Breakthrough Guitar Lessons Student Feedback
On this page, you can see, hear and read the feedback from a few of Tom's students about their progress from Breakthrough Guitar Lessons. Watch the videos below, and scroll down the page to read additional student stories.
“I am grateful to Tom Hess for guiding me towards becoming the guitarist I always wanted to be!”
Mike Philippov | Florida, USA
“If you follow through, the results will be off the charts, more than you could ever anticipate!”
James Maxwell | Michigan, USA
“Tom Hess helped me tremendously, I can do things on the guitar that I could have never dreamed of 5 years ago!”
Ty Morgan | Arizona, USA
“It’s hard to compare Tom Hess to any other guitar teacher out there. His knowledge & technique are unbelievable!”
Zack Uidl | Illinois, USA
“Tom Hess is truly a master at what he does! The lessons I have received are excellent in content!”
Tevis Maloney | Arizona, USA
“When I met Tom Hess and started lessons with him, he opened up a whole new world of what guitar playing can be!”
Magnus Gautestad | Norway
“Tom Hess very quickly and consistently got me really massive results as a guitar player!”
Leo Smith | Iowa, USA
“I see more results in 18 months in a lot of areas of my playing than in the past 20 years!”
Simon Candy | Australia
“Taking lessons with Tom Hess, you’re guaranteed to get results if you implement what he says.”
Jake Willmot | England
“My guitar playing has improved so much… to another level that I didn’t know I could reach!”
Jackson Slate | Indiana, USA
“It was just an amazing experience from lesson 1… It’s mind-blowing!”
Jago Blacksky | Kansas, USA
“One word… RESULTS!”
Freek Vanden Broucke | Belgium
“You get FAR more information than the monetary value you pay for this… It’s phenomenal!”
Ben Armstrong | England
“The progress I made is ridiculous! The lessons I got from Tom Hess are FAR superior to anything else on the web!”
Shreyas Kodasara | Maryland, USA
“Tom Hess has this special something that a master teacher has!”
David Schramm | California, USA
“I’ve seen other students basically changing their lives, and I wanted to be part of it! It’s fantastic!”
Tommaso Zillio | Canada
“I have to say it was the best things I ever could have done. There’s nothing better than online guitar lessons with Tom Hess!”
Rovan Deon | New Jersey, USA
“As soon as I found Tom Hess… it put my progress on light speed and I’m really pleased with the lessons.”
Jeff Moore | New York, USA
“My guitar playing has improved in EVERY way since I started taking lessons with Tom Hess.”
Mark Turko | Connecticut, USA
“I started taking lessons, I improved massively ever since and it’s been the best thing I’ve ever done for my music skills!”
Niklas Eskilsson | Sweden
When I started learning from Tom, the main thing that made him different from other teachers was that he was showing me how to excel in all aspects of my guitar playing by applying the skills that I already knew together with the new material that I was learning from him.
He made me aware of both strengths and weaknesses in my playing that I did not even know I had. From there he gave me the knowledge, tools and guidance to literally transform my guitar playing by enabling me to overcome things that were preventing me from becoming a truly creative and self-expressive guitar player. These were the kinds of things that none of my previous guitar teachers and books I studied were able to do for me.
After Tom made me aware of all the things I was missing in my guitar playing and provided me with the strategy and tools for solving them, I began to make very fast progress in all areas of my guitar playing.
I can now write my own music and can create lead guitar solos that I am happy and fulfilled with. I also have the technical skills to confidently and easily play anything that I want to express. I have overcome all of the lead guitar challenges that I struggled with before, and increased my guitar speed to virtuoso levels. More importantly, I have the knowledge and understanding of how to continually improve my guitar playing and musical skills to higher and higher levels to continue expressing myself with my music. Overall, I have definitely transformed in a huge way as a musician and as a person through my lessons with Tom Hess. I am grateful to him for guiding me towards becoming the guitarist I always wanted to be!"
Mike Philippov, Indiana, USA
“I started out learning by myself, and as many others, I got stuck and I had a few issues I wanted to get by. When I met Tom Hess, and talked with him and started lessons with him, he opened up a whole new world of possibilities of what guitar playing can be. I feel very very very grateful that I found lessons from Tom because I then did what worked from the very beginning.”
Many guitarists I see have played way longer than I did and have built up so many bad habits. With Tom, from the very start, there were clear instructions of how to practice correctly so you build up the ability for high speed or whatever you want from the very beginning and you don't waste time doing inefficient things.
Magnus Gautestad, Norway
“The amount of knowledge and practical, straight-to-the-point instruction that I've gotten from Tom's lessons, it's just such a wealth of useable stuff that Tom will cram into every lesson.”
What I found to be really great was the fairly extensive application. You fill out a questionnaire and he really does do a great job of assessing where you are, what your personal goals are and I do feel like every single item I get as part of a lesson is exactly focused on where I want to be as a player. It's almost overwhelming where I feel like I can't keep up with this stuff but it's so good! So I go through it at my pace and find ways to use everything, which is great!
Jesse Froebel, Texas, USA
“Before I started online guitar lessons with Tom, I was basically stagnant in my playing, I kind of reached a pinnacle, and I started looking for what's next, what's bigger and better. Tom has helped me tremendously, I know I can do things on the guitar that I could have never dreamed of 5 years ago.”
The biggest change that has happened since taking lessons with Tom is playing like a true musician & kind of separating myself from all the wannabes. Tom's lessons are easy-to-understand, very in-depth and tailored to what YOU want to learn versus private teachers who are often using their students as guinea pigs trying to figure out how to teach. Tom knows what he's doing! He's an ordinary guy, but he's doing extraordinary things.
Ty Morgan, Arizona, USA
“It is hard to compare Tom and his teaching to any other guitar teacher out there. His knowledge and technique are unbelievable. It is ridiculous to see how much better of a musician I have become.”
My technique and speed have drastically improved and my knowledge of music theory and other related things have grown to levels that I would never have been able to reach without his help. Tom's teaching methods are so incredible and helpful. His great playing inspires me to work harder at all the musical areas I am studying.
Zack Uidl, Professional Guitarist, Composer and Guitar Teacher, Illinois, USA
“My experience with Tom has been outstanding, he has been the best teacher I had. Tom had exactly the kind of information that I needed to break a barrier in my playing.”
I’ve improved quite a bit, the initial problem that I was most frustrated with was that I had reached a peak on my speed and Tom has really helped me blow the lid off of that. I’ve now probably doubled my practical playing speed and I’m very pleased with the results.
I feel a lot more confident with my guitar playing, I can do things that I couldn’t have done before the guitar lessons online with Tom.
Chad Crawford, South Carolina, USA
Tom really wants you to exceed, and as a world class virtuoso he knows exactly what the next step for is you. He keeps on pushing you to greater levels, lesson after lesson. Before I started online guitar lessons with Tom Hess, I was an intermediate player, now I can really feel how I will totally dominate as a blues guitar player and an upcoming force in the music industry. Thanks a lot, Tom!
Antony Reynaert, Professional Musician and Guitar Teacher, Belgium
“When I found Tom’s site, I had a few things in mind that I wanted to accomplish. I saw in him that he had a lot of the abilities technically that I wanted to develop. And I could tell from his articles and his thinking that he was really studied up on many of the concepts that I wanted to learn as well.”
So I started and what happened is, you always end up getting MORE than you expect and that is a very pleasant surprise. In addition with the Breakthrough Guitar Lessons, you get access to a private forum that is FULL of people who are EXCITED about learning and love to share and help other people out. There is absolutely, without any doubt, no forum that can beat the Hess forum when it comes to support.
Randy Johnson, Ohio, USA
“Tom Hess is truly a master at what he does! The lessons I have received are excellent in content!”
Musically I am seeing a progression in techniques that had taken months and months on my own with very little forward progress. Now I am moving forward and becoming more and more confident in my playing and attitude! A HUGE IMPACT! Great stuff and very inspirational!
Tevis Maloney, Arizona, USA
“You’ve taught me 10,000% more in the last 1½ years than I had learned in the prior 15 years before that being “self taught”. I’m able to do things now that I thought I’d never be able to do, that were just waaaay out of my reach."
Scotty Woodward, Virginia, USA
“The Breakthrough Guitar Lessons with Tom are fantastic! He was able to teach me in 10 months what nobody was able to teach me in 10 years practically. Really precise and focused and what I asked him to teach me. I’ve seen other students basically changing their lives, and I wanted to be part of it! It’s fantastic!”
Originally, I read one of Tom’s articles and I knew this guy knew his stuff. I said, ok, I don’t care what style this guy plays, I don’t care who he is, HE HAS IT... and I want it! I just want to study with him!
The genius of Tom is, he is not just teaching one thing, but he found a way to put it all together in a coherent ‘system’. It works!
Tommaso Zillio, Professional Musician, Canada
"Tom Hess very quickly and consistently got me really massive results as a guitar player."
I had been studying on my own at that point... I had been studying on my own for about 5 years, and from other guitar teachers really hadn’t gotten anywhere as a guitarist whatsoever. And Tom Hess got me more results in the first couple months than I’d had in all those previous years, so basically everything that Tom Hess is delivering since then has been consistent with that. So, he’s got proven results.
Leo Smith, Iowa City, Iowa, USA
“I've played guitar for several years and I think I've taken it as far as I could take it and I was going on the internet and found Tom, I take Breakthrough Guitar Lessons from him and I have to say it was the best thing that I've ever could have done. There is nothing better than Breakthrough Guitar Lessons with Tom.”
Tom has the innate ability to hone in on whatever problems you have and immediately fix it for you. The lessons are very goal oriented, very detailed and Tom is very approachable. I consider Tom to be a master teacher. A master teacher is someone who cares about their students, who talks to their students, who shares with their students and gets them to the place that they need to be as a guitar player. And Tom, I will tell you, does all of that and more.
Rovan Deon, Rahway, NJ, USA
“I found Tom Hess on the net through articles, and I read quite a few of those before I went to Tom’s website. Even though I’m not a metal player at all, and Tom is obviously a metal player, I could still see that his ideas and way of teaching could really benefit me. So I pretty much signed up for online guitar lessons with Tom straight away once I’d gone through the website, and it’s just been a real eye opener with the way he teaches…”
... the integration of concepts that he’ll give you and having a really structured strategy… not just week to week lessons, but things that - you can see from one lesson to the next - really develop and continue to work on your technique and your theory and aural skills and those types of things. So I’d played a long time… 20 years before I really caught onto Tom, and I’d had a lot of lessons, and I’d taught and played but I can really see improvements in my technique, sweeping, and picking which weren’t strong parts of my playing.
