Customer Review

26 of 26 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars If you liked BYCU..., 31 Jan 2008
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This review is from: More Blues You Can Use (Paperback)
... you'll like this. I have just finished lesson 2 out of 13. Each lesson has taken me a good while to master and the difficulty has definitely gone up a notch since the last chapter of the preceeding book, with which it shares the same many strenghths and very few weaknesses.

You begin by learning more scales up and down the neck, just like in the first book, but this time playing 3 notes per string and crossing the fret board from 6th to 1st string as you move up. A real strength of the series: you build up good technique... so long as you are prepared to practice hard.

Rhythm and lead tabs for each piece and the first two sound great. Both have slow and fast versions - but the slow versions aren't very. I had to practice piece 2 for hours and hours before I could keep up. I've listend to piece 3 and think the same will apply... Again, advice on fingering and, in piece 2, pick direction would have been welcome... but you can get there on your own. John Ganapes talks for a few seconds on the CD before each piece... fine the 1st time you hear it, irritating the 100th... he should have left this for the book.

Nobody claims this is a beginner's book, but for those who have gone through "Blues you can use" and liked that (and most do) then I think you'll like this too. I worry that it may become too difficult... but I was anxious about that at one stage of "Blues you can use" and still made it to the end. So I think progress through this book will be slow, but, if I last the course, well worth the effort.

There's also a website supporting this series and John Ganapes even replied very constructively to feedback I sent... you really can't ask for much more...

A long way to go but first impressions are that John Ganapes has maintained the high standard of his first book, I marked that harshly at 4 stars so I mark this at 5... perhaps a little generous, but that works out at an average of 4.5 which is pretty much on the nose! I'll write an update, for better or worse, in a few months...

... well over a year later and I'm almost ashamed to say I'm still working through this book, I'm just about to start lesson 10 out of 13. Why so slow? The pieces are definitely tougher... but by this stage it's no longer beginners' stuff... the theory is also heavy: I've really struggled to memorise 3rds and 6ths... and learning the major and minor arpeggio patterns is also filling up the brain. But I'm pretty sure now that I will finish this book. Main complaint... as I said before: the CD plays some pieces far too fast and the unnecessary chat before each piece remains irritating. But, work through this book (perhaps, like me, while doing other easier stuff on the side) and you should have all the skills you need to develop into a pretty decent player - at least that's what I'm hoping. I think this is a top series and that my earlier marking of somewhere between 4 and 5 stars was correct - buy it, but be prepared to work the brain as well as the fingers.
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Showing 1-10 of 11 posts in this discussion
Initial post: 8 Oct 2008 09:40:48 BDT
K. NOBLE says:
I'm nearly ready for More Blues, so thank you for this review - I'm scared already, but your words of comfort are most welcome!

re John's talking - if you're running the tracks through iTunes, you can change the track start by using FILE/INFO/OPTIONS and change the start time to eg 00:00:06 (or :05), and it'll come in on the intro beat.

In reply to an earlier post on 15 Nov 2008 01:01:13 GMT
Joe Shott says:
Hey thanks for the tip. I'm still progressing through MBYCU... I find it tough, but also very satisfying, so I'm just taking my time... you may well be a lot quicker. Anyway, the tunes are good and I think JG teaches really good technique. Good luck, and thanks again for the tip.

In reply to an earlier post on 24 Dec 2009 16:03:37 GMT
Dace says:
File/info/options.....Fantastic, I have used this on a Spanish Lesson course I am learning, now I can miss out the intro music...cheers.

Posted on 19 Aug 2010 09:31:05 BDT
John Botofte says:
Very good review. I like his first book very much, very satisfying.
If you want the tracks to play slower, you can use software incl. Garageband and Amplitube to change the speed.

In reply to an earlier post on 24 Aug 2010 20:52:29 BDT
Joe Shott says:
Thanks - both for the compliment on the review and for the advice...

Posted on 7 Mar 2011 12:13:22 GMT
Last edited by the author on 7 Mar 2011 12:14:11 GMT
P. M. Feasey says:
Just to add to the comments regarding starting and tempo for the practise tracks. Heres what I do:
Rip the CD to MP3.
Play in Windows Media Player.
There is a 'play speed settings' utility under 'now playing', 'enhancements.'

Hope that helps

In reply to an earlier post on 12 Apr 2011 02:58:43 BDT
B Glen says:
While youre doing that you could also chop his talking off the beginning of the track using a simple audio interface, like audacity

In reply to an earlier post on 3 Oct 2011 10:40:46 BDT
B.Glen's advice is good - that's what I do with tracks that have spoken intros. (I also have an otherwise excellent book called 'Learn to Play Acoustic Chord Riffs' by Johnny Norris which often only plays examples through once or at the most twice. In that case, I duplicate tracks and create a longer demo. The same thing can be done with demos from this book - after following BG's tip and chopping off the spoken part). You can use pretty well any sound editor for this, but Audacity is good. I tend to use Wavosaur which is also free.)

Posted on 18 Feb 2013 15:11:41 GMT
Musicat says:
Thank you Joe for the review and one and all who have posted comments. I have been a beginner would be blues guitarist for over 40 years! This timescale should give you an idea of all the learning methods I have tried as well as my learning style: much to my wife's annoyance I can't/won't read music and also find tabs a chore to follow. My argument being: "Those old delta blues players couldn't read music either". So prior to the invention of tutorials like "Blues You Can Use" and without the funds for many private lessons, I was pretty much stuck to trying to listen to the recordings and learn by tab/ear. I still found BYCU a bit of an unrewarding slog, until I started to make progress. I discovered that my learning style is visual. So what has helped me tremendously are people who have posted videos on Youtube of themselves working through each BYCU lesson. Thought I'd mention this as there maybe some people who are like me that might find it beneficial to see how things are played. If anyone knows of any (free) software that can you down download Youtube videos please do let us all know. Thank you for the tips on how to slow down the audio.

In reply to an earlier post on 18 Feb 2013 22:20:50 GMT
Joe Shott says:
Hey, sounds like you are pretty good at learning by ear and by watching others... a gift in itself. Anyway if you think you're a slow learner, well join the club, I am too... but I think the main point in learning guitar isn't aiming to be great at some future time, it's about enjoying the journey, now that I am good at! Thanks for the post.
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