Fretboard Theory

Fretboard Theory

4.9 (8)
Best of 2020
3 hires on
2 employees
40 years in business

About this pro

I teach more than just guitar. I teach guitarists to understand how music itself works. I have written several books on the subject of music theory specifically for the guitarist.  Please google my name in any search engine in the world along with a keyword like guitar or music.  My website is  .  My biography, demos and videos are available there along with other links to my performances and teaching sites.  If you click on the tab labelled 'books', you will see the subjects within the spectrum of guitar that I teach.  Playing your instrument is different than understanding how music works. I teach them both at the same time. I have taught guitar for more than 40 years and have produced some outstanding players.

My students teach me how to teach them. With every student is a journey back to my own learning of that same lesson. I get to relearn each lesson in a new way all over again as I teach it to a new person. Each time it gives me a deeper understanding.  I love that. It shows up intuitively when I play my own instrument.

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Austin, TX 78736
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8 Reviews


  • Justin Bires

    I've been a student of Leon Rodriguez for years and he has a PhD on a 6 string Fretboard. Magnificent educator that has both knowledge and patience for days.

  • Curt Sassak

    "Learning music theory is like drinking water from a firehose. It is too much to absorb, and I can't remember how many times other teachers tried to explain it to me, but I couldn't grasp it. Leon's strength is putting information in an easy to understand way, and in addition, he shows you those little things you only learn after doing something for years. I was his student for a few years and would highly recommend even advanced students taking lessons"

  • Taren Flores

    Very comprehensive and thorough method for learning guitar through theory.

  • Greg Gosdin

    Leon's instruction quite literally opened the world of music for me - for the first time, I could hear a song and understand its key, the chord choices and identities, the modes... it was like moving from darkness into sunshine. I turned it into a musical career that lasted many years: I performed in front of hundreds of live audiences, and on the radio and TV. My music was broadcast and sold around the world. I am forever grateful.

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Photos & Videos


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

We first get together and talk about what the student listens to that inspires them to want to play.  I'd want to know how much time per week the student has to practice.  I give them the information to access me 24/7.  When the student is comfortable with me, I'll hear the student play. We discuss goals; and evaluate how much does the student know about the subject of music. From there I can put together a curriculum that will align with their musical goals and determine how much and which theory is introduced concurrently with the lessons.  My program is designed for 1 lesson per week for 1 hour.  15 minutes review and adjustment from previous lesson, 15 minutes theory of new material + demonstration of new material, 15 minutes- Student tries out new material. 15 minutes- I describe the lesson that I will email to them within 24 hours complete with notation, tablature, audio and even fretboard diagrams where appropriate if necessary. The lecture to be attatched to the lesson will be written on the personal e-mail with each and every student for each lesson. Every one is a customized application and advancement. 

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

Leon Rodriguez Biographaphy - 

Leon Rodriguez began playing guitar at 3 years old when an uncle gave him a little Mexican guitar and became his first teacher. Leon later studied Jazz guitar with Chester Rupe as a teen, then as an adult with Joel Sanders of Dallas Tx, a prodigy of Jack Peterson and Classical with Javier Calderon, a prodigy of Andres Segovia at Del Mar College. Leon Rodriguez studied Jazz and Theory in NYC at the Sid Oliver school of Music in Manhattan.

For Leon it has been a true lifelong love affair with guitar. In the over half a century with the instrument he has performed with Dizzy Gillespie, Chet Baker, The Heat Wave, The Foundations, Pony Poindexter, Al Gomez, Clarence Carter, “Blue Lou” Marini, Arnett Cobb, Rufus and Carla Thomas, Freda Payne, Jack Peterson, Millie Jackson, Jack Barber, Rosa King, Rhoda Scott, Hope Morgan, Skye Downing, Judith Miller, Lynne Davis, JJ Jones, Bobby Jones, Bob Fulton, Matta 8, The West Side Horns, Henry Rivas, The Blue Rapteurs, The Intentions, Leland Isley, The Blues Posse, The All-Army Jazz All Star Ensemble, The Texas State University Jazz Band, The Corpus Christi State University Jazz Band, The Del Mar College Jazz Ensemble, The Austin Community College Jazz Band with whom he played the New Orleans Jazz Festival and many more.

Leon is regarded as a sideman and studio player par excellence. Leon has written, arranged, performed, and produced many radio commercials and film scores.

As a Sound Engineer and Producer, his client list over a 23 year period include Frank Zappa (5 years), Harry Belafonte, Electric Light Orchestra, Herbie Hancock, Billy Cobham, Mahavishnu Orchestra, John McLaughlin’s Shakti, Kitaro, Maynard Ferguson, Jimmie Vaughan, The Austin Opera House, Donavan, The Armadillo World Headquarters, Jerry Goodman, Weather Report, Ronnie Millsap, Asleep at the Wheel, Delbert McClinton, Stevie Ray Vaughan, The Fabulous Thunderbirds, George Duke, Nancy Wilson, Tom Waits, Kitaro, Joe Ely, B.B. King. In short, Leon’s roots in music run deep. Mentoring comes naturally.

Students that are Early Intermediate to Advanced gain most from Leon’s vast Experience. Jazz students are welcomed.

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

I will recieve $50/hour. I prefer that the month be paid in advance if at all possible. I schedule each lesson as a two way contract in order to manage my living. Since the time slot cannot be refilled without at least a month's notice, no-shows or late starts are a missed opportunity through no fault of my own and cannot be refunded. (I don't have much problem with this since my students can't wait to get back)  

How did you get started teaching?

I began teaching Guitar at The Horn Shop in Corpus Christi Texas in 1969 origianlly because I wanted to work off a new guitar in barter. I was about 18 but had been playing for over 10 years by then.  My students talked me into staying and keeping the job after school.  Half a century later it's just part of my every day thought process. I really want my students to excel. I'm confident that I know the straightest line between two points so to speak. The subject is music and the tool is guitar. And what a tool it is! 

What types of students have you worked with?

I've worked with every kind of student available. Young, retirees, military families, teens and middle of life adults.  One of my favorite type of student is the adult who has learned bits and pieces throughout their youth and has some time to add the music education to their guitar playing.  They seem to get a lot of joy as the little light bulbs go off from week to week connecting what they know with why it works.   Classical, Jazz, Blues, Rock, country, you name it. When you understand how music works, the analysis is the same.  Music is a language, a science and an art. it is very logical, properly taught. 

Describe a recent event you are fond of.

I've just been given the honor of teaching my method on the international e-magazine, " Jazz Guitar Today". As a guitar teacher, I can only think of how many muscicians i can contribute to internationally.  I am very humbled and excited to rise to the challenge.  My students are how I spend my time so they are important to me. 

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

Know things that the teacher will want to know, like how many hours a week you can practice, what guitarists do you enjoy listening to, If there is a guitarist's style you would like to model. that kind of thing.  Remember he has to design a curriculum for your personal needs to get you where you want to go.  You will get a straighter path to achiving your goal. 

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

How many hours a week can I practice is a good one.  One question overlooked often is: How fast are looking to improve? For many of my student, learning guitar is a relaxing pastime. Some of my students want to gain proficiency ASAP to jam with better musicians or because they are in a band and want to shine.  That helps your teacher plan your curriculum.