I feel like Tom has a good gauge of where you’re at as a guitar player and what you need, and there just seemed to be so much more stuff in the lessons week to week than what you’d ever get in an hour or so in a one on one lesson… way more. So yeah I think that and the forum. I think, I’d pay the money just for the forum. That alone would be fine… I wouldn’t have a problem with that at all. So that alone is massive!
The price for the lessons, that’s nothing... nothing. You know, I think it’s, pretty cheap to be honest. I don’t mean that in a bad way, cheap. Cheap is not a good word, but I just think it’s great value… awesome value. I mean, you know, you could pay that for one-to-one lessons and you just don’t get the same results and support of the forum and the content and the strategies.
Other teachers I’ve had have been good players, and some have become good friends too. But when I’ve started lessons with Tom I’ve got something to compare that to and a lot of it is just sort of teaching songs from week to week… a lot of the lesson will be left up to you… you’ll go to your lesson and they’ll be like what do you want to do today? At the time I said, oh do this song or that song, but with Tom you start to realize that you know, there’s more to it… the goals and you know he’s sort of more in contact with what you want to be able to do as a player, because he’s asking you the questions and then setting up the strategies, so I find that really good.
Yeah I can see more results in 18 months in a lot of areas in my playing than you know 20 years. So it’s sort of, you know, would’ve been great 20 years ago to have met Tom.
Simon Candy, Melbourne, Australia
“I was self-taught, and I thought I am so good because I can do this by myself. I wasn’t looking for a teacher but I knew I was looking for something on the internet, and Tom’s lessons came up. I knew instantly that was the way to go. ”
Tom assigns the lessons based on the hundreds of questions you have to answer before you get to be a student. It’s just amazing how he does it. Every single PDF I received has been such a good value. I know if I practice exactly what he says I cannot fail. It helped me realize I can become whatever I want to become. Just set my goal and I know his lessons and way of teaching will get me there eventually. So far so good... I’ll continue doing this as long as possible, and eventually I’ll become a professional player. I’d just like to thank Tom, he’s so thorough, so professional and such a great teacher... and a good person. I want to keep on working with him.
Sigve Solbakken, Bergen, Norway
“The materials of the Breakthrough Guitar Lessons are nothing like I've ever seen before. You're not going to get any more material from a regular guitar teacher. Tom just goes above and beyond with the amount of knowledge that he puts into the lessons, it's just incredible.”
I've become a better guitar player from taking Breakthrough Guitar Lessons, no doubt about it. Tom's lessons are WAY better than taking private lessons.
Tom knows the end result of where you want to be and he knows how to get there.
Matthew Ruggiero, Rhode Island, USA
“The lessons with Tom are great! I've learned a lot of things in a short amount of time.”
I don't have time to mess around, I have to get going as fast as I can. Whenever I get a correspondence lesson, there is always more in there than you can imagine. The materials are ALWAYS over and above expectations.
Tom does a great job with that and I'm glad I made the decision to take lessons with him.
Maurice Richard, Nova Scotia, Canada
“Before Breakthrough Guitar Lessons with Tom Hess, I was very very frustrated."
I’ve been a self-taught guitar player for 3 and half years. And then I got offline lessons for a year… a year and a half. I grew very dissatisfied with those lessons.
Tom Hess’s goal-orientated approach has helped me more than any other guitar teacher that I had in the past, because I had never even heard of the term goals in relation to guitar playing. My offline teachers would never mention this phrase and it wouldn’t even occur to me that setting goals was something that I should be doing, because it would actually force me to try to achieve things. So that was a bit of culture shock, but I’ve really gained from that because I now have a very good idea of what to practice... and if I practice it, I’m going to achieve my goals. So Tom Hess’s goal-orientated approach has vastly… vastly improved my guitar playing.
Michael Hanna, Larne, United Kingdom
“Before the online guitar lessons, I had a lot of trouble with phrasing. I couldn’t make good note choices, I was always fishing for the next note. I was trying to think of ways that I could play, but it didn’t sound good. I didn’t know how to write songs, it was absolutely terrible, everything sounded the same. I couldn’t really… I didn’t feel confident with my playing. I definitely couldn’t build speed for anything, I was really sloppy and I was dissonant… and it was really painful to play.”
I chose Tom Hess because when I read his articles they blew my mind away. I got so much out of that, that I didn’t get anywhere else.
The main reason I like taking lessons with Tom online is because, number one: yes it was the personalized lessons strategy… I read everything about it, and it was so compelling, just like that he really takes everything that I can or can’t do into account, and then he’ll take what I want to be able to do and then basically map out every step of the way until I get there. And that was just really powerful, and that I’d be able to get feedback every 6 weeks, and the fact that we’ve got the forum. We’ve got instant help and they all really know what they’re talking about… they’re not just like anybody… they… I mean some of them are virtuoso guitar players... I mean, they know their stuff and then of course the mindset of this whole environment. The friends I’ve made here just… I can’t really put into words.
I didn’t have a budget when I started. I had a good enough job that I could take lessons for however long I wanted, so that wasn’t a problem, but I feel like I’ve gotten 100 times what I paid you know.
Matteo Miller, San Diego, California, USA
“My lessons with Tom have been brilliant, my playing has gone up a lot, the amount of things I have to work on, especially things that you wouldn't get with a typical teacher, have helped immensely, things like ear training, improvisation, just a lot of things you wouldn't learn from a standard teacher, that has made a huge difference.”
It's been very fulfilling, I'm sort of beginning to be able to express myself creatively with the guitar.
The key is the quality of the lessons that Tom gives with his experience and background versus what I've had with other teachers, it's a lot more organized, it's a lot more structured. The stuff I've done with Tom just moves you forward a lot faster.
Jeremy Boyes, London, UK
“Before I found Tom to take online guitar lessons, I was exposed to a lot of information, but it wasn’t necessarily in the right order. So, Tom is the teacher who saw what my weaknesses were just by answering simple questions and was able to get me the information I needed in the order that it was supposed to be learned in.”
Tom knows my weak points so he provides lessons to, not turn them into strengths, but just make them so they’re not my main weakness. Without that I don’t I would be anywhere near the level that I am today.
Rhythmically it’s definitely more solid… I can manipulate rhythm more to what I hear in my head. I had a tendency to just naturally write things in time signatures that aren’t common like 4/4 time, and besides rhythm, just theory in general. For around a decade or so I played without any traditional lessons, so I didn’t have any knowledge of theory or why stuff that I thought sounded good, sounded good. So he’s kind of given me the tools to know why what I like sounds good.
Derek Rush, Indiana, USA
“I can now play things that I would never have dreamed I would be able to play when I started - and I'm hungry for more. :) I can say, unless I lose one of my hands, I will never stop taking Breakthrough Guitar Lessons with Tom.”
He's giving me so much value, so much guidance... it's amazing.
I was progressing much faster with the Breakthrough Guitar Lessons than with any other things I did before. It's more important to get the right things in the right moment than a lot of materials that you'll never apply.
Tommaso Zillio, Professional Musician and Guitar Teacher, Edmonton, Alberta, Canada
“Before I took lessons with Tom Hess, I wanted to learn how to do some sweep picking and I also wanted to fill in a few gaps that I thought I might’ve had in my playing. And also I was feeling a little bit frustrated with not knowing where to take my playing. I didn’t really know how to get better. I felt like I reached a plateau, so that’s why I sought out Tom.”
I’ve had a few other guitar teachers before I took lessons with Tom, and most of them weren’t very good. And after reading a few articles online that Tom had written, I could tell that this guy was going to be the teacher for me.
The biggest thing that I really like is the actual guitar lessons themselves. I’m finding that I’m learning new things that I never even considered every single time I get a lesson. Something new to apply to my playing each time. But of course, I really enjoy the forum as well, because thanks to the lessons with Tom, I’ve been able to meet people from all over the world who have similar experiences and similar goals, so that’s been really motivating as well.
Before I took lessons with Tom I really didn’t like improvisation. I knew scales, and I knew kind of how they applied over chord progressions, but I just didn’t like it. Since taking lessons with Tom, some of the lessons are focused on that specific issue, and now I feel really comfortable about getting up in front of people and playing over any type of… in any key any backing track, I feel pretty comfortable doing that.
Tom actually knows what my goals are and gives me specific lessons that will help me achieve those goals. Other teachers that I’ve had before just do it their way… it’s either their way or the highway. And they don’t really care about what I wanted to do, and they didn’t really listen, and they didn’t really look into what I was doing or what my interests were and didn’t really play into that.
It’s really motivating to get to know people who are also students of Tom. It’s really good to have positive-minded musicians around even if I’m just talking to them online, or if I meet them in person, either way it’s still really motivating.
The forum has helped me because I am able to ask any music theory related questions or technique questions and I get those answered very very quickly. And I also like to participate in discussions and help share my knowledge as well with other people, which when I do that I feel that it’s reinforcing the things that I know as well, so it helps with my music theory knowledge when I share as well.
Greg Trotter, Melbourne, Australia
“If it wasn't for Tom's strategies, I would never have been able to pursue a full career in music. I always wanted to play on a very high level, but I always doubted my abilities, because if you don't have a teacher who constantly reinforces this positive mindset...you need a teacher who is telling you that you are able to do that and at the same time giving you the tools to actually accomplish those high levels.”
Breakthrough Guitar Lessons are excellent, because Tom always brings something fresh, every time Tom blows your mind with a new lesson. You can never learn this stuff on your own, it's impossible, because you don't know what you don't know.
George Engelbrecht, Guitar Teacher, Vredenburg, South Africa
“Before I started taking lessons with Tom, I was doing things on my own and it was quite frustrating. I thought I was doing things correctly, but once I started lessons with Tom, I was able to see what I was doing wrong and quickly applied that and got results instantly, within a couple of weeks ... your playing just improves so quickly!”
I've become a hundred of times better guitar player since I've been working with Tom. Most private guitar teachers are somewhat unprepared and kind of work on just whatever, which is ok, but it isn't really as effective as the way Tom does it in terms of how much material he gives you, what material he gives you, and the long term goal of what you want to do. Tom has all that in mind. Tom is very good at giving you what you need to reach your goals.
Mark Court, Professional Musician,
“My experience with the Breakthrough Guitar Lessons has been really good. I can tell that I've made a lot of progress.”
In previous lessons that I had with other instructors, the lessons were never really clear. It was more like, you know, come in, bring in some music, let's learn how to play your favorite songs... it wasn't about becoming a musician. With Tom and the Breakthrough Guitar Lessons, I'm noticing that I'm just learning so much more about music in general and I don't really worry about covering other people's music, I'm just sitting there and belting out whatever I'm feeling.
It's been a HUGE growth experience.
Jason Harrington, Illinois, USA
“I always had the impression that you should start young as a guitar player to become really good, but Tom really changed that. If you put quality practice time into your guitar playing, it will benefit you no matter what.”
