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A Modern Method for Guitar - Volume 1 Format Kindle
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1) It's not recommended if all you want is to learn how to strum a few chords
2) If you simply want to read TAB and chord charts, this is not the book for you
3) This will not help you perfect your string bending, hammer ons, pull offs, fingerpicking or even sweep picking
So, why the five stars? Because it's essentially boot camp for guitar. Spend a year with the book (and the accompanying DVD) and you will come away with a good basic understanding of how music works and how to apply that understanding to the guitar. You'll also be on the way to be able to sight-reading 'the dots'. Plus, in the process you will improve; playing slowly, carefully and methodically to the unstinting beat of a metronome can reveal many weaknesses in technique.
The DVD is hugely useful, too. Not only does it demonstrate the exercises well, but Larry Baione adds a human touch that the text is sometimes missing.
In short, if you want to take guitar seriously, there's no better starting place than William Levitt's books.
This books lays the best foundation for future greatness for any beginner or intermediate player or even someone like me who'd been playing a long time but finally decided to learn what I was doing and learn to do it the right way. You have to be serious about learning guitar,and you'll have to discipline yourself and practice regularly, and slowly and precisely, preferably always with a metronome, and review, review review. As instructed. The music selections are all originals, logically arranged to progressively develop specific skills. So you'll have to learn to read them in order figure them out. There are chord diagrams, but (thank heavens) no tab.
In a nutshell this book teaches the nuts and bolts of guitar playing better than any other I've seen and pays big dividends to the hard working student. By the way, from my experience, it works well to make Modern Method the foundation of your study, and work on some particular musical interest or style at the same time.
I finally bought this book after "thinking about it" forever. (I have a problem with the thinking thing.) Well, just as has been said before... drop everything else and go through these books. You'll be WAY ahead if you do. I studied classical guitar for a year in college (though I'm primarily a jazz-rock-etc. player), and this SHOULD have been the book they used back then. The exercises are melodic enough that anyone with an ear should be able to follow them with little difficulty, and still you'll learn everything you need to learn.
The progression of exercises is sensible, and everything holds together as a meaningful whole, an attribute lacking in most guitar instruction books. (Though you may want to add Arnie Berle's "New Guitar Techniques for Sight Reading" as well. Not that there's a gap in Leavitt's books, just that Berle's approach may broaden your approach a bit. Berle's other books are good as well, in my opinion.)
So don't think (as I did) that this is a method for "that kind of player over there, but not me," as I did. Regardless of your intended style, what you will get here will put you years ahead if you just do it. After that, you'll be ready to tackle anything - it'll still be work, it always will be, but you won't spin your wheels as hundreds of thousands of players do.
Guitar players owe something good to Leavitt for this book, really. It's obviously the product of a sensible, disciplined, knowledgable and concerned mind.
First, the pace of the book is such that beginners will feel that they are making little progress and quickly get discouraged.
At this level I recommend Hal Leonard Guitar Method Complete Edition
Second, The book is very dry in in content. I understand and agree with Leavitt's rationale for not using familiar tunes; however, I do believe that the method is lacking in any examples of "real music". I suggest supplementing this method with tunes from a fake book such as The Real Book: Sixth Edition. Of course,the chosen pieces should represent the current skill level of the guitarist.
Guitar has been plagued by poorly-engineered teaching methods that are hit-or-miss depending on the intelligence and talent of the student. That is, except for Leavitt's "Modern Method for Guitar." It freaking works. Follow it straight through all the way, and yes, you will absolutely be a masterful guitarist. Maybe not a guaranteed virtuoso--that takes raw practice hours, but the method delivers you to mastery every time.
Yes, it can be frustratingly hard at times, especially for beginners and kids, but it's those beginning moments that teach the most, like sink-or-swim. The hardest moments are never forgotten, and the guitarist builds upon these in later lessons.
However, it does mean that for parents of kids learning this method, it may take repeated guidance to keep them from quitting in the beginning. For that reason, I recommend this method mainly for self-motivated learners. Sadly, though, if you start with a crappier kiddie method first, you may have to unlearn some bad habits while learning this method, so it's kind of a Catch-22.
Also, use of this method pretty much requires a skilled teacher. Self-learning is hard but not impossible, but the method expects you to know basic music theory before starting. I would say that this method is for teens and adults mainly, or for that rare kid that will be a future guitar virtuoso.
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