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4.7 out of 5 stars115
4.7 out of 5 stars
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TOP 1000 REVIEWERon 29 April 2013
This e-book is an instructional guide to playing the guitar. Its main aims are: to teach the player a systematic understanding of the guitar fingerboard; and then to guide the player into using that knowledge to play relatively sophisticated single-note lines all over the neck over standard blues changes.

Joseph Alexander clearly knows his stuff. The layout of the material is logical and progressive. The CAGED system of basic chord shapes is used to provide a fixed scaffolding. Once the player can visualise the neck in terms of these simple chord shapes, Alexander demonstrates how this fixed framework can be used to integrate these chords with the minor pentatonic scale, so that the player can move easily between positions without getting lost.

Having taught the basic positions in one key, the book then teaches the player how to play in multiple keys in a single position. The blues scale, mixolydian mode and major pentatonic are gradually introduced. In each case the scale is integrated with a set of reference chords and related to the scales the player has already learned, so that more and more note choices are made available without losing sight of the underlying framework that keeps the player orientated.

This is a very usable manual for self-instruction. The insistence on visual mastery of the fingerboard – illustrated in clear fingerboard diagrams - pays off quickly, and Alexander's musical examples - downloadable from his site - place the emphasis on real music rather than sterile exercises. (The audio files are duplicated in the book in standard notation and tab.) I haven't seen this material laid out in such a clear and systematic manner anywhere else. Although Alexander assumes a basic familiarity with the instrument, he also covers such matters as how to select and hold a pick, and it's conceivable that with a little experienced guidance even a complete beginner could use this book to acquire the basis for a sound technique.

It should be noted that the written musical examples – rather than the fingerboard diagrams - are much more clearly visible on a tablet-sized or larger device than on the smaller e-reader screens. I used the free Kindle for PC software and had no problems. This is the only small reservation I have about the book, which offers a great deal of useful material and a learning system that will be of permanent value for later work. At the current low price it is tremendous value for money.

Highly recommended, particularly for the player who is encountering the limitations of a randomly-acquired technique.
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on 3 May 2013
I have messed about with blues riffs and licks for years attempting to be able to produce something worth listening to but always seemed to be floundering and eventually got bored and put the old guitar away. I bought this book and asked for the PDF that comes with it. Best thing I ever did with regard to me progressing with my playing.
The book is easy to follow and contains more licks than you will ever need. It explains how the various elements of blues playing come together and so you progress steadily and build on your knowledge.
The audio section is very good and contains backing tracks at differing speeds.
Since I downloaded the PDF I can simply open it on my lap top and easily read and control the bits I want to practice. It also opens up in a far larger format so old codgers like me can read it easier than from the book. Worth every penny.
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on 21 May 2013
I have been playing a while, but as the author observes, I always go to that same old scale position where I feel comfortable and this I feel is holding back my playing. This book is helping me to get a better grasp of playing in all positions on the neck.
I downloaded the audio files from the link in the book and they are of a very good quality and most useful.
As I bought on kindle I emailed the author for the free .pdf as suggested in the book for printing out exercises and received a mail back with the .pdf file within a few hours :) I like the licks provided, sound very cool to me and the author suggests ways of personalizing them.
Great value for money and exceptional support from the author, I have no hesitation in recommending this book.
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on 3 February 2013
This book gets a 5 star rating because it is a superb learning package, it has tab that is supported by downloadable audio files and is without doubt a very worth while value for money package.

The author provided me with an instant and personalised response when I asked for a copy of the pdf files to allow me to print out my working notes. However, if you want to work off you laptop or iPad then that's great too.

The nature of the content is perfect for me, I have knowledge of the 5 postions of the pentatonic scales but the extra information on the relation of the Am7 chords to the scale patterns missed me by, not any more. The quality of the easily accessible and downloaded audio files makes this a complete learning package. The author gives you a lot but also shows you how to develop your own style so that you can go on to do your own improvisation. The backing tracks that you get to work with are great. In fact I could go on and on. I'm glad I found this book and bought it, and so will you be.
Don
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on 12 May 2013
from frank....

if you are struggling with your guitar playing or don't know what direction to take your playing then try out this book,its a fun way to learn the caged system and you get the bonus of blues licks and check out the website at fundamental-changes.com for more great books and lessons,i like this book and the teaching methods and have purchased another 2 books from the same author-keep up the good work-look forward to more lessons.
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on 9 April 2013
Having played blues style guitar for many years and been stuck in the same soloing box between frets 5-8 and being reluctant to jump up the frets without losing the thread, this book has given me a new lease of life. It shows very clearly how the five positions for the main blues scales interact with each other so you can move seamlessly up and down the fretboard.

The author also reacted very quickly to help me to download a pdf version and the audio files. Very helpful indeed.

I would recommend this book to anyone, whether a beginner or more advanced in blues playing. There is always something to learn and the audio backing tracks are there to help improve your confidence.
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on 22 July 2013
I bought this book for Kindle on a Friday evening. By Sunday, the licks I had learned in this book were enabling me to move up and down the neck of the guitar with more fluency than I had managed before, using the backing tracks included in the audio material downloadable from a related site (all details are given in the book). Maybe it just co-incided with my stage of learning but I've been trying to play in different positions but with more fluidity for a little while without managing it too well and this book has taken me on a step. And I still have a lot to get from it.

It is clear, practical, realistic (you don't have to learn the licks perfectly to start with, just get the positions and relationships with the chord patterns in your head) and I think it is going to make a big difference to my playing. I have bought several guitar tuition books in the last couple of years and they have mostly been good but this is by far the best. It just works!

As with the author's other books, the technical support and audio materials are excellent. The overall package represents fantastic value.
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on 9 January 2015
I've played acoustic finger-style guitar for more years than I care to remember, but have recently diversified, and finally bought an electric guitar. I would recommend this book to anyone who has some basic ability on the guitar and wants to develop blues soloing techniques. The Caged System introduces scales derived from five basic chord shapes, and these can be easily moved up and down the guitar neck to play in any key. Once the scales are mastered, they can be used to solo, with the aid of the included audio downloads. The downloads have a real sonic punch that inspire the player to try and emulate. The next step is to create your own licks alongside the suggested ones, and gradually develop an individual soloing technique. All in all, an excellent tutor that gives results, in fact I was impressed enough to also purchase " The Compete Guide To Playing Blues Guitar Compilation" The Complete Guide to Playing Blues Guitar: Compilation: 4 (Play Blues Guitar)
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on 25 May 2013
For any guitarist wanting an overview or a review of basic to intermediate material for blues guitar this is a must have. Moreover, the additional material and help available from the author are second to none.
GS
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on 17 June 2013
I bought this book for my dad so that he had a reference for learning the CAGED system and pentatonic scales. By using the "look inside" feature I was able to see, before I bought it, that the book contained errors. I decided to buy it anyway and manually correct the mistakes. The errors are in the minor pentatonic transcriptions where some incorrect notes are notated. Overall, it seems a good enough resource for him. If you are a beginner I would be wary of this book if you do not have anyone to work through it with you/correct the mistakes. Another issue (that I was unable to see before buying) is that all of the licks are in 12/8 time, however, they should still be sufficient to give you some ideas if you are a beginner.
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