Frequently Asked Questions

The following FAQs are in relation to The Guitar Social during Covid. Once we are back doing face to face classes, the nature of how we teach will change, and so to will these Q&As.

Accessing The Guitar Social courses and content through Patreon

What is Patreon?

Patreon is a content subscription site where you pay a monthly fee and in exchange you have access to our guitar tutorial videos, podcasts, resources, all events and all live courses and workshops.

We have 4 subscription levels from £5/month to £25 per month and what you get with each level is detailed here The Guitar Social is creating music and communities | Patreon

How am I charged for Patreon?

You choose the level that is best suited to your needs and take out the monthly subscription. You’ll be charged on the day you take it out and then all subsequent months, on the 1st day of the month.

I’ve taken out the Patreon level that includes courses. How do I now book them?

Level 2 (Backstage pass) or higher gets you access to all Guitar Social courses and Workshops. Once you have taken out tier 2 or above, head to the courses page on The Guitar Social website and book as many as you like. These are all included in your subscription of £20 or more. Then read the FAQs within ‘Before your session with The Guitar Social’ on how to access the courses and content.

I’ve taken out the Patreon level that includes events. How do I book them?

Level 1 (In the Crowd) gets you access to all Guitar Social events. Once you have taken out tier 1 or above, head to the events page on the website and book as many as you like. Then read the FAQs on ‘Events’ on how to attend the events.

I’ve taken out the Patreon level that includes access to content on Patreon. How do I access it?

Log into Patreon and start exploring what we have. There are videos from many months ago which are always relevant, and we update Patreon every week with new content. We try to tier this content into levels. Level 1 is beginner, Level 2 improver and level 3, the more advanced stuff.

If there’s a particular topic you’d like to see covered by a video on Patreon, get in touch.

Learning with The Guitar Social FAQs


Before your session with The Guitar Social

I’ve signed up via the website. How do I pay?

If you haven’t taken out a Patreon subscription go read the FAQs on Patreon and follow the instructions there.

If you have taken out a subscription then, so long as it’s level 2 or above that you have, congratulations, you’ve paid, and we’ll be in touch.

I tried to book but the calendar says ‘no time slot’s available’. What do I do?

Check that the calendar is on the month when the workshop starts. Annoyingly it only shows you the month that it is now. If the workshop starts next month you’ll need to scroll across to that month to find the date you can book onto.

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

Your booking is confirmed and the Zoom link for the call will be in your inbox 30 minutes before the session is due to start. We send it 30 minutes before the start because we get a lot of last-minute bookings. The Zoom link stays the same every week so keep the email safe.

You won’t need to read through or access any materials before the session. These are shared live in session and then with you afterwards.

I’ve signed up to a one-off workshop via the website, now what?

Your booking is confirmed and the Zoom link for the call will be in your inbox 30 minutes before the session is due to start. We send it 30 minutes before the start because we get a lot of last-minute bookings.

You won’t need to read through or access any materials before the session. These are shared live in session and then with you afterwards.

How do I access the course materials?

After the first session, normally the following day you’ll be sent a folder which contains all of your practice materials. See ‘After the session, what to expect’ for more details.

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.

Do you offer courses 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 beginner’s course. Is this for complete beginners?

Yes, our beginners’ course is 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.

In session – What to expect

How long is a session?

Typically 45 minutes though we do offer some longer and some shorter sessions. We keep them short because no one likes being on Zoom for hours on end and the sessions are designed to impart the knowledge, so you can go off and practice it in your own time.

If we must have our mic’s off in session, how does the tutor know whether I’m doing it right?

If you’re unsure of something we ask you to stick your mic on and ask. We love questions. It helps to break up the drone of hearing only one voice for 45 minutes.

If you point your camera towards your hands, the tutor has you up on a massive monitor and will be scanning hands the whole way through so he will pick up on anything not quite right as well.

If we have to have our mic’s off in session, how will I get to know other people?

The sessions always start with some conversation between students and between student and tutor and often this will crop up again in the session. We also have loads of additional events and holidays outside of class where people can get to know each other.

Each course also comes with a WhatsApp group. See ’Outside of session what to expect’ for more information.

How many people normally take part in a course?

We tend to have between 15 and 30 people signing up to our courses. Beginners we cap at 15 so that you get the time and attention that a beginner needs.

Do I have to attend live or can I just access everything via video?

We love it when you come to the sessions as it means we can get to know you, you get to know the other people on the course and you can ask questions live, but we know some people prefer to learn in their own time so it really is up to you.

I don’t want to be in the recording, what do I do?

To avoid showing up on the recording you’ll need to turn your camera off.

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 the recording of the session, short videos detailing specific aspects to practice and any related written materials e.g. tabs, chords or scales.

What if I miss a session?

We record all sessions and send everyone who is signed up to the course a link to this recording.

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.

I can’t motivate myself to practice. Any tips?

Join the jigsaw club. This is a practice club we’ve set up which works on the idea of peer pressure, but in a nice way.

How it works, is you sign up to the jigsaw club via the events page, and by doing this you commit to 20 minutes of practice for 20 days within a month.

The reason it’s called the jigsaw challenge is that when you sign up your name gets written onto the back of 20 jigsaw pieces. If you don’t do your practice then that piece never makes it into the jigsaw. Peer pressure at it’s best and most artistic!

Outside of session

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

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?

You’ll need at least a tier 1 (In the Crowd) Patreon membership to come to events. See the Patreon section for how to get this membership and what else it offers you.

I want to perform. Any events for that?

We have a monthly event called Live Lounge 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.

I can see some events listed which are free to attend. Does this mean I don’t need a Patreon membership?

We have some daytime events and jams which we run for anyone and everyone. We want to encourage people to pick up their guitar every day and this is how we do it. We understand that not everyone can afford a Patreon membership which is why we run them for free. If you can afford a membership though, we’d love your support. Of, if you’d rather make some one-off payments, you can buy us a Ko-fee here https://ko-fi.com/theguitarsocial.

How many people come to your events?

Normally between 20 and 40 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.