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We all know teaming with a great teacher is the best way to learn anything, let alone guitar. But, short of that, for those of us who do not have the funds, or the time to justify working with a teacher on a regular basis, what are some of the best learning tools out there? What books, DVDs, online tutorials are bringing the most success to the "independent" student? I know there is A LOT out there, but not all of it really takes us from where we are to where we want to be ... even if we have a good practice regimen.

For my part, as a beginner-intermediate player who has some musical knowledge but wants to apply and develop that with guitar, I just started with Frank Vignola's "Inversion Excursion." It's a DVD-DATA download you can get to from his website. As the name implies, he goes through TONS of chord inversions all over the neck.

One of my frustrations, and a rather common one I understand, has been leaning my way up the neck. I can find and play the notes if the music is in front of me. I can play music handed to me, after some practice. But that takes a lot of work and I could not improvise well enough to survive a [insert pathetic forum of choice here]. I have tried scales, singing along with the scales, raw memorization, and so on. None of it has stuck. After just the first couple of short lessons in "Inversion Excursion," I am seeing potential ... both in learning my way up the neck and in developing a very rich chord vocabulary.

But, that is my beginning experience with one newly discovered tool. What else is out there that REALLY works?

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Replies to This Discussion

Just a couple of months ago I finished the 3-book collection of the Hal Leonard Guitar Method.  I am now working through The Art of Contemporary Travis Picking.  Both books are great, I would recommend them to anyone starting out.  I've played on and off for several years now but I wanted to "re-boot", so to speak.  I have not done work up the neck and am terrified of improvisation/arpeggios/leads.

Writing as an absolute newbie with no prior musical knowledge I can highly recommend the Gibson Learn and Master GUitar DVD course. Steve Krenz is the instructor and does a great job of building basic skills, beginning with individual notes on each string to open chords, then barre chords and beyond - taking the student from zero to intermediate in a very well laid out program. You begin reading standard inotation, not relying on TAB from the very beginning.


The online community that is included as part of the package is as valuable as the lessons themselves. Steve Krenz posts often, directly answering questions, as well as getting lots of good feedback and encouragement from other students.


Other resources - Justin Sandercoe has also been a great help, but I'm committed to the Gibson/Legacy Learning program, with help from some friends at church who play as well.

Louis, I heard great reviews about the Learn and Master series when I was just getting started. The beginner book I bought with my first guitar was fine, but not very inspiring. I got the Learn and Master for guitar and, as you indicated, went from complete newbie to at least a more advanced newbie rather quickly. He covers A LOT in there, barely scratching the surface, and one could easily spend years studying and trying to perfect the techniques he presents. But, hey, that's part of the fun, right?

Play on!


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