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on 26 June 2013
Ok, theory is marmite for guitarists. I personally love it. You can get tab for virtually anything on the net, and if all you ever want to do is copy someone else's work then you have no need to learn theory. If you want to understand the nuts and bolts of the tabs or transcribe songs for yourself and create your own voice, then you will need to understand how and why music works the way it does.

I wish this book had been around when I was wading through the reams of paperwork I read to learn music theory. Joseph cuts out all the BS and takes an accurate, extremely well explained (and humorous) approach. This is not another run of the mill theory book, it is concise, covers ALL the modes with a selection of some pretty awesome licks relating to each mode and has audio to keep you on the right track.

What makes this book unique is the attention to detail the author gives to the modes. Even after 25 years as a guitarist, I have experienced many 'aha!' Moments and rushed off to grab the nearest les paul and try them out.

This is one book every serious guitarist should own. This is now the third book by Joseph Alexander I have brought, the others being Complete Technique for Modern Guitar and The Caged System and 100 licks for blues guitar. Both of which I can highly recommend whether you are a novice or advanced (if you are reading this Steve Vai, you might not want to buy it) but for anyone below that level, you will learn loads ;-)

The last point I would make is the attitude of the author. Joseph provides an email address and genuinely wants to help people with difficulties. Myself I am not very tech savvy, and I could not figure out how to download the audio files (my 8 year old grandson was not around to show me! :-( ) so I sent an email and got a very prompt and helpful response from the author who gave me an email link direct to the files (I really should take a computer course)

If you want to understand music theory you could wade through countless internet sites and confuse yourself, or you could buy this and understand it properly in a few weeks. It's up to you :-)
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on 10 November 2013
This book is a must buy, absolutely Brilliant well presented and detailed guide to Music Theory. The author Joseph Alexander knowledge of the subject is extensive, is readable and very understandable, not just Technical Jargon. Read many other books on Music Theory but none can compare with this, just buy it you will not be sorry. Audio examples are Great you will enjoy.

I could not at first listen to the download Audio Examples from Dropbox as I use the Linux Operating System, which evidently is not compatible with Dropbox, however Joseph sorted this immediately so I could download from another source. Absolutely 5 Stars and Top Marks.

Have just received some of his other Books. Complete Technique for Modern Guitar, The Caged System & 100 Licks for Blues Guitar, and the 15 Essential Guitar lessons for Beginners, will review these as well in time. There are some other books on Jazz and Rock etc: which I will order very soon.

Have a look at the Web Site fundamental-changes.com it is really good, shows all his books and lots of information.

John W
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on 5 September 2014
It must have been about a year ago that I bought this book together with some other music/guitar books,
hoping to improve my theoretical and technical skills on the guitar.
Still today, this book contains more information then I need at this point, which is absolutely great.

The first part of the book focusses on music theory based around the major scale (how chords are constructed
and how they relate to the major scale) and the rest of the book is divided into the different modes that can
be derived from the major scale.

This first part of the book has taught me most of the knowledge about music theory that I have today.
The way chords are constructed and how they relate to their major scale is explained in plain English,
but it has enough details to make you learn some very useful tricks in in finding chords etc.
It also contains some very interesting chord progressions that are used in everyday music that are worth learning
and the book encourages you to make your own progressions, which is definitely worth trying.

The second part of the book is about the different modes that can be derived from the major scale.
Every mode chapter contains licks and chord progressions that can help you to get started making your own.
Personally, I felt that learning all these modes would not help me very much, because I would not use them anyway,
since I've been playing for about 2 years. However, I must say that it is a very useful to know that these modes exist
and that very different types of 'feel' can be created by playing these.

