Guitar Lessons for Teens & Preteens

Parent Q&A

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  • My son's guitar teacher recently passed away.  We are heartbroken at the loss of such a lovely human.  My son is inspired to continue his lessons.  Can you recommend a great guitar teacher that is local and great with children?  We want a low stress, high fun environment.  Any leads appreciated! 


    I wholeheartedly recommend Raphi Gottesman as a guitar teacher for kids.  He is exactly what you write about - teaches in a low stress, high fun environment.  He teaches and/or suggests songs the kids are interested in learning. He does both acoustic and electric (and even ukuleles) in a little studio behind his house in the Laurel District of Oakland.  My grandchild took lessons from him for a year at age 12 and their friend has been taking lessons from Raphi for about 4 years - starting at age 10.  His email is gottesmanraphi [at] and his phone # is 614-581-1719.  


    I highly recommend Steve Gibson who taught my son at an early age all through his teen years.  He is also co-director of BandWorks and teaches at Cazadero Family Music Camp.  Email BandWorks for his contact info.  He's fantastic.  Your son may want to join BandWorks as well; it's a lot of fun. 

    Highly recommend Wayne Anderson. He is so kind and patient and teaches both kids and adults. Guitar and drums as well as other instruments.

    He teaches in Alameda and on-line.  I liked working with him so much I recommended my nephew on the East Coast to sign up once he started offering Zoom. 

  • Guitar teacher for teen

    Aug 22, 2020

    The recommendations in the archives are a bit dated. I’m looking for an acoustic guitar teacher for a 14 year old. He’s had some lessons before, but they ended with SiP and the teacher wasn’t a great fit. Ideally I think a youngish guy would be optimal. I’m open to Zoom lessons but maybe outdoor ones would be better. I can’t pay more than $50/hr. We live near Montclair. Thanks!

    We’ve worked with Rory Matthews and he’s been awesome. He also has a band and is about to release his first album and he also lives in Montclair. 

    Rory Matthews 

    rory [at] 


    We love our guitar teacher.  Raphi Gottesman.  He lives and has a guitar studio in the Laurel.  reach him at 614-581-1719 gottesmanraphi [at]

    He is patient and warm.

    Ben Zadan is excellent, extremely patient, versatile and a nice guy. When my kid went off to college last year, I started taking lessons from him myself! benzadan [at]

    Lisa Zeiler (lisazeilermusic [at] (lisazeilermusic[at]gmail[dot]com)) is a dream. She is both an amazing person and a fantastic guitar teacher. Highly recommend!

    Lisa Zeiler is an amazing guitar teacher. She worked with my son from 4th grade through high school! 

  • Hi, looking for a great guitar teacher, maybe someone who could come to the home ( north Berkeley)  for 14 year old daughter with no previous experience. Would love someone who is great with teens and ok teaching contemporary music.

    Hi there,

    I suggest that you look up teachers in your area from the Music Teacher’s Association website www. 

    The teachers in this association must have at least a Bachelor Degree in music. There’s a Find a Teacher link, and you can choose guitar and type in your zip code. Some of them travel to student homes while others have studios. 

    I recommend meeting a few teachers and see who your child feels comfortable with. Most teachers will have a free first lesson (meet and greet). Good luck! 

    I agree with the previous post about making sure the teacher is a good personality fit, especially for the teen years. As a music teacher myself, I never take for granted the trusting relationship that develops in the studio. It is hard to hide our personalities during lessons because we just get so darn excited by music which is why we get into teaching in the first place, so you can typically learn a teachers style pretty quickly. If you find that your daughter also is able to let show a little of her personality in the first lesson it is a good sign, although I have had many shy teens open up about about a month of lessons to become the chattiest, bravest ones. They can be wild cards! You know your teen best.

    Good luck on the search and happy music making!

