thomas (plus TGS Business Director, Fiona, originally one of its earliest students). Patient and passionate, Thomas and his relaxed, friendly temperament get the best from beginners to improvers and beyond. Personally for me, one core strength of The Guitar Social is that Thomas realises what most tutors and courses never do – we can all learn fast and well when we play whole songs together and discover as a group how to make them work. Thomas and TGS guest tutors will always tend to teach music theory for guitar, and focus too on scales, chord voicings, correct rhythm, licks, riffs, parts, soloing etc, but with a tendency to make it about the fun and learning gains when students jam together on great songs instead of staring at a white board and not playing much music. Jamming songs in similar or mixed ability groups helps TGS students become functioning musicians who have built useful real world skills and experience across many sessions similar to how working musicians rehearse and workshop songs. And you will have the opportunity to build live experience too if you wish – solo or with your term group or with others of your choice, in a safe, positive environment, with friendly fellow students as your audience. Never any pressure and just one example of where TGS delivers extra value. They are really worth trying. I haven't even done full justice here to all the different activities they do.
stu smith
stu smith
25/01/2022
The coolest club in London!
Colin Taylor
Colin Taylor
25/01/2022
I'm back for my second series of the Joy of the Jam. After not playing with others for over 30 years, these sessions are reminding me just how inspiring and enjoyable jamming can be. Thomas leads the sessions with huge enthusiasm and a great deal of humour. The support of his impressive musical knowledge is ever present - but this never gets in the way of our desire just have fun and be playing.
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