I've played acoustic guitar - fingerstyle - for an age. Recently I thought I'd give an electric ago. I pretty soon found out that my left hand was ragged and my picking was a disaster. Hammering away at scales didn't seem to make much difference and a certain despondency set in. Then I discovered Joseph's excellent little volume on technique. Now here's the thing: I can't recall how many technique manuals I've read and used over the years (I play piano, Hammond and Irish button accordion too) and they've all seemed much the same dull fare - kind of Victorian in their approach: "I know this tastes vile but it'll do you good". Joseph's volume is different for one simple reason - he understands how we learn. So, no whizzing up and down mindless tuneless excercises but instead a different imperative: play very slowly, in perfect time and with perfect execution. Sounds easy; in fact it's a real challenge, not so much for your technique (that just sort of happens while you're looking elsewhere) but on your concentration, your inner clock (aided by a metronome) and your ability to relax. Remarkably, within ten minutes of trying the first exercise I began to notice more control over my middle and ring fingers (a notorious weakness) and better separation and clarity of the notes they were playing. And that's just the beginning. At some point we all want speed and fluency; that slow practice will give you the solid foundation but sooner or later you will hit what feels like the physical limit of your ability to play clean and fast. Then the imperative is different: crank up the metronome higher still and take a run at it. It'll be a mess but do your best. Then, lo and behold, when you slow back down to where you had the problem your poor benighted brain thinks "ah, slower, we can do this". It works. You have to work too of course. But this will get you to that place of relaxed confidence where you can begin to play what you want. One last thing: Joseph's first question is "how much technique do you need?" A fine way to put technique in context - making music is what we want; technique is just a means to an end.
As a hack player who picked things up from a variety of different sources this is a great resource for helping plug the gaps. it is well structured, lets you go directly to the area you need and great value on kindle. Recommended.
Perfect book for for creating your skills in Picking exercises for Guitar, also covers Rhythm, Legato and Expressive Techniques. I used to think everything on guitar was about speed, however this book and the Author teach you how to slow down for clarity and perfection for each individual note.
I will be using this book a lot as well as the audio examples to play along with, each exercise is very well laid out and corresponds to the audio examples. A few books I own and have tried to study do not come close as this book. Excellent material to work alongside with. I have a tendency to try and go too fast so with some hard work and this book I can achieve my own style.
I do like Josephs writing and the way he explains things, some other Authors and teachers of Guitar are to way above and cannot come down to your level. I hope to be able to get all of his books in time and study them frequently and possibly more in the future.
The pages were well layed out and the information clear and concise easy to follow. This is a great book for any intermediate player who is looking to take their playing to the next level.The exercises push your ability and get more challenging as you progress, I would recommend this book to any budding guitarists!
An excellent resource for student and teacher alike.
I have been playing and teaching guitar professionally for over 10 years now and I am pleased to say that I own almost every book by Mr Alexander as, not only do I find them an excellent teaching resource for my students, but, personally, I feel that my own playing has benefited a great deal from the author's experience as an educator and performer of modern guitar styles.
I was very excited to hear of this recent publication by Mr Alexander and I must say that I have not been disappointed as this book is as clearly written and explained as all of his previous publications and it will benefit the beginner and the advanced player equally - the high quality audio downloads are an added advantage.
I cannot recommend this book enough for any Rock/Blues/Jazz/Metal player - if you play with a pick you need this book! As much as a finger style or classical player needs Scott Tennant's Pumping Nylon.
I brought the 77 picking exercises book which is a sub book of this, along with 28 rhythm exercises, legato execrises and expressive techniques. I was so impressed that I brought this which is all of those in one. I have to say that the exercises all work and give instant improvements. All the cr4p that is used as filler material in other books has been thrown out. What is the point of learning 100 pointless variations of the same concept? It goes from the basics to stuff that even as a guitarist of 25 years I find extremely challenging. It is well worth the price :-) I also have the blues caged book by the same author, which looks to be good quality, I have only had a cursory flick through it but I will be reviewing it within the next couple of weeks.
I'm really enjoying this book so far. This book contains detailed chapters on Finger independence, Alternate and economy picking, Legato ,Expressive techniques ( bending , harmonics , vibrato ) and Rhythm ( if you think you've got good rhythm wait till you explore this chapter! ) Everything is clearly explained and comes with downloadable audio samples. There is enough material in this book to keep you occupied for many months.I've had this book for over a week now and have only just scratched the surface. Absolutely great value for money. It does exactly what is says on the cover. Improves your technique.
I have played guitar and bass casually for 21 years now, playing in bands by ear and using tab, and decided to finally "learn" properly, with the intention of improving my skills a lot, and also learning to read music (I also bought Joseph's other book - sight reading for guitar). This book is brilliant. I got through the first few lessons before realizing my little finger is about as strong as a dead shrimp, and am now practicing everyday towards playing 16th notes to the speed I want to. Looking through the rest of the book I can see plenty of good techniques that I kinda already use but am nowhere near expert at. This is laid out in easy to follow exercises with good free audio tracks to download. I can already see this book will help me improve a lot. Recommended.
As a self taught guitarist who has played for years i found that my technique and overall playing ability just wasn't improving and i just felt like i'd hit a wall. Joe's book has changed that completely and put me on a path to greatly improving my playing. It has clear and easy to understand exercises that have audio examples which are downloadable from his website that help too. This book has personally put the enjoyment back into playing for me and i would highly recommend it to anyone.