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I'm curious to know if anyone has any favourites, or opinions on the whole method book learning route. I started out with the Hal Leonard complete edition. Now I'm sloooowly working my way through William Leavitt's 'Modern Method for guitar 1,2,&3 published by Berklee Press. I'm finding the Berklee Method to have a steep learning curve, but I'm always pleased when I finally get another piece of music under my belt. It has a very Jazzy feel to the method. I know this method will be something that I can return to again and again for a lifetime.

Anyone have any other favourite Method books?

Cheers,
Al
 

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Most of the method books stop at the beginner or early intermediate level, no matter what the hype says. The Hal Leonard Guitar Method Books 1/2/3, and Fast Track 1/2 don't go beyond beginner, mostly open position stuff. The Mel Bay books are better in my opinion, though the graded series doesn't spend near enough time on beginner stuff, but the 1A/B 2A/B books are decent with the help of an instructor to guide you around the theory, technique, and other issues. Mel Bays has good supplimentary books like the style "journals" for rock, blues, jazz, fingerpicking etc..

The Alfred rock and jazz books are okay as supplimentary methods assuming at least an intermediate knowledge of general guitar theory and reading.

No single method is adequate in my opinion. They all need supplimentary assistance from an instructor, and supplimentary tunes. Most lack enough tunes to give a good rudimentary ability in a variety of keys, styles, and levels of difficulty. Many have tunes which are considered to be lame and uninspiring by students of all ages. The best example of lame content is the Fast Track book with a tune called "British Invasion", which isn't the blues/rock/sixties thing you'd think, it's London Bridge Is Falling Down.

Berklee books are fantastic if you like dry content and heavy reading, but few players actually get far into them. They need supplimentary assistance because they're so intense and heavy, unlike the other methods which are weak and lame.

The mistake people make is thinking that a method book is all that's needed. Don't accept that B.S. A method book, supplimentary books of stylistic interest, tune books, and some theory reference or workbook (Belwin is okay) is a better reality. Spend some money on legitimate published books, and avoid unedited internet sources.

Get an instructor. This doesn't necessarily mean regular weekly lessons, as good as that can be, but occassional tutorials from a skilled teacher to guide you through the maze of information.

Finally, practice. Not once in a while, at least once every day, more if possible. Practice drills, theory, scales, tunes, technique etc, then do it again, and again. Read, listen, play, research, ask questions, and repeat.

Peace, Mooh.
 

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It depends more on what you don't like, than what you like, and also depends on what you can tolerate.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
Thanks for the input Mooh. I think you're correct saying no one method book is sufficient. Hal Leonard suited me for the first year and gave me a good foundation for the basics and notes in the 1st position. Considering that I couldn't read a note of music 2 1/2 years ago when I picked up the guitar, I think HL did it's job.

Fortunately, my instructor teaches the Berklee method and is very encouraging (I need it!) to continue and persevere with Berklee. It does state at the beginning that it isn't a music theory book, and the student should seek out supplemental reading to complement the method. I'm always on the lookout for interesting new guitar books. Ted Greene's 'Chord Chemistry' was my latest purchase. It seems to be another lifetime reference tool.

Sometimes I think I spend more time researching and worrying about proper guitar learning methods than actually playing the instrument. I figure that I can't go wrong playing and practising at least one hour each day. Patience, patience....

Cheers,
Al
 

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I've done some method books in addition to working with a few instructors. Lately I've gotten into the DVD instructional materials - working my way through the Kelly Joe Phelps a bit at a time which has made a nice improvement in my finger picking. Friend just gave me a copy of the Lenny Breau Master Class DVD which I'm really looking forward to going through.
 

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Paul...I agree the Mickey Baker jazz books are very good, I'd sort of forgotten about them.

Other books I may have failed to mention: Pumping Nylon (Scott Tennant), The Guitar Grimoire (Adam Cadman), Scales & Modes In The Beginning (Ron Middlebrook), Understanding Music (Steve Philp), Chord Chemistry, The Guitar Book (Pierre Bensusan), The Guitar Handbook (Ralph Denyer)...There are literally hundreds and I have an addiction, but buy what seems to suit you at the moment knowing that you'll need more.

Peace, Mooh.
 

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I had a huge amount of classical guitar training my entire life. When I started playing jazz and rock I got a couple Joe pass books and the 2 book Gambale set, I can't remember the name. Then I found I had to manage all of this stuff on the fretboard. The Gambale books used fretboard maps (best thing I've found for harmonic theory to fretboard )to show the modes. So, I started mapping all the different stuff for the left hand. Right hand techniques I practice & forget.

The maps started to get unruly so I transposed them onto transparencies. Now my own method (harmonic theory on the fretboard) is a series of fretboard maps on transparencies, done in different colored markers, depending on how the map is categorized, that are all to the same scale (size) & can be laid over each other to see how they're interrelated.

I made my own method, harmonic theory only, because no matter which book or person I talked to I'd find something different and I needed to consolidate it all, and, most importantly, make it playable.
 

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Hal leonord books are useless imo. The two good things they do are teach how to read basic music and the notes.
The second and third books have tablature.
 

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I've been playing about a year and have tried a bunch of different books. I have a bit of an addiction with buying guitar books. I find that most are pretty simple and although I don't know everything in them, they don't inspire me.

My teacher recommended the Berklee books and although it's dry and dense, it inspires me to be a better player. The steep learning curve provides a challenge and is very rewarding. I also think that if you get through one of those books, you will be a better player all around. I find whenever I practice with the aid of the Berklee book, I feel like I've gotten better and learned something...

I'm still a beginner, but for learning methods it seems to have the biggest effect on me.

--- D
 
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