About Montavilla Guitar Studio

Meet MGS owner Neil Mattson

I’m a performer and trendsetting teacher. I believe that anyone can learn to make music, and that learning to play an instrument is an incredibly fun and rewarding way to grow as a person. That’s why I founded Montavilla Guitar Studio where we offer the best music lessons in Portland!

Neil Mattson is a guitarist, composer, educator, and the founder of Montavilla Guitar Studio.

We want to show you the way to become an exceptional musician!

Our mission is to give you the creative solutions to remove the obstacles that stand between you and your musical development. We’re changing the music world by guiding musicians to reach the highest levels of musicianship. We have a vision of a world of highly skilled musicians who can excel in any musical situation they encounter, are equipped with the skills to play the music they want to play, and will go on share this movement of excellence with the next generation of musicians. Find out more about guitar, bass, ukulele, mandolin, piano, voice, drums, songwriting, and Alexander Technique lessons here!


Neil has taught more than 17,000 lessons during the past 22 years as a full-time guitar instructor. During that time he has developed his own unique approach to teaching guitar that centers on building students’ confidence and growing musicianship skills.

Neil is a 2004 summa cum laude jazz studies graduate of Wayne State University and recipient of the Carl & Elinor Thom Harmony House Scholarship in 2003 and the Joe Fava Scholarship in 2004 and was nominated for and elected into the Pi Kappa Lambda Honorary Music Fraternity in 2003.

Prior to attending Wayne, his serious guitar studies began with the Detroit guitar master and Nashville session veteran Jack Pitt, himself a student of Andreas Segovia.  This experience led him to discover the discipline and beauty of the classical guitar tradition.  Neil continued his classical guitar studies under Helene Rottenberg in the tradition of her teacher Manuel Lopez-Ramos while getting his degree in jazz studies at Wayne. After Wayne, Neil studied with the brilliant vibist, pianist, and master theoretician, Robert Pipho, which proved to be a genuine jazz apprenticeship and a huge stepping stone from his college learning to his professional music career.

Business Profile

Neil Mattson is a guitarist, composer, and educator. He is the founder of Montavilla Guitar Studio, a destination for anyone seeking support on their musical journey. Montavilla Guitar Studio offers exploratory group classes and one-on-one lessons focused on developing musicianship through learning guitar, bass, ukulele, mandolin, piano, flute, voice, drum set, and Alexander Technique. Montavilla Guitar Studio boasts the best music lessons in Portland, helping the absolute beginner to the lifelong dabbler, the weekend rock ‘n’ roller to the soon-to-be studio musician, the Juilliard-bound teenager to the play-by-ear professional, MGS sets students on a clear course to musical development.


Montavilla Guitar Studio is located at 7828 SE Stark Street in the heart of downtown Montavilla. Group classes, ensembles, and recitals are held at Montavilla United Methodist Church (see map below).

Montavilla United Methodist Church

Montavilla Guitar Studio

Teaching Philosophy

At MGS we believe that everyone can learn to make music. Musical development is essentially no different than speech development in that, with the right amount of environmental stimulus and practice, musical ability can be cultivated. Students taking music lessons at MGS develop their musicianship in five essential areas: Correct Technique, Rhythm Training, Aural Skills, Note Reading, and Practice Planning. It’s the complete package approach to guitar that gets results and makes learning rewarding and fun! Find out Why We’re Different!

Montavilla Guitar Studio guitar booth outreach at local schools

My teenage son started lessons with Neil in the fall & I am astonished at how far he’s come. Neil takes guitar seriously but makes the learning fun with additional practice groups & recitals (with professional musicians sitting in!). Though my son takes private lessons this makes him feel part of a community and he works hard to perform his best. I strongly recommend Montavilla.

Jana R.

Portland, OR

Your first lesson is on us!

Follow the link to schedule your Kickstart Session, a free 30 minute lesson where we play, chat, and find out if we're a great fit.

Montavilla East Tabor Business Association
Music Teachers National Association
Montavilla East Tabor Business Association
Oregon Music Teachers Association
Montavilla East Tabor Business Association