Meet Ralph Cetola

Meet Ralph Cetola

 Ralph Cetola, Guitar, Bass & Ukulele Educator

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Ralph Cetola teaches at Bananas at Large in Santa Rosa on Sundays, Thursdays and Saturdays and would love to start teaching you! If you’d like to get started with Ralph, he is offering a “Buy 3 Get the 4th FREE” Promotion*. 

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*First lesson is FREE and only applies to 30 minute lesson. Lesson package must be paid up front to receive Free Lesson. Tuition is non-refundable & 48 hours cancellation policy must be observed to cancel or reschedule any lesson.

**Must schedule and purchase 4 weekly 30 minute lessons to apply discounted rate for free lesson. Lesson tuition is non-refundable. 24 hours notice must be observed to cancel or reschedule lessons. 

Get to know Ralph Cetola

How did you get started in music?

As a child I wanted to have a guitar from about the time I was able to talk. Group guitar classes were offered at my Elementary school when I was in 6th grade. A few years later my parents signed me up at the local music store for private lessons with a great teacher, Tom Romano. I stuck to weekly lessons for about 3 years, learning to read music and play popular songs. I made it through book 4 of Mel Bay Modern Guitar Method before going it alone. I learned from every guitar player I heard and also from listening to recordings. I played with anyone I came in contact with that could play an instrument. I also began writing my own instrumental guitar tunes. I became interested in other styles of playing such as various finger style techniques and incorporated those into my own style. I studied music theory and jazz improvisation/jazz theory at the college level. I learned very quickly at the beginning that in order to improve you need to practice.

What artist inspired you when you were first learning to play?

Actually, many players inspired me. As a kid it was The Beatles. I also liked Roy Clark and Glen Campbell, two guys I would see playing on television that just blew my mind! In my teenage years my musical horizon expanded and I listened to every style of music and learned from any guitar player I heard. There are far too many to mention. I liked all the great Rock Star guitarists and I also liked lesser known players. Duane Allman was my favorite.

How long have you been playing?

For about 45 years, I think.

What is your favorite song to play right now?

My own tunes are my absolute favorites! I have one called Spiders on the Windshield that I wrote over the course of 3 months with one of my Bass students. I really like to play that one and notice how it has developed over the years. The tune began as a demonstration of finger style playing and simple fretboard theory. Now, it’s a tune I play at every gig!

What is your favorite genre to play and why?

Blues is probably my favorite, go-to musical style. I believe everything evolved from the Blues. I like playing anything, though. I like to play music that has no definition, a blend of many styles like Funk, or Bluegrass blended with Jazz Fusion and Blues, infused with straight ahead Rock-n-Roll. 

What made you decide to start teaching?

When I was about 17 I realized that the musical knowledge I gained from taking years of lessons gave me the tools that set me apart as a musician. I began teaching friends of mine so that I would have people to jam with. As an adult I was bored working on computers in an office and took a chance on becoming a full time music teacher. It has been the most rewarding occupation I could ever imagine!

What projects or bands are you involved in currently?

My main band is Vitamin Girl Band. I’m fortunate to have my wonderful daughter sing in the band.    https://www.facebook.com/vitamingirlband/

Do you have any fun tidbits or stories to share?

Once a student of mine who was in 8th grade came to his lesson dressed as Jimi Hendrix. That was pretty funny! Another funny story is that in my music room I had a photo of Jerry Garcia holding his new guitar which I had watched be built over the course of a year or more. I knew his guitar maker; we were neighbors. During a lesson a young student asked if the guy in the photo was me!!

What is the best advice you can give to a beginning player who is just starting?

Stick to it! Playing an instrument takes staying power. Practice every day, even if you don’t feel like it! A little practice every day goes a long way. You will improve! My saying is “More Practice = More Fun”...

What is the best advice you would give to an established player?

Have fun and stick to it! Practice every day. Practice things that are challenging. Try teaching yourself other instruments. If you don’t know how to read music, learn to read music!

What is your “gigging” instrument and equipment and why?

I use my Carvin semi-hollow body and my ’75 Telecaster as my main guitars. I also use a Lap Steel. I usually use a Fender Super Sonic with an extra 2-12 cabinet for my amplifier rig. I also like to use a Mesa Boogie Studio Preamp. That Mesa Boogie has the best lead channel I have played through. For big gigs I sometimes like to break out my Mesa Boogie Mark 3.

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