Category Archives: #CourseReview

#Let’sReview | Street Theory for Guitarists by Jeff Scheetz and Truefire.com

Street Theory for Guitarists by Jeff Scheetz and Truefire.com

 

Author:                              Jeff Scheetz

Genre:                                 Theory

Level:                                   Beginner | Late Beginner | Intermediate | Late                                                    Intermediate | Advanced

Features:                            38 Tabs (.gp5) + 40 Charts (.pdf) + 5 Jam Tracks (.mp3)

Lessons:                              45 Video Lessons (4 hours and 44 minutes)

 

 

Today’s review is about a new theory course by Jeff Scheetz and Truefire. For those of you who aren’t familiar with Jeff Scheetz; he is the director of education at Truefire.com. He has already released numerous courses designed to help you improve your journey on the guitar. One of those courses is his „Smart practice for guitar“. This course focuses on another major topic that is key in improving fast: theory.

Theory is usually considered one of those demons that someone put into this world in order to torture us; in particular guitarists. However, theory can ease the learning process a lot! You certainly do not need theory in order to be musical. You can go ahead and create notes on an instrument and replicate songs just by ear and once you figure out how your instrument works.

Why should we then bother to learn theory at all? Let me tell you something I experienced when I started out on the guitar.

I once went to Spain with my guitar and as I was walking around the streets of Cordoba, I noticed another guitar player. I sat next to Raúl and we talked a bit about the guitar, music in Spain and so forth. A little bit later, we decided to have a small jam session. He was clearly better than I was since I had just started out but the way we connected through our instruments and played together was truly an experience that sparked my motivation for music even more. Wait… why am I telling you this? Well, in order to be able to play together we had to be on the same page. We achieved this by clarifying in which key we were about to to play and generally knowing our instrument in terms of notes, chords and basic musical stuff such as melody and harmony. In short, we connected through theory.

“Street Theory for Guitaristsis a catchy title, but one that contains more than you would expect at first sight. Before watching this course I asked myself: what would it take to connect with other musicians you meet? Which concepts would it need to speak the same language and to be able to connect with other musicians?

Going back to the story that I had just told you, I would like to answer what it took for me to connect with Raúl by going over the content of this course. As I’ve mentioned, you certainly need to know your own instrument before you can engage in conversations. That’s why the first section is all about the very fundamentals of your guitar.

Fundamentals include the musical alphabet“, referring back to the notes on your fretboard. If you meet other musicians on the street it is more likely to happen without tabs hanging off a wall so you need to be able to refer to notes if you want to exchange pieces and have a jam session. In order to do so, you certainly need to know your own instrument in terms of notes or the musical alphabet.

The process of learning the notes on the fretboard can be a daunting one. However, this course slowly builds that important skill by first showing you how to name the notes on the 5th and the 6th string. If you know these two strings, you will already know three strings, since you’ve got two E-strings that work the same way. Once you have this skill down you are going to learn how to find octaves on the guitar. Octaves help you to identify the various positions that exist on the fretboard and to navigate through different voicings. It also helps you build chords by narrowing the fretboard.

Once you’ve nailed the note names on the fretboard it is time to connect them by applying what is known as intervals. Intervals are the distances between two notes. As so much on the guitar, intervals are easily learnt by learning the different shapes. Last but not least, the fundamentals section is closed out by learning probably the two most important scales (arguably); the chromatic scale and the major scale.

The second section is all about chords. Knowing the formula for building chords is essential if you want to understand the concept of chord triads and chord inversions. You are also going to learn why we guitarists need barre chords and what the secret of that “barre” actually is. Once you nailed this, you are going to be taught how to name the chords in terms of roman numerals and how to build progressions out of them. Another important concept that is brought to you by Jeff Scheetz is the method to identify in which key your song is in so you know which chords to play in common progressions.

 

Moving on to section three, you move away from the harmonic side of music and turn towards the melodic side of it! Unless already familiar with them, you are going to be introduced to scales and different types of scales (pentatonic and blues scales as well as modes! Knowing which scale to play is crucial if you want to transfer the correct mood of a song and literally playing and staying on the same page as your fellow musicians.

Last but not least, there are some further important concepts that could certainly be put into the other sections but that are slightly more advanced. In section 4 you learn about the CAGED system and how it functions within the different chords that you can play all around the neck! This really opens up the whole neck for you and gives you more freedom and more voicings to explore! You will also learn how to move harmonies and how to arpeggiate chords. Those concepts will allow you to articulate yourself in a more complex way.

