Category Archives: Guitar Students

Educational Gifts for Guitarists


Welcome to my December Newsletter, where I’m sharing gift ideas for guitarists (including new classes!) and exciting studio updates. Please subscribe to my mailing list so you can be the first to learn about new opportunities, which I send out about once a month.




Pay What You Can Guitar Class: Sunday, December 16th 1:30-2:30pm
Do you want to improve your ear and begin learning how to figure out songs by ear? We’ll work on several strategies that will help you “open up your ears” and connect the music you hear in your head to your guitar. Students will work in pairs and small groups, and should have at least a year of playing experience with open and barre chords, the 6th string root major scale and minor pentatonic scale, and an understanding of the chromatic scale. Class is limited to 6 students (ages 12 and up) who have their own acoustic or electric guitars. $20 suggested donation.

4 Week Beginning Guitar Class: 10:30am-11:30am Sundays, December 9th, 16th, 23rd, 30th
Most people who study the guitar want to learn how to play their favorite songs, but first they need to learn the basics. I help students develop their skills quickly and effectively so that they can play a lot of songs in a short amount of time. I use a clear system and I simplify challenging concepts by breaking them down into smaller parts that are easier to understand and play. This approach helps students develop confidence in their abilities, which leads to better playing. Our specific lesson plan will be determined after I receive student questionnaires from enrolled students. Class is limited to 4 students (ages 12 and up) who have their own acoustic or electric guitars. $190, textbook included.

4 Week Intermediate Guitar Class: 12:00pm-1:00pm Sundays, December 9th, 16th, 23rd, 30th
The guitar is a cool instrument because you can sound good even if you don’t know a lot about music theory or the design of the guitar. After a while, a lot of guitarists want to take their playing to the next level but they just don’t know how to do that. I use a clear system that fills in the gaps that students may have, and then I take students step-by-step through a practical course covering music theory and its application onto the guitar. This leads students to create more melodic and harmonically interesting music in a variety of styles. Our specific lesson plan will be determined after I receive student questionnaires from enrolled students. Class is limited to 4 students (ages 12 and up) who have their own acoustic or electric guitars. $190, textbook included.

Many of you know the first edition of The Guitar Lesson Companion, Volume One, published in 2006. This year, I published the revised second edition with more concepts and exercises, building on what thousands of students and teachers have loved about the first edition. The Free Online Course includes a weekly lesson guide for Year One and Year Two, with assignments and videos to enhance lessons with a teacher, or help students learn this material on their own.

What’s New and Improved?

  • Progressive Reading Studies Through 12th Position
  • Comprehensive Rhythm Exercises
  • Open, Power, Barre, Triad Inversions, Extended and Altered Chords
  • Transition Exercises, Strum Patterns, and Popular Progressions
  • Pentatonic and Major Scale Patterns
  • Drills for Learning the Note Names and All 12 Major Scales
  • Ear Training (Play by Ear) Exercises
  • The CAGED System
  • Basic Melodic and Harmonic Theory Worksheets
  • Free Shipping and $5 discount for ordering Volumes One & Two

Providing accessible music education is important to me. Along with my free 5 year online guitar course, I offer at least one “Pay What You Can” guitar class each month and scholarships for private lessons when I can. One way you can support these programs is to use my storefront when you make *any* amazon purchases. This allows a percentage of your *total* order to fund the accessible education programs I provide to guitar students.

After 12 years of teaching guitarists at Seattle University, I decided this fall not to return to my adjunct professor position. I will always look back on the work my students and I accomplished with gratitude and joy, and I continue offering SU students lessons and classes in my private studio, just a 5 min walk from campus.

If you have checked out the She Shreds guitar magazines in my studio, you know it’s a pretty rad magazine that focuses on women guitarists and bassists. Pick up the Winter #16 issue at The Elliot Bay Book Company on Capitol Hill (or online!) and read an article I wrote on Jazz Guitar!

I hope you all have a safe and happy holiday season, and feel free to reach out if you have any questions.

Susan Palmer


Street: 911 E. Pike Street STE 219  Seattle, WA 98122

The Best TrueFire Guitar Courses

In my guitar studio, I teach all my students the fundamentals of music using The Guitar Lesson Companion method book series. The fundamentals are *so* important, because they give students the framework and language they need to work through almost any intermediate/advanced level book or video lesson they discover.

I’ve been a fan of TrueFire for many years because they put out high quality education videos that expand on many of concepts I teach my students in different genres. The site can be a bit overwhelming because there are thousands of lessons, so I’ve picked out some of my favorites below. (If you find there are just too many good ones, you can sign up for an All Access Membership, which you can get for a month, year, or lifetime.)


50 Blues Rhythms

Take 5 Chord Melody


50 Essential Bebop Licks

Flying Solo

Jazz Comping Survival Guide

Inversion Excursion

Trio Comping

Jazz Turnarounds

Chord Punching

Rock, Country:

Guitar Lab Triads

Big Twang

100 Twang Things You Must Know


50 R&B Bass Grooves

If these programs seem overwhelming, review the concepts in The Guitar Lesson Companion series with a good teacher!

Susan Palmer teaches jazz, blues, and rock guitar styles in Seattle and via webcam. She is the author of The Guitar Lesson Companion Method Book Series, which is used by teachers and students in over 10 countries, including faculty at Berklee College of Music. Palmer was the guitar instructor at Seattle University from 2006-18, she taught at University of Washington’s summer jazz workshop in 2018, she was music instructor at Seattle Girls School for the 2016-17 school year, and she created and taught, “The Rock Project” at Cornish College of the Arts from 2010-15. Palmer’s current and former students perform regularly throughout the country, including these Seattle venues: The Comet, The High Dive, Bumbershoot, Skylark, Neumos, The Hard Rock Cafe, Chop Suey, The Tractor Tavern, The Rendezvous, The Sorrento Hotel, The Crocodile, The Mix, Cafe Racer, The Edgewater Hotel, The Sunset, and more.

Check out my Guitar Gear Shop!

All Audio Tracks and Jam CD Tracks for “The Guitar Lesson Companion” Method Book Series

Audio Tracks for The Guitar Lesson Companion, Volume One SECOND EDITION

All 127 Audio Tracks for the Second Edition are currently available to stream in the playlist below. If you’d like the playlist in the iReal Pro App, purchase the app then email me to send you the playlist at no additional cost.

Audio Tracks for The Guitar Lesson Companion, Volume Two

The CD that comes with the book contains 208 mp3 tracks, but you can stream them below. If you’d like the playlist in the iReal Pro App, purchase the app then email me to send you the playlist at no additional cost.

More Free Tracks for Students:

Here’s the playlist of some standard jazz chord progressions which matches the pace and presentation of the keys and chord tones students master in, The Guitar Lesson Companion, Volume Two. Most of the sheet music for these jazz standard chord progressions can be found in The New Real Book, Volume OneTo download this free playlist onto your device, install the iReal Pro App, then click the link below (while on your device that has the app).

“The Guitar Lesson Companion, Volume Two” Jazz Tunes

CD Tracks for Volume One of The “Guitar Lesson Companion” FIRST EDITION

Tracks for the first edition of “The Guitar Lesson Companion, Volume One” are also available on YouTube

Recommended Tools: (Guitar Gear)