Call today for lessons with Blues Guitar Great. John Marx. 818-345-8950

Every so often a great musician is revealed to us that goes beyond the norm. A players player that has their art down and passion for the music ingrained into everything they do. At Join the Band we have blues great John Marx. He is the blues jewel of Los Angeles.

Click here to hear John jammin on The Cozy’s Shuffle

I first heard John play over 20 years ago in a small blues club in Burbank. I left very humbled by his dedication to the blues and how he approached every note and chord. He is a true student and scholar of the blues. Anyone that has spent any time with him knows he is a true blues man. He’s knowledge and passion for the blues is both encyclopedic and infectious. Check out John at one of his many gigs in the LA area or sit in on his Blues Workshops at our JTB studio and you will know you have been in the room with a true artist. Sitting in to play with him is a master lesson in rhythm, feel, and subtlety. You can’t BS your way around John. Music is first and BS is sent out the back door.

John is a natural teacher and loves to share his passion for the blues. His true love of the blues is very evident in every JTB workshop he teaches. The “Join the Band Blues Workshop with John Marx” is our most popular workshop.

Born and raised in East Baltimore Maryland, John began singing in church and for audiences at the age of six. He played the drums from ages ten to fifteen, and then took up the guitar to better accompany his singing.

Over the years John has found himself either on stage or in a recording studio with Albert Collins, Lowell Fulson, The Drifters, Gladys Knight, Carmelo Garcia, George Benson, The Dells, Al Duncan, Luther Tucker, Lee Oskar, Gabor Szabo, The Platters, Larry Hopkins, Luis Gasca, The Coasters, Charlie Musselwhite, Jimmy Smith, Jesse Ed Davis, Lightning Hopkins, Sleepy John Estes, Luther Tucker, Larry Davis, Cash Mc Call, Earl King, Floyd Dixon, and many others. He also recorded and toured with great harmonica player William Clarke

Players like John are a gift. We are very honored to have him involved with “Join the Band”!

Check some of John’s work here…

I’ve always been amused by conversations (mostly guitarists) regarding learning to read music vs not learning to read. It usually goes something like this… “Dude, I don’t need to learn how to read music. I can get tabs off the internet and besides that I just play by ear and learning to read music will make me less creative…” Wow…If there was ever a perfect definition for ignorance that would be near the top of the list.

Tabs on the internet… I prefer to call it “paint by numbers and connect the dots music”. Great artists/painters do not use numbers to guide them on what colors to choose,  just as a great architect wouldn’t use connect the dots to design a house. It’s just amateur at best and there is very  little skill involved in figuring  out  the basics of tab. Tab also does nothing to help you learn the names of notes and play rhythms.

“I play by ear”… I love this one. All great musicians play by ear. Using this statement as an excuse for not learning how to read music is just silly. Great musicians that read music also use their ears. Therefore I would say that musicians that read music and “play by ear” have big a advantage in getting work over those that do not read.  Music is a hearing art. We all have to listen to play better.

Reading music would make me less creative… Bach, Miles Davis, Beethoven, Mozart, Charlie Parker, John Coltrane, Jim Hall, all the great musicians in orchestras and film sessions, Steve Via, Joe Satriani, Steve Morse, I could go on all day. All these people are very creative and read music at a very high level. Oh… and guess what… they can all play by ear. (-:

We are also not say here that there are not great musicians that do not read music. Quite the contrary. Jimi Hendrix, The Beatles. BB King and many more have been very successful in the music business without having music reading skills. However, if you’ve ever read any interviews with these artist, most have expressed an interest in learning how to read music. Did know that BB King took guitar lessons from the guitarist in his band and also clarinet lessons to learn how to read music?

Basically the point is, if you want to further your understanding of music, study theory, arranging, composition, take advanced level lessons etc… Reading music will only make it easier for you. There are tremendous advantages to learning how to read music and more doors will open for those that can.

John Mizenko

Program Director Join the Band

GUITAR LESSONS IN LOS ANGELES serving Sherman Oaks, Encino, Studio City, Van Nuys, Tarzana, North Hollywood, Northridge, Woodland Hills.


14801 Oxnard St. Van Nuys, Sherman Oaks area


Where do I find a guitar teacher?
What age is a good age to start guitar lessons?
I have small fingers. Can I learn guitar?
Should start with an acoustic or electric guitar?

All of these are common questions to anyone starting guitar lessons.

I’ve been involved in teaching guitar lessons for over 30 years and I’ve seen just about everything.

Find a great guitar teacher by doing your homework. Call 3-5 music lessons studios and find out the qualifications of their teachers. Are they schooled musicians? Or are they kids just our of high school trying to make money by showing quick fix methods that will slow you down in the long run.

If you want professional results hire a professional. Find someone that has been teaching guitar lessons for at least three years. Find guitar teachers that can read music and understand how to teach. There are great players that don’t communicate ideas well and less skilled musicians that teach very effectively. Ideally you want a great player and a teacher in one package. It may take a few attempts and trial lessons to find the right teacher but it is worth the effort.

I have found that between 8-11 is a good age to start guitar lessons. Though I’ve had younger students the lessons are not very effective because of dexterity issues with young kids. Plus younger kids tend to lose focus very fast. Of course there are exceptions but they are just that, exceptions. Overall I’ve seen more success starting kids at age 10-11 than any other age.

The size of your hands will not hamper your ability to learn guitar. If you want to play you will find a way. Avoid making excuses. They just keep telling your brain you can’t do it. Disregard negative thoughts and just go for it. One of the greatest guitarists of all time had the fingers on his left hand so badly burned in a fire that he could only play with two fingers. His name was Django Reinhardt. Four finger guitarist still struggle with his solos today.

Start with a guitar that will get you excited to play. Find a friend or hire a guitar teacher to come with you and recommend a great guitar. Better a friend or teacher than a salesman on commission.

At our Join the Band Music Lessons Studio we teach guitar lessons to kids and adults of all ages. We feature lessons in all styles of music. From rock, blues, jazz, country, swing, classical, folk, heavy metal and more. Our instructors are university trained and experienced to help you get the most out of your guitar lessons.

The Join the Band Music Lesson Studio serves the Los Angeles area including: Sherman Oaks, Encino, Studio City, Van Nuys, Tarzana, North Hollywood, Northridge, Woodland Hills.

CALL 818-345-8950 to start you guitar lessons!

John Mizenko

Program Director

Join the Band Music Lessons Studio