Customer Reviews


33 Reviews
5 star:
 (22)
4 star:
 (7)
3 star:    (0)
2 star:
 (1)
1 star:
 (3)
 
 
 
 
 
Average Customer Review
Share your thoughts with other customers
Create your own review
 
 

The most helpful favourable review
The most helpful critical review


64 of 65 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars One flaw - but otherwise a superb tutor
I have looked at a wide range of guitar tutors in my time. Some have proved excellent. Others have only been fit for recycling. I have rarely felt that a book-based tutor was ever so straightforward to use that a relative beginner could dive straight in and quickly play effectively. This book is the exception to that rule. The pieces are well graded and although the level...
Published on 24 Feb 2006 by Alan Sturgess

versus
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Kindle edition
Could be much better, the Audio for the last track is missing, and several others are in the wrong place.
Published 7 months ago by Mr S


‹ Previous | 1 2 3 4 | Next ›
Most Helpful First | Newest First

64 of 65 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars One flaw - but otherwise a superb tutor, 24 Feb 2006
This review is from: Blues You Can Use: Complete Guide to Learning Blues Guitar (Sheet music)
I have looked at a wide range of guitar tutors in my time. Some have proved excellent. Others have only been fit for recycling. I have rarely felt that a book-based tutor was ever so straightforward to use that a relative beginner could dive straight in and quickly play effectively. This book is the exception to that rule. The pieces are well graded and although the level of difficulty tends to accellerate fairly quickly - it never becomes silly or demotivating. One previous reviewer referred to it as a 'challenge', and that is quite right .... but it's a challenge based upon basic foundations that are easily and quickly acquired.
I said this book was for relatively new beginners. By that I mean that you need a bit of basic knowledge about chords and you also need to be reasonably familiar with reading and using guitar tablature and to be able to associate that with fretboard positions at the top of the neck (up to the 5th fret at first, and then the 7th. By the time you reach that stage you will be proficient enough to move on down towards the 10th and 12th frets).
Although based upon electric guitar playing - the CD uses such a guitar - the book can be used very successfully with the sound qualities of an acoustic, though probably less well so with a nylon-strung guitar. However, it wouldn't be impossible if you accepted that you wouldn't get that 'low down and dirty' sound that seems to typify many of the blues types and examples.
And what's the flaw that I mentioned in my review heading?
A previous reviewer commented that the one thing the CD lacks are a few examples of pure backing tracks to help you practice and jam. I totally agree. That is a really bad oversight and would have made the whole enterprise as near perfect for a beginner as it would be possible to get.
I'm still awarding the book 5 stars because of its quality and content ..... but that one oversight is such a shame. However, there are solutions in the form of 'jamming' CD's that can be bought in guitar shops, or simple software that can be found which allow you to program your own chord rhythms and sequences. Some of that software is even free (like the simplistic but interesting 'Chordplay') or at least, not very expensive. The only one that Amazon seem to stock is Jammer Pro 5 which is pretty expensive --- but look in 'remainder' stocks for earlier versions or do your own searches.
One last tip, When you are reasonably proficient, it does become possible to backtrack to earlier tracks on the CD and play 'against' the given solo. This isn't easy, but it's worth trying ..... but don't try it too soon or you'll end up feeling schizophrenic!
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


53 of 55 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Blues you can use Blues, 4 Dec 2006
By 
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: Blues You Can Use: Complete Guide to Learning Blues Guitar (Sheet music)
First lets get this out of the way... like everyone says, this is a very good tutor and I've progressed in the 2 or 3 months I've been using it. But it's not perfect. My key complaint is the lack of explanations accompanying the pieces. In one there is a complex (for a novice) section where you play and bend a string, hold it while you play another string at the same fret, before playing and releasing the original bent string. Not a word of explanation! I got there in the end but you're left on your own to figure it out. Often fingering is obvious but when it isn't (boy am I struggling with "9th Chord Blues") don't expect any guidance. Fortunately the next couple of pieces look easier, but I am still worried that, with so little guidance, I will eventually hit a barrier I can't pass. Hopefully I wont. I feel trecherous for being critical, because so far I have made real progress. Probably a superb book if you have a teacher to work with. And if you are teaching yourself? Yes still buy it, it's still very good, but it could have been 5 stars (and easier) with just an extra sentence or two of explanation along the way, particularly about fingering...