Let’s sum this course up… “Street Theory for Guitarists” by Jeff Scheetz and Truefire.com is one of those courses you may have wished as part of your starter kit, as part of your very first guitar as it can help you digest the massive load of information that you will have to acquire throughout your career. Theory is not boring at all. The way it used to be taught, however, was old-fashioned. Learn music theory the cool way with Jeff Scheetz and be able to connect with other musicians and actually speak the same language!

Highly recommended!

 

 

Lukas Wedrychowski

www.meridirhproductions.com – ‘cause music matters

 

This course was provided by Truefire.com

Musicarium Songbook by Andy McKee and Truefire.com

Musicarium Songbook by Andy McKee and Truefire.com

 

Author:            Andy McKee

Genre:              Acoustic

Style:                Fingerstyle | Acoustic

Level:               Late Intermediate / Advanced

Features:         Tabs (.pdf) & GP5 files

Lessons:          38 Videos (incl. introduction & conclusion) | 188 Minutes

 

Today’s review is going to be about Andy McKee’s first course for Truefire.com called “Musicarium Songbook”. In this review I am going to give you a brief introduction to Mr. McKee, highlighting some milestones in his career as well as my own opinion on him, having followed him for quite some time on YouTube. After the introduction, I will move on and discuss some of the songs and techniques within the course as well as give you a conclusion of what to expect from Mr. McKee’s first course on Truefire.com.

As I mentioned above, I have been following Andy McKee for quite a while now, growing a steady interest in fingerstyle playing! If you haven’t yet heard of him or seen him playing, go and check out his YouTube channel! One particularly good performance that I enjoyed was him playing Toto’s Africa together with the amazing and well-known Tommy Emmannuel, who happens to release a new course for Truefire almost simultaneously!

My own impression of Mr. McKee is that of a very versatile technical player with a clear joy for the instrument. By incorporating various techniques, ranging from harmonics over to percussive slaps and body percussion techniques he manages to merge sounds that form this very style, typical for modern fingerstyle guitarists!

What to do if you want to follow an idol and want to get – at least – as good as your favourite guitar player? Well, you are most likely going to study his songs… This is exactly what you are able to do with this course. You will be introduced to a total of five songs, each being an essential core of Andy McKee’s repertoire, highly instructive in terms of technical demand as well as a joy to listen to.

From an instructor who shows his own songs I would expect the following: an introduction in which the artist explains his thought process or the motivation behind the song, a clear and high quality performance of it, so you get a perfect example of “how-it-should-sound” as well as a detailed breakdown into the different parts of the song so we can slowly but surely work on the tune, working our way up until we can play the complete tune!

Let me show you if Mr. McKee managed to fulfil my expectations by having a look at his first song of the course called Drifting. The piece is broken down into six parts, starting out with an overview, a performance and a breakdown (consisting of four videos) of the piece.

The introduction teaches us what inspired Andy McKee to write the tune when he was about 18 years old. Preston Reed was the driving force behind the tune, having shown young Andy McKee that an acoustic can easily hold its ground to an electric guitar. Furthermore, you are given an overview of the different techniques that you will need to know to play the tune.

The introduction is followed by a full performance of Drifting. Here you are going to see first-hand if this tune is something you want to learn or not. It becomes evident from the get-go that this tune is a highly technical piece that requires good command of the instrument. However, for those who decide to stick with the tune and learn it, you are getting a very good recording of the tune in multiple angles to focus on the difficulties that may come up when studying the piece.

Once you have listened to the recording you are heading right into the breakdown of the tune. I cannot go too much into details here as I don’t want to spoil anything. However, I can tell you what the breakdown section is compiled of and what you can expect to learn here. First of all, the tune is divided into four sections: the intro, the verse, the chorus and the bridge.

Picture AndyMcKee.png

Throughout the breakdown videos for Drifting, about 30 minutes in total, you are getting introduced to the chords and the chord progressions in this tune. The piece is written in the DADGAD tuning, which really helps out incorporating the various over-the-neck-techniques that you use to play the chords while switching back and forth between them and the bass parts, consisting of body percussion all around the guitar body. Below you are going to find the performance of this tune to see exactly what makes this piece a demanding one!

