About Me

Find out more about me, my teaching experience, and see me play...

Hello
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Thanks for coming to the About Me page. Here you can find out more about my teaching experience, and also see examples of my playing.

But, if you’re in a rush, here’s me reduced to six bullet points…

  • My name’s Craig Bassett
  • I studied classical piano for 9 years, from the ages of eight to seventeen.
  • I’ve been playing guitar for 29 years.
  • I’ve been a professional guitar tutor for the last 26 years, and have taught guitar in the following cities: Auckland, Wellington and Melbourne.
  • I love helping motivated and enthusiastic guitarists significantly improve their electric guitar playing.
  • I drink an insane amount of coffee, although I’m doing my best to cut down a bit. 🙂
Musical Background and Guitar Teaching Experience

At this stage it’s probably a great idea for me to introduce myself and tell you a little bit about my musical background and professional guitar teaching experience. And why is this so important? The answer’s simple. It gives you the confidence that the lessons that you’ll get when learning electric guitar from me will be of an extremely high standard. It also helps confirm that you’ll get…

  • Organised, accurate and clearly-communicated information.
  • Trustworthy guidance and advice.
  • Lessons that will effectively help you reach your short-term and long-term musical goals.
  • Lessons that are based on real-life playing experience and over 20 years teaching experience. I’ll try to keep it really brief, but I don’t want to leave too much out…
My Musical Background:

I’ve been playing some form of musical instrument for the last 39 years. The first instrument I formally studied was one that many people learn…the piano!

I was lucky enough to study classical piano for nine years starting at the age of eight. This really helped me to develop an understanding of music and music theory. It also helped me learn the practice techniques used by classical pianists. But my piano days were soon to be a thing of the past. I had discovered a much better instrument…

I started playing guitar three months before my 18th birthday. It didn’t take long for me to fall in love with the instrument. I would usually practice at least 3 hours each day after school. In the weekend I would often practice up to 10 or 11 hours a day. It would be a fair comment to say that I was obsessed! The styles of music that interested me most at this time were metal, blues, funk and rock. I worked VERY hard at these styles of guitar playing for around 7 years. But then a new obsession was about to start…

In 1997 a friend introduced me to jazz guitar. And I fell in love with it! I particularly loved the guitar playing of Wes Montgomery, and proceeded to spend countless hours transcribing, learning and analyzing his solos off albums like “The Incredible Jazz Guitar Of Wes Montgomery”. I learned a lot about jazz doing this, but I felt I needed some formal training…

After a year of intensive jazz practice, in 1998 I headed down to Wellington (in New Zealand) to start a Bachelor of Music (Performance). During my three years there I was fortunate enough to study and play with some of the best jazz musicians in New Zealand including Noel Clayton, Leigh Jackson, Colin Hemmingsen, Paul Dyne, Nick van Dijk, Norman Meehan and Roger Sellers. During my studies I learned about jazz improvisation, jazz composition, jazz arranging, music theory, ear-training and ensemble playing.

It was particularly life-changing to study with Noel Clayton and Leigh Jackson. In my opinion, they’re two of the best jazz guitarists in New Zealand, and I definitely learned a LOT from them. I thought I was a really good guitarist before I started lessons with them, but then I saw them play! It was a very humbling experience, and it definitely drove me to become a better guitarist and musician.

In 2000 I completed the Bachelor of Music (Performance) from Massey University in Wellington.

Over the last 29 years of playing guitar I’ve had experience performing in situations ranging from speed metal gigs to freelance jazz gigs. But I have to say here…

Even though I love playing guitar and consider myself to be a pretty good player, my main passion is teaching others. I love the buzz of seeing my students improve their playing. I also love the challenge of breaking down complex musical concepts and explaining them to people in a very simple way! So let’s take a look at my teaching experience…

My Guitar Teaching Experience:

I started teaching guitar on a professional level when I was 21. I gotta admit I wasn’t very good at it initially. In fact I sucked! But over the last 26 years of teaching I’ve worked hard and have improved a lot as a teacher. A heck of a lot. I’ve taught guitar in a wide variety of situations including:

  • High Schools.
  • Music Schools.
  • Internet Teaching (Via Skype, and online guitar courses).
  • Master Classes on improvisation and technique development.
  • Private Teaching (Both one-to-one and group settings).

In April 2008 I relocated from New Zealand to Melbourne, Australia where I set up a successful guitar coaching business.

After eight years of teaching Melbourne, I moved back to Auckland in July 2016.

Improvised Rock Guitar Solo In A Lydian
Improvised Rock Guitar Solo In D Natural Minor
Cover Song: The Headless Horseman by Joe Satriani
Cover Song: Brother John by Joe Satriani

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“I started playing the guitar on and off 10 years ago, using various tab and “teach yourself” books that taught by rote, note for note. The frustration quickly led to my playing being more “off” than “on”.

A few years ago, having seen Craig’s approach to guitar playing online, I approached Craig for guitar lessons and have been with him since. The lessons have been everything that I had hoped for. Craig’s approach is very holistic, open, and collaborative: it is not just about building good techniques and theory, but also finding his student’s own musical voice and style.

Perhaps most importantly, he has provided me with the structure and organisation to my practice so that I not only achieve my goals, but surpass them. I feel that I can see the direction in which I am heading as a guitarist, and I find this incredibly satisfying”.

Han Tao Lau

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