...10 months after writing the above and I am proud to say I have now finished the book! I can now play some great pieces and have a good theoretical knowledge, though I know I'm only at the end of the beginning of learning blues guitar. It's a challenging book: the chord theory is thorough but complex and some of the progressions suddenly get quite difficult with root 5 ninth chords an early challenge, followed quickly by sharp ninths, flat ninths, 13ths, flat 6ths, diminished 1sts etc - it was quite confusing and it took a while for the theory to sink in. The progressions by the way are just a series of chords to play, with no advice as to strumming rhythms - for me that is a gap.

Lots of scales too... but these are very logically introduced and clearly explained and are all essential to playing blues guitar. Perhaps 2 pieces/tunes per lesson would have been useful as I had to stop moving through the book for several weeks at one stage while I consolidated scales and progressions. But writing these tunes can't be easy so perhaps 2 per lesson is a lot to ask. I still don't really understand finding and using "sixths" and "thirds": the explanation of those could have helped more, but one book can't be expected to make everything crystal clear and it did introduce these concepts. Alternate picking is introduced just after "Getting Funky", about a third of the way through the book... I can't see how you can play the earlier pieces without using this basic technique, so it's strange to introduce it so late.

"Ninth Chord Blues" was for me the hardest piece in the whole book and it was only half way through... don't be tempted to give up at that stage, it sounds great once finally "in your fingers" and things never get that hard again! Some of the pieces are given slow and fast speeds... fast can be very fast... a couple of pieces I still struggle with "full tempo". I maintain some more help with fingering could have been given... but working things out for yourself has some benefit I suppose. However at one stage you need to use "tap-on-technique", but you're left to search Wikipedia for what that actually is... that ommission isn't great.

I've focussed on the criticisms, but this is a great book... it gives you a real grounding and some great bluesy tunes to play on the way. All I'm saying is that for me there are slightly too many small criticisms to make it warrant all 5 stars, but it's very close. One final warning: I've practiced pretty hard but it took me over a year to complete; many will certainly be more naturally gifted and a lot quicker, but few will complete a lesson each week. Anyway don't mistake this for a bad review, it's not, it's a very good one and the proof is I've now bought "More Blues You can Use". So expect a review of that... er, but it may be a while...
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars I cannot imagine a better tutor (nor have I found one), 14 Mar 2009
By 
This review is from: Blues You Can Use: Complete Guide to Learning Blues Guitar (Sheet music)
I have bought a few tutors now since deciding to get serious about guitar, including:
-Guitar for Dummies
-Fretboard Roadmaps
-Fretboard Logic

And also miscellaneous chord and song tablature books of CDs/Bands I like. But nothing has come close to Blues You Can Use, it is simply the best. The progression in each lesson is just the perfect pace: you learn the minor pentatonic scale on the first page, along with 7th chords and the I-IV-V progression, and then you are off on your first blues study. The lessons progress logically and at a good clip, and I find that I'm learning all the things I want to as fast as is humanly possible. All the other books I bought were either to hard or too easy or too boring, BYCU is just right and since I bought it I simply can't put down my guitar, I have been playing for hours a day (currently unemployed).

Moreover, I cannot let the above comment stand which claims the songs are 'cheesy' etc. The songs are EXTREMELY catchy and fun to play. That Ganapes was able to compose a catchy tune for each specific lesson is a remarkable accomplishment, I have listened to his own production online and can affirm that he is a talented musician and songwriter. Also, the tracks on the CD all use a real band, which is extremely refreshing after the usual synthesized blues backing tracks in most tutors.

Additionally, the book is fully supported on Ganapes' website (google 'Blues You Can Use') which included anything that one might have wished to see in the book (not that I found anything to be missing, but if you need to have numbered fingering, its on the site, and backing tracks are available for order as well).

I simply cannot imagine a better way to learn guitar. Anyone beginner to intermediate guitar player who buys this book will not need to buy another tutor for a long time.

10 stars.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


39 of 42 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Route Map from the Crossroads, 27 Jan 2005
This review is from: Blues You Can Use: Complete Guide to Learning Blues Guitar (Sheet music)
To paraphrase the well-known varnish advert: "It does exactly what it says in the title". I have been playing/trying to learn(!) for about 4 years now, have had some lessons, bought a shed load of different tutor books, CDs etc, and watched different players. All have contributed to my progress to some extent or another, but none so much as "Blues You Can Use". This book has singularly progressed both my understanding and my ability, in easy steps that are also fun. It is really well constructed, with some theory at the beginning of each stage, followed with a piece to learn which puts the theory into practice, with an accompanying CD so you can hear what it should sound like!. And each stage builds on the last, progressing through licks, phrases, chord shapes and scales. Most importantly it links these concepts together so that it all ultimately makes sense, at whatever level you want to understand it.
As other reviewers have already said, if you are an absolute beginner you might struggle without some assistance, but if you have been learning for a while, and perhaps reached the legendary "crossroads", then this could be your route map to greater understanding (and playing pleasure) of the fantastic musical genre that is the Blues.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


