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#1
Hey Forum,

I've read some Hess articles and I've been to Tom Hess' website to check it out and I've been thinking of doing some lessons with him. I hope some of you can tell me what he and the lessons are like. Is it any good, because the price is freakin high!?

So I hope that some of you have experienced a few lessons with him and that you can tell me about it.

Also, how experienced in guitar playing should one be to take lessons from Tom Hess? I guess that some technical and theoretical knowledge are needed before really taking lessons with the guy?

Thanks
#3
^ that's what ive been doing for a few years...
SH*T, IT'S MY GEAR!

Cort X-TH
Digitech RP-500
Roland Cube 30x
#4
Youtube will be far cheaper. Think of the money you'd save on more guitar gear!

UG+Youtube+metronome online is all you'll ever need.
#5
Luckily I got happy parents who can give me happy money for the lessons if I keep my grades up:p So it won't really be my money to save/spend. All I've got to do is keep doing my school stuff well
#6
Well I've never paid for any lessons from him but I did send him my email (I forget why... maybe to show him I'm interested?). He really spams your email. Well, I guess not spam per se, but he emails you pointless stuff that, if they reflect on how his lessons are, is something ANYone can tell you. He isn't very prestigious, and definitely isn't worth the money. Justin Guitar is a great place to start, but there are also many YouTuber's that provide top notch lessons including, but not limited to:

Riff of the Week

Garageband and Beyond isn't as much of a lessons dude, but I learned a lot from him.

Master the Guitar probably the best at learning songs from; explains complex ideas in a simple way.

Rotren

Creative Guitar Studio tends to go over more advanced techniques, but a great teacher as well

Lick Library mostly used to advertise their DVD's, but also show some cool stuff.

JamPlay

Hope that helps

EDIT: Well if you're parents can buy lessons, you should get it from an actual dude who knows his shit, in real life. If you want online lessons, you can get great ones for free.
R.I.P. Ronnie James Dio. Supplied amazing music to both me and my mother.

He will be missed.
Last edited by larrytheguitar at Mar 29, 2011,
#7
Quote by cornela1
Luckily I got happy parents who can give me happy money for the lessons if I keep my grades up:p So it won't really be my money to save/spend. All I've got to do is keep doing my school stuff well


if you are getting the money and if you want lessons i would get personal 1 on 1 lessons by a living breathing human being. not hurting on tom hess but in person can really help your playing a lot.

everyone is saying to save your money on here and that you dont need lessons. wells thats great, this is one means of learning. if you want to advance even more do it in person.
Gibson 58 VOS, Gibson Rich Robinson ES-335, Fender Strat, Fender RoadWorn 50's Tele, Gibson LP Jr Special

Marshall JTM45, Fender BJR NOS
#8
Yeah I've got lessons from a really experienced guitar player who toured with some of the greatest bands back in the day. Idk howmuch I can say because he visites this forum aswell:p He's a great teacher and even a friend of me but I want to try something else and better: more. I really want to progress faster so I thought these real lessons by internet might be good as well.

I've heard that the interaction between Hess and his students is pretty good as he personally answers questions within 2-3 days and there's even a forum and some live-chat hours available.

So to update, I AM having 1 on 1 lessons already and this (hess) would be an extra.
#10
I don't think much of Tom Hess....

I think he's become a smooth master of marketing himself and getting people to pay ginormous amounts of money to take lessons from him, be in his Inner Circle, etc. I see his page and his students and I don't want to do, or sound like any of them.

I think he purports to be some mystical teacher, but all I hear his students doing is imitating him and widdling. I think its great that they seem to be happy with him, and maybe for technique it's great, I dont know. I see technique as a tool, but he has this gratingly annoying musicality to me. When he says "Sound great", I'm still waiting for HIM to sound great...I think he fell off the tracks a long time ago. But he's gotten just enough people that like what he does, as if speed is the be all end all of musicianship by which we should judge players...

