Pros:Easy to follow instruction, beginners won't outgrow to quickly
Cons:Way to much commentary during the tuning
The Bottom Line: This course is GREAT for beginners. Doesn't move to slow & covers all the important things for building on a base of proper technique.
Although having this box set of DVDs and book on my entertainment center gets much mocking from those who visit my home, it has been worth it.
Recommend this product?
Let me start by stressing that this is a course for beginners. I am teaching myself to play classical guitar and figured I would take the gamble on this course. The ones I checked out at the local library were all made back in the stone-age and have me practicing classics like Row Row Row Your Boat.
Esteban's Complete Guitar Course for Beginners comes with DVD volumes 1 and 2, a quick reference and very complete chord chart and a comprehensive course book. All of this comes packed into a handy case that magnetically closes.
Esteban studied under my all time favorite guitar master, Andres Segovia. If this review reader wishes to have a wonderful guitar players CDs I highly recommend looking into Segovia's work.
This instruction is not just the chord strumming, but has the actual playing techniques. Esteban goes through finger picking as well as using the flat pick to play each of the songs.
Now to the DVD. Chapter 1-6 takes your through the basics of how to hold your guitar, hand positions, strings and frets and picking. Chapter 7 is on tuning and Esteban has you tune your guitar to the pitch his is by repeatedly playing the strings and telling you what note that is. This chapter is painfully slow and there's lots of commentary in between times that he plucks the note, but after a couple of times you're able to fwd through to the note plucking to get your guitar in tune. After this you will get yourself a tuner, but for the time being it gets the job done.
Next chapters take your through the chromatic scale, right hand techniques and chords. All of this is presented in a precise and understandable way that will not insult a person's intelligence.
Chapter 11-16 of the DVD volume 1 gets you into actually playing songs. First of those being Malaguena Rhumba, then on to classics like Greensleeves, Greensleeves pick-style, Wildwood Flower, House of the Rising Sun and Oh Susanna.
No where on either DVD will you find Row Row Row Your Boat. If you're looking for that, I'm sure you can find it at the library.
Volume 2 of the DVD is instruction on some of the songs on volume 1 only expanded versions. New songs will be Aura Lee, Turkey in the Straw, Frankie and Johnny, The Boogie Woogie. Also on vol 2 is the hybrid blues scale, and the minor blues scale.
After you get through the intro and how to hold your guitar sections, it moves on and the instruction is solid.
Practice makes perfect! It's nice to be able to practice with songs that don't get annoying after the first 5 times.
The quality of the DVD is good and there are good shots of the playing as well as close ups of the exact left and right hand placement. The chapters are divided in ways that make it an easy reference when you just want to pop in the DVD and jump from tuning to Greensleeves etc.
The book is divided into 2 sections and follows the instruction of the DVD, but has additional sections on Reading Music, Reading Tablature, Tremolo, More Fun with Hammer-Ons, as well as a quick-reference chord chart apart from the quick reference chord chart booklet.
Again this course is designed for beginners but is one that a beginner will not out-grow to quickly, like some of the courses I have looked at. Even though I am not yet ready to compete with the masters, at least I'm not trying to get there by chord strumming Row Row Row Your Boat.
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