THE PURPOSE of THE GUITAR EXPLAINED:
Let's start with a question:
When was the last time you saw a movie or a play and the actors were reading their lines from a script?
Probably never. They used to do it on radio - because you couldn't see them reading the script! So why would you go to a gig and read music? ONLY if you were getting paid to do it, otherwise you must commit it to memory. The art of reading music is wonderful, but it takes many years to learn all the notation, the symbols, etc. Frequently, folks who are great at reading music are not so great at improvising, as that is an art unto itself. Also, don't you learn the alphabet before you write anything, including your own name, let alone a book or a poem? So how are you going to navigate these two roads - WITH MY BOOK. What The Guitar Explained does is to teach you what you WILL need and how to improvise, to change it at will, to SOLO, to play with other musicians and to know how to communicate with them. For example, if a guy shouts out "Blues, key of E, 1,4,5", will you know what that means? Will the same guy yell out "Ostinato, Mixolydian mode, andante, common key"? NAH! NEVER! So I dispensed with that stuff because it's part and parcel to MUSIC NOTATION.
So the lesson is: LEARN THE LANGUAGE FIRST, like learning the alphabet, THEN LATER you learn to sight-read. I only know 3 musicians personally that can sight-read music and I know about a thousand who don't - like Paul McCartney, or Yanni or ...
WHAT BOTHERS ME ...
Is that I have run into many readers who cannot improvise (or SOLO, or RIFF, whatever you want to call it) and the greatest level reader I ever knew said: "I can't play without the charts" - HELPLESS! She could play the most demanding Russian composer's VERY difficult, physical, complicated music - but could NOT take a dang solo! WHAT!!!!????? So this made me create my book, using all the REAL-WORLD info I gathered to help guitarists, who seem to have serious difficulty grasping music theory... and I get GREAT results, whether I am personally "famous" or not.
When you explore my website (even a little) you will get the idea that I am VERY adept at all phases of learning, from the finest points of the correct way to hold a guitar (for example) to techniques that eventually, with practice, will train you to be a master.
DETAILS are my business - as a composer of music with multiple awards (including, but not limited to
4 Daytime Emmys!) you can be sure that I have command of the tiniest details. I have invented some new ways to use the language of music that are radical to the University world (but then, at one time, the Pope put Galileo under house arrest for 25 years until he died for saying the Earth rotated around the sun, and not the other way around, which branded him a Heretic) so be prepared for me to test your existing knowledge, possibly fix it and start over to build your knowledge in the correct way.
I have sold over 1000 copies of my book "The Guitar Explained" (@ $30.00, NOT 54 THOUSAND A YEAR like Berklee!) and about 60 copies of "The Art of Pencil" and each of them are training manuals wherein you will learn what I did to achieve the look and sounds I make. I have had one person correct something I said (a music educator who also told me he learned some very important new information he never knew from my guitar book,) but other than that - no complaints nor any returns whatsoever ... I swear.
As a teacher of any discipline, I am an absolute "complete-ist" - meaning you can't drive a car with three tires. I learned how to play guitar (and paint and draw and write music) by attending what I jokingly call "The Ear and Eye Institute For The Possibly Talented" which means the real world, essentially self-taught - but I see now that with the RIGHT training in what REALLY matters that I may have been even better as a musician and artist ... so that's what I pass on to students.
NOTE: I am NOT slamming any other teachers in this next statement, but I have noticed that many teachers at your local music store may have a serious lack of guitar-centric (that means for the guitar, NOT the Piano) theory and are really hobbyists and enthusiasts who are making extra money showing what they know...cool with me, BUT:
There's only one thing wrong with that: I have overheard some seriously incorrect teachings (and I see it on Youtube all the time, where people go to get free lessons by a teacher who is trying to make extra money in this difficult profession) and one example is the "Pentatonic Minor" (or "Blues") scale...
Here's a quick overview: the Pentatonic scale is a collection of notes that happens to get utilized quite a bit in rock, blues and so on ... naturally (I guess) you would assume that it must be "the way to play" and since so many people use it, and refer to it, then this underscores that incorrect conclusion.) Pentatonic is essentially a minor scale (which is a derivative of the Major scale, or what you may know as "Do-Re-Mi-Fa-Sol-La-Ti-Do") which is itself a derivative of the Master scale - Chromatic.
The system of music - "The Twelve-Tone System" (again, like the system of numbers 0-9 or the system of English [et al.] which is A-Z) uses 12 scale tone names that are identifying the natural notes revealed when musical instruments are designed to reveal them, such as taking a string of metal or any substance and tightening it until you hear actual notes. This then, is a Chromatic scale. Then you take away 5 certain notes and you get the first "musical" scale - Major (happy sounding). Then you alter the major to get the Minor scale (dark and mysterious sounding) and so on. The Pentatonic minor is a further derivative of the Minor, where MORE notes are left out - so you see, if you learn the Pentatonic BEFORE you learn the System name (12-Tone) and the MASTER scale (Chromatic) THEN the MAJOR, THEN the MINOR, THEN the Pentatonic - you missed a terribly HUGE amount of information and to go BACK and try to re-learn (UNLEARN I call it) you are UNDOING your whole concept of correct approach. I WILL NOT TEACH IT before it's time is due, except to explain (as I did here) to show WHY you should not do this, and any teacher not teaching A-Z or 0-9 FIRST is WRONG and not worth your heard-earned money. So Trust me, I'm RIGHT on this and guarantee I can prove it. It's fun to think of playing "by the seat of your pants" (my book teaches what's necessary to understand the language you'll need to exist within the community of musicians, albeit not to get gigs reading music, 'cuz I DON'T, like many famous musicians do not - say Paul McCartney) but it's NO FUN to be "in the dark", just as it would be no fun to owe Berklee 2 hundred grand + and not be able to find a gig...I think $36.00 (with shipping) is a LOT MORE REASONABLE. You or your child will learn quickly and CORRECTLY the language, the manner in which to even HOLD the guitar properly and the ROUTE that you must take even if you want to be a hobbyist or "strum at a campfire" - try playing the simplest song and you'll encounter chords like C#m7add9 or Am7addG/F and you'll be stopped dead in your tracks - with no fourth tire!! AFTER you learn the language, THEN learn to read music (if you need it) and then you will really be ready for the world - but DO THIS FIRST.
P.S. Do you think my statements are radical? Just remember that I have played live with the lowliest of situations in bowling alleys, stinky clubs, nasty bars, for unfriendly club owners (trying desperately to be POLITE here!) with musicians who are drunkards, drug abusers, philanderers, etc. to the most beautiful country clubs, an old, restored opera house and more - who knows more about the real world? A musician who CAN'T PLAY WITHOUT SHEET MUSIC AT ALL who has a lofty degree and still makes the same money but has a student loan for 50K+?? So PLEASE don't think me radical - I speak a common language and a guy like Mark Egan or Larry Coryell wouldn't have said so after reviewing and owning my book, he's got way more to lose than I do. Be SMART - I'm trying to help you.
I am now offering online guitar and bass lessons! Price is $20.00 per half hour. To buy
a block of 4 lessons, use the PayPal button below and then email me to let me know your preferred weekly time slot. Contact me!
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