This review is for the Berklee "A Modern Method for Guitar - Volume 1: Book/DVD-ROM Pack." This book (with the included DVD) is outstanding. It is obviously based on decades of experience successfully teaching hundreds of guitar students master their instruments. I bought this course after viewing the Berklee videos (with Larry Baione) on a popular video web site.
This book seems to be aimed at people who are interested in orchestral guitar, as well as others who wish to master the ability to sight-read sheet music. At one point in the book, the author explains that one should develop "instant" note recognition; meaning, when one looks at sheet music, one should instantly "hear" (mentally) the sound of the note, and then the fingers should automatically (instantly) play the notes that one hears. If you are not interested in achieving this goal, then this book is not for you.
The course has brilliantly broken down the skills and knowledge of guitar playing into small sessions, then sequenced those sessions to build both understanding and physical skill. At the end of this course, you will have developed complete left and right hand strength, dexterity, speed, and "muscle memory." I am particularly fond of the Berklee method for learning scale patterns up and down the entire fretboard (started in Volume 1, continued in Volume 2).
This book is lacking instruction on music theory. Therefore, I would highly recommend that you supplement the Berklee course with Hal Leonard's "Music Theory for Guitarists" book (by Tom Kolb).
This is NOT the course for you if you just got your guitar and you want to have immediate fun playing chords and basic lead patterns. In fact, if the Berklee course is your only at-home study product, you will quickly get bored and lose interest in guitar. Obviously, having fun and maintaining interest are vital when learning a musical instrument; therefore, it might be better for you if you start your guitar player journey with another course.
Most new guitar players will learn better (and have more fun) with the Rock House "Learn Rock Guitar" DVDs. The Rock House method will teach you basic chords, strumming patterns, and lead patterns very quickly, without requiring any music reading or music theory. Another good DVD course is Fender's "Getting Started on Electric Guitar" or "Getting Started on Acoustic Guitar." Of course, the best at-home guitar course (by far) is "Learn and Master Guitar" by Steve Krenz. Unless you already know how to read music (i.e., you know how to play another musical instrument), you should probably finish any of these courses before you start the Berklee course.
In all cases, after you finish one of the beginner guitar courses (including lessons with a guitar instructor), you should definitely spend a year with this Berklee "Modern Method" course. It will force you to master exercises that ensure you have the required skills and knowledge to progress to intermediate or advanced playing.