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Learn Guitar

Learn to play guitar easily and quickly with a patient teacher and performing musician in a scenic setting of the San Francisco bay area. Absolute beginners to intermediate guitarists. Acoustic and/or electric guitar.

Styles include folk, rock, blues, rock and roll, reggae, ragtime, bluegrass, finger-picking, and more. Learn how to play by ear, improvise, play and sing at the same time. Learn valuable insight on musicanship, playing in a band, songwriting and recording. Learn how to practice effectively and efficiently.

Printed handouts with chord shapes and fingerings, strum patterns, tablature of main hooks and riffs, along with a digital audio file of the song will be provided for each lesson.

My approach is to teach the roots of most popular music by showing the essential open chords, strums, bar chords, guitar runs, picking technique, and progressions of folk, rock, blues, bluegrass, and popular music.

Best Guitar Teachers in San Francisco

Learn songs from Neil Young, Jack Johnson, The Beatles, Green Day, Bob Dylan, Death Cab for Cutie, Paul Simon, Elizabeth Cotten, The Grateful Dead, The Rolling Stones, Black Keys, John Lennon, Jerry Garcia and much more.

I customize the lessons to teach the styles and songs from bands you like and are interested in learning.

Check my musical history for my musical background.
I perform approximately 75 live shows per year with This Old Band as well as live acoustic solo performances and roughly 75 live solo broadcasts.

joe rizzo
your instructor - joe rizzo - berkeley 4th st market plaza - dec 2018 


In person lessons are taught private one on one at Cosmic Circuit Studio in El Cerrito, California. Proof of Covid-19 vaccination is required for in person lessons.

Online private lessons via Zoom, Skype, Facetime, and other video services are also availble (see FAQ below for details).


phone/text 510.868.9323

view of golden gate bridge
view of golden gate bridge from studio

How Do I Sign Up for Lessons?
Please email first and include your current experience level (absolute beginner, intermediate, etc) and the style of music you want to learn as well as some of your favorite musical artists. Also include days or date(s) and times you are would prefer.

1 Lesson - $55 for a 1 hour private one on one session. (in person or remote)

Discount Pricing on Pre-paid Lesson Blocks

3 Lessons - $150
4 Lessons - $195
8 Lessons - $380

Pre-paid blocks are only if lessons are taken every week!
The 3 Lesson block must be fully used within 1 month. (You can skip a week if you wish).
The 4 Lesson block must be fully used with 6 weeks; thus you have flexibility to skip 2 weeks).
The 8 Lesson block must be fully used within 11 weeks (thus you can skip up to 3 weeks if you wish).

Purchase lessons online direct from Cosmic Circuit Studio secure web site or pay in person.

Times Available
Lessons normally offered in person weekdays and weekends in my private studio. I also offer online private lessons using video conferencing software. I am currently accepting students.

Cosmic Circuit Studio, El Cerrito, California. Easy, free, on street parking available.

Your own guitar is recommended for lessons; however you can use our Gibson J-250 acoustic guitar or Martin LX1E Acoustic-Electric Guitar for a $10 fee per lesson.
Optional: I recommend purchasing a tuner, a metronome and a capo.

Payment Policy
We accept cash or credit cards (Mastercard, Visa, American Express, Discover , PayPal or Square).
VisaMastercardpay pal

Refund Policy
There is no refund if you pay for a block of lessons in advance. Be sure you are happy with the lessons and willing to commit if you pay for a block of lessons. If you are unsure I recommend you pay for a single lesson.

Cancellation Policy
If you can not make a lesson you must notify me by e-mail or phone at least 24 hours in advance to reschedule with no cancellation fee. Cancellations with less than 24 hours notice (or not showing up for a lesson) results in the loss of the full payment for the lesson (or the deduction of 1 lesson from your pre-paid block of lessons).

If you cancel two scheduled lessons consecutively without good reason you will be dropped as a student and no longer eligible to take lessons.

daisuke and joe
daisuke & joe taking a break during lesson - july 2009
teaching how to strum
first strums - dec 2013

Joe preparing for an online Zoom lesson
joe preparing for a private zoom lesson online - 2020

matt working on a song
matt learning a new song - 2013

Frequently Asked Questions

Q. Do you offer private remote online lessons via video conference?
zoomSkype iconfacetimeGoogle Meet
A. Yes! Lessons are available via Zoom, Skype, Facetime, Google Meet and other popular video teleconferencing services. The pricing is the same as private in person lessons. Email for more details and how to set up for a video lesson. Worksheets and audio files will be sent to you before the lesson.

Q. Can I purchase lessons for a friend as a gift for someone?

A. Yes. First send, an email first to confirm the lesson date/time then pay for the number of lessons via the secure web form. You will receive a nicely formatted color customized gift certificate with the number of lessons as a pdf document that can be printed or emailed. The certificate is good for one year from the time of purchase.

Q. How do I configure Zoom software for an online guitar lesson?
A. Follow these Zoom Guitar Lesson Set Up Instructions.

Q. Do you have an guitar amp I can use for the lesson?

A. Yes, if you are learning electric guitar I have an amp you can use for the lesson at no charge. You are also welcome to bring your own.

Q. Do you have a guitar I can use for the lesson?

A. Yes, we have a Gibson J-250 acoustic and a Martin LX1E acoustic-electric guitar available.
There is a $10 additional charge per lesson. This is convenient if you are traveling. If taking lessons long term it is recommended you have your own.

last update January 7, 2022