Archived Q&A and Reviews

Guitar teacher for 13 year old

Sept 2014

Hi, we are looking for a teacher who can teach both guitar and piano to our 13 year old son. He has had three years of instruction in both instruments. He is interested in rock and jazz. We are located in the Walnut Creek area, but we are willing to drive up to Oakland . Thank you. Greta

Hi! My kid has been learning guitar from Aaron Asghari and is really enjoying the lessons! Aaron only does guitar, but he's really great for rock and jazz. He's pretty cool and laid back, and can teach your son all kinds of songs that he actually enjoys playing. Sasha

In home electric guitar lessons for 12 year old

Sept 2013

Our 12 year old daughter wants to learn to play eclectic guitar. We would love to find someone who would come to our home to give lessons. Thanks

Billy Ribak (Three O'Clock Rock) is a fantastic guitar teacher. He has a studio in downtown Oakland but will also come to your house. He taught my son guitar at our house in Oakland for several years. He is very patient and kind and he really empowers and inspires his students. I can't recommend him more highly. (510) 900-9490. Elizabeth

Rory Jelinski is a skilled musician & a great teacher! I know her through Holden High, where she taught guitar, ensemble & music theory for 3 years. The students loved her. She can work with a variety of styles, from death metal to classical. Her phone is 510-292-5619. Renee

Guitar teacher recommendations, for teenager?

Feb 2013

We're looking for a mellow but serious guitar teacher, preferably in the vicinity of North Berkeley/Albany/EC, for our daughter, who likes indie music but has pretty broad tastes. Thanks!

My no-longer teenaged kids took guitar lessons from Kerry Yates. He teaches in Berkeley 2 days/week in the building where Subway Guitar is located, on Cedar. Mellow guy, great guitar teacher, he also plays professionally. My kids really liked him and still play guitar today. He can be reached at 415 681 3649. If Kerry isn't available, call Subway Guitar for another recommendation. guitar mom

Luke Bace, My teenage son has been happily taking lessons from him for over a year, and we all think he's terrific. Karen

My son worked with Steve Gibson for years, even since before he was a teenager, all the way through high school. Steve is wonderful---very knowledgeable, relaxed, supportive. You can reach him through BandWorks in Oakland but he also teaches out of his home. Steve can also connect your teen to BandWorks which is a very cool place for teens to play music together. Steve is one of the co-organizers of Cazadero Family Music Camp which is another wonderful institution we're lucky to have in this area. Diane

I highly recommend Hale Fulton. He can be reached at halefulton [at] My son takes classes with him, and he's very engaging and great. He's started with the acoustic guitar, but is really engaging my son via his desire to play the electric guitar, so weaving that in a bit, too. And as a result, my son really wants to practice. felicia

Our boys (ages 12 and 9) have been taking guitar lessons with Hale Fulton for the past several months. We could not be happier with the instruction they have been receiving and would recommend Hale without reservation. Hale is highly skilled as both a player and a teacher. More importantly, he knows how to connect with children. He listens carefully to what they are interested in learning and tailors his approach to their interests and needs. He is patient and supportive. At the same time, he helps stretch students in new directions while keeping it fun (e.g., playing duets, improvising). He is familiar with and can teach a wide range of musical genres. In short, you can't go wrong if you choose Hale as your child's guitar teacher. You can reach him at: halefulton [at] Piedmont Family of Four

Hale Fulton is a great guitar teacher. He is super relaxed and supportive and he encourages his students to learn the music they like to listen to. Hale is conveniently located in North Berkeley. He can be reached at halefulton [at] or 510-798-5662. suzi

Hale is one of those great teachers: patient, excited, honest, engaging, resourceful, expert at his field, a great communicator. I was so excited when we found him that we scheduled two lessons a week for a while. He is also flexible with his schedule and always tries to accommodate even the toughest agendas. I am certain you will like him and entrust him as much as we did. Email him at halefulton [at] stathi

Rory Jelinski is a great guitar teacher! She taught Guitar, Music Theory, & Ensemble/Jam at Holden High for several years, & the students loved her. She's an amazing musician, has the ability to meet people where they are musically & help them learn easily, & loves all kinds of genres. Give her a call: 630-849-7695. Renee