Tom really has a structured approach, so he doesn't let you float, he has a plan to bring you to the next level while with other teachers it was chaotic and you had to ask things yourself - and if you didn't, you wouldn't know. Tom really makes sure that you WILL reach the next level, because he plans everything for you.
Anton Lycklama A Nijeholt, Lelystadt, Holland
“If you have any doubts about the quality that you're going to get from Tom, just stop doubting and take a dive. It’s totally worth it.”
The online guitar lessons have taught me how to practice more effectively. They’ve given me a lot of specific techniques that I can use in my practicing on a daily basis that make me a better guitar player. But I’ll also say about the online guitar lessons that my actual ability on the guitar has expanded, not just in the things I already knew, but Tom is teaching me more stuff that’s expanding my ability and it kind of expanded my musical horizons as well... and I’ve been playing for 18 years, and have a masters degree in music, so it takes a lot to teach me something new... which Tom has been able to do.
Nicholas Anderson, Olympia, Washington, USA
“I just love guitar lessons with Tom, he literally takes the time to make a specific lesson plan and sends you lessons as you need it.”
My last lesson I took with a local guitar teacher before joining Tom, I was struggling with a sweep picking pattern, which was the 5 string root major, I was really struggling to get the rolling technique down. I took it to my guitar teacher and I was like “Help me with this, I don’t know what I’m doing wrong.” This is his exact phrase: “At high speeds, it doesn’t really matter if you can play it clean or not, no one can hear it anyway.” At that point, I was just like, “Ah man.” But thankfully, in that same message, he mentioned Tom’s name. Then the doors opened. That very night, I went home and looked at every single lesson Tom had, had my guitar in hand, every YouTube lesson on you know “correct motions”, “play this over chords”... just applied it instantly, and it was instant results within an hour... just from his free stuff. I was like, oh man, I’ve got to do lessons with this guy.I remember when I first started out with lessons, I instantly jumped on the forum to greet myself, and it’s amazing how there’s like 30 responses. Just like, “Hi welcome.” and stuff... “Hi Dan, great musical tastes”. That made me feel really at home and welcomed into Tom’s forum and community. Every time I’ve had an issue when I was first starting out be it like theory or technique, there’s always been someone there who’s helped. Otherwise it could’ve been this potentially awkward process where I’d have to wait a whole week to get an answer from my teacher, who even then may not have answered it correctly and may have never solved it. Whereas there are guys on there who have been with Tom and have been through exactly what I’ve been through. They know exactly how to help, in what order, what information you need... it’s just a friendly atmosphere really.
Dan Mayhew, Stowmarket, UK
“I wasn't really at the level I wanted to be at, and I didn't really know how to get there, and Tom just showed me the way, how to get to that level, how to practice properly, how to improve.”
Tom is a great teacher, he knows what he is talking about and he doesn't just, like a lot of other guitar teachers, teach songs. Tom tells me what to practice, what's good for me to practice. There is a lot of free stuff on the internet, but there is nobody really telling you what to do, what's good for you, and that's what Tom is great at. Tom just knows so much about teaching, he knows how to deal with all the problems. Other teachers are not able to help me in the way that Tom does.
Ike Biedermann, Guitar Teacher, Leipzig, Germany
“July of 2012, I had been managing in a retail store and was kind of reaching this point where I was really getting frustrated because I had been struggling to progress in my guitar playing. I had this mindset that I had to teach myself everything... you know and the best players are all self taught and stuff like that...”
...and I remembered Tom Hess from that book, and I said “You know, it’s time to look this guy up and see what he’s all about.” And it didn’t take me very long to figure out that this is the kind of person that I needed to get on board with.
My playing has definitely improved technique-wise, but probably the most important change I have experienced is just in my overall mindset as a player and as a practicing musician. I just feel like I have a much better frame of mind and a much better idea of where I am going and where my guitar practicing is taking me. Whereas before I just felt like I had to practice everything and I had a whole bunch of stuff going on. It’s a lot more focused now.Being in the environment that Tom has created with his other students is incredibly motivating. I had always been in my own little shell, kind of just stayed on my own. Coming out here... like when I came out here last year was a big step out of my comfort zone. Getting around all these other musicians... it’s unbelievable how great some of these guys are, not just as players, but as people.
Andrew Tintle, Richmond, California USA
“I had problems with physical playing. I couldn’t hold the pick, I was struggling a lot, there was frustration for like years. I started out looking for a YouTube solution, maybe someone knows how to angle the pick or build up speed and accidentally ran into Tom.”
The video wasn’t about playing, he only had a conversation. I listened up to him. I saw that Tom made a lot of sense in his speech, and I got interested. I went to his site, started looking at what he offered, got very interested, filled out the form, got my first lesson, started building up myself and started getting more results than I was getting before when I was self taught. It was an amazing experience that opened up so many doors, and still there are so many doors to open.The material is specifically done for your individual needs, to reach your goals. You can always put up new goals. You can have feedback on your playing, see your weak areas and strong areas. Tom cares a lot about his students. He always reviews and watches how I am progressing so we can review material, step by step. Not skipping the steps. He is paying attention to it, and that’s what I like about it. I last felt this kind of motivation when I was 13 and starting out with a band, now I’m feeling the same fire and passion. There are students who are more advanced, more knowledgeable and have more experience. Instead of feeling jealous, I feel much more motivated to push myself further.
Freddy Kuiva, Estonia
“When I met Tom Hess, I knew that this is the guy. Just going through the evaluation form, all the questions, different questions, and he was digging deeper and deeper into all my goals and all that stuff... and no one has ever done that with me before, so I felt right away that this is the guy.”
The level that I was at before I went to Tom for lessons was that I could play pretty fast, I could play sloppy, I didn’t know nothing about music theory, so I was kind of unbalanced, I was uneven. I was a good player technically, but I knew very little about music theory. So I wanted to even that out, and Tom has helped me, not only evening that out, but also exceeding my expectations. So now I’m playing at a level that I didn’t expect that I could play at. So that’s... I’m very happy with that.I like lessons with Tom because of the format basically. He gives a variety of formats... not just one format, like video for example, but also pdf files and audio files that you can take with you if you’re doing something else... you have to do labor that day, laundry or whatever... then you can listen to the sessions and while... you can actually benefit when you’re not even practicing, so it’s a no brainer.
Gottfrid Norberg Waxin, Sweden
“Before lessons with Tom, I had not had lessons too long with anyone. I was stumbling upon lots of difficulties like with areas of technique, theory and... I didn’t even know the things I had to invest time and effort into to. Basically I was always playing the same lick.”
Having lessons with Tom gives me a new eye-view from a lot of the things I never would have seen if I didn’t start the lessons with him. My technique has skyrocketed. My knowledge in theory, composition and improvisation has gone from zero to a place where I like where I am. I’d like to be much better in aspects of playing guitar, but in the moment I feel good with what I’ve learned. It makes me feel good.
Alan Ahrend, Canary Islands
“Before I started lessons with Tom, I had a couple of guitar teachers and in between those times, I tried to learn on my own and I had a very hard time understanding what I needed to do or keep my motivation levels high. I felt like I really wasn't going anywhere and I needed some direction.”
Tom helped me find direction in my playing again. I really like the online lessons because everything is in hard copy. Everything that Tom gives me, I can read over and over and over again as opposed to a teacher before who would maybe talk about something but I couldn't internalize it, I would forget about it by the time the next lesson came along.
Graeme Whitecross, Saskatoon, Canada
“I’d been trying to find a teacher for quite a while. I was self-taught. I prided myself on that. I think a lot of people do for a long time. I knew a teacher would get me there quicker... unfortunately, the teachers I tried out at various locations around the area... they’d either run out of material to show me or it wasn’t leading in a defined direction.”
I stumbled across Tom’s video on YouTube and it was immediately exactly what I wanted. I could tell by the questionnaire that I filled out that he was looking for a depth of knowledge of where my experience level was, so it was right up my alley. It was exactly what I was looking for. It’s awesome because I don’t know what I don’t know. He knows where I am at or can judge my experience level, bounce it off from a database in his head of other students he’s seen, and he can tell where I am through my playing.
Peter Birchenough, Belleville, Illinois, USA
“The lessons are great!”
They have a great structure, because they are so versatile, different areas are covered, so you can really approach many different areas at approximately the same level and then you grow at all these levels at the same time. Tom's Geometrical Approach™ is really great!
Mitja Zibert, Guitar Teacher, Slovenia
“Before I started taking correspondence lessons I was basically stagnant in my playing. I had kind of reached what I thought was a pinnacle and I started looking for what’s next, what’s bigger and better… and I just happened across Tom’s lessons and since then I’ve realized that this plateau that I was feeling was way down here and now he’s helped me tremendously. I know I can do things on the guitar that I could’ve never dreamed of five years ago.”
I chose to take guitar lessons with Tom over anybody else because a) Tom is a professional musician, and I want to learn from people who are making a living as a musician and b) he just had a wealth of knowledge that he freely gives to you to kind of say here, you know here is the golden nugget.
The biggest change in my playing that has happened since I started taking lessons with Tom is playing like a true musician, phrasing like a true musician, and kind of separating myself away from all the wannabes.
So if I were to compare Tom’s correspondence lessons with just taking private lesson in a local market, it’s night and day. For one thing, Tom’s lessons are easy to understand, they’re very in depth and they’re tailored to what you want to learn… versus private lessons, a lot of times the teachers are using their students as guinea pigs to figure out how to teach… and Tom’s not doing that, he’s knows what he’s doing.
Thoughts when I started with Tom were “Is this going to work for me?” because it was definitely not the norm. And my thoughts now are “Hell yes it’s going to work”, because you see results.
Tom’s goal-oriented approach has helped me, I guess break horizons and get results that I could’ve never gotten before. Only because he helped me flesh out how I want to play and how to get there. He gave the goals and the path to get there, and it’s been excellent. Tom is like he says, an ordinary guy, but he’s doing extraordinary things, and I know in my life that’s what I want to do. I just want to be an ordinary guy that is impacting lives, and that’s been huge from Tom.
Ty Morgan, Phoenix, Arizona
“I started playing guitar maybe about 15 years ago. I had a really crappy teacher. Basically, based on some bad advice I went to learn classical guitar. I mean I wanted to learn electric guitar, but my friends learned classical, then acoustic, then electric. So I foolishly went to the music school and said I want to learn classical guitar, but they never asked me why, what do I want to do, so they said yeah ok, here’s a guitar, let’s go.”
So after about a year of faking trying to learn music notation, I quit. But I really loved, music, the guitar, so, I’m a pretty creative person in general, so I just you know, came up with a whole bunch of stuff on the guitar. I was self-taught for many years, until I came across Tom’s website. And then what happened was… after reading all of his articles, I used his article on how to choose a guitar teacher, and I went around my local city in Kuala Lumpur, trying to find teachers based on that criteria and of course they couldn’t even meet one criterion. And I actually went for a few lessons, and after a while it was like, well, it’s not worth it, I’m just going to go with Tom.