 

 

Andy McKee’s explanations are always on-point! He understands well to break down the individual problem areas of the piece bit by bit, giving it enough time to really sink in. He is known as a very technical player and you need to know that before you attempt to follow in his footsteps. However, I cannot stress enough of how impressive his playing is and once you enter that path you are going to draw a lot out of this course!

Beware that the course will take some time as there are no simple pieces or tricks to make you play the pieces magically. However, the high quality recordings and cutting that is a trademark for videos and courses by Truefire.com are a real aid in learning this tune!

The course material is accompanied by tabs and notation in .pdf or .gp5 format.

 

Conclusion

For advanced fingerstyle players, those, who search for a course that serves as an artist study, “Musicarium” is the right choice! Here you are going to be challenged as the techniques used in the songs are by no means easy. Once you put the time and effort into it you will definitely benefit from the clear instructions and the amazing pieces that were chosen for this course.

Lukas Wedrychowski

MeridirhProductions.com – ‘cause music matters

 

This course was provided by Truefire.com

50 Right Hand Techniques You Must Know by Muriel Anderson and Truefire.com

50 Right Hand Techniques You Must Know by Muriel Anderson and Truefire.com

 

Author:             Muriel Anderson

Genre:              Acoustic / Universal

Style:                Fingerstyle / Universal

Level:                Beginner / Late Beginner / Intermediate / Late Intermediate / Advanced

Features:          Tabs (.pdf) & GP5 files

Lessons:          53 Videos (incl. introduction & conclusion) | 150 Minutes

 

 

Have you ever wanted a compendium of right hand techniques for your guitar? Have you ever faced the question which technique to practice next? If the answer is yes then do not stop reading since I have got a course for you that might easily answer all your questions.

50 Right Hand Techniques You Must Know by Muriel Anderson, published by Truefire.com, is a collection of no less than fifty techniques you can use with your right hand. No matter if you are into Blues, into Jazz, Folk, Funk, etc. here in this course you’ve got all you need to further refurnish your fingerpicking technique on the guitar.

1

Many styles share common techniques, such as palm muting, harmonics, percussion and tapping. With that being said, in this course you are going to learn something universal; something that you can apply over various musical styles, stunning your audience with techniques that not only look great but also give your playing a distinctive touch!

If you are a songwriter you may consider implementing some of these techniques into your songs to make them more challenging or more fun to play. Who knows, maybe you can use these techniques as inspirations to create own techniques, own variations that you will be known for.

With all that summarizing the course per se, what can you actually expect from the course? Well, let me provide you with an answer to it: Over the course of 50 lessons, you are going to be introduced to a particular technique, with a high-quality video in which the lecturer, in this case Muriel Anderson, explains, illustrates and breaks down the technique.

You are not only going to receive visual input, but also auditory! Listening to how the technique should sound like and watch Muriel playing it almost simulates a 1on1 session with an instructor.

2

Do not forget that whatever the technique might be that you are learning, you are still required to put effort into it and practice the technique. Some of the techniques in this course, such as hand position, thumb position and palm muting, are very basic, very simple and should belong to everyone’s repertoire of right hand techniques. However, if you are into Flamenco and all the Spanish guitar styles you are certainly familiar with the different types of strokes that exist; i.e. Rasgueado.

The courses are clear cut and well structured. In my opinion, they partially even increase in difficulty which is great if you want to challenge you with each lesson. However, the only drawback I see with them is that there is no additional material for the viewer to practice. So what you have got here is literally a course that introduces you and shows and explains you the various right hand techniques that exist, rather than a workshop in which you are encouraged to further practice your newly acquired skills.

On the other side, considering what this course contains, you are most likely to be busy for a very long time, no matter how long the videos are. Those techniques are, not by chance, considered the very fundamentals of right hand techniques and you are well advised to spend some time and work on them. It will be beneficial; not just for you, giving you the feeling of accomplishment, but also for your audience, who will be bound to your playing and admire the techniques and sounds that you are able to create thanks to your finely forged technique.

I feel really good about this course; there is something for all types of players as well as all levels of players. You get clear cut video instructions to practice the learnt techniques at home. I, for my part, am happy that I was able to have a look at this course and I would definitely recommend it to my students! Well done Muriel Anderson and definitely well done Truefire.com for providing such an important toolbox for each single guitarist out there!

