I won't rehash what others have written; just let me say that this is one excellent instructional book.
Buy it, pop in the accompanying CD and listen to the first track. It's beautiful - and if you practice, yes, you WILL be able to play this song and others, pieces you probably thought were beyond your skills, by the time you finish the book.
My personal observations:
- NOT FOR BEGINNERS. The book starts off slow, but you'd better have a good knowledge of basic chords and chord changes before you attempt to tackle it. I'd consider my skills as intermediate when I bought the book (though I had never fingerpicked), and there were some very challenging things for me - things I was able to get through with patience and practice. I fear the total beginner would be lost, though, and probably get frustrated. If you've been playing for six months or more and want to learn fingerstyle, you'll be OK.
- If you buy the book, you'll be cruising along through the easier exercises, and then WHAM, you'll hit a difficult piece that will have you pulling out your hair. DON'T PANIC! You can do it with patience and practice - I did it and I'm no John Hurt. Just remember to go slow - keeping a STEADY BEAT is the important thing, not how fast you play. I found it helpful to plow slowly through the difficult pieces one day, then take a day off. When I returned to the book after a day, it was a lot easier. There's no hurry, after all! We do this for fun! In fact, don't ignore or just blow through any of the exercises. They all have a purpose and many of them are excerpts from the five full pieces in the back of the book. Take your time and practice each one thoroughly. Trust me!
- Here's a secret: At one point, you'll be playing whole-note melody scales with an alternating bass in A, D, E, C, G and B7. The authors will tell you to play the scales in half and quarter notes on your own; they don't tab out some of them. Don't ignore the quarter-note scales! They'll be difficult at first, but I found them to be the key to fingerpicking a nice melody over a bass beat. Make your own tab if you have to, but by all means, practice the scales in quarter notes; it will make your life MUCH easier! I tabbed them out and I use them as a warmup now each time I practice.
That's about it; the authors are very talented and are obviously passionate about fingerstyle blues, and this will carry over to you. You'll have to work hard, but the payoff is enormous. You'll grin ear-to-ear when you're able to play Robert Johnson's "32-20 Blues" in close approximation to the CD!