- Hourly rate £30
- Response Time 1h
- Number of students 15
1st lesson free!
Bristol-based guitar teacher / tutor with a degree in Jazz and 20 years experience, offering tuition in any style
- at your home
- By webcam
Mathew is one of our best tutors. They have a high-quality profile, verified qualifications, a quick response time, and great reviews from students!
About the lesson
My teaching style is flexible and adaptable to suit the specific needs and goals of individual students. Playing music should be fun, and one of the most important things for me to do as a teacher is to inspire my students. I take a holistic approach, seeking to give clear and valuable information that is relevant to their goals as a musician. I give my students the tools they need to explore that information productively and enjoyably, and show them how to apply it to their performance, improvisation, and compositions.
- Acoustic Guitar
- Electric guitar
- All Levels
I am a guitarist and music tutor with a wide range of teaching and performing experience spanning the past twenty years. I have a degree in Jazz from the Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama, and I play and teach guitar in a variety of styles and settings, ranging from jazz and blues to rock and heavy metal. My favourite styles to play are Extreme Metal, 80s Rock, and Jazz, but I love teaching all styles of music, focusing on music theory and improvisation.
Perfect! Had a great lesson with Mathew. Good communication, friendly and he has an in depth knowledge of music and the instrument. Thanks!
- Mathew's response : I had great first lesson with Thomas. We discussed his goals and our respective philosophies on music from both an artistic and educational perspective. He's very amiable, and commendably overcame his nerves to play some impressive blues improv to give me a handle on where he's at, which was beautiful. He's already an accomplished player, which gives me a lot to work with. We started discussing ways to effectively visualise the fingerboard and how to approach creating tension and resolving it. I'm very excited to continue developing these ideas with him.
Perfect! My experience with Matthew has been awesome! He's gone above and beyond to ensure that I'm getting the maximum out of my lessons to enable me to reach my goals. Genuinely recommend anyone looking to make progress to go with this guy.
- Mathew's response : I've had a few lessons with Kane now. He's a great student and excellent company. He makes me laugh constantly, and he's an awesome guitar player with savagely tight rhythm chops and a great sense of groove. We're both into metal, which is the main focus of our lessons, but he's very thorough in his exploration and understanding of the theoretical side of what we've been covering, which has most recently been connecting the modes of the major scale with relevant arpeggios to open the door a melodic approach to improvisation and composition. Judging by the riffs I've heard that he's been working on recently, that work is already paying off.
Perfect! Great first lesson with Mat, and looking forward to continuing to learn guitar with him. It's evident that he has the experience and knowledg of a great guitar tutor, and is a genuinely easy going, down to earth guy. I clicked with him right away and felt relaxed during the lesson.
- Mathew's response : Great first lesson! Scott had a thorough and attentive approach to the material we covered, and wasn't afraid to ask questions. Very friendly and easy going also.
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Mathew has a rare combination of insight, understanding and patience. I have been playing guitar for some years but have developed a rut in my playing and lack of progression. Mathew quickly identified what areas (practical guitar music theory) we needed to focus on and set about on a program of tuition. All the while maintaining the flexibility that I require to fit lessons in around my life. Each lesson unlocks another door and I am starting to see guitar differently again.
I began taking guitar lessons with Matthew Barnes in 2020. He is an extraordinarily gifted teacher who has already taught me so much about playing the guitar and about music theory in general. His gentle manner, humour and kind disposition are coupled with a rigorous knowledge of the guitar and how to teach it. One of his chief strengths is the willingness and ability to understand what I want to learn, and then to teach me how to reach that goal. In other words, he personalizes the lessons according to my own interests and needs as a guitarist. He also provides many extras outside of lesson time: individualized instructional videos, song breakdowns, links to software, PDFs of sheet music. Matthew is flexible in his availability, and he fit classes around my chaotic schedule. Overall, Matthew is a terrific teacher—my guitar playing skills have improved immensely from his lessons.
I recently found Mathew on this site whilst looking for a guitar teacher to get me re-inspired in music and playing - after 20 years of messing around! And I'm VERY glad to have found him, and a lovely bonus was that he's a signed artist too! And what a band! If you're interested in hearing his work, check out INTENSIVE SQUARE on Spotify. Absolutely wild music!!!
He's helped me LOADS with composition - to do with my own stuff: he's taught me some jazz harmony (?!!!) and helped me structure some of my own music.