 

Lukas Wedrychowski

MeridirhProductions – ‘cause music matters

 

This DVD was provided by Truefire.com

3D Acoustic Guitar by Vicki Genfan and Truefire.com

3D Acoustic Guitar by Vicki Genfan and Truefire.com

 

Author:          Vicki Genfan

Genre:            Acoustic / Universal

Style:              Acoustic Fingerstyle

Level:             Late Intermediate / Advanced

Features:        Tabs (.pdf) & GP5 files

Lessons: 35 Videos (incl. introduction & conclusion) | 195 Minutes

1             3D Acoustic Guitar – Introduction

2             Atomic Reshuffle – Performance

3             Tuning – Technique

4             Thumb Slaps – Technique

5             Thumb Slaps with Hammers – Technique

6             Thumb Slap Etude – Practice Etude

7             Harmonics – Technique

8             Thumb Slaps with Harmonics – Etude

9             Left Hand Harmonics – Technique

10           Body Slaps 1 – Technique

11           Body Slaps 2 – Technique

12           Kali Dreams Intro – Demonstration

13           Right Hand Harmonic Tapping – Technique

14           Harmonic Hammer-Ons – Technique

15           Hammering Single Notes – Technique

16           Groove – Maintaining Groove

17           Hammering Chords – Technique

18           Vibrato – Technique

19           Kali’s First Steps – Practice Etude

20           Kali’s First Steps – Breakdown

21           Creating Tunings – Create Your Own Tunings

22           Exploring Tunings: C2 – Step-by-Step Discovery

23           New Grass – Performance

24           Exploring Tunings: Dsus – Step-by-Step Discovery

25           Kali Dreams – Performance

26           Exploring Tunings: C-9sus4 – Step-by-Step Breakdown

27           C-9 Improv – Performance

28           Exploring Tunings: D2 – Step-by-Step Discovery

29           Let it Rain – Performance

30           Cause of You – Performance

31           Exploring Tunings: C6/9

32           Impossinova – Performance

33           Tunings Chat – Reference

34           My Gear – Guitars, strings and tuners

35           Conclusion – Have fun

 


I’ve got something very special for you out there. The course I’m going to review today is 3D Acoustic Guitar by Vicki Genfan, produced by Truefire.com. This review will be divided into four sections:

  1. Author/Lecturer
  2. Couse outline (Techniques & Songs)
  3. Target group
  4. Conclusion

 

1          Author/Lecturer

I must admit that I haven’t heard about Vicki Genfan before exploring some of Truefire’s courses on rhythm guitar. That’s something I feel pretty bad about, now that I had the chance to read about and listen to this amazing guitar player! It is difficult to describe Vicki Genfan’s playing style or genre. She’s certainly a fingerstyle guitarist, however, she draws from various musical genres and combines it in what is difficult to summarize. You certainly hear influences of Jazz, Folk, Funk, to name a few. This cocktail of genres results in an amazing player with an incredible gift for rhythm. I definitely recommend to check her out on YouTube and to visit her website (www.vickigenfan.com). She’s particularly active in terms of rhythm courses on Truefire.com.

 

2          Course Outline

The course consists of two main parts with each being subdivided into several mini chunks. Starting out with a brief introduction in which Vicki explains what to expect from the course you are going to get an impression of her playing skills in a tune called “Atomic Reshuffle”. There you can already get a hint on what to expect in the following lessons. The moment you hear the tune you are going to realize that her style is heavily influenced by percussive sounds, as well as harmonics and alternated tunings.

After this performance, she goes on and introduces you to the first main section of the course in which you will learn more about the various techniques that are required to play the upcoming tunes. Some of these techniques may be new to you or you may have used them in a different form but be sure that all these techniques form a must-know arsenal of techniques and tools that a contemporary fingerstyle guitarist, you may also call it ‘modern fingerstyle’, needs to have.

These aforementioned techniques, i.e. percussion, harmonics, etc., shall also serve you as the very spark that ignites you, puts you on fire and keeps your motivation and inspiration growing. Some of those techniques come with special etudes, i.e. studies that help you grow your technical skills in a musical way. That way you get immediately into practicing the techniques in a way that enhances your technical skills, those you will need to prove yourself when we come to the songs that are within this course.

Moving away from the pure technical part, you come to the second section that spans several important concepts of exploring your instrument: alternate (open) tunings. Following the course, you are going to get inside into the vast possibilities of alternate tunings, the new sounds that you can reach on your guitar and even a new way of economizing your picking. You will be pushed to explore new tunings, tunings that are part of your playing and that define your style.