I don't know, sign up, and tell us how it goes. Personally I think he's like a big Wizard of Oz. I'd love 10 minutes in a room with any of his students just to test what they truly know and understand about the guitar. I'd like to think that he teaches good stuff, but I'm not sold. I've seen his seminars, Ive watched his students videos, and the homogenization doesn't do it for me.

I couldn't take lessons from a teacher who, himself hasn't seemed to "get it" yet.

One thing that I'd like to do this year is post my students playing, they all seem to have their own voice and yet they all are also free and unfettered int heir ability to interpret and create, without sounding like cookie cutters of me or one another.

Best,

Sean
#11
Quote by Sean0913
[...]

I have to agree with you on most parts, he really knows how to advertise for himself and how to make 'pretty smooth' talks..

I might just give it a try. Opinions about him from outsiders seem quite different ranging from NO to YES I'll see if Im going to do it.

Think thats it, thanks all
#12
I would prolly recommend you get lessons from Greg Howe instead, seeing as he's cheaper, better, and imho, a better teacher.

Not to mention you can add lessons from Justin Sandercoe and Rusty Cooley and keep it all under the same price Tom Hess charges to send you identikit pdfs...

Let us know how it goes if you go for it.
#13
Click on Seans links above in his signature. He can't advertise here and since i'm not affiliated in any way with him, I'm not advertising, just suggesting...

His methods are sound and I've met a couple of people who swear by him, and none yet that swear at him...
#14
Quote by cornela1
Luckily I got happy parents who can give me happy money for the lessons if I keep my grades up:p So it won't really be my money to save/spend. All I've got to do is keep doing my school stuff well


Yeah, in this situation I would much rather opt for a good local teacher than an internet celebrity. You'll probably get the same results, but faster and cheaper. It's also more likely that you'll end up with a program structure more tailored to your goals.

Although if I were to get internet lessons, I'd probably opt for Sean on this forum, just out of curiousity.
And no, Guitar Hero will not help. Even on expert. Really.
Soundcloud
#15
Quote by Arby911
Click on Seans links above in his signature. He can't advertise here and since i'm not affiliated in any way with him, I'm not advertising, just suggesting...

His methods are sound and I've met a couple of people who swear by him, and none yet that swear at him...



Wow, thank you, I appreciate that, if I can help I'll do my best. A lot of people here are my students but I never solicit them to advertise for me, or put in a review, they all pretty much fly below the radar, so if you've talked to a few of them, that really means a lot to me, because that means that they are sharing of their own accord, and not because I asked them for any "favors". I've never and never would impose upon my students to do that kind of thing, so the fact that some are sharing their experience, really touches me, because I know its from a sincere place.

Thanks for the kind words, Arby...

I'm not even saying I could help this TS, I'd really have to sit down and talk to them, and see what their needs are, their goals are, what they know, and then I could give them as realistic an assessment as I could about their goals.

Thanks for sharing that Arby, I wasn't aware that any of my students were talking about their experience with others from here, that comment made my night....

Sean
#16
One of Sean's students told me he cooks a mean taco too.
And no, Guitar Hero will not help. Even on expert. Really.
Soundcloud
#17
Ha ha ha I'm eating a taco right now!! (looks around for Alan)

(spooky music)

"Mama im skeeeerd.... "

By the way, dude...what happened to your road trip to come see me man? I wanna jam with you so bad....it would be awesome!

(A lot of y'all I hope to one day sit down and kill a few notes with)


Sean
Last edited by Sean0913 at Mar 29, 2011,
#18
So Sean, how do you teach then? I mean, I live in holland so... Just getting curious because I've heard some people talk about you aswell
#19
Quote by Sean0913
By the way, dude...what happened to your road trip to come see me man? I wanna jam with you so bad....it would be awesome!