17 of 19 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars TOP BANANA, 25 Nov 2004
This review is from: Blues You Can Use: Complete Guide to Learning Blues Guitar (Sheet music)
Its a long hard road learning guitar and if you get to lots of dead ends like me and just cannot seem to progress any further this is the light at the end of the tunnel.This book will teach you step by step each of the pentatonic minor boxes you have to know if you want to be a lead guitarist and how they are applied alongside lots of cool blues track's.I was'nt really into blues when i bought this book but now i definately am realising what better place to start at than where it all began "the Blues" the grandaddy of rock'n roll etc.I would not recommend this book for a total beginer as your expected to be able to fret basic chords from scratch.Another good thing about this book is you seem to be able to learn the tracks quite fast(and remember them) which prevents agitation creeping in and the book being discarded in a dark corner somewhere never to be used again and your money wasted.Im well happy another brick wall knocked down and im only a quarter of the way through.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


17 of 19 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Ultimate Guitar study guide, 8 Oct 2004
By A Customer
This review is from: Blues You Can Use: Complete Guide to Learning Blues Guitar (Sheet music)
Blues you can use is easily the best guitar study guide I have ever used, and I've tried quite a few.
The book is laid out in lessons each starting with some music theory, scales and chord progressions and ending with a piece of music to learn (every piece sounding superb). The accompanying CD has all the lessons music pieces (including some in slow and normal tempo) so you can hear exactly how they should sound.
I would say even if you have no interest in blues guitar this is still a good purchase because the skills in this book are an excellent foundation for playing other styles.
If you can play a few chords and want to know where to go next, work through this book and your skills WILL improve and quickly.
Excellent, now on to More Blues You Can Use.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


11 of 12 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Very good, but the CD misses a trick, 25 Jan 2006
By A Customer
This review is from: Blues You Can Use: Complete Guide to Learning Blues Guitar (Sheet music)
I generally agree with the other reviewers' high opinions of this book, but thought it worth mentioning my one gripe.
Although the examples on the CD sound great and are fun to play along with, there are no "backing" versions of the track in which the part that you are playing is silenced. You're always hearing the professional playing the same part as you. That's good when you're learning the track, but annoying when you've learnt it and want to perform it. It makes it impossible to record your own version.
Still a great book, but needs the addition of pure backing tracks to make it perfect.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


10 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Used Every Day, 31 Mar 2007
By 
Chris Downing "Chris Downing" (Chippenham, Wilts England) - See all my reviews
(TOP 500 REVIEWER)   
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: Blues You Can Use: Complete Guide to Learning Blues Guitar (Sheet music)
I use this book every day in teaching the guitar. Students who like the blues really appreciate the styles and sound of each exercise. You get to sound very good fast with this book. If you like blues then this is one of the best, but you'll need to get the basics learnt first. For that try Wolf Marshall's series, Vol 1,2,3. If you get the non CD versions the set will be very cost effective - then you'll be ready for John Ganapes. John also has two follow-on books that are Good - More Blues You Can Use and Jazzin the Blues.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


10 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Brilliant as long you know a few chords, 26 Jan 2006
This review is from: Blues You Can Use: Complete Guide to Learning Blues Guitar (Sheet music)
This really is a brilliant book; together with the cd, work through the lessons and I am surprised how quickly I'm "getting it into my fingers"! Over the years of struggling on my own with more books I care to list, I am really getting somewhere.
If you have a guitar, a bit of knowledge, you can't go wrong with this book.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


10 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars TOP NOTCH!!, 16 Dec 2005
By 
Mr. A. O. Carlin (England) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Blues You Can Use: Complete Guide to Learning Blues Guitar (Sheet music)
I am an intermediate guitarist but a beginner blues guitarist and I found this book to be a fantastic help. The way it is laid out is very simple but also challenging. I would reccommend this book to everyone!!
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


‹ Previous | 1 2 3 4 | Next ›
Most Helpful First | Newest First

This product

Blues You Can Use: Complete Guide to Learning Blues Guitar
Blues You Can Use: Complete Guide to Learning Blues Guitar by John Ganapes (Sheet music - 1 Mar 1996)
12.59
In stock
Add to basket Add to wishlist
Only search this product's reviews