He has a lot of freaking awesome students. I’ve been playing guitar for 15 years, I’ve been a correspondence student for about 5 years or 6 years, everything prior to that was just a waste of time.
The forum is beyond words. I mean, I ask a question and I get 20 responses or 10 responses from very helpful people. Everybody is trying to help there. Nobody is criticizing like anybody. Everybody is just so helpful. It’s like having 20 Tom Hesses. It’s like, you know… 20 mentors, 20 people… more than that actually. So I think the forum is awesome for that. Not only because of the information available there, but just because of the people willing to help.
Vishaal Kapoor, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
“I started lessons when I was a young kid. I was in school. I had a casual teacher, but he only taught us chords, like basic stuff if you want to learn like 3 chord songs. But I wanted more than that, so I went to a local guitar teacher. But he also gave me the same thing. But after like 5 or 6 years of lessons, like I found myself, like if I heard a backing track or something, I couldn’t play with someone. I mean I didn’t feel like a musician, I feel like someone who can just move his fingers from like fret 1 to fret whatever. But with Tom, he’s giving me the tools to become what I want to become, become the musician I want to become. And this is exactly what I want.”
Tom Hess was basically the only guy on the internet with the credentials and the reviews, and basically everyone recommended him. He even had his own students webpage. All his students were like established guitar teachers and professional musicians and they had their own sites and I contacted like 7 of them, and they all recommended Tom Hess, and that’s why I joined him.
I like taking lessons with Tom because he gives me what I want. It’s not like something general for everyone. Like if you want to learn blues, he gives you lessons for blues, but I want to become a metal player and also a neoclassical player, so he’s giving me exactly what I need and what I want. And if I have a problem I just post a thread on the amazing forum, and I get like answers, not just short answers, but really detailed answers. I feel like I am taken care of, I don’t have to worry about anything. If I just follow everything word for word what Tom gives me in all of the lessons, that’s if I have time, because they’re so big, I mean every lesson, people think it’s overpriced, but each lesson, if you want to master it, take everything out of it, is going to take you like 4 weeks of 2 hours of work every day.
Mohamed Karim Koleilat, Beirut, Lebanon
“I was watching YouTube videos and I was going nowhere. The direction Tom was sending me in my first lessons was towards my goals, so I could see that I was progressing. ”
Basically, after half a year of stumbling on YouTube videos or other guitar websites, I found that my guitar playing was not going into any direction and that changed massively because he actually got me to learn my scales and arpeggios... learn what I need to learn to get to the level I want to be. In a sense, I joined shortly after I started guitar playing, then improved massively in every way possible: rhythm, lead, improvisation. Before I tried Tom, I was noodling around the first pentatonic shape.
Patrick Kogler, Austria
“When I first heard about Tom Hess, I saw that he was a teacher that was very dedicated and serious about it, and that drew me in immediately. That this is a guy that has a plan, has a goal and really if you’re serious about learning guitar, this guy is equally as serious in a way. So it resonated with me straight away.”
I started out just learning by myself and as many others I got stuck. I had a few issues I wanted to get by, but when I met Tom and talked with him and started lessons with him, he opened up a whole new world of possibilities of what guitar playing can be.
I feel very grateful that I found lessons from Tom since I then did what worked from the very beginning. Many guitarists I see that played way longer than I did, they have build up many bad habits. That from the very start, there was clear instruction of how to practice correctly. You build the ability for high speed and whatever you want from the very beginning and you don’t waste time doing inefficient things. So I’m very grateful that I did that, and now I really feel I am able to reach whatever level I want.
The reasons why I think I feel so motivated all the time is because I know that the thing I’m working on is relevant for me and it’s exactly the direct thing I need to get.
The forum just kicks ass. The people in the forum - it’s just like unconditional help all the time. They love to help out, and you also get very inspired by seeing someone just really getting speed really quick and then you say if he can do it, I can do it. It works on the mental side of being a guitarist and that of course that’s the most important thing. Just being around other musicians like that, is just you learn so much faster, is so much less frustration when you can see that all the people are having the same issues that you do, not anything special or anything. It’s just part of learning process, so it kicks ass.
Magnus Gautestad, Norway
“Tom was my first guitar teacher ever. I started online guitar lessons a couple of years ago and it’s what I’ve been looking for. Someone who can really help me get what I want.”
Tom really puts it back on me to decide what I want and do what I need to do to get that. That’s what so many people need when they need help - they need to know how to help themselves.
There’s abundant resources. You can always get more information. You can always get more help, especially from other people, other students, members on the forum... Most of all, it’s an opportunity for me to help myself. That’s the goal.
When I pick up something that I haven’t played for a long time with my new technique... wow, it feels different. There are plenty of songs (I’ve always played in a cover band, so I know tons of songs). There are songs I haven’t played for 5, 10, 15, 20 years... and if I pulled them up and played them, they would still feel the same way they did back them. But now, if I pull up and play a song I haven’t played in forever – Oh my God, wow! My hands do this now.
Rob Hiemstra, Toronto, Canada
“You’re dealing with one of the best guitar teachers in the world, maybe the best and you can’t get that just anywhere in the world.”
Tom is so goal focused, and I hadn’t even thought of that, it changed the way I thought of things. Tom makes you come up with musical goals and works towards fulfilling those goals. You have something to focus on, the lessons are based on meeting those goals. You’re getting better, you can see how you’re getting better and then you build new goals after that. You see the growth and development as opposed to just getting a little better at a certain technique. You’re actually developing.
Mike Larson, Milwaukee, USA
“Before the online guitar lessons I had a local guitar teacher. Like a jazz guitar teacher. I had him for about 4 years. The thing is I don’t really play jazz, so after a while it was kind of useless, so I started looking for rock guitar / metal guitar teachers, but I couldn’t find one in my area. That’s when I found Tom.”
The difference between Tom and a normal guitar teacher... The teacher I was with for 4 years, he asked me what I wanted to learn, the songs and licks and stuff. It wasn’t really logical or structured in any way. Going from one lesson learning something, then the next lesson learning something, next lesson... with no structure in between it. That’s something Tom really has. He has really good structure.
Johan Tillgren, Sweden
“Being involved in coaching and sports as an athlete. I find Tom to be one of these guys who he delivers a lot of confidence in the way he knows... I have confidence in him, that if I follow what he says to do, I’ll be successful.”
What I think is remarkable about Tom is he is able to adjust to people of various talents, capabilities, knowledge and skills. He’s affable, he’s funny, he’s good. He’s not standoffish, he’s not intimidating. I was actually kinda nervous before coming here... I’m 62 years old, you know I don’t have anything nervous about at this point in my life. This was a big deal, a big commitment. There’s tremendous confidence, and I’m not trying to be the next Steve Vai at this point in my life, that’s not my goal at all. But where I want to go with my playing... a certain freedom, a certain knowledge... I really do feel the stuff Tom is giving me is going to make a difference in my life, and that’s important.
John Alper, Bridgewater, USA
“I basically made a decision, you know I’ve been playing on and off for most of my life, I made a decision to get serious about this again or just sell the equipment and be done with it you know... either do it or don’t.”
I had searched around, you know found a lot of the free sites you know that are on the internet. Learned some cool stuff. Happened to stumbled upon Tom, I don’t remember exactly how, but anyway… I was a bit skeptical at first, you know, but decided to give it a chance and haven’t looked back since.
Greg Frus, Olympia, Washington, USA
“I was looking for help, I played a lot in the 80’s, and I didn’t touch guitar for 15 years maybe. And I decided to get back into it. And I was an OK player. But I decided I wanted to take it to a new level, I was looking for hobby I could spend time on.”
After playing around for a few months, I decided I needed a teacher. I had taken music theory classes in college. I understood a lot of the basics of music. I felt like I needed a jump start... something to get me going and keep me practicing every day. So, I’d been to the websites and YouTube, on my own, sort of seeking teachers and I came across Tom Hess, saw his videos, and so I gave that a shot.
The online guitar lessons are very high quality lessons, there’s plenty there to keep you going from lessons to lesson, it forces you to practice a lot to keep up with the lessons.My guitar playing improved immensely! I knew some of the theory, I knew I was a fairly good player, but a lot of this just tied it all together. The typical teacher was just some guy in a band, who was sitting in a music store room, who kind of showed you whatever you asked or what he felt like… there were various techniques used. This is much more professional. You have more of a specific plan the second you walk in, what your goals are, what direction you want to go, you’re kind of mapped throughout your progress and pushed in the right direction.
Daniel Kunde, South Beach, Oregon, USA
"I had actually I tried many things before I tried Tom Hess. I’ve taken guitar lessons from many different guitar teachers… some of which were decent, but I surpassed all of them in the end."
And I tried learning from books and from different online places. But in the end, I decided to take correspondence lessons with Tom Hess, because unlike anything else online, or unlike a book, he actually creates a unique lesson plan to address my specific problems.My guitar playing has improved since taking correspondence lessons with Tom Hess in several areas, but, the main areas that they’ve improved in are being able to improvise over a backing track and visualizing the fretboard, and I’ve also gotten faster at playing since starting lessons with Tom Hess.
Chris Hirsch, Ruston, Louisiana, USA
“Honestly, a lot of the guitar teachers that I took lessons with, they were great at the time, but eventually they just kind of ran out of stuff to show me and teach me or whatever.”
One thing Tom Hess does that a lot of other teachers don’t do is he guides lessons in such a way that they fulfill your personal goals as a musician. Since I start taking lessons with Tom, my playing has gotten a lot cleaner, and he's given me a lot of strategies for building speed on the riffs that I've been having trouble with, and exercises to work out all kinds of different issues that I have in my playing.Tom’s goal oriented approach really helps to focus your practice into things that you know, honestly things you really want to do. It forces you to really stop and look at, you know, “Hey, I want to get into this style or I want to do this with my musical career, I want to get into this or I want to get into that.” You know just basically whatever directions you choose to go, he gives you the lessons that’ll give you the straight path to that. There’s entirely no BS with other stuff. There’s no useless stuff. It’s all stuff that’s going to help you.
Daniel Cruzan, Grand Rapids, Michigan, USA
Ryan Duke, Seattle, Washington, USA
"Tom Hess’s attitude is really contagious in a good way obviously. Like when I first started taking lessons, that year turned out to be the most productive year I’ve ever had in my life."
I remember there was one lesson I got from Tom Hess. I can’t remember which one it was but he was mentioned how when he was younger he saw Yngwie Malmsteen with some friends and they were all going, oh man I’ll never be able to play like him, and he was thinking the complete opposite, going "what are you talking about, I want to play like that. I’m inspired." And you know, the level of playing that I’ve seen in the guys here is definitely helping to inspire me to get better, but also the way how supporting they are and how motivating they are is helping me to make better life choices... that’s a really good thing.
