Want to learn Classical Guitar?

Hello and welcome! I’m James and I’m passionate about teaching classical guitar, it’s technique repertoire and rich musical heritage. I work with, students of all ages and abilities teaching at Wells Cathedral School and at my own Glastonbury Guitar Academy.

Everyone is Welcome! I’ve taught classical guitar since 2001 had the privilege of helping many hundreds of people learn to play the music they love, discover the beauty of the classical guitar and awaken their creativity and passion. Now I’d like to help you!

I’ve been blessed with many wonderful teachers and mentors along the way and learned the great value of expert guidance and support. I’m grateful for all I have learned and excited to pass it on.

Did you know that:

Learning with an experienced teacher can save you  months – even years of frustration

When you want to progress there is no substitute for an experienced teacher, someone who has walked the path before, knows where and what the pitfalls are and how to navigate easily towards your goals.

I know this from my own experience; Sometimes you just need that one piece of info that is the key to unlock new worlds of possabilty and I’ve spent years seeking out the information, skills and ideas to help you master your music and enjoy your playing.    

How can I help you? 

I offer guidance in: 

  • Learning classical guitar in fun ways while playing music that you love. 
  •  Working through the Trinity and ABRSM Classical Guitar Syllabuses – With 19 years experience in preparing pupils for music exams and plenty of success stories.
  • Developing a solid grounding in your guitar technique and note reading and build the skills you need to truly express yourself.
  • Musical development for all guitarists from beginners taking their first steps to advanced students and adults with a range of music from simple pieces to diploma level concert repertoire. I am happy to adapt to your level of ability and understanding.
  • Reaching your musical goals with creativity, enjoyment and fun along the way.
  • Maximising your practice time to get the best results.
  • Helping you overcome those tricky guitar issues that hold most players back – including tremolo, tone production, voicing, rapid scales and arpeggios, slurs, harmonics, note stopping and more.
  • How to perform stylistically – guidance to help you understand and express the unique character of each musical period from the Renaissance right up to the present day.
  • Develop extensive knowledge of the guitar repertoire with music from around the world.
  • Why music theory can be, and should be, creative and fun!  I can help you create your own music, harmony, compositions and improvisations.
  • Recording your music! – how to create and learn by digitally recording your performances.

What if you’ve never played before?

No problem. If you want to learn I’m happy to teach you! All are welcome and I’m happy to teach enthusiasts of all abilities. 

What about specialist and advanced guitarists?

I’m happy to offer tuition for advanced level classical guitarists too. I’m experienced at preparing pupils for music college auditions and advanced exams.

As a tutor at Wells Cathedral School, one of the UK’s specialist music schools I have lots of experience working with pupils at Grade 8/Diploma level and will happily help you develop your playing, musicality and achieve your classical guitar goals.  

Work with me – How to Get Started with lessons In Person or Online

You can start your journey with a taster lesson. I teach in one to one in Glastonbury, Somerset or online via Zoom so anyone can learn from the comfort of their own home.  

You can book your taster lesson now by emailing me on jamesrippingaleguitarist@gmail.com.



You couldn’t have a better guitar tutor… A truly astounding musician and inspirational teacher….

– Jane Ford, Concert Pianist and Parent

Can’t recommend James highly enough….

– Richard Mathews, Parent

When I finally retired I had a strong desire to return to classical guitar tuition. Having studied whilst at school over five decades ago, I wished to relearn the skill, to unlearn habitual faults, and to take my playing to a greater level. I saw that James was performing at Strode College in Street and giving a master class afterwards and I seized to opportunity to attend. Having heard him play, I was pleased to learn that he would accept a mature but very rusty pupil.

I was initially very apprehensive as to how this would work, but was immediately put at ease by James` enthusiasm, encouragement and reassurance. We returned to the basics and are building the foundations. In a typical lesson we move through scales and basic sight reading, to familiar pieces from the classical canon that I recall tackling in the past, and often ending the lesson with an interpretive ” jam session “. Lessons always have a light touch and we have a lot of laughs. James is an empathetic teacher who makes me feel I can offer something even when my performance and practice regime fall short. His patience and enthusiasm are ever present and I would have absolutely no hesitation in recommending him as a versatile and very talented teacher…………..

– Louis Crooks

I am a person of mature years and had always wanted to play the guitar. Any musical ability I had was shot to pieces as a child. I came to James feeling nervous and apprehensive that this was going to work.

How wrong was I!

Nearly three years later due entirely to James’ patience and unique teaching style, I am playing the guitar and able to read music.
I feel very blessed to have discovered a person like James who has restored not only my confidence but my ability to play the guitar and enjoy music making”

– Jane Baylis

‘I have been having lessons with James to prepare for my grade 8 classical guitar exam. James is a conscientious and hard working classical guitar teacher. He prepares for every lesson. As a result his lessons are well structured and enjoyable. As a teacher of Music Technology myself, I know that James puts allot of effort into making the lessons student centered. As a result I always have enough self guided learning to do in-between lessons. I would without any doubt recommend James as a classical guitar teacher to anyone.’

Lee Gilbert

“I feel so lucky that James was recommended to me. He is an excellent teacher as well as a very talented musician.

I have been a pupil for six months starting as an absolute beginner, and I have made more progress that I could have ever imagined thanks to James’ patience, encouragement and enthusiasm. Lessons are very well prepared and I have had such fun and enjoyment from the variety of tasks he selects for each one which develop my skills and technique, often accompanying me to improve my confidence. He has a great sense of humour and a quiet teaching manner. He is completely focused throughout the lesson demonstrating, explaining, offering advice, gently correcting my mistakes and praising frequently.

I have complete confidence and trust in James and would recommend him unreservedly and without any hesitation.”

Carolyn Mitchell

Having played classical guitar as a self-taught amateur for many years before going to James for some help, I would have no hesitation in recommending him. James takes a very personal approach to his teaching – it comes from his own deep love of guitar as a classical instrument. He sets out to help each student to unlock their own potential, and I think he sees no essential difference between the musical ambitions of his students and his own aspirations. He never underestimates the challenges of classical guitar, but has a wealth of practical knowledge and experience of technical and musical issues to help address them, and is always encouraging and friendly. Whatever your current level of ability, James is ready to help you make progress, and appreciate what you can do as well as help you to overcome what you currently cannot.”

Peter King