Once you’ve finished the course you are going to find a reference chart of the open tunings that you’ve discussed during the course, giving you visual aid that will help you get started with the tunings in case you have a hard time memorizing them, say, if you are new to alternate tunings in general.

 

3          Target group

As for the techniques and tunings that form the main body of this course, you can’t expect this course to be anywhere within the range and reach of a beginner. The concepts that are introduced here go far beyond basic chords, basic rhythms and basic techniques that are related to the beginner’s stage. I would recommend this course to rather advanced players. However, if you are beyond the beginner stage, delving into intermediate material and feel you need to study a particular area, say rhythm, in depth you may lay your hands on this course but be aware that the course will be demanding. As I’ve mentioned several times by now, the content is incredibly complex, despite Vicki Genfan’s easy, accessible and highly didactic method of explaining the content of this course so that everyone can understand it. But understanding things in music and being able or even ready to play it are, in my humble opinion, two different things. So be reminded that you can grow huge with this course but may need strong willpower if you are not yet familiar with the basics of playing. On the other hand, if you are a seasoned player, you may very well draw a lot out of this course, further expand your style and learn new voicings that give you a whole new world to explore.

 

4          Conclusion

If you are on the lookout for a course that helps you get beyond the beginner stage, developing basics on the guitar, this course may not be for you. On the other hand, however, if you are someone who wants to practice his rhythmic play, by adding percussive elements to your playing, emulating a bass player, or if you are someone who is just on the search for a whole new open world to explore, given the alternate tunings you will find in this course or the various techniques that will make your playing more interesting, then this is what you’ve been looking for.

Personally, now that I’ve finished the course, I think differently about the title of this course. In the beginning, I was wondering what “3D guitar” may be. Now, having learnt so much from Vicki, I know that the beautiful instrument I dedicate so much time to, has many different aspects to it that were always there, I simply had to alter my perspective in order to find new, unexplored blank spots on the map. I wish you all the best in exploring your instrument and creating new sounds; sounds that fit your style and that are yours to use.

 

 

Lukas Wedrychowski

MeridirhProductions – ‘cause music matters

 

This course was provided by Truefire.com

#Let’s Review | Essentials: Chet Atkins Style by Muriel Anderson and Truefire.com

Essentials: Chet Atkins Style by Muriel Anderson and Truefire.com

 

Author:         Muriel Anderson

Genre:           Acoustic

Style:             Fingerstyle

Level:            Late Beginner / Intermediate

Features:      Tabs (.pdf) & GP5 files

Lessons:      33 Videos (incl. introduction & conclusion) | 127 Minutes

1 – Essentials: Chet Atkins Style  (Introduction)

2 – Some Notes About Chet (Overview)

3 – Maybellish (Overview)

4 – Maybellish (Performance)

5 – Maybellish (Breakdown)

6 – Nashville Hammer (Overview)

7 – Nashville Hammer (Performance)

8 – Nashville Hammer (Breakdown)

9 – Love to Pick (Overview)

10 – Love to Pick (Peformance)

11 – Love to Pick (Breakdown)

12 – Doh’tcha Know (Overview)

13 – Doh’tcha Know (Performance)

14 – Doh’tcha Know (Breakdown)

15 – Waiting on the Weather (Overview)

16 – Waiting on the Weather (Performance)

17 – Waiting on the Weather (Breakdown)

18 – Jo Bangles (Overview)

19 – Jo Bangles (Performance)

20 – Jo Bangles (Breakdown)

21 – Rolling Hills (Overview)

22 – Rolling Hills (Performance)

23 – Rolling Hills (Breakdown

24 – Chet’s Train (Overview)

25 – Chet’s Train (Performance)

26 – Chet’s Train (Breakdown)

27 – Mr. Chester (Overview)

28 – Mr. Chester (Performance)

29 – Mr. Chester (Breakdown)

30 – A Fine Pickle (Overview)

31 – A Fine Pickle (Performance)

32 – A Fine Pickle (Breakdown)

33 – Essentials: Chet Atkins Style (Conclusion)

 

 

Essentials: Chet Atkins Style is part of the essentials series on Truefire.com. It’s considered to be a sum up on what may be considered crucial on a particular topic. In typical Truefire fashion you’re going to literally play yourself through the material, applying what you’ve just learnt to ten pieces that are designed to showcase essential techniques that can be seen as trademarks of Chet Atkins. Chet Atkins is one of the most influential players and one that had an impact on most fingerstyle players nowadays. Some of his key signatures, such as the electric guitar or the thumb pick were, among others, true to the sound he was recognized for and associated with.