Ryan Mueller, Toronto, Ontario, Canada
“I was always curious about trying to find a way to get past where I was at but I kept running into brick walls. I realized that Tom's teaching was probably what I needed to break through that wall.”
The main reason why Tom's lessons were working for me was because he was making me do things that I didn't do before on my guitar so he was breaking me out of the rut that I was in.The lessons are absolutely value for money and I have a lot of fun on the guitar, I spend a lot of time whenever I can.
John Magee, San Francisco, California, USA
"As a mentor and teacher, Tom has had a profound influence on my development as a musician and more importantly, my level of fulfillment as a person who is now living their passion.”
Tom has an exceptional level of knowledge and understanding in music, music business and how to effectively teach music, and he delivers this with a holistic, highly-detailed and goal-oriented approach. Tom's teaching style is bold and powerful, and unlike many teachers, he actually has the credential's to back up what he preaches, having already achieved international success as a touring and recording artist and world-class guitarist.
Chris Ball, singer/guitarist/songwriter
"I was decent guitar player with lots of ideas. From the moment I had my first lesson with Tom, those ideas began to take shape. They began to transform into solid results that I could measure and in which I could take pride. More than that, I've been exposed to concepts and disciplines--primarily things that I formerly didn't even know existed. These also have become and are becoming the resultant products of this new knowledge. It's given me new vision for myself as a player, and continues to give me new ideas; while still keeping and expanding all my former ideas.”
And, I've learned a non-linear approach to learning that has proven itself to me over and over again. (Eg. I've been struggling with sweep picking for months, and two days ago it simply made sense! I stopped all the excess motion in my picking hand and simply moved my forearm to brush the pick across the strings.)
I'll stop here, though I could write you a 20 page book, each page describing an insight I've gleaned from your words, your playing, your music, your lesson material, those of your associates like George Bellas, and those of my fellow forum members; and it would still not do justice to the blessings I've received.
So for, now all I can really say is thank for
what you've taught me, for what you're teaching me, and--as I wait eagerly--for what you will teach me in the future.
New York City, New York, USA
“I don’t know that there is a better trainer or teacher than Tom in the world. I mean, he’s number one for a reason. He gives you so much more value than what you pay for, it’s unbelievable, that’s for sure.”
Dan Smith, Edmonton, Alberta, Canada
“At the time when I decided to sign up for online guitar lessons with Tom, I didn’t really have specific goals in mind, so when I was filling out his page, when I signed up for lessons, he asked a lot of questions about where are you at now, and what do you want to become, what do you want to achieve…”
I’m not 100% as goal oriented as Tom is, but it’s a good example of how you should do it in your life.
One of the differences between Tom Hess and other guitar teachers is that the lessons are huge and you never lose anything. You always have your guitar lesson in your account and you can download it. The volume of the things described in the lesson is not like “to do this until the next lesson”... it’s some examples with a lot more general stuff you can implement and use for years... to master. When you try to get some ideas from friends... some tricks... it’s almost always not so wide spread, you get only one specific thing to learn and you may not even be able to implement it into your own guitar playing. In Tom’s lessons, he shows you the way to implement any technique and integrate all the things together..
If you receive your lesson and have a hard time grasping things from it, it’s almost 100% you’ll find a topic on the same thing on the forum where there are already a lot of things explained by a lot more experienced guys. There are a lot of discussions going on and you can immediately get your answers. I have my answers immediately all the time. But I don’t really have that much questions. The single most important thing for me that I got from the forums is a full understanding of how modes and scales work. There are a lot of things about music theory in the forums.
Vasily Rusakovich, Minsk, Belarus
Click on these pictures to check out cool videos of my students playing in the final round of my recent music playing contests.
Additional Student Feedback
When I showed up for my first lesson with Tom, I never really thought an average person could accomplish their dreams of writing and playing music for a living. It would be an understatement to say that my life has been changed. Not only has Tom instilled in my playing a high level of technique but more importantly an understanding that music involves so much more than insane chops. The things I now consider the intangibles: vibrato, phrasing, aural skills and everything that has to do with composition, things I had never thought about before I met Tom, are what really make music emotional and a form of self expression. Tom has open my mind, eyes, and ears to help me explore concepts such as counterpoint, voice leading, and odd meters which now allow me to use technique as a tool to create music I only could have dreamed about making. Most importantly he has shown me that hard work, not natural talent, will always guarantee the accomplishment of my dreams and goals. I feel privileged to have the opportunity to learn from one of the true masters the guitar has ever had. Thanks.
- Tim Gibson (Wisconsin, United States)
It is hard to compare Tom and his teaching to any other guitar teacher out there. His knowledge and technique are unbelievable. I have been taking private lesson with him for a little over a year and it is ridiculous to see how much better of a musician I have become. My technique and speed have drastically improved and my knowledge of music theory and other related things have grown to levels that I would never have been able to reach without his help. I am making great steps in reaching my goals, both as a musician and in my music career goals. Tom's teaching methods are so incredible and helpful. His great playing inspires me to work harder at all the musical areas I am studying.
- Zack Uidl (Illinois, United States)
Tom, you are the one and only reason that I am the musician that I am today. My lessons with you throughout the years were such a huge part of my life and no other teacher could ever have come close to your expertise. My career as a professional musician/teacher is due to all of your help and guidance from the years that I have known you. I appreciate all of the time you have spent with me advancing my career long after our private lessons ended. I cannot thank you enough.
- Chris Kalkbrenner (Illinois, United States)
Tom Hess is the reason I pursued a music career. I took lessons from him all throughout high school, and he has become a very important mentor for me. He not only improved my playing immensely, but he helped me to realize that music is what I want to make my living with. I pursued a degree from Berklee College of Music because of him. After graduation, he offered me the incredible opportunity to play bass in the HESS band. I have learned a great deal from him even years afterwards.
- Mark Carozza (Illinois, United States)
Beginning my studies with Tom was without a doubt one of the greatest and most wise decisions I have ever made for my guitar playing. When I began my lessons my knowledge of music theory was lacking and I had no idea how to improvise solos or understood what it meant to compose truly expressive music. After studying with Tom (mostly via correspondence), I am currently enrolled in advanced music theory classes at a renown musical university. I also have greater skills to compose music than ever before. My playing ability is also greater than ever, and continues to grow with correct practice. But most importantly, I am very confident now that I will eventually reach all of my musical goals (which include becoming a virtuoso guitarist and music composer) Tom's sincere desire to help his students reach their goals, is one of the main things which makes him the great teacher he is. I feel very fortunate to have a mentor like Tom, and I look forward to learning from him in the years to come.
- Mike Philippov (Indiana, United States)
I started taking lessons from Tom Hess around 1996. I was self taught up until then. It was under Tom¹s tutelage that I learned what it meant to be a true guitarist/musician. Because of Tom I learned how to exceed my own expectations. I owe my musical ability first to God and then to Tom Hess.
- Marco Ferrara (Alabama, United States)
I have studied with Tom Hess for 2 years . He has become a great asset in my musical Career . From listening to my tunes, offering unbiased critique, teaching me about composition and how to express my self thru the guitar and music . I would recommended Tom to anyone seriously wanting to become a great player.
- Mario Amengual (Florida, United States)
Correspondence lessons with Tom have been the best thing I've done since I last took guitar lessons many years ago. I had struggled on my own to find direction, but Tom's lessons have really focused me and I feel like I am definitely on the right track to becoming a great guitarist. One of the best parts about the lessons is that they don't just cover guitar technique; in addition, they delve into songwriting and composition, many aspects of music theory, and ear training, just to name a few. Tom's lessons aren't just about becoming a better guitar player, they're about becoming a better musician.
- Gabe Zentner
Tom's intuition is uncanny. He knows what you need to do to improve. I had signed up for these lessons not knowing what to expect and from the very first lesson that I received and to this day, Tom knows my weaknesses and addresses those. I know that I have massively improved since.
- Tony Bradbury (Vancouver, Canada)
"The lessons are awesome. I feel I have already improved. Enclosed is my latest instrumental cd."
- Riff Sorce (Illinois, United States)
Tom's lessons helped me to make big advances in my playing. Tom has some great information and methods that have helped my playing significantly. The skills I've developed have made it easier for me to make music and work with other musicians. Thanks!
- Dave Cardwell (United States)
Tom Hess is truly a master at what he does! The lessons I have received are excellent in content. Musically I am seeing a progression in Techniques that had taken months and months on my own with very little forward progress. Now I am moving forward and becoming more and more confident in my playing and attitude. A HUGE IMPACT! I can't leave out the articles. Great stuff and very inspirational! Thanks Krzysztof, Dan and Alexander and THANK YOU for the lessons Tom! If you are serious about music, invest in yourself and study with Tom Hess.
- Tevis Maloney (Arizona, United States)
I was introduced to Mr. Hess through one of my friends who studied with him through correspondence lessons ( and still does ). I thought I would give it a try because I am always open to learn as much as possible. I was not expected to be blown away with how down to earth Mr. Hess is though. A lot of these students will talk of how their guitar playing and composing has increased, and of course mine has increased dramatically; I am at a point I thought never possible a year ago. However, every time I have met with Mr. Hess in person ( 3 times ) it has not only changed me as a musician, but as a person. I used to be a pessimistic closed minded individual with little knowledge on music and how to express my true self. However, Mr. Hess taught me the ropes, forever changing my outlook on music and life. Without Mr. Hess's guidance I would NOT be here at arguably the best music school in the country, IU. I consider Mr. Hess not only a great instructor, but also my friend. Listen to this guy and your life will change!!! Thanks for giving me the opportunity to learn from you bro.
- Kyle Hicks (California, United States)
I have been studying with Tom for just over a year now. That year I have had significant changes in my life. First off, I was fresh out of highschool. I was inspired by recordings of Tom, and by another one of his students guitar playing capabilities. I have always been into writing music, and as I started with Tom, our focus pretty much became just that. "Just that" included introducing me to theory, more in depth composition, priceless advice on how to handle the business end things, and over all a broader range of music appreciation. I look to Tom as the Teachers Holy Trinity; the teacher, the mentor, and the friend. Tom has helped me put together many of the pieces in my jigsaw puzzle of a music career, and still continues to today. Thanks Tom!
- Alex Boccia (Illinois, United States)
Just wanted to drop you a line and tell you how much I enjoyed the pedagogy lesson. It got here yesterday and I have reread it a couple of times. I have several "How To Teach Guitar" e-books, all of which contained some good ideas, and you still managed to touch on some things that these other books didn't cover. I'm really looking forward to Part 2 in April. I can see myself studying with you for a long time to come! You are The Man! I have no doubt that with your guidance, I can reach my teaching goals. I also want to write an instructional book someday. Something that teaches simple modal application for people who have been playing strictly pentatonic scales.