We've also gone down the rabbit hole with theory and neck knowledge, and I'm weirdly able to improvise through some jazz tunes now! It really has blown my mind.
I've had teachers in the past before (obviously), but Mathew (and his music!) have really pulled me forwards with all this. Money well spent, I say!!!
Barnes really knows his stuff and is great at tailoring lessons to what you're interested in, while still providing a well thought out longer-term structure. Can't recommend him enough if you want to learn how to become a better guitar player
I’d already been playing for many years before I sought tuition from Barnes. What I was looking for from an instructor was someone to give me a structure or framework to guide me through the fundamental principles of playing music on guitar. I’d somehow avoided studying the modes/scales for over a decade. I already had total confidence in his breadth of knowledge, but Barnes made each session fun while gently nudging me out of my comfort zone.
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- 5h: £140
- 10h: £275
Find out more about Mathew
When did you first develop a passion for music and your favourite instrument?
When I was young, my grandfather had a beaten up acoustic guitar. I used to pester him to let me play with it as a toy and then one day he taught me how to play Bert Weedon's 'Guitar Boogie Shuffle'. I was instantly hooked and persuaded my parents to give me my own electric guitar for my 12th birthday. My tastes have changed quite a bit since then, but I haven't been able to leave the guitar alone ever since.
Is there a particular type of music or artist that you listen to on a loop without it driving you crazy?
I only have a few CDs in my car, and I listen to them on loop all the time. They are the first four Dokken albums, the first three Winger albums, and all of the David Lee Roth and Sammy Hagar period Van Halen albums. That's been my car playlist for the past seven years, and I'm nowhere near bored of it. I also never get bored of Pantera, Vangelis, Eric Dolphy, Celtic Frost, and probably many others. Even if I've listened to something 500 times, I still find new details and nuances in it. If I'm working on learning or transcribing something, then listening to it relentlessly is an essential part of that process for me.
Explain to us the most difficult or riveting course you could personally give to a student of music.
I love teaching improvisation. In particular, I love teaching my students how to explore the harmonic possibilities of diminished seventh chords to create tension when improvising. It's a very deep topic that can open up your ears and knowledge of the neck. I never tire of wrestling with it myself, and it's very satisfying to watch it fall into place for my students and to hear the ways that they use the concept in their own playing.
What do you think is the most complicated instrument to master and why?
I can only speak from experience here. I have spent most of my life concentrating on the guitar, I've dabbled in playing saxophone (at which I leave much to be desired), and I've recently started studying piano. All three instruments are extremely challenging. Guitarists have to wrestle with the unfriendly layout of the notes, whereas the order of the white and black keys on keyboard instruments make each octave look identical. Fingering patterns in a given key change positionally on the guitar, and this layer of abstraction provides many challenges for tenacious guitarists who want to explore the entire fretboard. That being said, piano has many technical challenges that make me feel like a complete beginner all over again.
What are your keys to success?
G flat is the key to success (but an open mind and lots of practice won't do any harm).
Name three musicians you dream of meeting in your favourite bar in the early hours of the morning. Explain why.
Most of my favourite musicians are deceased. Of those that remain, I'd love to have a drink with some of my guitar heroes: Dave Tronzo, Reb Beach, and John Scofield. I'd love to ask them about their approaches to composition and improvisation, and I'm sure that would take us way past sunrise. I've already met Scofield, and I made a fool of myself.
Provide a valuable anecdote related to music or your days at music school.
When I was doing my degree in jazz, we had a weekly class that everyone dreaded called free improvisation, which was taken by Keith Tippett, a titan of the British jazz scene. He would instruct groups of people who did not tend to play music or socialise together to get on the stage in front of the whole department and improvise together spontaneously. In this setting, all of us felt very anxious and out of our depth, which resulted in some extremely timid performances. To add salt to the wound, he would subject each student to the razor-sharp blade of his criticism. Initially, we were essentially being forced to fail, but after doing this a few times, students would flourish as they conquered their anxieties. At least that was the effect it had on me, and it ended up being my favourite class.
What are the little touches that make you a Superprof in music?
I'm a very patient guitar nerd, who loves teaching music. I don't believe I will ever stop being a student of music myself, which makes it easy for me to empathise with the hurdles that students face, regardless of whether they're a beginner or an experienced player. I've helped many students overcome their anxieties and reach the point where they can improvise expressively and unlock their own personal sound on the guitar.