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on 19 August 2013
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.
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on 24 September 2016
Good logical arrangement to this book - the sections are: Finger Independence; Picking; Rhythm; Legato; Expressive techniques. Each of these sections covers helpful stuff I haven't seen in other books. For instance: the picking section has a useful discussion of alternate vs economy picking and how to increase picking efficiency; the rhythm section covers switching from even to odd note groupings; the legato section covers legato rotations; the expressive techniques section has separate subsections on natural, tapped, pinched and harp harmonics. Although loads of stuff is covered it's not overwhelming, just well focussed. The musical examples and exercises are written both on the stave and in tabulated form.
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on 23 November 2015
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.
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on 17 November 2017
Let's put it like that. Two years ago, I had no idea where I could get to with my guitar, I had been noddling around for some time but no major improvement were made whatsoever, the problem being that you are not really a beginner but not really an advanced player and most of the books pretend to be for one or the other but, in reality the beginners book are really basic (borderline boring..) and the advanced ones, well ...you are often left wondering if you really need to learn from a book if you can play the way they suggest you should play.

Joseph Alexander's Book have addressed that gap problem, they are very rich with information and instructions (and interesting applications. What a change from the old days of learning guitar...) very detailed but more essentially very understandable and accessible to people like me who has a little time on their hands to practice.

I have since decided to acquire the majority of Joseph Alexander's books, and I currently have the Blues Compilation book, The Fretboard Book, The Funk Book and soon plan to get both Jazz compilation books.

That is as good as it gets....
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on 14 January 2017
Having owned various guitars over the last 30 odd years, I've never really learnt it to my satisfaction. New year, new resolution and all that, so I decided to buy a single book that would cover technique with the average guitarist in mind, not just a shredder (have plenty of those type of books and I always get lost around chapter 4).

This book is very well laid out and is written in such a way that it feels like a guitar lesson in book form, rather than some guy telling you how good he is. Having seen dozens of books and online docs on this topic, I was surprised to see information and tips in here not seen before. Also of note is how responsive the author is.

If I was being picky, I'd say the paper it is printed on isn't as glossy and high quality as some of the more expensive books but I'm not dropping stars for that, particularly as the book is well worth the money.
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on 11 November 2013
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.

So enjoy them

John W
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on 30 January 2017
I've been on and off learning to play guitar for the last 7-8 years (I've had to grow my calluses 3 or 4 times now!). It always started out promising but I always reached the point of not being able to progress past a specific level of my ability (mostly speed).

I usually ended up playing Rocksmith for hours and hours but I knew that it wasn't helping me in slightest because the stuff I could play wasn't teaching me anything and the stuff I couldn't play, well, wasn't teaching me anything either. I also never bothered to slow songs down and learn to play them as I felt like I first needed to learn proper technique.

As a result I purchased a few exercise books but they didn't get me far as they either consisted of the mundane "play-this-thing-for-10 minutes" exercises or hammer-ons/pull-offs at 160bpm...

Having read the positive reviews about this book I decided to take a plunge and boy I am glad I did! It is a book that is actually enjoyable to read. The presentation is nice, colours are nice and the font is nice too! On a serious note though - even though this book also consists of exercises, it explains how to properly perform them and most importantly why it all is needed. Don't get me wrong, it still requires you to play scales and random combinations of notes (until I know music theory more) but I find them more interesting than other books because it feels like the author actually thought about doing something different and probably more beneficial than "play the Am scale 20 times" types of tasks.

One of the first chapters has an exercise where you have to play 8 1/8th notes over 3 strings. Easy I said, and ended up struggling at 40bpm. Followed instructions, lowered the tempo, got to the point when I could comfortably play it and kept increasing. Low and behold, I ended up playing it at 65bpm only to realise that I was playing 1/16th notes instead of 1/8th!!! You can't imagine the pride when you go from inner zero to hero in the span of half an hour!

It's obviously hard to say whether this book will be good for you or not. It's all individual and you will only be as good as much time you put into your practice, but this book does feel much more personal and interesting than most of the others out there. For me - money well spent, and I'm thinking of buying more books from this author (it's that good!).
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on 22 November 2015
While this book does cover the major techniques in rock guitar it comes at the problems from a slightly different angle to most. There are four main sections on rhythm, expressive techniques, picking and legato. There are also some great exercises and advice on finger independence. In short you should be able to put together an effective practice routine from this book. The exercises are generally effective and I have increased my fluency following them. The thing to remember is that all the sections tie together so do practice items from each section. In short this book will help you develop and maintain a good solid technique for rock playing. Lovely.
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on 22 December 2016
Excellent book. I bought this with the Guitar Finger-Gym (by the same author) and am finding they are both making a huge difference to my playing. I'm spending more time now working my way through the exercises in these books each day than I am trying to bang out a song, but when I do try and bang out a song I can feel the difference in my playing. Dexterity is a real problem for me, but by plugging away at the exercises I'm seeing a change in how I play. It will still take a long while to get really comfortable, but the scales and exercises are starting to flow a lot better.
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on 6 January 2016
Really good book for learning Techniques etc. Also had a problem with my download (my fault, computer illiterate !!!). Had a prompt e-mail from Joseph, fixing my problem. Shall purchase more of his books in the future. If you want to learn the inside knowledge of playing guitar then this is the book for you. Just check out his website, it's great. Rog.
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