I have spent hundreds of dollars and countless hours scouring the web for materials to help me to improve my teaching. Even with the huge collection of books that I have, your very first guitar pedagogy lesson contained ideas that I hadn't thought of and weren't covered anywhere else. I have no doubt that with your guidance I can elevate my teaching to the next level and reach my goal of quitting my day job and becoming a full time guitar teacher. My biggest regret is that I didn't start correspondence lessons with you sooner.
- Paul Tauterouff (New York, United States)
Although I have only been on your correspondence program for a month (2 lessons) the progress I have made in that time is more than was made in the last year of trying to teach myself. I am a far better guitarist and it feels great! I look forward to seeing how far your lessons, and my sustained practice sessions, can take me.
- Andrew Greenhalgh (Dubai, United Arab Emirates)
Well Tom, I have to say I'm really impressed so far with my correspondence course. The last few months studying your music lessons have had an enormous effect on my attitude towards music and the guitar (I'm sure you get comments like this a lot, but it's true!). YOU've inspired me to pursue a career in the music business as a professional musician.
- Justin Armstrong (Canada)
Tom, I stumbled upon one of your articles while surfing on the net, and I was hit by the fact that not only there were no licks inside, but you were covering a vital topic: perseverance. I had perseverance, but didn't know what to practice! Then I discovered that you gave correspondence lessons. I was dubious at first (you know, correspondence lessons... it is really possible to learn?), but your kind answers before I enrolled persuaded me. After 3 months I see that this was probably the single best decision in my guitar playing. What still strike me is how much you were able to understand of me by the few things I told you... at the end of the first month I was thinking that I needed some exercise specific for the right hand, but you were faster than me and included it in the following lesson BEFORE I told you! Ditto for the exercise on hands synchronization. Also, you made me realize how important is ear training in becoming a musician and not only a "guitar player". In only 3 months my skills on the guitar have improved enormously, my playing is cleaner and on time, I feel more confident. At the beginning I wasn't sure that I could eventually reach my goals... but after seeing the improvements I am not doubting any more! Thanks, Tom, and keep doing the good work!!
- Tommaso Zillio (Italy)
Tom Hess’ correspondence lessons are amazing. I really feel a lot of support from the lessons and the forum. Tom really wants you to exceed, and as a world class virtuoso he knows exactly what the next step for is you. He keeps on pushing you to greater levels, lesson after lesson. Before I started lessons with Tom I was an intermediate player, now I can really feel how I will totally dominate as a guitar player and an upcoming force in the music industry. Thanks a lot, Tom!
- Antony Reynaert (West-Vlaanderen, Belguim)
To me, one of the hardest parts about learning to play the guitar is that I'd much rather just play the guitar instead of sitting around and practicing. Fortunately Tom's lessons not only include the physical techniques required to play the guitar well, but he also understands the mental road blocks that we all put up for ourselves when trying to learn. In his lessons he includes articles and examples from his own personal experience as a student and as a professional, to help us get past these hurdles. Another invaluable resource that Tom offers is his Students Forum on the website. It is one of the most friendly and helpful forums, of any type, that I've run across. Unlike random searching on the web, you can find answer to questions that are lesson specific and give you a greater understanding of the material you're trying to learn. Overall I would highly recommend Tom as a guitar teacher.
- Mike Thomas (Georgia, United States)
Reading Tom's article on the myths of becoming a professional musician solidified my decision to pursue my passion for music as a career. I was a one-year-old self-taught guitarist back then, and I knew I needed a better way to reach my playing goals. Since Tom offered affordable correspondence lessons, I seriously considered studying with him, and signed up for the program. After about a month of reading through https://tomhess.net, I finally COMPLETELY surrendered all what I thought playing and practicing guitar is about to Tom, and made my first payment to him.
It has now been 6 months since I began studying with Tom Hess, and as I look back, I smile in disbelief at how primitive my past approaches to guitar playing and practice really were ... and that I would have still been practicing with the self-defeating habits that I developed within the first year of teaching myself guitar. Though I'll always have room to improve, I CANNOT BELIEVE how the quality of my practicing has risen in half a year!
Aside from the lessons that I regularly get from him, Tom provides so much more value to me and all of his students. The private forum alone is worth the money with the quality of its members. Tom's passion and dedication to his students (just from my experience with him) is INCREDIBLE. Tom isn't just a guitar teacher to me ... he is my greatest mentor. I will probably never stop studying with him ... the guy is always 77 steps ahead of me! The money for the lessons is nothing compared to what I'm getting in return. The best way I'll ever pay the man back is by blasting past and beyond all of my major music goals in life, and letting him know about it.
Thank you, Tom!
-Mike Voyevodskiy (North Carolina, United States)
In 6 months Tom's lessons have exceeded my expectations. I am 20-+ year student of guitar and have been playing in weekend cover bands for over 10 years. I'm always on the look out for new learning material. I have taken lessons from 4 or 5 excellent teachers locally, face to face over the past 10-15 years. I've been fortunate to these teachers were very helpful with where I was at a point in time with my playing. I am also a big collector of instructional material, printed, audio, video, tab etc. I always have a small stack of learning material to supplement my band song list for my regular practice sessions.
Yes, I could have stayed comfortable in my playing, continued to learn at a certain pace and continued to play in my weekend cover band successfully a few times a month but 6 months ago I felt the time was right to try the correspondence format Tom advertised on his web site. Skeptical of mail order correspondent lessons, but looking for specific instruction on how to practice more effectively, and close in some gaps on fundamental skills, the format seemed low risk
Yes we've touched on some basic fundamentals that I knew (or thought I knew) but we've gone way beyond that as well. I am practicing with renewed enthusiasm, throwing new spark into my cover band songs, learning to balance learning new things, having fun playing and performing. The material I am receiving will always be there for me to refer back to. Each lesson seems to contain a variety of material well conceived to where I am in my playing and what I am hoping to accomplish.
The topics and technical areas of focus Tom provides are not for just now but for the future, such areas like aural skills, composition, songwriting, learning songs, advanced chords, scales etc. are things I had never thought to focus on. While I pride myself on improvising in a blues setting, both Tom's basic blues improve lessons and his Improvisation CD classes have been a huge benefit and I look forward to receiving each new installment
Tom uses his applicant questionnaire very effectively and has an uncanny ability of programming your subsequent lessons individually and personally for you. Finally, it's not just about the lessons from Tom. The community of other students he has built via the web site forum is an invaluable resource. Everyone is knowledgeable in their own right and many are teachers themselves.
I have thoroughly enjoyed the lessons from Tom and look forward to continuing to learn and grow my musical abilities.
- David DeWees (Ohio, United States)
Some time ago when I started to play guitar I didn't have a teacher, didn't have true knowledge, didn't have goals, didn't have direction where to move. I just collected information from many sources and soaked it up. Once I was surfing the Internet, grabbing musical info, and accidentally found Tom's article. At the same evening I emailed him and asked to teach me. I've been taking correspondence lessons for about one and a half year and during this time Tom totally changed my technique, my style of playing and my vision of music. Now I have serious guitar goals, I have the way to achieve them, I have really cool teacher and friend and I am happy with it. It is wonderful how just one email can change your life!
- Alexander Yuganov (Belarus)
In April of 2004 my daughter and I wanted to experience an activity or hobby that would bring us closer together. Not only has taking lessons with Tom brought us closer together, but we are sharing and experiencing the joy of playing guitar far beyond my greatest hope! Taking lessons from a Pro's Pro like Tom gives you the best practices and techniques for beginners when it can be so easy to quit. Tom has taught a lot of students over the years and knows how to reach into people and tap their awaiting expression and skill like he truly has with us. Although Tom's own skills are far beyond even most professional guitarists, he shows remarkable patience and reinforcement of your progress as you go. If you have kids that want to learn guitar or if you are an adult that has always felt you could be the next "Angus" or Kirk Hamett...or whoever.... Tom is the teacher you want. He provides more than just guitar lessons, he provides a real musical education
- Dave Blum (Illinois, United States)
Tom Hess is the man! He has taught me everything I've ever wanted to know about guitar, songwriting, and music in general over the last six years. He is an extremely intelligent person with a massive amount of knowledge in this field. I recommend Tom to anyone who wants to learn to play guitar and wants to improve his guitar playing skills.
- Daniel P. Weiler Jr. (Illinois, United States)
I have just finished up a six hour practice/study session with the materials you furnished, in addition to an hour or two per night since I got them a few days ago. Having taken private lessons from two other instructors and studied on my own for a number of years, in addition to performing live for about five years now, I think I can say with some authority that this is the course I have been looking for! While my previous instructors each had something to offer, what they did not provide is training in the underlying science and art behind music that will give me what I want - free command of the fretboard. I think your course is finally going to unlock that door for me.
The aural skills training is the best thing I have come across since I started messing around with the guitar as a child. This should be lesson one, day one of any music training, and yet I have not seen it anywhere else in my previous lessons or any of the books I have used. One thing I want to accomplish is to be able to listen to songs and figure them out quickly, rather than have to struggle through the endless tedium of memorizing tab transcriptions or playing a CD a hundred times trying to figure out all the parts. I think this aural skills training is going to greatly enhance my ability to pick apart songs and get them on the fretboard fast. This alone is worth the price of the first lesson set. As an added bonus, due to concentrated listening to my guitar with a clean tone I found that my intonation is off and one of my patch cords is causing noise. I also found that I get sharp as I get farther from the root, and I was able to spot this and correct it in just a couple of days with the exercises you provided. This could be a course by itself.
The Improv CD has already opened my eyes to some critical deficiencies in my current skill set. As an experienced live performer with a regular repertoire of mostly improv leads, I thought I had at least a pretty good handle on the basics. I can see I have been missing a lot and anticipate significant returns on the time and money in just a few months with this training.
I have started the recordings for the remainder of the lessons. I can't believe how much material you have provided in just one set of lessons. This is enough to keep me busy for several months with my old practice routine. Obviously I will be putting in some more time than before, but it will be well worth the sacrifice I'm sure. I am also thankful that you included some materials on arpeggios, as this is an area I have not really pursued but have been wanting to for a long time. There is so much here I'm almost afraid it may be too much for me to handle, but I'm going to give it a hard try.
It is obvious you have put a lot of thought and care into this course and I appreciate it. I know enough about music to know a real guitar course when I see one, and so far this is the best I have seen short of taking a college program. I wish I had found something like this ten or fifteen years ago.
BTW, the bonus Guitars at an Exhibition CD is unbelievable, I have it cranked up right now and expect the police to be here any minute! If I can ever play like some of these students of yours it will be more than worth the money for the course.
