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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars By far, the best guitar overview.
This is a great guitar overview but I'm puzzled that so many beginners rate this so highly. I started with Ernie Ball method books and can't imagine using this particular book as a single substitute. For example, unless you're a natural, you're not going to go from playing in open position to playing in other positions in one paragraph. I think the best package for...
Published on March 24 2003 by BooksRuleAZ

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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Not for the visual learner
Well this must be a decent book, with all the praise it receives; however it didn't do much for me when I began playing guitar. I only had this to learn from, and I gave up guitar in frustration.
I just got the ambition to try guitar again, but this time I bought eMedia Guitar Method computer software, and I've gotten farther in two days with that than I did the two...
Published on May 24 2003 by Timothy Lee Young


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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Not for the visual learner, May 24 2003
By 
Timothy Lee Young (Philadelphia, PA USA) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Guitar For Dummies (Paperback)
Well this must be a decent book, with all the praise it receives; however it didn't do much for me when I began playing guitar. I only had this to learn from, and I gave up guitar in frustration.
I just got the ambition to try guitar again, but this time I bought eMedia Guitar Method computer software, and I've gotten farther in two days with that than I did the two weeks with Guitar for Dummies book.
It seems they do have a Guitar for Dummies DVD out with instruction, that probably would be something you'd want to get in conjunction with this book to help you learn better.
I believe that this book cannot stand on it's own as a good learning tool for the beginner.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars By far, the best guitar overview., March 24 2003
This review is from: Guitar For Dummies (Paperback)
This is a great guitar overview but I'm puzzled that so many beginners rate this so highly. I started with Ernie Ball method books and can't imagine using this particular book as a single substitute. For example, unless you're a natural, you're not going to go from playing in open position to playing in other positions in one paragraph. I think the best package for beginners would be this book AND a progressive method AND some lessons.
If you are an intermediate player, you can enjoy reviewing things in this text that you've already learned as well as getting quick concise information about particulars, be it string bends, double double stops, power chords, or whatever.
This book is a great buy as it saves you from acquiring a whole shelf of guitar books to find out all there is to explore. Once you find a particular topic of interest, seek out a more specialized book.
The CD is unbeatable as you can immediately associate what you hear in different types of music with the musical notation.
If you're a Rock bigot, note that there is a Rock Guitar version. However, this one is my favorite. If you're going to be a rolling stone, you gotta be well rounded, right?
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Yes, it works..., Jan. 15 2004
By A Customer
This review is from: Guitar For Dummies (Paperback)
...if you're willing to put in the months or years of hard work required to learn any instrument. No teacher or book will make learning the guitar a snap, but they can certainly help, as this book sure does. I started with Guitar for Dummies and primarily relied on it alone for quite some time. It really does serve as a useful, fun foundation for various styles. It's a good reference for basic guitar repairs and maintenance too.
Through a lot of study and practice, and later with the help of other books (but not a teacher), I've progressed in about a year and a half to where I can play the rhythm parts and some lead lines of more than a few rock songs (AC/DC, Black Sabbath, Foo Fighters, Metallica, Weezer, Iced Earth, Megadeth, The Cure, etc.), do some basic blues improv, play passable fingerstyle acoustic, write some of my own tunes and riffs, transcribe tunes by ear, etc. In other words, if you're a total guitar newbie, have hope: you can learn on your own with lots of hard work, a good ear, and good books such as this one. When you first learn how to play along with one of your favorite songs, all the sweat and tears will seem worth it.
My only complaint about Guitar for Dummies is that it neglects jazz guitar, but that's understandable since jazz quickly gets extremely complicated on a theoretical level--not exactly beginner's material. Most beginners want to learn power chords, not the intricacies of improvised reharmonization. Jazz is America's greatest contribution to the music world, though, so it would have been nice to see at least a brief chapter.
(If you mainly want to play rock, make sure to check out Rock Guitar for Dummies after you've progressed a bit with this book. Also, almost any guitarist, regardless of stylistic preference or experience level, can benefit from Troy Stetina's classic Speed Mechanics for Lead Guitar.)
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Not bad, April 2 2004
By 
C. Fletcher (California) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Guitar For Dummies (Paperback)
Not a bad intro into the wonderful world of guitar playing, this book gives you the basics about which guitar's right for you, how to put strings on it, and how to getting sounding halfway decent.

