Rose City Guitar Company

Rose City Guitar Company

5.0 (4)
4 hires on
2 employees
1 years in business

About this pro

Rose City Guitar Company is co-owned and operated by instructors Samantha Holmes and Amber Russell. Our newest member of the team is Max Vartanian. We teach both electric and acoustic guitar as well as bass guitar. We're patient instructors who want to see you succeed with the goals you have set for yourself. We want you to see real results with your playing because this will ultimately make playing more fun! We all take pride in our continued work to improve ourselves as instructors. We regularly meet with other instructors and discuss ways to get the best results for our students. We are career instructors and are passionate about what we do. We are also experienced and established performers and can give our students interested in that route the tools they need to succeed. We love being able to coach and help our students bypass many of the struggles we experienced when first learning to play. We cannot wait to help you fulfill your dreams to become the guitar player YOU have always wanted to be!

There is no feeling more rewarding than being able to show our students what is possible and to show them that anyone can play and create beautiful music with hard work, proper instruction, and the passion needed to succeed. We enjoy creating an environment that is encouraging and inspiring. Many of our students have given back to the world by writing amazing music themselves and we feel blessed to be a part of that process..

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Portland, OR 97214
Email verified
Phone verified

4 Reviews


  • Tim Beyer

    Sam is a great instructor, she really knows her stuff, and she really makes the whole process so much fun.

  • Cadie Bennett

    Engaging teacher with great teaching methods for guitar plus very personable.

  • Jessica Wiege

    I’ve been taking lessons with Samantha Holmes for a few years now and she is wonderful! Easy to work with, very patient, great at tailoring lesson plans, and really cares about her students. I don’t think you could go wrong choosing this studio, whether you are brand new to the guitar (like I was) or just looking to continue learning.

  • Sean Murphy

    I have been studying guitar with Samantha for several years and the experience has been consistently terrific. Her teaching technique is cutting edge modern, and her guidance is always personalized and spot on. Samantha’s ability to stay focused on what’s happening in the moment is pretty amazing. She always connects…and is always fun! I can also recommend both group and personal coaching for a first rate learning experience. In my view, this combination is at the heart of becoming a musician. It’s also the best way to capture the deep musical perspective offered by Rose City Guitar. These women are truly world class professionals.

Photos & Videos


What is your typical process for working with a new student?

We prefer new students to meet with us for a free introductory session to learn about your goals and experience to figure out what would be the best fit. We cannot recommend the best format and curriculum before we have gotten to know you.

What education and/or training do you have that relates to your work?

The combined education we have is widely diversified. Samantha has studied with world-renowned rock/metal-based guitar players over the last decade and has been performing in bands since she was a teen. She also formally studied classical guitar at the University of Arizona as well as Jazz Performance at Portland State University. For the last 7 years, Samantha has been involved in an international guitar instruction community that hosts conferences every year. She regularly attends these to receive the best and most up-to-date teaching methods and in 2018 she was awarded the guitar player of the year. Amber has more than a decade worth of experience performing across the nation as well as internationally. She is a world-renowned fingerstyle guitar artist and has played alongside players such as Kaki King and Muriel Andersen. Amber also has experience with teaching and has taken part in several fingerstyle educational bootcamps such as the Thomas Leeb percussive guitar bootcamp. She also has a successful program released on Jamplay and is partnered with Truefire and will be releasing content into the new year. She has many endorsements including businesses such as Ibanez, Halland Guitars, G7 Capos, Dimarzio, Music Area China, Elite Acoustics, Thalia Capos, and Right On Guitar Straps. Samantha and Amber have an extensive background in education as well as performance and will be able to help you to become a professional player yourself if you have that goal. We can help with any goal from just wanting to be a casual hobbyist to a professional recording musician.

Do you have a standard pricing system for your lessons? If so, please share the details here.

There are a handful of packages available for students to purchase. These are based on each student's interests/goals, skill level, and budget. You will not pay by the hour but rather a monthly package. In order to learn which fits best, we offer a free introductory session to meet with you and see which would be the best fit.

How did you get started teaching?

Both instructors have different stories of how they began, but similar stories on how they began their paths as self-taught guitarists. Samantha began playing at 12-years-old and remained self-taught for many years until adulthood. She had a deep desire to become a professional virtuoso player and knew she would need a dedicated teacher to take her to that next step. She spent many years frustrated, going through less than great teachers in her early adult life. She finally found a master guitar instructor around the 7th try and it made such an impact on her life and her own playing that she knew she wanted to do the same for others. She began teaching over 7 years ago based on what she learned and it has been her main passion since. Her biggest goal in life is to change people's lives in the same way her instructor changed her life all of those years ago. Amber also began as a self-taught guitarist at 13-years-old and it didn't take long to realize music was her calling. She dived deep into performance and building a professional career as a touring musician. This paid off and she built a career within her niche of fingerstyle acoustic guitar. Education became fascinating to her within the last 5 years so she dived into conferences and bootcamps to learn more about the educational side of her style of music. It wasn't long before she developed an interest in teaching and also hooked up with online educational platforms such as Jamplay and Truefire. She released a fingerstyle specific course through Jamplay and continues to work on future content to be released in the upcoming year.

What types of students have you worked with?

We have worked with a diverse group of students varying in age, experience level, and goals. We pride ourselves on creating personalized plans for each student, no matter where they are coming from. The youngest student we have taught was 5 with the oldest being in his 80s. We have worked with many men and women from complete beginners simply wanting to get started to professionals performing in their own bands.

Describe a recent event you are fond of.

Some of the recent projects Samantha has been involved with have been album releases in 2020 with two of her bands. In December 2020 her project Vela Pulsar released an EP named Memoirs of Unbecoming across platforms such as bandcamp, spotify, apple music etc. She also released a single as the lead guitarist for Tanagra's Seas of Glass. These projects were a result of hard work over the last year. Samantha also took part in and was a finalist for the University of Arizona Schaeffer Competition in April 2019. Some of the recent projects Amber has been involved with was her album release in December 2019 named Metanoia across platforms such as spotify, apple music etc. Around that time she also dropped a video for her song Portland Dance through Candyrat Records. In January of 2020 Amber performed at the Anaheim House of Blues for the International Women of Fingerstyle Guitar night with headliners Kaki King and Muriel Andersen. Around March of 2020, Amber snagged an endorsement and video promo with Ibanez guitars as the face of their fingerstyle line. Additionally Amber released a 30 lesson course through Jamplay in 2019 through 6 months of hard work. Throughout 2020 Amber continues to be involved with Jamplay and Truefire and has been a part of their Livestream series. 

What advice would you give a student looking to hire a teacher in your area of expertise?

We would advise you to meet with a handful of teachers in person or over Zoom during COVID-19. It is important to get a sense of your potential teacher's background and experience. It is important to find someone who accommodates your learning style and has a background and training specifically with teaching. Many amazing performers are not necessarily the best teachers so it's important they have training.

What questions should students think through before talking to teachers about their needs?

They should ask the following questions: 1) Can you please tell me about your teaching experience? 2) How long have you been teaching and approximately how many students have you taught during that time? (at least 3-5 years of teaching preferred) 3) Do you teach private lessons or group lessons? 4) What styles of music do you teach best? 5) What is the cost of lessons? (cheaper doe not mean better) 6) Can you tell me how you teach the lessons? (the most important question)