Electric guitar lessons for beginner 13 year old

Jan 2012

Hi - I'm looking a for patient, cool guitar teacher for my 13 year old son. He's a beginner, and we're in the Richmond/El Sobrante area. Most of the recommendations on the website are for Berkeley / Oakland / Lamorinda and we'd like not to have to drive that far. Thanks! karen

In respones to the inquiry a few weeks ago for recommendations for a guitar teacher, I recommend you contact Gabriel Olin. He provides individual lessons in the teaching rooms at The Starving Musician on Shattuck in Berkeley. My husband has been taking lessons from him for about four years. He's seen him teaching a wide age-range of teens. More recently our nine (9) daughter has also started taking lessons. Both of them are very pleased and both are progressing well. Gabriel seems to be flexible in approach and able to adapt music that is known and appeals to each of them (and they have slightly different taste in music). His contact information: Gabrielolin [at] 510-418-4415 Sara

Roger Reidlbauer is an excellent teacher as well as an experienced professional musician. He is very patient, creative, and thorough. He helps students develop a strong technique and understanding of music theory while catering to their musical interests. He has a lovely studio called Wood and Wires in Temescal. -music teacher and parent

Female guitar teacher for 14-year-old daughter

May 2011

My 14-year-old daughter would like to learn to play the guitar. I have checked the old BPN postings and most of the recommended instructors are male. She would really prefer to work with a female instructor. Does anyone have a recommendation for a female guitar teacher in the North Oakland/Berkeley area? Thank you.

Hands down, Caren Armstrong is the best thing that ever happened to my family. She not only teaches guitar, she becomes a life friend to the girls she instructs. You can thank me later, perhaps at the holiday pickin party that all of her students attend. Good things! Reen

Guitar lessons in Orinda for 13 year old

Jan 2011

I am looking for a guitar teacher in Orinda for my 13 year old son. He's been taking lessons in Berkeley for the last 18 months. Ideally, he'd like a male teacher who is pretty well versed in current rock and roll. Cathy

I can't say enough good things about my boys' guitar teacher. His name is Paul Schmidt. He's in Lafayette on Happy Valley Rd. He is kind, patient and phenomenal with kids. He knows everything about all types of music. His number is (925) 878-1343. linda

Roger Riedlbauer is a fantastic guitar teacher, residing in Oakland. I speak as a musician that works with him on a weekly basis and have known him for 10 years. He has built a great studio of kids over the years and has much experience with all styles, including the most current tunes that kids may want to learn. More importantly, he has a strong music theory and history foundation, so your child will get a wide range of knowledge from him. riedlbauer [at] (510) 599-6788 Eric

Guitar lessons for a 12 year old boy

Oct 2010

I'm looking for a guitar teacher for my twelve year old son (hopefully not too expensive). He is a beginner and very interested in getting better. Someone in North Oakland or environs would be great.

I highly recommend Robin Flower, in the Glenview neighborhood of Oakland. She teaches guitar, mandolin, and fiddle, to kids and adults. I found her to be fun, engaging, and patient. Mostly, she just seems to LOVE music. Check out her web site: , send her an email: flower2mcl [at] , or give her a call: 510.482.9479 Bill

I would like to recommend Eric Linchner for guitar lessons. My 9 year-old son has been taking lessons from him for about 6 months and has learned so much. We are thrilled that he has learned so quickly and enjoys it so much. Eric has been teaching for 12 years and lives in Oakland. He also goes by Professor Sludge eric [at] Angela

Guitar teacher for 12 year old

Aug 2009

My son has been taking guitar lessons since he was 9, He plays acoustic and electric guitar now. His current guitar teacher lives too far away and so I'm looking to find a new teacher that will challenge him in fun ways and understand a 12 year old boys taste in music. It would be great to find someone to come to our house, but I'm willing to drive too. We live near Montclair in Oakland. Any suggestions? Karen

My 11-year-old has been seeing Roger Reidlbauer in Temescal for almost a year. He's a nice, hip young man who seems to really love teaching kids. He's taught my son some stuff from Green Day, Linkin Park, the Gorillaz and Red Hot Chili Peppers (along with the requisite Beatles). He will teach acoustic as well as electric guitar. He teaches at Bandworks camps during the summer and winter as well. I highly recommend him! He lives near 45th/Telegraph. He's getting married in a few weeks so he may not get back to you right away, but you should give him a call! Roger Reidlbauer 510-599-6788
laurel c.