Yeah sorry about that, I got stuck in Cleveland having to resubmit an essay so had to cut Texas out :P

I managed to catch up with Axemanchris though, that was cool.
And no, Guitar Hero will not help. Even on expert. Really.
Soundcloud
#20
Quote by cornela1
So Sean, how do you teach then? I mean, I live in holland so... Just getting curious because I've heard some people talk about you aswell



Hey Cornela1,

Tell you what, send me a PM, and I'll do my best to answer your questions/help you out.

Tell me a bit about your goals, current abilities/needs, playing history etc...and I'll do what I can to give you a realistic understanding of the Academy, and what your role would be as a student.

As for Holland, that's not a problem, I have students in Holland, Denmark, Finland, and Sweden...I have several from that part of the world (and other places).

Look forward to hearing from you!

Sean
#21
Quote by Sean0913
Hey Cornela1,

Tell you what, send me a PM, and I'll do my best to answer your questions/help you out.
Sean


I just did
#22
Quote by larrytheguitar
Well I've never paid for any lessons from him but I did send him my email (I forget why... maybe to show him I'm interested?). He really spams your email. Well, I guess not spam per se, but he emails you pointless stuff that, if they reflect on how his lessons are, is something ANYone can tell you. He isn't very prestigious, and definitely isn't worth the money. Justin Guitar is a great place to start, but there are also many YouTuber's that provide top notch lessons including, but not limited to:

Riff of the Week

Garageband and Beyond isn't as much of a lessons dude, but I learned a lot from him.

Master the Guitar probably the best at learning songs from; explains complex ideas in a simple way.

Rotren

Creative Guitar Studio tends to go over more advanced techniques, but a great teacher as well

Lick Library mostly used to advertise their DVD's, but also show some cool stuff.

JamPlay

Hope that helps

EDIT: Well if you're parents can buy lessons, you should get it from an actual dude who knows his shit, in real life. If you want online lessons, you can get great ones for free.


^^ i second Justin Guitar, awesome site with tons of info
#23
I've written a PM to Sean to talk about his services and the how/whats.
I think I'm not going to 'try' Hess because, he really is too much of a mental helper than a player. Judging by other people's input and having read his articles and getting some of his lessons by mail, that is..
And for his price I could get 3 personal 1-on-1 guitar teachers in the place where I am (Average charge=15 Euro in the area).. So Im going to try somebody else; hopefully someone online though. Don't really have the time to do it with somebody else in person.
#24
I actually have taken lessons from Tom Hess, and it's pretty much worth the money I'd say. He makes things simple but he will still overload you with information and ideas that allow to progress at a very fast level and experience what is called "spiral upward growth" Six months ago, I was pretty good at guitar i guess. I had been taking the "internet route" as some others here have, so I was officially rifftastic and knew a lot of covers, I didn't know that much theory, but I could jam, and my ear was okay.
Then I started taking lessons with Tom Hess. In six months I have made so much progress it is ridiculous. I can play 700 notes per minute, I can sweep pick, I know the fretboard, I make my own chords literally ALL THE TIME, I can jam with anything and control the consonance and dissonance. Control! Not vague sort of or just reaching out in the dark. I have unlocked the fretboard completely, I can play all over the neck. My musical hearing is also way more intense. His lessons are the shit. I only take one a month and he gives me so much crap I have to develop a rotating practice schedule.
I would suggest his lessons to anybody who is really serious about being a great guitarist. He is qualified: he has taught at National Guitar Workshop, Harper College, and over 50,000 lessons (idk the exact number or anything). You pretty much have to be serious though, they do require a SIGNIFICANT TIME COMMITMENT. So if you want to do that, I would suggest him to anybody, just out of interest of being helpful to others. He is really good at getting your skills up, and he can tell you the things that only a guitar teacher who has experience teaching virtuosos would be able to tell you. You can definitely communicate with him too, so it's not like completely impersonal. Or, you could just get John Petrucci's Rock Discipline and become a convert to his shredding religion :P
"Things seem pretty crummy, but if they could carry us away with them, we'd die of poetry. In a way, that wouldn't be bad." -Louis-Ferdinand Celine
#25
Quote by cornela1
I've written a PM to Sean to talk about his services and the how/whats.
I think I'm not going to 'try' Hess because, he really is too much of a mental helper than a player. Judging by other people's input and having read his articles and getting some of his lessons by mail, that is..
And for his price I could get 3 personal 1-on-1 guitar teachers in the place where I am (Average charge=15 Euro in the area).. So Im going to try somebody else; hopefully someone online though. Don't really have the time to do it with somebody else in person.


