Dempster Guitar Studio

Play It Right! Play For Life.

Helping Guitarists Avoid the Overwhelm.


Hi and Welcome to Dempster Guitar Studio

I think it’s very important that you know what this site is all about…and what it is not about, so that I don’t waste your valuable time.

At Dempster Guitar Studio we strive to help guitarists understand how musical stuff is connected together.  Why? Simple!  Because “connection” between musical concepts is generally not being taught.  By “connection” I mean being able to connect or relate one guitar concept to another.

There is a “language” to music that, once understood, makes everything you learn make much more sense (i.e the ideas feel more connected to each other).  Of course, being able to connect musical ideas together does not mean it’s necessarily easy…but it does allow you to learn a new idea more efficiently because you can see the bigger picture of what’s actually going on.  Without an awareness of “connection”, learning the guitar can feel really dis-connected, confusing and generally overwhelming.

In today’s GUITARLANDIA there seems to be much more emphasis placed on How To Do A Thing:

“Hey man, here’s a new lick for ya! Check it out!”

rather than How To Think About Doing A Thing:

  “Hey man, here’s a new lick for ya in B Flat minor…it comes in on the ‘and’ of beat 3 using a triplet figure”. 

Just to understand this lick effectively, you would have to have connected your previous knowledge of 1.  The KEY of B Flat minor, 2. How rhythm is structured and 3. What a triplet is.  As guitarists, we will tend to focus on the technical aspect of the lick – how to actually move our fingers and pick  (and this needs to be done for sure).  But we also often ignore the other information/language/concepts simply because we are less familiar with them  or perhaps we’ve been told we don’t need “that stuff”.  Without a broader sense of how things (concepts) are connected, guitar students get flooded with all sorts of information but have no idea how to knit it all together.  The result is…

Information Overwhelm.

So this site is designed to help you avoid information overwhelm by giving you the foundational training and musical concepts you will need to intelligently navigate all the information out there in Guitarlandia.

Appropriately, what this site won’t do is just give you a bunch of cool riffs, or teach songs without understanding at least the most basic language like what KEY is the song in, or show you chords without some language on how they are built, and then my own pet peeve…teach a lick without understanding how it fits rhythmically into a song. 

So if you find yourself nodding your head up and down thinking “Yeah, finally, this is what I need“, then jump on in and enjoy the process.  

Let’s Get Started…

I have divided our studies into 3 VERY GENERAL areas (See Section Below)) that I have seen many players need help with.  Pick one and click the START HERE button.  That’s it.  You can move around all three areas as you see fit but please keep in mind that they really are closely related to each other.  As such, there is a great deal of overlap…remember it’s all about CONNECTION.

Also, if your interests are to “upgrade” your strumming skills, I would suggest digging straight into that by downloading the FREE 5 Step Strumming Success Guide I put together for you.  If you’re finding that your song strumming is all sounding the same then this GUIDE will help you understand how rhythm works so you can add more variety to your strumming…enjoy! 


There’s more to strumming a guitar than using “Canned” strum patterns.  Click the image above to get started for FREE.

Fretboard Landscape

When you look down on your fretboard what do you see?  Is it strings and frets and shapes and where to put your fingers?  Or do you see a coherent arrangement of notes?  Or maybe BOTH!  

Rhythmic Awareness

Rhythm is easily the most important tool that turns sound into music.  Still, it’s one of the least taught skills for guitarists.  The general belief is you either have “it” or you don’t…This is BS!  If you want to play music you need rhythm skills.

Musical Language

As with any field of study, there is a language used within music to communicate effectively with other musicians. Some call this Music Theory.  I call it Musical Language.  You should know our language.

The Most Meaningful Instruction…


…your excellent melding of the technical and the artistic is for me, and I suspect a great number of others, the most meaningful instruction to be had.

- Dan Tanner

Meet Your Instructor

A nice cup of tea between friends!

Click the image above to get more information on our Flagship Course.

“Contratulations on creating a course that I can sincerely say is truely unique and really does fill a gap that has existed for too long in the field of instructional guitar.  This will prove incredibly valuable to beginner and intermediate students. “


Mike Beatham

Happy Students

Thank you so very much for all you have taught me steve. I would never have turned into the guitar player I am right now if it were not for your teaching.  Three years ago when I came desperately looking for advice with my jazz band charts I would never have imagined what I could possibly do with the guitar…I have expanded my horizons of guitar playing, composition and even my musical taste and for that I am forever thankful.

-Nicholas Kulik

Stephen is able to take complex subjects and explain them clearly to students at all levels of musical knowledge and playing ability.  Moreover, he helps students use what they learn to actually make music.

-Alex MacPhee

Reid and his sister Morgan have been taking lessons since June. Stephen is a great teacher; he understands what they need to be challenged and inspired. We respect his talent, skill and knowledge. He can offer so much to anyone wishing to learn guitar or add to their guitar playing skills. You Rock, Steve!!

-Leslie Amero

To be honest, I wasn’t sure what I needed to learn, but knew that Stephen had been highly recommended and I didn’t want to blow this opportunity…. Understanding the theory behind the music, gave me the freedom to explore the whole neck of my guitar, and awakened my appetite for composing melodies. I credit Stephen with “getting me hooked”on making music! Many thanks to you Stephen!

-Joanna Butler

Keep In Touch

Feel free to touch base with me if you have any questions, concerns or just general inquiries.  I’m here to help!


Dartmouth , Nova Scotia


Call Us

(902) 461.0256/Studio
(902) 292.8921/Cell

Email Us