Jim Gleason is an exceptional guitar teacher. My son was fortunate enough to take electric guitar lessons from him for several years, and he loved every minute of it. Jim is great about tailoring the lessons to the interests and needs of the student. He's kind, patient and extremely knowledgeable. He has a great studio in his Piedmont home. (510) 923-9522. -KP

I've taken guitar lessons from Robin Flower and really enjoyed them. She teaches guitar, mandolin, and fiddle, for kids and adults. I found her to be fun, engaging, and patient. Mostly, she just seems to LOVE music. She's in the Glenview, just down the hill from you in Montclair. Check out her web site: , send her an email: flower2mcl [at] , or give her a call: 510.482.9479 Bill

Electric Guitar Teacher for 11-year-old

May 2009

I have an 11 year old boy who is studying electric guitar. We would like to find him a new teacher who is experienced and knows how to teach and direct kids. B.

Peter Morley is a great teacher in Albany. My daughter learned a lot with him, and always looked forward to lessons. Peter's a true shredder, and gets kids fired up about rock... while also passing along solid musical fundamentals, ear training, theory, etc. Two lighters, way, way up! Contact him at guitaralpha [at], 847-3432 musical dad

I can recommend Peter Morley, who teaches guitar to my son (I also had lessons with him). Peter teaches in Kensington, near the Albany line, and he has lots of experience and patience. His number is 510-847-3432. Linda

I highly recommend Peter Morley for acoustic and electric guitar lessons. He has been teaching my 17 year old son for more than a year, and my son has made great progress, and has enjoyed working with Peter. Peter really inspires students, and is a great guy. Betsy

Acoustic/folk guitar for teen

May 2009

Looking for guitar teacher for 16 year old girl who loves to sing but has never played guitar. Would like to find someone ''through the Tunnel'' in either Walnut Creek, Lafayette, etc. alison

Try Paul Schmidt, The Art of Music. He works out of his studio on Moraga Blvd. in Lafayette. His phone number is 925-878-1343. My son has taken lessons from him for 4 years now, both acoustic and electric guitar. Paul teaches not only guitar but instills a love of music. He is comfortable teaching any style of guitar his student likes. He is a kind wonderful man. Linda

Robbie Dunbar is a great guitar teacher in Lafayette. He is a professional musician and teacher while also being fun for the kids. He does the music that the student wants to do. He can certainly teach acoustic and folk and also stays up on the latest music. A 15 year old girl that I know who raves about Robbie says that he moves at a student's pace, teaching the music the particular student is interested in. He can teach all music styles. She says that he is encouraging, but doesn't push a rigid agenda. You can go to his place in Lafayette or he'll travel to your house. Best way to reach him is by email: dunbars4 [at] Debbie

The Red House in Walnut Creek is a wonderful music school/recording studio set up for kids/teens/adults. My daughter (15) did a one week 'camp' there and loved it. Private lessons are also available. Really nice set up. Pamela

Guitar teacher for 13-year-old

Feb 2009

Hi; I am looking for a guitar teacher for my 13 year old son in the Oakland area. sabrina

I can't say enough great things about the guitar teacher who has given lessons to both my kids--fun, smart, PATIENT and creative. He has lessons in his Oakland home, but I know he does lessons at student's homes also. His name is Tom Carns and his phone is 336-3303. Joan

Inexpensive guitar classes for teens

Feb 2008

Our nanny is looking for inexpensive guitar lessons/classes for her teenage sons. She spoke with one teacher, but $30/hour for a private lesson is a bit steep for her. I assume that classes may be cheaper. She lives in Richmond, but she would be OK with classes anywhere as far as Oakland.

