Mark Tremonti: Why I Gave Up on Guitar Lessons as a Kid

"For many, many years, I was a terrible, terrible guitar player. I was awful."

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Mark Tremonti: Why I Gave Up on Guitar Lessons as a Kid
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Mark Tremonti talked about the early days of his musical journey, telling Comebackstage (via Blabbermouth):

"Yeah, I took one guitar lesson and it was one of those things where I had to buy a Mel Bay [guitar instruction] book and they tried to teach me 'Silent Night'.

"I just wasn't interested, so I didn't go back and I just decided to buy tablature books and learn by myself."

Asked if it's easier to learn guitar on your own, or with a teacher, Tremonti replied:

"It's much easier to have a teacher. [Laughs] I didn't have the resources [to get a guitar teacher]. There wasn't a teacher nearby, it was expensive.

"I was turned off by the first lesson I had, so I decided… I like songwriting a lot. I wasn't much into being a magnificent guitar player, I just wanted to write songs and sing. For many, many years, I was a terrible, terrible guitar player. I was awful.

"My brothers used to make fun of me that I couldn't play a song from start to finish. But I was developing how to become a songwriter and how to develop my own sound. I'm glad I did it that way.

"If you have a guitar teacher your whole life where you're following one guitar player, two guitar players, you start sounding like those players. Learning on your own, you develop your own sound."

37 comments sorted by best / new / date

    Xeus
    Mark Tremonti is now a very good guitar player. That's what makes the article headline interesting.
    City_Machine
    I didn't have lessons or a teacher. I had Guitar World mags and Tabcrawler. 
    wwstewart
    I had radio and albums. I cranked them up and the tried to play what I was hearing. It was great! Never quite got to Passion and Warfare level, but it was fun and I improved a lot doing this. The trick is to find a way to make it fun...at least that's what worked for me. Your mileage may vary.
    Lord_Westwood
    Telling us how he got good would be nice.....
    Gobelin666
    practicing?
    jstansbe
    I'm just looking to take a pill to make me better, thanks for the suggestion though  
    Lord_Westwood
    .....go on expand. What did he practice for how long and how often, in sets of? He played along to what tracks and used what scales?
    triface
    Find songs that you like that are just out of your league. Grind at them until you've got them down. Rinse and repeat.
    stixhogan
    I love this.  Similar to what I used to tell people about how to play golf well too "just put the little ball in the little hole however you can". Just go out and try it.  Figure out a way to get what you want. 
    slapsymcdougal
    You didn't read the last paragraph, did you? Or do you just want to be Tremonti-lite?
    Lord_Westwood
    I read it but "learning on your own is a vague way of saying I am offering you no advice" it's different to say "you need to teach yourself but make sure you practice scales".....
    PRSguitars87
    What exactly do you think he did other than practicing? He actually said he learned by reading tabs and writing his own songs.
    Breakingpoint56
    Idk. I learned like he did and I think my stuff has turned out alright. I think it comes down to "what are you trying to accomplish?" If you want to work in the studio, then yes, you need to be an expert and know every bit of theory and be fluent in different styles. A teacher is great for that, but I don't think anything beats old fashioned hard work. For me, music is more enjoyable when you don't try to set rules or guidelines on how you learn or explore it. It's so free-form that structure just doesn't fit the essence of it. It's just important to know some structure to command it. 
    selectany
    I also visited guitar teacher only once, and I was glad until the moment he said that it is very hard to him to teach lefty guitarists. He said that at the beginning of the lesson. And he was right. In the middle of the session it become heavily. All he has said resulted messy information in my head.
    anders.jorgense
    Mark took Troy Stetina lessons  I do sound like me as I never followed any teacher but what I wanted to hear. That includes Stetina as well.
    Rayan_A
     Okay. 
    TombOfHorror
    This constantly commenting okay is starting to look like a plea for help. Are you okay?