The articles and mini-lessons that he sends to you by mail are not the real guitar lessons. He is a really good teacher, but obviously do whatever you want to do, my advice would be just to find someone who is qualified to teach you everything that you need to know.
"Things seem pretty crummy, but if they could carry us away with them, we'd die of poetry. In a way, that wouldn't be bad." -Louis-Ferdinand Celine
#26
Quote by Marcus_Wiesner
The articles and mini-lessons that he sends to you by mail are not the real guitar lessons. He is a really good teacher, but obviously do whatever you want to do, my advice would be just to find someone who is qualified to teach you everything that you need to know.

yeah I know that they're not the real lessons but whatever I read from him makes me think he's more of a music psych then a teacher. But I might just be sooo wrong about that,
My level of guitar playing is not really THAT good already, would it be smart to at least be at a good level before (re-)considering his lessons? For his price, I could get 2 good or 3 average 1-on-1 teachers in the local area, ON TOP of the one I'm having right now..

I know I'm serious with my guitar playing now, I'm very much busy practising guitar technique and I'm learning a lot of scales and how to identify 'keys', chords etc.

What was your level of guitar playing when you decided to take his lessons, and could you really notice a (fast) progress?
Last edited by cornela1 at Mar 31, 2011,
#27
Quote by Marcus_Wiesner
I only take one a month and he gives me so much crap I have to develop a rotating practice schedule.


Look mate, that's great it's worked out well for you. But that style of teaching is definately not for everyone. Just lump craploads of information on a person and get them to come back in a month. Handy!

Instead I'd rather a teacher who actually accommodated to my needs and goals. One who could actually explain clearly and slowly each element, and how to use it. Teaching too much too fast is simply the sign of an inexperienced teacher.
And no, Guitar Hero will not help. Even on expert. Really.
Soundcloud
#29
Quote by Marcus_Wiesner
The articles and mini-lessons that he sends to you by mail are not the real guitar lessons. He is a really good teacher, but obviously do whatever you want to do, my advice would be just to find someone who is qualified to teach you everything that you need to know.


Marcus,

Thanks for weighing in. At first I wasn't sure to buy this, as it shows you just registered today, and the cynical side of me knows not to trust or believe everything I see, but the more I think about it the more sincere your story seems to be. I'd be interested in knowing how his courses break down, and what kind of material he gives you.

I am skeptical of that approach, but I suppose paying as much as you do puts you in a corner of sorts, doesnt it...you either do the work or you just spent it all for nothing.

In a sense I suppose it forces you to grow up and not make excuses or procrastinate? What do you thing works about his approach, and what makes you say he is a good teacher? I have never seen any outside evidence of this, and I've watched seminars and clinics etc, and not only am I not a fan of his own playing, but I havent seen many examples of his ability to teach. I see a persona of being a teacher in where he takes the simple answer, and mysticizes things, but not much else.

It's almost as if he sits on these "gems" of knowledge, and hands them out as if he's "bestowing" his ideas upon them, whilst obscuring the fact is that there isn't really anything going on. Like a video in which he called the 9th ""lonely" and "lamenting" - well that minor chord in the background certainly helps. But the 4th to the 3rd or 5th does the same thing, its called resolution...and I dont see him owning up to it, its like its shrouded in drama and wonder. Is this how he teaches in private as well?