I highly recommend my son's guitar teacher, Dan Lewis. He is a committed teacher who teaches in an informal style (has taught my son everything from rock to blues and country). Dan is great with beginners and teaches both accoustic and electric guitar. My son absolutely loves him. Dan's ph: 773 527-9685 lexine

Acoustic guitar for 12-year-old

Jan 2008

I am looking for a current recommendation for a guitar teacher for my two boys, ages 12 and 8. They both play other instruments and would like to learn to play an acoustic guitar. I would like to find someone who could either come to our home in El Cerrito or is located nearby. Thanks so much. Leslie

My daughter (now 13) has been studying with Peter Morley for a few years now, and really likes his style. Peter has a great mellow vibe, can really rock out, and encourages kids to play the songs they love (my daughter has done lots of Beatles). He also has nice annual recitals. He lives in Benicia, but teaches in Albany, right next to Colusa Circle in Kensington. Two thumbs way up! Peter can be reached at guitaralpha [at] or 847-3432. Jeff

I recommend Steve Gibson and his wife Andrea Hurley. They are both excellent teachers who really engage their students. My son started taking lessons from Steve when he was 8 years old and started playing in rock bands through BandWorks at 9. Steve has been a great music teacher and general positive influence in his life. My son is now 13 and still studies with Steve. Steve's positive approach made a all the difference. Alan

My 9 year old son is taking guitar lessons from a talented guitar/mandolin player named Dave Rosenfeld, and is really enjoying it. Dave is a patient and knowledgeable teacher, based in Berkeley. He can be reached on his mobile phone (415) 407-7162. Chantal

Teacher for 15-year-old beginner

March 2006

I am looking for a guitar teacher for my 15 year old daughter. She is a beginner. We live in oakland so we don't want to go too far. South Berkeley is OK. She is looking for someone who can teach her in an informal way learning to play songs she is interested in (rock, folk, etc). We're not interested in a specific program or performing in recitals. Preferably someone on the younger side and easy going. It is not important if the teacher is male of female. Any suggestions would be appreciated. Thanks Darlene

Ernie Mansfield (Mansfield Music - 510-524-0906) is a great guitar teacher. He is very patient and has a down to earth approach in his teaching style. He also has a great sense of humor and relates well with teens. Brian

Electric guitar lessons for two 12 year olds

June 2005

My son and a friend(12 year olds) would like to take electric guitar lessons togther. They are both musically educated through the basics of being in the BUSD(flute and clarinet) system and new to guitar. This is a new idea to both families and we are not sure how it would work best - 1 hour for both, or 15 minutes each and then 30 mins. together or other ideas? Ideally north Berkeley, at either families home or at teachers site. How much and who is good? susan

Hi, I would highly recommend Ernie Mansfield as a guitar instructor. Please contact him at 510.524.2055 ernie AT

Electric guitar tutor for 11-year-old girl

Oct 2004

11 yr old girl wants to learn to play electric guitar. Looking for a patient person to teach very basic guitar. Not interested in a class (too shy) Thanks!

In response to the request for a guitar teacher for individual lessons (not a class), I can highly recommend Peter Morley. My son has gone to him now for 3 years, and started from ground zero--never having even touched a guitar before his first lesson. Peter, as a father of 4 children, is extremely patient, kind, supportive, and successful with his students. And, besides, he's very ''cool,'' having performed in his own band. Our son (now 18) continued his lessons even during a very bad bout of senioritis, when everything else went by the wayside. Peter is located in Albany and can be reached at 847-3432. Norma

My daughter (and lots of her friends) learned to play guitar from Lisa Zeiler, the lead guitar for the band ''Rebecca Riots''. Lisa is fantastic with teens, a really accomplished guitar player, and a wonderful person. Kids and teens idolize her, for good reason. Her phone number is 845-5432. Christine

Private electric guitar lessons for 14-year-old

Sept 2004

Our 14 year old has become interested in playing the electric guitar. He is taking beginning band in high school. We are seeking a patient and fun person to give him private lessons. We'd prefer someone in north berkeley or who would be willing to come to our house, but we are willing to go farther for the right person.

