Day One Sessions

A concept for up & coming guitarists with a passion for teaching.

James Ellis@jamesellisnyc

Begin a guitar teaching studio that puts a fully cranked guitar into the hands of a little kid on day one.

Imagine: A student walks in for their first lesson. You’re in a room with many guitars, and many amps. The amps should be humming quietly in Standby.

While muted, show them how to chug on E. Show them the volume knob and the mute stompbox—one of many pedals on their own pedalboard.

Now hand them heavy-duty cans 🎧 You will want to put yours on as well.

Pass your guitar to the kid. Get the strap fitted right for them. Then grab your second axe, running into a second pedalboard → amp → and 4×12 cab.

(You will also need at least one talkback mic. This way you two can hear each other speak. In your headphones you should also hear both amplifiers as captured by SM57s aimed directly at a speaker in each cab. Your amp panned a little left. Your student panned a little right.)


Ok. You both have guitars, pedals and amps. You both have headphones with a mix piped in. It’s time to switch off Standby.

Explain to your student that you will begin chugging on E at approximately 120bpm. When they feel comfortable, they should stomp the mute switch, turn up the guitar volume knob and begin chugging with you.

Tell them not to worry about feedback. In fact, right when you unmute… just before chugging… let the guitar squeal with a little feedback. Give it some style. Demonstrate that feedback is a feature, not a bug. Besides, the guitar will want to feedback; you’re standing in front of 100 watts!

It should be loud in your headphones, but not crazy. What’s important is that your entire body vibrates with the low-frequency energy blasting off the amp with each chug.

By the fourth or eighth bar, give your student the nod to join in.


Now you’re both chugging along. Within the first 16 bars your student will figure out how palm mutes work. As soon as they lock in, yell hellyeah! and give them a look.

At this moment your student should feel absolutely incredible. Physically and mentally. This is a total sensory event. They are playing a high-powered electrified instrument in time with another human—someone they just met. You’re looking at each other, bodies buzzing to the same low mids.

This is all you do in Lesson One. You don’t need to do more. Their mind is already blown.

Always record these first lessons. Give the series a title like Day One Sessions and post to YouTube. Keep this up for a couple years. Your studio will be full, and your channel popping.


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