I'm looking forward to the next package in a few weeks and hope to be ready for it. Thanks again, for the course and for answering my e-mail questions.
- J. C. Crawford (South Carolina, United States)
Tom Hess is a great teacher, it's worth to take lessons with him! I've learned a lot from his teachings and methods. It has definitely corrected my perspectives on practicing and other things. Thanks a lot, teacher!
- Davis Lee Chee Yih (Malaysia)
Before I started studying with Tom Hess I was completely self taught. I had played along with songs and learned things everywhere I could for about 5 years. I got to a point where I thought I was pretty good, I could play well enough to impress any of my friends and everybody in my circle of friends thought of me as the guitar player guy. Over a period of time though, the more I got serious about playing guitar (and I was already pretty serious, so I thought!) the more I started to realize something in the back of my mind. I started to realize that I had reached a point in my playing where I was not getting better. After that I realized that I did not know HOW to get better and take my playing to the next level. This is the thing. Many people when coming to the same realization that I did would just assume they did not have what it takes, and move on to something easier. This is no way to get any worthy results out of any aspect of your life. So with this fact, I figured I should FIND OUT how to get better. I knew about Tom Hess from reading many of his excellent articles, and knew exactly who I needed to turn to. Now that I have been studying with him, I have already begun making amazing progress faster than I realized was possible. And it would not be possible if I did not have a very experienced teacher like Tom to make lesson plans for me and put me on the quickest path to helping me put my goals into reality. Its just like Tom said to me in the very first email I ever sent him, STOP TALKING AND START DOING, BROTHER.
- Brock Callahan (United States)
I first heard of Tom Hess when I was on a guitar training website and stumbled upon an article he had written about Perseverance. As it turns out it was exactly what I needed to hear. I had tried many times to improve my guitar playing on my own but lacked the focus and perseverance Tom mentioned because I had no plan, I had no one to help direct me. Of course I just thought I did not have what it took to become a good guitar player so was almost ready to quit. Although reluctant at first with the idea of correspondence lessons, I decided I had nothing to lose so I signed up. It was the right decision! The past several months I have seen an improvement in many areas of my playing thanks to Tom's lessons. As a matter of fact I have improved more in a few months with his help than I have over the past several years on my own. The area I have seen the most improvement in however is improvisation. If someone had told me that I would be able to improvise a solo after only a few lessons I would have laughed at them in disbelief - I could not believe it was possible for me. Well, not only was it possible, it has happened!! Thanks Tom. I look forward to attaining several other goals and milestones with your help.
- Maurice Richard (Nova Scotia, Canada)
We've worked together for the last 6 months now and I have to say that I'm very happy with the instruction you've provided. No way would I have progressed as quickly as I have had I tackled it all on my own.
You provide the right materials for me to practice and the materials on how to practice to achieve my goals. In addition, you're always only an email away. Though you undoubtedly get hundreds of emails a day, you always reply in a timely manner (within 2 days). This is certainly a much better situation than it was when I was taking more traditional lessons as a kid where I could only correspond with the teacher once a week during our lesson.
Your teaching methods, along with my own organizational abilities and dedication to practice, is helping me to become a better guitar player now than I ever was when I was younger (and I was really good then). I give you credit for the lessons.... I'll take credit for the hard work. ;-)
After being away from the guitar and music for so many years to pursue the "adult" goals in life, you've helped me to rediscover what a joy it is to play the guitar again. It fills a big void in the soul that corporate/family life just doesn't provide. Thanks!
- Keith Boruff (New York, United States)
I have always loved playing the guitar but wanted to play more than just published sheet music. Tom has helped me to understand and apply music theory to my playing, helping me to think of where the music can go instead of waiting to be shown what to do. Tom also helped me to improve my playing technique by showing me better ways to play certain phrases. I still have a long way to go, but with his help I am enjoying playing music and not just notes.
- Mark Schultz (Illinois, United States)
I'm a husband and father of 2 & I've been playing guitar for 28 years. Even though I am a pretty good player and believe I have a good sense of melody and feel, I am not where I want to be as a player or musician. Being self taught learning proper technique and other skills was hit and miss. Learning these skills from a good teacher is critical to becoming an excellent guitarist and especially to do so in a much shorter amount of time. I had grown tired of remaining on a plateau with my playing and in March, 2004 I decided to start taking lessons.
I found a local teacher with incredible credentials. University degree's, classically trained, Master Class student, session guitarist with legendary musicians, articles written about his virtuosity and the playing ability to back it all up.
He was one bad dude!
I took a total of 10 lesson's with this instructor and stopped when my father became very ill. During this time I reflected on all the time I had spent taking these lessons, driving to the lesson's and back home, practicing the lesson material and the hundreds of dollars I spent taking them. I was a bit disappointed with what I got out compared to what I put in.
I tried on my own to create a course of study and purchased a few "Lesson's" from a web based guitar instruction site that focused on a particular subject such as "Modes"& "Improvising" and downloaded other material on technique & theory. These ended up collecting dust for the most part because there was no structure to my study. No focus.
Frustration was really setting in.
I really wanted to reach my potential but I had no idea how to get there. Especially with my busy schedule. I new there was a good chance that I could be wasting a lot of valuable time by not learning and practicing things I really should be for my personal skill level to achieve my goals. I was driving blind.
A few weeks ago I stumbled onto your web site while searching the internet to answers some questions I had regarding theory and technique. I took a close look at what your teaching philosophy is, what some of your other students had to say about you, what your credentials are and I listened to how well you actually play. I was reluctant to trust another amazing guitarist with my hard earned dollars and time. Not to mention taking lessons from a few hundred miles away through correspondence!
I listened to how well your students on your web site played, how well you played, asked you questions over and over again and finally decided to go for it.
When I received my first lesson I was surprised how organized it was and how much material was actually there. I read it 3 times and prepared my practice environment and materials as instructed in the lesson and began practicing. I wanted to be certain I was practicing the material correctly so I sent you several e-mails asking you to verify that I was correct with certain techniques and fingers, etc. and I was very impressed with how quickly you responded and with such detail and patience. You took the time to answer my questions even though the answers were not only in the material but also in a very organized "FAQ" area on your web site!
It's been almost 3 weeks now since I received lesson #1 and I can honestly say that I have learned more in this single lesson than I did in the 10 private, one on one lessons with my previous teacher! He was an incredible player but his teaching skills were nowhere near yours!
I am very, very impressed! Finally a claim that means what it says!
Since I completed your evaluation, you have a total understanding of where I am currently at regarding my entire skill set and my goals and you have provided me with the roadmap to get there. No more driving blind!!
I know this may sound like an infomercial but I just wanted you to know how impressed I am and how happy I am with your lessons. Please feel free to share this with anyone. I can't recommend you enough!
Take care Tom and I'm looking forward to lesson #2!
- Jeff Vivrette (Michigan, United States)
Thank you for everything you have done for me during my time in your country. I return to my home in 4 days. I am very happy I know you and I came to study music from you. The experiences of our lessons has changed my life forever in the very great way! When I began your lessons, I thought it will be good and I wanted to achieve some simple things. You gave me the gift to believe about that I thought was impossible. I thank you again for your amazing teaching. You are much more than the great teacher. You are the master and my mentor. In my country, teachers teach only, but they do not care so much about my musical happiness as you. Forever I do not forget about you. I am happy to begin correspondence lesson with you when I am home and ready to begin again!
-Ovidiu Bihoi (Romania)
John came home today after his lesson and was gleaming with excitement. He told us about your conversation with him regarding his desire to pursue a career in music. John has never been this motivated about anything in his life! We owe a lot to you for doing so much for our son. Beyond all of things you have taught him, he really looks up to you. We are happy that he has chosen a very positive role model versus so many bad ones he could have chosen. My wife and I are grateful for you showing John his true potential, we always knew he had it in him, but he needed to know it for himself. He never really paid any attention to us when we encouraged him (he was only glad we kept paying for all the lessons!), but he listens to all that you say about these things.
- Mike Ryan (Illinois, United States)
Nice job you did on the rock tracks CD, I've wanted something like this for a long time! I love the lessons we are doing with the CD too, what a huge learning aid they are! I can't wait to record myself improvising and send it to you again.
- David Bradley (Scotland)
.... The second lesson was awesome!! Thank you. I have gained a lot since I started taking lessons from you. My accuracy, speed, and all around playing has shot through the roof. As soon as I get a recorder, I will send you a copy of me playing. Take care!
- Jeremy Blank (Wisconsin, United States)
....I still take lessons from Hess. I think I started back in 2002. I have never actually met him yet, but I will when he will play in Quebec City this June. He was cool enough to arrange backstage passes for me and my girlfriend. As a teacher, he's massive! Really knows his shit and really really knows how to explain it all to me! I'm a way better player now because of him. The Opus 2 record is out of this world. totally massive!....
- John Rondeau (Quebec, Canada)
I owe it all to you Tom. I NEVER could have gotten this far without you! Thanks a trillion!
- Steven Campbell (New York, United States)
Hiya Tom, Your lessons are outstanding. Karen loves to practice her guitar now and she is thrilled about her improved song writing skills. She called me from Florida and told me to schedule more lessons with you for when she returns from her gigs down south.
- Phil D. for Karen D. (Illinois, United States)
You're badass man! i can totally shred now all over this damn neck and know what the hell I'm doing now too. Thanks man for opening up new doors for me!!!!!!!!!! See you next week. later, Marty
- Marty Panstler (Illinois, United States)
Francesco told me all about you remember? He is also a great player! The newest set of lesson you made for me are very challenging but I think they are exactly what I needed to work on at this time. So I feel my skill is really growing now! it is very exciting because now i can play the way I always only wished about 6 months ago! It is very cool! Thank you Hess!!!
- Stefano Boschetti (Italy)
I've been a student, follower and fan of Tom Hess for more than 8 years now. When I met Tom, I was just a kid in high school with a dream to be real professional musician. I now teach and play guitar professionally. Tom has helped me in so many ways, it would take forever to say it all. I learned a lot more from Tom than good guitar playing. I learned how to become a pro. He not only taught me what to do and how to do it, he went way out of his way (many times) to help me get better gigs and other musical opportunities. He didn't have to do any of that, he wasn't getting paid to do it, he just did it! Even though I don't live near him anymore I am his student even now via distance learning correspondence lessons.
- David P. (Minnesota, United States)
Finding you for my teacher was the best thing for my guitar playing. Lessons with you are my greatest investment.
- Johan Haland (Norway)
If you haven't heard about this already, This is a great program! It is worth every dollar. I'm a lot closer to achieving my musical dreams now because of my correspondence lessons with Tom Hess.
