Although the guitar training niche might be a little crowded these days, there are two things you can count on.
One is that there will always be people just beginning to learn the guitar. This means you have the opportunity to build a community of followers by getting in front of them when they’re just starting to look around online for resources.
The second is that guitar players are always going to want to know how to play specific riffs or songs. It might be that they have a gig coming up, and they haven’t figured out how to play a particular song yet. It could also be that they’re looking for different interpretations of the same song.
So there are some great opportunities even if you’re just getting started. This comes with the caveat that you may not be able to monetize your lessons if they include copyrighted material. It’s worth looking into this before posting your videos to YouTube.
But let’s start with the basics. Here are several steps you can take to create your own guitar training videos.
Get The Gear You Need
Do you have everything you need to start filming your guitar training videos?
This is a basic overview of what you’re going to require:
- A guitar. You laugh, but you should be aware of how your guitar appears on camera.
- A decent wardrobe. You can see what people are wearing in their videos – there are plenty of them on YouTube. You don’t need to dress up, but you shouldn’t look grimy and like you don’t care about your hygiene either.
- A camcorder. Preferably a high quality one that handles full HD at 1080p, but you don’t need to overextend yourself. You can get reasonably good cameras in the $200 range.
- A tripod. You’re going to need to aim your camera strategically (at your face, at your fretboard, at your picking hand, etc.). The easiest and most cost-efficient way to achieve this end is by using a tripod. A standard 57-inch stand will do just fine.
- A microphone. You’ll need two if you want to capture your voice and the sound of your amp simultaneously (at minimum, one for your voice). Fortunately, there are other ways of capturing the sound of your guitar.
- A digital audio workstation. You’re going to need to be able to edit the audio you record.
- An audio interface. If you want to connect your microphone or guitar directly to your computer and record them that way, you’ll need an audio interface that supports at least two ins.
- A video editor. Windows usually comes with Movie Maker, and Macs come with iMovie.
This should be enough to get you started.
Incidentally, my friend Daniel Guy Martin created his own DVD series called Connect The Frets a few years back. Unfortunately, he doesn’t support it anymore, but it’s worth checking out his videos just to get a sense of what is possible out of the comfort of your own home. This will also provide insights into the production process.
Set Up Your Environment
We tend not to notice clutter in our environment. On camera, you’ll have a hard time not seeing everything: dust bunnies in the corner, random papers strewn across the floor, clothing that needs to be put away, and so on.
Take some time to set up your space before filming. Clean up, tidy up, and organize. Additionally, there are some very simple ways to remove distractions, including hanging a sheet or a curtain from the wall.
Ideally, you should try to create a space where you can leave everything set up. If you have to tear down and reset every time you want to film a new video, it’s going to slow down your production process big time.
Plan Out Your Lessons In Advance
Don’t just wing it. After all, you’re trying to create great content for your viewers, and you want to keep them coming back for more.
And while you might have some limitations in terms of budget, lighting, sound equipment and so on, you should still strive to make the most of what you have available.
Lessons should be planned to the very last detail, even storyboarded if possible. If you end up doing everything on the fly, post-production (i.e. editing) could prove quite painful.
The good news is that you don’t need fancy gear like teleprompters and production lights to create quality videos. Teleprompters can be replaced by smartphones and tablets with the right apps, and lamps (without lampshades) can actually be used to enhance your lighting.
Also remember to take a bird’s eye view of your project. For example, if you’re planning on creating 30 videos, then figure out in advance what each of those lessons are going to be. That way, you can avoid creating duplicate or conflicting content.
Find A Reliable Editor
You can also edit the videos yourself if you know your way around video editors. But keep in mind that this can be very time-consuming, and when you’re trying to create a series of videos for your viewers, this will quickly become a bottleneck to the entire operation.
If you can, try to find someone that’s willing to do it for free, for pizza and beer, or for a little bit of money. Maybe you could make it a joint venture and split the proceeds (if there are any) with your partner.
I have yet to see any guitar methods that follow a well-defined A to Z process, and even the ones that do aren’t comprehensive, and tend to waste a lot of time on the basics.
This means there is still plenty of room for people to get into guitar training videos, and guitar instruction in general. It’s still the Wild West out there.
It’s not a bad idea to specialize in a particular genre or style and to become the go-to person in that specific niche. I don’t know of any guitar players or teachers that can cover the gamut of styles that are out there, because guitar is a very versatile instrument.