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Every day 1200 children become foster kids


A Student

When my parents devorced I was so mad. I mean really mad. My mom thought I was feeling it was my fault. My dad thought I was feeling it was my fault. I wasn't feeling guilty I was just feeling real mad. They said I didn't understand but they were the ones that didn't. I think listening to music saved us . It kept us from fighting. Now I want to take lessons with you so that I can do what you said. I want to put my being pissed i n music and I want to have my songs be my music like you said Bob Marley said. I did go listen to him. I want to let my songs be bullets, not real bullets like he did to. He was good. I am sorry that he dies. Thank you for saying I can be one of your students no matter what

Having fun with our GnG Students

Excited students are ready to march in the Doo Dah parade in Pasadena, CA.


Guitars not Guns Mission Statement

Provide guitars and lessons to foster kids, at risk youth and other deserving children in a classroom setting with qualified teachers


See Photos by: Michael Padilla - (Click Here)

Guitars not Guns Music Program is a member of NAMM


Changing the World, One Kid at a Time

The goal of Guitars Not Guns® Music Program is to help prevent violence in schools and on the streets by providing foster kids, at-risk youth and other deserving children with guitars and lessons in a classroom setting with qualified teachers.

Believe in yourself and you can accomplish anything.

Using music as a catalyst we encourage children and teens to use their creativity to foster personal development and to help divert them from self-destructive influences such as drugs, alcohol and gang-related activities. By providing free guitars and lessons we hope to engage their creative potential and help them achieve their dreams.

Our programs are for children and teens ages 8 - 18 using low teacher-to-student ratios. Each class consists of a maximum of 10 students with three adult instructors. In addition to learning how to master changing from one chord to another, children learn perseverance, discipline and self-esteem. More importantly, the kids learn to enjoy the interaction and have fun in a group setting. Those who complete the full 8 week program are allowed to keep the guitar and are encouraged to return for Level 2

Note: GNG is not anti-gun. In the US everyone has the right to have guns. We want to help kids find an alternative to gun violence by providing an alternative.

"SINCE 2000 GnG has made our program available to thousands of foster kids,underprivileged kids and teens." If you would like to help please

contact us


Guitars Not Guns
by:Candice Dyer

This Organization relies on that “aha!” moment the first time a kid strums the strings. Then when fans applaud and swoon, the sounds of a guitar can drown out the other noise – taunts at school, gang violence, smooth-talking drug dealers.

Treble, Not Trouble: “When I was young, my guitar was my best friend,” says Ray Nelson, an Atlanta resident who founded Guitars Not Guns, the international, nonprofit music education program for at-risk youths with the motto: “Let’s fill the world with music rather than the sounds of mothers weeping.”
As foster parents in the 1990s, he and his wife, Louise, hit upon the organization’s simple premise.
“Most foster kids move four or five times in high school,” he says. “I noticed that the one thing they had in common was that they carried around a plastic bag with their clothes in it – that was all they had. A guitar is portable, and I knew so many musicians whose guitars were just sitting in attics, gathering dust,” he says.

At Risk Youth:
“Underprivileged children are usually two or three years behind because they have trouble focusing,” Louise Nelson says. “Music works the right and left sides of their brains, and studies show that kids who are in a music program perform better in school. Their behavior gets calmer, and their self-esteem improves – like watching a flower unfold.”

(Volunteer) If Music Be the Food of Love: “I can’t express fully how important music was in my childhood, giving me a safe place, and now, how much it has done to put food on my table and strengthen my belief in the goodness of people,” says roots rocker Caroline Aiken, who works with the organization. “If I can turn a kid on to music’s healing form of self-ex-pression, maybe they will carry it with them the rest of their life and, in turn, give it to another kid some-where down the line.”

This video is available for presentations (Guitars not Guns Video)

.... If you would like to be a GnG speaker please e-mail ray@guitarsnotguns.org or fill out (form)


Start a classroom in your community. (sign up here)

GNG is profiled in the book, "Changing The World On A Tuesday Night." If you purchase the book by clicking through the link below $2.00 of the purchase price will be donated to the Guitars Not Guns Music Program.