In this course, you are going to get to know this amazing artist with the help of Muriel Anderson, who has some of the finest fingerstyle courses on Truefire. I always enjoy her clear explanations as well as proper technique. She clearly understands to break down complex material so that it becomes more approachable and accessible for players of varying levels.

Since this course is dedicated to players who have just passed the beginner stage and head towards the intermediate level you can expect a lot of detailed work in it. This course is aimed at players who have just nailed the basics of music theory and basic fingerstyle techniques to now delve deeper into the style of Chet Atkins.

The tunes in this course increase in difficulty the more you progress. You start out with Maybellish in which you underline your play with a very basic bass-chord accompaniment. The next on the list, Nashville Hammer, already goes a step further and introduces an alternating bass which helps you to grow your thumb independence, an essential skill among fingerstyle players.

Nashville Hammer

1.: Muriel Anderson in action on Nashville Hammer

However, there are also more difficult ones in there to put your skills to a test. One of those is Anderson’s own tune, Mr. Chester, in which you implement some of the techniques that you’ve been already introduced to by now following the curriculum of the course. Beside those you also get to know, “a chord form, that you see Chet using all the time. This little three finger chord.” (Muriel Anderson)

3 Finger Chord Form

1.: Three Finger Chord Shape Typical for Chet Atkin’s Play

I very much enjoyed this course, not only because I’ve been listening to Chet Atkins recordings as well as interviews about this fascinating and inspiring personality. Muriel Anderson certainly did him justice by covering essentials of his playing style, one that affected so many players who now play the wonderful style of fingerstyle guitar!

The course covers more than two hours of video footage as well as all ten tunes in tab and .pdf format, as always in high quality, as known from Truefire.com. That way you get enough possibilities to not only learn the pieces but also to further analyse it in order to enhance and widen your musical knowledge. I always loved the courses on Truefire since they allow you to literally play throughout the whole course, enjoying what you learn in a musical way.

If you are into fingerstyle it is almost guaranteed that you’ll draw a lot out of this course but Chet Atkins was more than just a fingerstyle player… he was inspirational and charismatic and that’s what he showed with his music. I really hope you may find this course useful the way I did and that you may also find your own sound.

Lukas Wedrychowski

Meridirh Productions – ‘cause music matters

#Let’s Review | 30 Beginner Fingerstyle Blues Licks You Must by David Hamburger and Truefire.com

30 Beginner Fingerstyle Blues Licks You Must by David Hamburger and Truefire.com

 

Author:          David Hamburger

Genre:            Blues

Style:              Fingerstyle Blues

Level:             Beginner / Late Beginner

Features:        Tabs (.pdf) & GP5 files

Lessons:         32 Videos (incl. introduction & conclusion) | 134 Minutes

Lick 1 – Going Down

Lick 2 – Are You With Me?

Lick 3 – Hammerhead

Lick 4 – The Pickup

Lick 5 – The Long and Short of It

Lick 6 – Flat Five

Lick 7 – Triple Lightnin’

Lick 8 – After the Fact

Lick 9 – Pull Yourself Together

Lick 10 – Train Vamp

Lick 11 – Brush Up Your Hopkins

Lick 12 – The Long Hello

Lick 13 – Half Stepping

Lick 14 – Whole Lotta Bob

Lick 15 – Barrelhouse

Lick 16 – The Third is the Word

Lick 17 – The Ninth Circuit

Lick 18 – Big Anticipation

Lick 19 – Delta D

Lick 20 – Little Root

Lick 21 – Chromatic Walkup

Lick 22 – Purple Phrase

Lick 23 – Extra Five

Lick 24 – Old School

Lick 25 – Ornamental

Lick 26 – Train Licks and Triplets

Lick 27 – Walkin’

Lick 28 – Dirty Rivers

Lick 29 – One Size Fits All

Lick 30 – Unknown Richard

 

