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N. Gilmartin (Wallington, London)

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Ultimate Guitar Techniques - Shredding With Arpeggios [DVD]
Ultimate Guitar Techniques - Shredding With Arpeggios [DVD]
Dvd ~ Danny Gill
Price: £21.87

4.0 out of 5 stars Rich in arpeggio shapes but lacking basic explanations of technique, 28 Feb 2014
This DVD has plenty of arpeggios, realized in different positions on the neck and with a variety of string combinations. It also showcases various techniques for playing the arpeggios: string skipping, sweep picking, two-handed tapping, to name the most advanced.

However, I had some issues with the DVD. First of all, there is no transition at all from beginner to advanced. Danny Gill plays three-string arpeggios slowly, and then says, 'now we're gonna step on the gas a little', and proceeds to step on the gas and keep his foot down. From lower-intermediate straight to advanced.

There are so many techniques on the DVD that you would think some sort of guidance would be offered on how best to tackle them. This would stop people from getting into bad habits. But no. Nothing. And no advice is given on the picking patterns, either, which for me was the most frustrating thing. Danny Gill says, 'same picking pattern' a fair few times, but never actually says what the picking pattern is. And if you watch his right hand, you will notice that he is not consistent with his picking pattern. He changes it up all the time, which is really quite frustrating.

A DVD worth having. But it could have been exceptional if it had been approached in a more pedagogical manner.

Ultimate Guitar Fretboard Navigator [DVD]
Ultimate Guitar Fretboard Navigator [DVD]
Dvd ~ Jamie Humphries
Price: £17.36

5.0 out of 5 stars Some great tricks for speeding up your understanding of the fretboard, 13 Feb 2014
I feel compelled to write a review because I don't think the 3-star rating currently on the website is at all fair.

This DVD is brimming with useful stuff. The CAGED system isn't something I was familiar with, but it's very good to be made aware of even if you are already pretty knowledgeable about chords and the fretboard. To some extent, I found the CAGED system to be about raising my awareness of what I already knew implicitly so that I could make much better use of it in my playing.

The main aim is to get you thoroughly familiar with the fretboard in as efficient a way as possible. And I think he does an admirable job of this. He takes you through all the notes on the neck, and then goes onto the five basic open major and minor chord shapes, showing how they can be recycled for playing all standard major and minor chords over the entire neck (This is the CAGED system). The DVD also includes the main pentatonic scale shapes and provides insight on how to use these with success across the fretboard.

Reading through a few of the reviews on the UK and US website, anyone would think people don't realize that a DVD can be paused and re-watched. Come on! Be grateful that you are getting a DVD that contains a tonne of information explained well and in a logical order. If you don't 'get it' first time around, then my advice would be to press 'pause' and have a think; failing that, re-watch it; but don't blame the teacher for being a poor student.

Understanding English Grammar: A Course Book for Chinese Learners of English
Understanding English Grammar: A Course Book for Chinese Learners of English
by Tony Hung
Edition: Paperback
Price: £13.77

5.0 out of 5 stars A book with unusually good explanations of potentially complicated subject matter., 8 Feb 2014
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
In a way, the title of this book is a shame as it may unjustly limit its audience; it isn't useful only for Chinese learners or teachers working with them: it is good for ALL learners and teachers alike.

The book adopts an inductive approach to grammar, and provides an answer key with thorough explanations that teachers too will find very helpful. Indeed, the grammar explanations provided - whether for noun phrases, adverbials, transitive verbs, subordinate clauses, or whatever - are clear and enlightening to an extent I have never before seen in any other works on grammar.

A true gem that I would recommend to any teacher wishing to brush up on their own grammar, or indeed any person who, like me, takes an unhealthy interest in the subject.

It's So Easy (and other lies): The Autobiography
It's So Easy (and other lies): The Autobiography
Price: £4.31

5.0 out of 5 stars Really enjoyable to read, with a refreshingly different angle on the rock-star biography, 8 Feb 2014
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
Having read Rex Brown's autobiography just before this one (he was the bass player in Pantera) I didn't go into the Duff McKagan work with particularly high expectations. But I was absorbed soon enough. It's a very well written work, partly because it has an honesty about it that seems truly authentic, but also because Duff's life has had an unusual amount of seemingly unconnected stages, which together add up to a fascinating and unpredictable tale.