Thanks for your input into this.

By the way, would you be open for a chat in real time so I could discuss further with you concerning the abilities you claim to have, and ask you questions to see what you know and dont know.

Best,

Sean
Last edited by Sean0913 at Mar 31, 2011,
#30
This is something I found on Tom's site, because Ive since been looking deeper into him since this topic has come up.

The concerns I have are in his answer below. If this is the kind of answer that he gives (In bold and underlined) - I am already starting to become further wary...

------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Question: I know already the 7 modes (Ionian, Dorian, Phrygian, etc.) are derived from the major scale. I know their positions and how they are built. I know them but I am really not able to apply them. I know for instance that the 3 major modes can be used when playing major chords (triads), the 3 minor modes can be used when playing minor chords (triads) and the Locrian mode is rarely used. I know as well that all of them can be used more easily with power chords as they are only based on the tonic and the 5th and then are neither major nor minor. As I said, I have learned mostly alone either from the Internet sites, books and personal searches. I have surely misunderstood some things....

Answer: Your statement about how the modes are used over chords is NOT correct. The following statement is false: "I know for instance that the 3 major modes can be used when playing major chords (triads), the 3 minor modes can be used when playing minor chords (triads) and the Locrian mode is rarely used". When You have a chord progression in a major key, You can play ALL of the modes of a major key. For example: In the key of C major, if You want to improvise over this chord progression: C Am Dm G. You do NOT have to switch scale positions or modes. You can play any of these modes over the entire chord progression in the example above:

C major (C Ionian)
D Dorian
E Phrygian
F Lydian
G Mixolydian
A Aeolian (A minor)
B Locrian


The information that You have learned previously from somewhere else is misleading and You have learned it in the incorrect context. There is some validity to Your statement, but NOT in the same way that You think. I strongly advise You (at least at this point in your learning) to disregard Your statement above. This misunderstanding that You have tried to learn elsewhere is a major cause of Your confusion.

Notice that all of these modes have EXACTLY the same notes in them. All of these modes (and the notes in each mode) are derived from the key of C major and therefore can be used during any chord progression that is in the key of C major. So for example, You can play a C major scale over a D minor triad as long as the D minor triad is part of a chord progression in the key of C major.

C Major: C D E F G A B C

D Dorian: D E F G A B C D
E Phrygian: E F G A B C D E
F Lydian: F G A B C D E F
G Mixolydian: G A B C D E F G
A Aeolian: A B C D E F G A
B Locrian: B C D E F G A B

Later in Your learning, we will discuss soloing and improvising over each chord separately in a chord progression, but that type of thinking is more advanced than we are ready to get into at this point. For now, think of the big idea that all modes of a given key can be used at any time during a diatonic chord progression in the same key.
-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

(shakes head)

Sean
Last edited by Sean0913 at Mar 31, 2011,
#31
We should bring the business degree spambot to this thread so he can explain everything to us
#32
This is getting interesting...

@Sean, .. I wrote you a PM, have you received/read it?
#33
I haven't paid much attention to Tom Hess, but from what I've seen, he isn't that great of a player. Competent yes, but I haven't seen/heard anything from him that completely blew me away. I'd say look elsewhere as he smells kinda scammy.

His instruction, does seem to contain some good advice however; it's just not sure his playing matches his instruction.
#34
Geez to lay such incorrect information about modes is horrible. But it was even more horrible when he points out he hasn't taught the student to emphasize chord tones yet.
And no, Guitar Hero will not help. Even on expert. Really.
Soundcloud
#36
After looking at a couple of youtube vids I recognise this guy now. I remember there was a video where he asked his students "what's your favourite guitarist?" and one went "Frusciante!". Tom's like "Frusiciante sucks....how about someone good?".