David Hamburger is one of the predominant figures on Truefire.com who is associated with Fingerstyle Blues. No wonder, with him being an award-winning author for Acoustic Guitar Methods “Beginning Blues Guitar” as well as “The Acoustic Guitar Method” and an experienced teacher and player! I first came across David’s courses on Truefire when I was wondering on how to best pick up Fingerstyle Blues. I’ve always been a fan of playing all together, being in control of everything that happens in a musical context and Fingerstyle just suited me the most. The first course from David that I had encountered had been “Fingerstyle Blues Factory” one that I can highly recommend as well and that will be part of a future review for sure. What hooked me about David was his highly didactic teaching style, not only explaining the quintessence of what he is supposed to teach in a particular course but also embellishing it with his vast knowledge of music in general, the general historical side of it as well as his own experience but in particular about the Blues. To me, David Hamburger seems to be a man that has lived the Blues his entire life! If you’ve also got infected by it, then read on.

30 Beginner Fingerstyle Blues Licks you MUST know” is part of a series focusing on essentials of a particular style, packed within licks with the aim to both, increase your musical vocabulary on the instrument and sparking your inspiration by giving you something along the way that you can work on and use in your everyday practice.

30 selected licks that suit the beginning fingerstyle or beginning Blues player in such, as they incorporate various basics that are essential to playing this very style. The great thing about this course is, that it accompanies smoothly David’s other courses on Truefire.com that are dedicated to beginning fingerstyle Blues players. You can see it as an etude course that gives you even more material to practice the concepts that are taught in the other courses (Fingerstyle Blues Handbook 1 and Fingerstyle Blues Handbook 2).

Going through all those 30 licks would consume too much space and would probably take the excitement out of it so I am going to stick to some personal preferences that I found particularly interesting for beginners that would both enhance the motivation to keep digging into Fingerstyle Blues by providing easy-to-accomplish building blocks that are immediately usable in your own music.

Starting with basic techniques, you can’t but to start from simple to more complex. In Fingerstyle, the thumb independence is crucial and that’s why the first lick Going Down includes a steady bass line while descending an Em pentatonic scale. That way you are able to keep a constant motion of your thumb going over a contrasting movement of the melody lines in form of the pentatonic scale, one that is often used as the very first scale that beginners learn in order to learn the basics of soloing. Of course, the pentatonic scale offers more than is included in this lick but it’s a very good starter to teach you how to build up muscle memory and grow from there on.

In Hammerhead you learn a lick that focuses on the typical bluesy hammer-on. That’s actually an interesting one because you’ll have to focus on the correct feeling and groove while performing the hammer-on to make it sound bluesy. Once performed right you’re packed with a lick that is as characteristic as a Blues lick can possibly be.

The great thing about this course and David Hamburger is that you are not only learning the techniques, but as I’ve already mentioned beforehand, learning about the important stuff that goes along with it and that surrounds the technical knowledge that you’re about to get taught. If we put lick #7 – Triple Lightnin’ –  into perspective this does mean learning a typical triplet pattern that, paired with a minor pentatonic scale, let’s you be immediately associated with blues. However, it isn’t just about the lick, here you also get introduced to the style of Lightnin’ Hopkins, something whom you, should you not have already listened to him, should definitely check out!

As a beginner, it can sometimes be quite difficult to produce and get the tone that you really want in order to sound like a Blues player. However, in Train Vamp you’re about to get a lick that will serve you as a good study at the same time in order to master the quarter-tone or quarter-step bend that actually “is a band that raises a note only half as far as a half-step or one-fret-band” (David Hamburger). This does mean that it’s in between two frets and something that, without any other aids, isn’t manageable without a bend. The tricky thing here lies within the quality of the tone. You want to play it as smoothly as possible, not marking any transitioning within the bend. This may take some time but once accomplished, is going to give you something to work with for the rest of your career.

To sum this review up I really have to give credits to David for his, one again, great course that is clear-cut, well-defined and explained but also packed with all the information and little hints that boosts the motivation of an aspiring guitar player. I really enjoyed going through those 30 licks and it took me quite some time to decide which licks to choose for this review that suit the audience of this course as well as more experienced players who want to delve deeper into the blues, be it electrical or fingerstyle.

In typical Truefire fashion, this course comes with the notation being tabbed out and Guitar Pro files. The total rundown of this course is a bit more than two hours but what you get drag out of it is most likely going to last for way longer than just these hours. I hope this course is going to inspire you as much as it did inspire me and that you are going to have fun with these 30 beginner fingerstyle blues licks you really MUST know.