This book is very useful for every guitar player who wants to learn (more) about music theory.
Together with examples and audio files, this book offers a very interesting and informative experience
that is worth reading every bit.
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on 24 July 2013
This book is absolutely brilliant, takes you right from the fundamentals of understanding major scale construction and diatonic intervals right through the learning modes. Personally modes for me have been a very hard-to-understand topic and so far this has really made me understand the uses of each and how to apply them! Recommended for people who have no theory at all right up to intermediate-advanced levels of theory who are looking to expand their knowledge.
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on 4 May 2013
Another great book from Mr. Alexander. Here he clearly explains fundamental music theory with direct application/visualisation to the guitar. This is "must know" stuff to aid progresion in any guitar style. The perspectives provided help you put all the stray pieces you might have togther. However, this is more than just a theory book...it is also an extremely good instruction book for applying modes in improvisation.
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on 8 May 2013
The problem with MOST 'Theory' books is that they take it for granted that the reader can Sight read or they just bog you down in a mire of confusing musical tomfoolery.
'The Practical guide to modern music theory for guitarists' has to be one of the finest exceptions to the rule.
Clear, concise and easy to understand, with useful applications and explanations. Most satisfied.
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on 3 August 2013
I've been playing guitar for many years but stupidly never put the time into really learning and understanding music theory. There are certain gaps in my knowledge so I felt I had to get back to basics, and make more effort to learn the things I found quite daunting before. I found this book was just what I needed. It is well structured and does an excellent job, starting at the fundamentals, progressing at a good pace until teaching more advanced theories.

I also find it great that the author is easy to contact, happy to answer questions and provider a PDF version of the book. Ultimately it's up to the reader to apply the knowledge learned, but this is a great aid to accompany any guitarist looking into fully understanding the theory behind what they are playing.
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on 13 April 2016
I have never been able to understand or read music theory. I have learned to speak foreign languages well, but music theory has always defeated me. And this despite having played guitar for 20 years on & off.

I've tried private lessons, but the result was always the same: a barrage of information that I couldn't digest or apply. I tried printed guitar methods, instructional videos. You name it, I couldn't make head or tail of it.

Then i found this book by Joseph Alexander. I started on page 1. One little bit explained simply, then the next, added to this, then that - after 2 hours I had completely understood the logic of major/minor harmonisation, what the circle of fifths is in practice (a clue to Mr Alexander's generosity as a teacher: there is no picture of a circle covered in sharps & flats), and how key signatures work. It was as if the heavens had opened up and let the light in after years of being in the fog.

This is entirely due to Mr Alexander's presentation of the material. No presumptions are made of the reader: he gives you exactly what you need to understand each concept and NO MORE. This way, it is digestible and logical. The language is stripped down and functional: he does not talk as a musician to a musician, but as a highly organised teacher to a student.

To all budding guitarist auto-didacts out there, I cannot recommend this wonderful book enough. Finding a talented teacher is rare, but Mr Alexander is certainly that. I have since bought his books on technique and the CAGED system, and they just as methodical, simple and well-organised as this one.

Ten stars!
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on 23 November 2013
I've deliberately introduced this review as "One of the best guitar books" for a specific reason - Joseph Alexander has several other books exploring many other aspects of playing guitar. So, it would be wrong to say that this book is the "best" because the others are equally as good. I have several of his publications and I cannot praise them enough because they are all presented in "plain English" in a way that makes you want to read more. That is some achievement in a tutorial. You could go into detail regarding specific parts but that is not what I'm intending in this review because it starts getting subjective. If you want to start to learn to play guitar and understand music then this is an excellent book to start you off. If, like me you have been playing for a little while and have some understanding then again I would highly recommend it. The other books Joseph has published take you in different directions i.e. are you into jazz or into blues? For me there is no distinction so I really enjoy (as I think you can judge) all of his books. It is also useful to know that Joseph is approachable. I had reason to contact him and sent an email. I received a very prompt reply and you can tell that he is a great guy who is passionate about his trade, and obvious talent. I have no hesitation in giving this book, and his other publication, a very high recommendation.
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on 2 May 2013
As with all the books from Mr Alexander ,very well laid out and brilliant teaching material and style, highly recommended .
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