There's very little of the 'yawn' anecdotes of decadence and excess that seem to characterize so many rock-star autobiographies; and when Duff does talk about alcohol and drugs, it's engaging not only because the stories are told with the benefit of hindsight but also because he has since done so much to turn his life around that you find yourself convinced that here is a guy who really stands behind what he is saying.

The book is even like a small adventure story in places, with its lessons in self-overcoming and will power. Of course, at the back of my mind there was the cynic saying that all his money and connections enabled him to seize ready-made opportunities to turn his life around in a way not open to the rest of us - but he still had to choose to seize them.

More generally, Duff doesn't come across as having been unduly affected by the rock-star complex that fame with Guns n' Roses and Velvet Revolver could so easily have brought in toe. He even champions the academic life, which is not a sentence I would have expected to be writing before reading the book. I can't confess to have known much (or anything) about Duff before reading this book - I was always focused exclusively on Slash and Axl, I guess; but I'm very happy that I now know more about Mr McKagan.

Offered by Smartphonez UK
Price: £2.99

5.0 out of 5 stars An absolute bargain, 7 Feb 2014
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
I love this cover. It looks great, and fits so perfectly with the phone that I actually feel like the phone is that bit better because of it. But perhaps most importantly, it is a complete bargain! It's a vast improvement on the purely functional case-type thing given to you when you purchase the phone itself, and even comes with a complimentary screen protector.

I am sure any owner of the P6 will not regret buying one of these.

Lick Library: Guitar Quick Licks - Gary Moore Up Tempo 8 Bar... [DVD] [2009]
Lick Library: Guitar Quick Licks - Gary Moore Up Tempo 8 Bar... [DVD] [2009]
Dvd ~ Gary Moore
Offered by Musicroom
Price: £19.99

5.0 out of 5 stars Absolutely ace DVD, 5 Feb 2014
I love this DVD. Danny Gill has come up with about 30 licks in the style of Gary Moore, and they fit together perfectly to form an epic blues solo.

The solo is broken down into three sections of more-or-less increasing difficulty, and each lick is dealt with at a slow tempo so that you can keep up with what's happening and practise at your own pace. The licks are really satisfying to play, and complement each other very well; Danny Gill has included a considerable level of variety in them as well, with some being slower and blues-ier, while others have much more of a hard-rock feel.

A fabulous DVD that got me interested in other Quick Lick DVDs. Although I'm yet to come across any that I have enjoyed as much as this one...

Essential Guitar Practice Routines - String Skipping [DVD] [NTSC]
Essential Guitar Practice Routines - String Skipping [DVD] [NTSC]
Dvd ~ Danny Gill
Price: £20.34

3.0 out of 5 stars A slight disappointment when you are familiar with the alternate picking DVD from the same series, 2 Feb 2014
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I bought this DVD because I really enjoyed Danny Gill's DVD on alternate picking, also in the Essential Guitar Practice Routines series. The string skipping DVD has left me a little disappointed, and perhaps the best way of explaining why is to contrast it directly with the other DVD:

1. the alternate picking DVD has various exercises to help you practise the skills of alternate picking: this DVD has no exercises;
2. the alternate picking DVD has three songs of considerable length and noticeable changes in difficulty level: this DVD has what I would call song fragments, (although the beginners' track is more like a song) and the rise in difficulty level across them is nowhere near as significant - advanced-level players won't find anything here to really challenge them;
3. the alternate picking DVD gives you some guidance on picking patterns: this DVD has no clear focus on right-hand technique and how to make the most of it.

I still believe that the DVD is worth having, however; you will get familiar with minor/major arpeggios patterns across strings, and there are quite a few nice riffs. But I was expecting something a little more challenging, and a little more informative. It's all well and good to tell the student what you're doing, but I think you need to give them guidance also on how to do it.