- Cyril Guers (Southern France)
...I got so sick of great guitar players that can't teach! Many of them don't really know what they are doing and others may know it themselves, but can't find a way to make me understand it! It was so frustrating. Your logical structure and easy to understand approach is invaluable. But the coolest part is, if i don't understand something, all I have to do is ask and you explain it in a new way and then i get it! You don't know how long I've been searching for this.
Jared Foster (Oregon, United States)
Your correspondence lessons are absolutely the best! Thanks for all your help.
- Laurence Goh (Singapore)
I did all what you taught about recruiting more students and it worked! I now have 45 students a week! Its the greatest feeling in the world (OKAY, maybe its only the second greatest) to be able to quit my old job and finally, after all these years, be the professional musician and teacher that I am now! I mean, whoa man, life is awesome! If it wasn't for you dude, I would probably still be working at that dead end loser job back in Iowa making like $8 and hour taking lessons from some dude that aint all that great anyway. Now I make more than 4 times that much cash with my freaken guitar teaching cool students!! Life is good bro, life is good!!! U DA MAN Tom.
- Derrik Sands (California, United States)
Thanks for the great lesson Tom! I can't wait for the next one, I'm practicing more than ever now, you really have me motivated now!
- Mike Borden (Ohio, United States)
...of course Tom is a great teacher, that much is obvious. It's all that happens behind the scenes, which some people may not be aware of, that is of the most value. He helped me get my first guitar teaching job and I know he has done this for some of his other students too. He even gave me (and another student of his) the excellent opportunity to go on tour with him in Europe last summer!
- Rick Vargus (Illinois, United States)
I met Hess during a really bad time in my life. After playing guitar seriously for 7 years, I was ready to give up on music altogether. That was when I first heard about Hess. His articles "Why aren't you a better guitarist", "Musical frustration" and others opened my eyes again. I became one of his correspondence students in 2003. I've turned my life around (both music life and personal life) and I'm making a good living in music now with his guidance I have faithfully followed. I feel I owe him a lot.
- Alan Alvursha (California, United States)
As a guitarist I be positioned on basis the unimaginable tower be called Guitar experience. When I practice without assistance, I understand,what I never reach a level of neoclassical guitarists. At that time, Fortune meets me with virtuoso guitar player and teacher Tom Hess. Almost 1 year as I working with this outstanding teacher and musician and simply very good person. Of course, I rookie as yet, but I think what my progress it is obvious. Work with Tom Hess to be of benefit - now I begin to understand using musical theory on practice. Very important what I improve thanks to his lessons my aural and improvising skills. Also I continue to advance general technique of playing. I just to thank one's lucky stars for working Tom Hess with me.THANKS.
- Andrei Salnikov (Russia)
Fortune smiled on me, to you brought me. I grow each day from seed to tree, now I am with happiness because my music studies are broad. Only with translation of English do I have bigger challenges. Contents of your lessons are of my favorites I have seen for my life. Large Gratitude to you Mr. Hess!
- Gabriel Rodriguez (Chile)
Tom Hess has the ability to help you cut right through the fat and get to the heart of what you want accomplished. His knowledge reaches far into the many fields of, and related to, music. If there is something you want to learn, he already knows everything about it, and is more than happy to share all of it with you. With his help, I've been able to figure out why, and how, I want music in my life. His passion for the art is no less than an inspiration to be around, and his approaches to teaching are all his own, and all effective.
- Sam Hastings (Illinois, United States)
I didn't study with Tom for very long, but it didn't take much time for his teachings to effect my playing drastically. I had been learning guitar from a friend who I used to work with, who had played for some time. He helped my playing but then decided that he himself needed to accelerate his abilities. He referred me to Tom Hess, which is something I'm still grateful for. When I started with Tom I was still in the beginning stages and uncomfortable with the instrument. After studying his teachings on things like pedal point, picking hand discipline, and the use of a metronome my abilities sharpened intensely in a very short period. They developed so much that I was actually able to produce a song, which Tom edited and recorded for me. Tom Hess is an incredible musician and also a great guy. We spent many sessions talking about music and art, which is something I am very passionate about because its a dream of mine to be a professional tattoo artist. Tom didn't just teach me great things about music though. He shared with me books and motivational tapes that explain how to conduct yourself so that there is no way you can fail at anything in your life that you want to pursue. He shared with me ideas and philosophies that changed my life. When I was with Tom I had an unfortunate encounter with a loss in my family. Also, I am recently taking on another family members fight against cancer. Life hasn't dealt me the greatest hands lately but because of Tom I have the tools and techniques to overcome anything that life dishes out. He didn't just introduce music to me, he introduced to me a whole new way of living, for which I am grateful.
Thank you Tom, from the bottom of my heart thank you and god bless
- Tony DeMarco (Illinois, United States)
Out of all the programs and teachers that I have had, none have been as effective as Tom Hess' program! I at first was suspicious about correspondence lessons, but they with Tom's help, my guitar skills have propelled further than I could have every imagined. Tom actually works with you instead sending you an impersonal package of scales and charts. He's always willing to answer my questions and help me advance to the next level. This guy is the real deal!
- Adam Fein (Pennsylvania, United States)
I have been taking your correspondence lessons going on two months and just got my first lesson on improvising. I am most impressed with the structure the lessons are in and how much I am enjoying them. I practice for at least an hour every night and I have not gotten bored with any of the lessons. I emphasize this because when I get bored, I loose interest, and that has been my problem throughout the years playing.
I am very much looking forward to continue with the correspondence and improvising lessons and for you to help me reach both my short term and long term goals. Thanks Tom!!
- John Bryant (California, United States)
First let me say I am very pleased with your lessons. The tips on organization are worth the price alone. That is one of my big problems. I feel that just by getting organized I am maximizing the time I have to practice and getting great results using the rest of the lesson content.
- Val Rios (Washington, United States)
I received the second Improvisation Training Class CD yesterday. Listened to it on the way to work today and wow! You are batting 1000. I have never been so excited about playing. Thank you.
- Rick Franklin (Texas, United States)
After 8 weeks, I can definitely say that the value of a good teacher can never be overstated!! I think you've packed more into those 8 weeks than all my previous teachers combined. I can't wait to see what the rest of the year brings. I did not know how much I was missing by studying on my own or with less capable teachers. I'm 100% satisfied with the way things are progressing. The articles are great motivators, always reminding me that the next breakthrough is just around the corner and not to get frustrated, and to always stay focused because my goals are within reach. It's good to know that all the great musicians have been through the same trials, self doubt, and frustration because it keeps you going knowing it can be done.
At first I was surprised at the amount of material in the lessons and was concerned I wouldn't be able to get through it all, but having a practice regimen has enabled me to keep pace and I've seen a substantial increase in my abilities both in theory and technique. Tom is a master instructor he knows what his students need and exactly when they need it to keep them constantly moving forward. If I hadn't started studying under Tom, I'd still be spending the next 20 years chasing my dreams. Instead, I'm on my way to playing the music I want to play, the way I want to play it.
- Fred Ferenczhalmy (Virginia, USA)
The lessons are going great. I think the most important thing that I am getting from your lessons is the mentoring, advice, motivation, plans/structure to reach my dreams. That stuff is priceless and extremely valuable.
- Samson Rowaro (Papua, New Guinea)
I feel a little strange at the beginning to get some correspondence course, but well, after reading your article I was convince. It's been three month now and I really can feel and hear the difference - rhythm, aural skill, theory knowledge, composition. Now, I understand what you mean with a good teacher and lot of motivation : I feel (no, I know!) I can reach my goal with your help. I hope one day I can get more often your lesson, it's really worth it. Thanks Tom, now I'm going back to work on my lesson!
- Sebastien Orban (Belgium)
Received the 14th lesson today, again all great stuff Tom. The Rhythm Guitar CD was awesome and I went through all of it once already. I was at Jonathan's house and we were talking about how his lesson with you are going too. We both spent about 15 minutes discussing how much we've progressed so much in the past 6-8 months with you. It was also the first time I was actually on your students forum [at Jonathan's house] I can't believe how much great stuff there is to learn just by reading all the great posts made there by some of your more advanced students. These guys must also be guitar teachers too, lots of really expert advice on there. I can see now your student's forum alone is more than worth the price of the lessons!
- Vlad Mears (Iowa, United States)
I have tried everything and am extremely motivated but you are the first person that has shown me the REAL possibilities instead of saying "grow up---here are some guitar acrobatics so go jerk off for a while". I appreciate that and am telling everyone about you. Even my wife, who is a music lover and my worst critic sees the difference in my playing in just one month. It comes from playing everyday and changes that I made, but without your help and encouragement, I would still be paddling away at nowhere.
- Daniel Faustmann (Wisconisn, United States)
AWESOME videos and superb playing! I want to thank you for doing these lessons so people like me can learn what they need to know from an experienced professional and not just a local teacher that, while they may be a good player, probably don't know how to teach! I would pretty much be lost without a good guide....and you're the best guide I could have asked for! Thank you again so much, anyway time to practice!
- Cody Abram (Oklahoma, United States)
I started taking correspondence lesson with Tom in January 2006. At the time, my playing had been stagnating and I was dealing with serious arthritis. I was quite frustrated and I felt I was going backwards. The songs I had been writing had all started to sound derivative of one another, and I couldn't seem to advance my playing. One year later, I can honestly say that those lessons represent one of the best investments in myself I ever made. Tom is not only an amazing player with a thorough knowledge of theory, he can communicate that knowledge in a way that makes it extremely easy to absorb. The lessons have been very well organized and the Improvisation Training Class has been absolutely invaluable. These materials are packed with literally hundreds of techniques I can use for extracting myself from compositional or improvisation ruts I might fall into in the future. I've learned numerous new ways of approaching the process of composition, and my playing has improved dramatically. I still struggle with the arthritis, but using the warm-up and practice methodology Tom taught me has helped me prove to myself that I CAN work through it and reach new goals.
- Ben Beasley (Maryland, United States)
For someone serious about music, there is no better, more efficient, or faster way to reach your goals than with Tom Hess. He's not only a master guitar player, he has mastered the art of teaching. He will help you identify your goals, decide what course of action to reach those goals, and if you put the effort in, you will have huge results. I've never had a teacher with a more fundamentally solid method than Tom Hess, in any class (any subject) or private guitar lessons. With enthusiasm for guitar, a ton of effort, and an awesome teacher like Tom, ANYONE can reach their musical goals.
- Ben Craig (Wisconsin, United States)
Thank you for another excellent lesson, it is even better than the previous ones! But mostly I want to write thanks to you for spending your time to answer my questions and for all your advice. Many of the advices are worth more than the cost of any lesson amount. And you advised without payment in your own free time - my German teachers never do it for the students! it will be a pleasure to finally meet you when you will tour again in Germany. I regret I did not know you when you were in concert last time here.
- Jan Mienert (Germany)