Top positive review
165 of 168 people found this helpful
Not so much a tutor as a very informative overview
on 24 February 2006
This is a highly unusual book. I know of no other that has this approach. Even excellent books such as 'The Complete Guitarist' by Richard Chapman don't cover the ground that can be found in the 'bible'.
One previous reviewer refers to it as a 'tutor'. Another reviewer said that after reading it they felt 'informed'. I feel that the second comment is the more accurate. There are a wide range of truly excellent 'tutors' out there for anyone who wants to learn how to master the acoustic guitar. (There are also some very poor ones - but that's another matter).
Whilst the 'bible', does contain elements of 'tutorship' by including exercises, riffs and performance pieces, it covers a lot more ground. If your search is for a full-blown guitar tutor, then this is probably not the book for you. (In that event, begin by looking at 'The acoustic guitar method' by David Hamburger, or 'Beginning Fingerstyle Blues' by Arnie Berle and Mark Galbo. More demanding, but no less good is 'Acoustic Blues Guitar' by Kenny Sultan. If you're also interested in electric blues, tutors don't come much better or more rewarding than 'Blues you can use' by John Ganapes. All come with CD's and all are available via Amazon UK).
But back to the 'bible' ...
There is so much in this huge 243 page, large format book that it would take a small novella to review it. Even the 'Contents' listing covers 4 full sides!
Maybe I can best explain what I mean by it being less of a tutor and more of a broad overview by listing a few of the other topics that are covered. In some cases I have paraphrased themes to cut down the list:
Development of the acoustic guitar
Tuning (covered from a wide range of perspectives - not just a single method)
Tendonitis (and other guitar-related hand problems)
Right and left hand warm-up exercises
Practice (for hands, mind and ears)
Melody, harmony, bass line movement, rhythm
Tone, texture, dynamics
A detailed look at all manner of musical conventions (eg: scales, thirds, fifths, key signatures, intervals, triads, inversions ..... )
Exploring the fingerboard
The 3-chord trick
Seventh chords and harmonising with 7th chords
More complex chords (added and suspended)
Modes of the major scale (eg: Ionian, Dorian, Phrygian ....)
Pentatonic and blues scales
Tunings (including open tunings, drop tunings, modal tunings, Nashville tunings, radical tunings)
Tapping and slapping
Pickups for acoustic guitar (eg: piezo, magnetic)
The art of stage performance
Use of separate microphones in a performance
String and guitar care (inc. '10 golden rules')
Taking your guitar out and about
Looking after your hands and nails
Effects and processors
6 performance pieces (broad range of types)
The Ten Acoustic Guitar Commandments
See what I mean?
The CD's are not supportive of a tutorial approach in the sense that they don't take you through graduated exercises. Whilst some tracks are examples of riffs and rhythms, others are of full blown performances .... and very good they are too. For instance, by track 19 on CD1 you're listening to a rhythmic piece that wouldn't sound amiss on a Gordon Giltrap CD!)
As I said at the outset, if your search is for a tutor to take you slowly and gently through the basics of acoustic guitar playing and styles - look elsewhere. But if your need is for a book that covers just about everything you will ever need to know about developing your playing skills and both general and specific knowledge, then this book really is a treasure trove of information. As such, it certainly merits 5 stars.