That sort of attitude doesn't fly with me. If I'm paying someone to teach me to play like Frusicante, well you'd better teach me or I'm going to a guy who can.
And no, Guitar Hero will not help. Even on expert. Really.
Soundcloud
#37
Quote by AlanHB
Geez to lay such incorrect information about modes is horrible. But it was even more horrible when he points out he hasn't taught the student to emphasize chord tones yet.


Not only that, he makes it seem like that is even more difficult and advanced. I'd love to see his explanation for targeting chord tones and outlining chords right.

The thing I dont get though is why go through all the trouble of teaching all the modes just to say you can use all the seven notes. Why make a student work with what basically is 49 notes he has to learn when ha can just work with the same seven?

Maybe that why none of the showcased students sound like frusciante. Like Sean said, they pretty much all sound the same and it sounds just like scale running.
Last edited by Pillo114 at Mar 31, 2011,
#38
Quote by Pillo114
Not only that, he makes it seem like that is even more difficult and advanced. I'd love to see his explanation for targeting chord tones and outlining chords right.

The thing I dont get though is why go through all the trouble of teaching all the modes just to say you can use all the seven notes. Why make a student work with what basically is 49 notes he has to learn when ha can just work with the same seven?

Maybe that why none of the showcased students sound like frusciante. Like Sean said, they pretty much all sound the same and it sounds just like scale running.


Well with his logic above, you could argue, say in the key of C that over the E min chord we'll use E phrygian because you'll be better placed to emphasise the chord tones?

I dunno, maybe.

I guess people have to realise that there is no difference between what x teacher teaches and what y teacher teaches (if they have the same degree of competency). This applies even if x teacher lives down the street or y teacher is a floating head on your computer.

The only difference is whether they are
(a) effective in communicating their knowledge

You can understand them, and they can vary the way they explain the same thing if the student doesn't understand it the first time they explain.

(b) attentive to the needs of the students

Teach what the student wants to be taught. Progress at "their" speed, not yours. If you taught them the major scale last time, and they still don't have it, instead of the minor scale lesson like you planned, you go through what the student's issues with the major scale was, and get some solutions for it. Better that the student comes away from the lesson less confused than when they arrived.

(c) have the right teaching style for the students

This is simply a personal preference. You know at school/college/university how you may really like one teacher, but your friend really doesn't? That's just a difference in preference of teaching style. It's one of the good reasons you should "shop around" different teachers.
And no, Guitar Hero will not help. Even on expert. Really.
Soundcloud
#39
He takes that Emin/E phrygian thing a step higher, he's basically saying that you could use B Locrian or F lydian over the Emin chord the the key of C because all these modes are derived from the same key.

You could say he is right in a way, but it's the longest path possible. And judging from the constant barrage of mode confusion here in MT, I wouldn't say its the most effective method.

But yeah I agree with you, an excellent teacher could have a really backwards way of understanding music theory, but if he can really teach it so efficiently that it gets you to the same place or beyond the "conventional", there shouldnt be a problem.
#40
Quote by Pillo114
He takes that Emin/E phrygian thing a step higher, he's basically saying that you could use B Locrian or F lydian over the Emin chord the the key of C because all these modes are derived from the same key.

You could say he is right in a way, but it's the longest path possible. And judging from the constant barrage of mode confusion here in MT, I wouldn't say its the most effective method.

But yeah I agree with you, an excellent teacher could have a really backwards way of understanding music theory, but if he can really teach it so efficiently that it gets you to the same place or beyond the "conventional", there shouldnt be a problem.


I agree, it's an extremely long way to figure it out. Actually when the modes concept was first explained to me like the way Tom did, I went away going "oh, ok". But after a little while I was just like "wait as second! how come this all sounds like the C major scale? I must have done something wrong!". So I go back the next week and it was explained about the differences between modes and keys etc. which made a hell of a lot more sense, I'd started wondering whether I'd been wrong for all the years beforehand.
And no, Guitar Hero will not help. Even on expert. Really.
Soundcloud
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