Lick Library: Essential Guitar Practice Routines - Alternate Picking [DVD]
Lick Library: Essential Guitar Practice Routines - Alternate Picking [DVD]
Dvd ~ Danny Gill
Price: £16.75

5.0 out of 5 stars This is fantastic., 29 Jan 2014
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
Danny Gill is a fantastic teacher. He has a supportive manner and a strong intuitive understanding of the learner. Even though he's super-advanced as a player, it feels like he hasn't forgot what it's like not to be at that level.

This DVD is fantastic value for money. He gives you a variety of exercises to work on your alternate picking technique, with the majority of these techniques subsequently being incorporated in the songs for further consolidation.

There are three songs, one for beginners, one for intermediate-level players, and one for more advanced players. The songs are really fun to learn. I would say, however, that the beginners song is pitched at the very extreme of beginner-level; I imagine that 'real' beginners would struggle with it. The same is true of the intermediate song: the left-hand isn't too complicated, but the sheer speed at which some of the song is played is truly challenging, and so this song too belongs more in the upper-intermediate category. Whereas the first two songs are on the brink of the next level, the advanced song is actually probably at the lower end of advanced playing.

But none of the above is designed to detract from the DVD: I just want people to be cautious about the labelling of each song so that they won't be unnecessarily demotivated. If you're a beginner and find the beginners' song hard, that's because it really is very hard for a beginner!

In a nuthsell, if you truly do the exercises and learn the songs on this DVD, practising regularly and over a sustained period, you will find, as I have, that your alternate picking will improve immensely.

Thank you, Danny Gill, for yet another great DVD.

Fiesta: The Sun Also Rises (Arrow Classic)
Fiesta: The Sun Also Rises (Arrow Classic)
by Ernest Hemingway
Edition: Paperback
Price: £5.59

4 of 6 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Just average, 2 Jan 2008
This book is a frequent patience tester. Hemingway's style is often irritating and sometimes plain boring. He regularly includes the most banal details and makes little attempt to have them sound more interesting; there were times while reading this that I had the feeling of reading the novel of an A-level student, so basic and prosaic were many of the sentences. Surely one of the marks of a great author is that they can describe even the mundane in a language which has it come to life: Hemingway too often re-states the obvious in a tedious way.

However, the book does have lively characters, in particular Jake, Brett and Cohn, and the story itself is intriguing. Hemingway's non-judgemental approach towards his protagonists is well crafted and leaves lots of room for reader input. The book flows well when his concentration is on character dialogue. It is just a shame that so many of the descriptive sections feel like a penance that must be paid before getting to the good stuff.

The Fear of Freedom (Routledge Classics)
The Fear of Freedom (Routledge Classics)
by Erich Fromm
Edition: Paperback
Price: £12.59

11 of 13 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Liberating and intimidating at once, 6 Dec 2007
Erich Fromm is an inspirational writer. What distinguishes him from some other inspirational writers is his insistence that society does not need to be transformed before you can achieve great things: you can achieve already and in so doing contribute towards bettering the world. This is an important difference, to my mind. For his is not an optimism which leads ultimately to an intractable pessimism as the realisation dawns on you that transforming society is too tall an order: the efficacy of his advice does not depend on such fundamental and sweeping global changes.

The Fear of Freedom for me combines what is useful in Hegelianism, Marxism and Freudianism while also doing away with the untenable theoretical systems that would otherwise undermine what is precious in them. Fromm declares that modern man is in the unprecedented historical situation of being conscious of his freedom, which however is a double-edged sword, for although it opens up a new horizon of potential self-determination, it also bears down upon the individual with an unprecedented weight of responsibility (and culpability, in the end).

Fromm provides an interesting, easy-to-read and unflattering critique of Luther and Calvin as well as a psychological explanation of the appeal of fascism. It is strange to read this work today, which talks of Hitler and Nazi Germany in the present tense. (It was written during the war).

The book is a clarion call for human beings to accept responsibility for their fates. I do not think that the Frommian man is an Übermensch, or a hero of the classical mould: he is too modest and aware of his limitations to aspire to such dangerous heights - he does not have the backing of an omnipotent god or age-old myth to prop him up. He has his own resources, and that's it. The Frommian man fits the modern prototype of the hero; filled with a dogged determination to achieve comparatively small aims using his own modest means, he achieves more and better things because he does not compromise himself in his achievements or appeal to illusions to justify his actions.

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