My 15 year old son has been very happy with his electric guitar teacher Kerry Yates. He teaches in North Berkeley and charges a reasonable 24$ a half hour. His phone number is (415)681-3649. A couple of my son's friends also take lessons from him and are also pleased with him. millie

Woman teaching acoustic guitar

Jan 2004

I have seen the listings for acoustic guitar teachers, but wonder if there are any other recommendations for women who will work with a fourteen year old girl who likes hard rock, punk music etc. Oakland would be best, but Berkeley or Albany is fine.

Lisa Zeiler has experience with teaching teenagers. She is a wonderful guitar player and is very present with her students as well as hip to the young culture. She has a studio in Oakland on College Ave. Not sure of the exact address but her phone number is 845-5432. Feel free to e-mail me if you have any questions martha

Lisa Zyler is an awesome guitar teacher and well-versed in punk and hard rock (as well as all other types of music). She teaches out of her studio on College Ave. Phone # is 510-845-5432 My son not only adores her, he's learned a lot and can really play his guitar now. Laurel

Teacher for 14-year-old beginner

November 2002

My 14 year old son wants to take up guitar. He has no expereince. I am looking for recommendations for teachers in the N Berkeley area if possible who are good with teens and beginners. He'd like electric guitar but is fine with acoustic as well. Alisa

My daughter, almost 16, has taken guitar from Brian Bertino for a year and a half or so. This is the first musical instruction she has taken and Brian has been really able to inspire her as well as teach her. He teaches at Cedar and Grant. 510-845-4704 Sandra

I recommend Brian Bertino as a guitar teacher, 845-4704.He taught my son last year, when my son was a HS freshman, and focused the lessons on the kind of music my son was interested in.--Joan S.

In response to the person recently seeking guitar lessons: I heartily recommend my teenage daughter's teacher, Caren Armstrong. She teaches in North Berkeley and in the Oakland Hills. She is a very patient, skillful, and upbeat teacher, with a sense of humor and a great ear. She teaches using songs of folk and older rock styles - both strumming and finger picking. She can be reached directly at carensing AT, or you can contact me -Zach

Reply for Guitar Teacher. I highly recommend Jim Gleason. He is able to teach teens at their own level - uses whatever music they like to get them excited about guitar. He teaches out of his home in Piedmont. His number is 923-9522. Kerry

Electric Guitar for Teen

My son, age 12, takes electric guitar lessons from Brooks Lundy, an exuberant and talented twenty-something year old man who has is also studying for his teaching credential. Brooks is very positive and very open to Jesse's musical interests (Hendrix and Santana) while teaching him lots of technique. He's near Lake Merritt in Oakland. His number is 465-3029.
Lili (2/00)

My son has been taking guitar lessons from a wonderful man in Berkeley. He is quite patient, and hip. He likes the student to pick which tunes to learn and my son is playing alot of Rolling Stones and Beatles tunes. He is taking accoustic but it all translates to electric. He is on Cedar and Grant (maybe it's Mc Gee) behind Subway Guitars, the little white building with all the clouds on it. The teacher's name is Brian and his phone is 845-4704

My 15 year old son has been taking guitar lessons from Robbie Dunbar for the last 3 years or so. Robbie is an incredible musician, but beyond that he is full of life - unbelievably enthusiastic about teaching music. My son is always in a good mood after his lesson. Robbie comes to our home weekly and charges a reasonable rate. We tried two other teachers prior to him, both of whom were good musicians, but who really didn't seemed that enthused about teaching music. I wholeheartedly recommend him! If you want further info please e-mail me.
Joan (7/00)

Regarding the request for a hip but patient guitar teacher: Our 15-year old son has had a wonderful experience studying piano with Robbie Dunbar, who teaches electric and acoustic guitar as well as piano in Berkeley, Oakland, and the Walnut Creek area, and who is also an active performer, chiefly on electric guitar. He is extremely supportive to kids at all levels. We've probably heard over 100 of his guitar students at recitals over the years, and their enthusiasm has been impressive. He's at (925)962-2200.
Ron (7/00)