 

 

Lukas Wedrychowski

Meridirh Productions – ‘cause music matters

#Let’s Review | Soleares Flamenco Guidebook by John Fillmore and Truefire.com

Soleares Flamenco Guidebook by John Fillmore and Truefire.com

Author:          John Fillmore

Genre:            Flamenco

Style:              Acoustic Fingerstyle/Flamenco

Level:             Intermediate / Late Intermediate

Features:        Tabs (.pdf) & GP5 files

Lessons: 29 Videos (incl. introduction & conclusion) | 72 Minutes

  1. Soleares
  2. Half Compás
  3. Solo Flamenco Guitar
  4. Technique and Posture
  5. Pulgar
  6. Alzapua
  7. Rasgueado
  8. Picado
  9. Apregio
  10. Tremolo
  11. Golpes
  12. Ligados
  13. Flamenco Solo Piece (Elements)
  14. Intro Soleá
  15. Falseta 1
  16. Compás
  17. Falseta 2
  18. Falseta 3
  19. Quejillo
  20. Escobillas
  21. Combination Falseta
  22. Tremolo Falseta
  23. Llamada
  24. Popular Falseta
  25. Falseta Alzapua
  26. Cierre
  27. Complete Soleares

Flamenco has always been a style that attracted people from all around the globe. If you are among those who have always wanted to get started in Flamenco guitar, learning about the style as such as well as developing your basics techniques that will be your bread and butter skills while developing a sense for this style, then I’m inviting to go ahead and read this review on Truefire.com‘s Soleares Flamenco Guidebook.

Your instructor, John Fillmore, began to play the style of Flamenco in the tender age of 12, performing with a Flamenco dance group at the age of 14. During his career, Mr. Fillmore moved to Cordoba (Spain) to study at the Centro Flamenco and later to Rotterdam, becoming the first graduate teacher and performer of the Flamenco guitar.

So, what does this course look like? This course’s structure is technically following the approach “learning by doing”. This means that you are, in typical Truefire-fashion, playing your way through the course because you’re given an aim to work towards to. The goal of this course is to teach you the basic techniques of Flamenco guitar, the infamous techniques known as pulgar, alzapua, rasgueado, tremolo, to name just a few, but at the same time work towards a completed piece. Many methods, be it basic instrument methods or style methods, teach you the techniques but miss on utilizing them so that you can apply what you’ve just learnt. With this course’s structure and way of teaching you are going to implement what you have just learnt on a true Flamenco piece. You’re given instruction to practice a complete Soleares, a piece which’s style is said to be the mother of all Flamenco forms. That way you can take a piece – that by the way sounds amazing – and practice something you can perform in front of others but also your technique. I really like this approach that is a trademark of Truefire.com courses.

Once you’ve nailed the basic techniques which, even for long-time fingerstyle guitarists, may still be challenging due to the interesting voicing that you need to achieve, controlling the compás (rhythm) as well as the different thumb techniques required to induce the flair of Soleares that will pin your audience to your playing, you are ready to learn the individual parts of the piece. You start out with an introduction to the basic elements, moving on to the soleá, the falsetas, escobillas, llamada as well as cierra and remate to finally close out your piece. Each of those elements is part of traditional flamenco music in which you will learn how those pieces are divided and what essential part the guitar is playing in it.

Then you are finally able to play what might very well be your first Flamenco piece, incorporating the techniques that you’ve gathered throughout the course and which you can perfect while practicing the Soleares.

The course comes with 19 .pdf-charts, including the notation in mixed tab and classical form. You get those .pdf files for both the small etudes that introduce the various techniques as well as the full notation for the complete piece that you’ve learnt. For those of you who prefer to work with GuitarPro, you also receive .gp5 files that you can open on your computer, print it out or alter in a way you want that accompanies your playing/practicing.

The quality of the video and audio footage is top-notch as known from Truefire.com. I’m really looking forward seeing more Flamenco courses coming up on Truefire.com as I know from the comment section that this is one of the most requested styles. This doesn’t come as a surprise since this course is widely regarded as something mythical, something that touches the very soul of the people that are listening to it and make them connect.

Well done Mr. Fillmore. I highly recommend your Soleares Flamenco Guidebook by Truefire.com.

Lukas Wedrychowski

MeridirhProductions – ‘cause music matters

 

This course was provided by Truefire.com