GUITAR FOR DUMMIES is not, by any stretch, a comprehensive how-to, but definitely a clear and uncomplicated place to get started. Most important is that you get started, because playing the guitar is one of the most fun and rewarding thing you can do with your hands and not feel too guilty about.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Great for What It Is, Oct. 6 2003
By 
Scott Miller (Caddo Mills, TX United States) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Guitar For Dummies (Paperback)
This is definitely the best beginner book for guitar I have seen, but it starts to skip around as it moves from complete novice to budding player. By that I mean that it gives you a few concepts and then suddenly jumps ahead to more complicated methods, and often the only way you can tell if you're doing something correctly is to compare the noise you make to what you hear on the CD. That's fine for simple things like avoiding fret buzz, but a beginner is likely to develop bad habits with pull-offs and other intermediate techniques without more in-depth instruction.
Also, after completing this book, you may be able to wail away with your favorite CD, but it's more likely that you'll be able to produce about half the sounds you want with no clue about how to produce the other half. That's because the book only mentions a few box patterns and never explains how to practice them to perfection, nor does it delve into more rudimentary techniques that will be required to know the fretboard by rote. Instead, it sometimes relies on cheats (yes, the pentatonic scale is versatile, but you will need much more than that to be taken seriously as a guitarist), and it rarely indicates the amount of dedicated practice that will be required to master a technique.
Still, I like the way it combines several guitar methods. I probably wouldn't have become interested in classical guitar if this book hadn't included it. It could do a better job of indicating which concepts will and will not work with various styles, but usually that applies only to classical. Generally, unless they say the concept pertains to classical or all styles, it doesn't.
So this is a good book to get a feel for the guitar. (And its guides on shopping and maintenance are invaluable references.) It's perfect for the beginner, but it isn't a stand-alone book, so don't confuse it for one. It should be read along with a book on rudments, like "Mel Bay's Complete Book of Guitar Technique" by Sal Salvador. Or better yet, use this to see if you're serious about guitar, then take lessons.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Great Book for overview of guitar but..., Sept. 22 2001
By A Customer
This review is from: Guitar For Dummies (Paperback)
I recently purchased both Guitar for Dummies and 1st Steps for a Beginning Guitarist by Bruce Arnold. I thought I made a very wise choice for both texts. First let me say that Guitar for Dummies is a great reference text. It has information on so many aspects of playing the guitar like; changing strings, guitar accessories, basic maintenance, etc. All this information was very useful because I'm a total beginner. I felt that as a method to learn to play guitar Guitar for Dummies wasn't that great. Don't get me wrong there is a lot of information in this book about how to play the guitar. The problem for me is that much of this information is nothing I would ever consider playing for anyone. For example "Oh Susanna" and "On Top of Old Smoky" might be great songs for a camp counselor to learn but I'm more into rock and folk music from the 60's to the present and Guitar for Dummies does not contain any music like this. This is were the 1st Steps for a Beginning Guitarist by Mr. Arnold really helped. The chord progressions were challenging, gradually became more difficult and sounded like something I felt good about playing in front of somebody. Mr. Arnold's book also went into much more detail about many aspect of learning to play guitar and music in general. In my opinion these two books make a great combination for a beginner guitarist.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Highly Recommended, May 16 2001
By 
Johnny5 (San Diego, CA USA) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Guitar For Dummies (Paperback)
I have eMedia Guitar Method, this book and I've been taking lessons with a local teacher. While this book doesn't cover everything that I've learned from my teacher, it gives a lot of supplementary exercises and information that has really helped broaden my guitar education. I recommend this book highly over any software I have seen (eMedia, Voyetra's Teach Me Guitar, etc.) First, the book is cheaper. Second, it's a whole lot better. (I say better because it isn't just basic lessons like the software gives, there is a lot of extra info in the text that is really quite valuable and entertaining).
It covers chords thoroughly, goes on to explain how to play melodies and has some good exercises for getting the hang of it. Plus, the CD gives you a recorded version of the songs and the exercises so you know exactly what they should sound like.
There's also information on various styles (folk, rock, blues). It also covers simple maintenance (I finally found out why there was a little wrench in the box when I bought my guitar). There's a whole chapter dedicated to changing strings.
Since my teacher is giving me all the music theory in addition to playing, I was really happy to see the chart on page 331 that shows the relationship between the notes on the music staff and the strings/frets on the guitar.
This really is a great book for a beginner.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Great, great beginner's reference!, Dec 16 2000
By 
Dennis Looney "Bridgetown Films" (Lake Oswego, Oregon) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Guitar For Dummies (Paperback)
Guitar for Dummies is the epitome of learning tools for the guitar. This is the undisputed king of all guitar books.
If you're anything like me, you've given up the guitar multiple times because learning it has always been so boring. Most lame books always start you off with notation reading. Those books teach to read music. Not PLAY music. That's what makes this book so great. You'll be playing Kumbaya within minutes. Not Mary Had a Little Lamb after 4 hours.
The CD that accompanies the book is invaluable. It gives you the ability to track your progress against a recorded version of the song. It's simple and easy to use.
The best part of the book to me is the section on barre chords and power chords. If you have the patience to make it to this section, you will never put the guitar down again. That's because all of a sudden you can play nearly every song you've ever heard.
I highly recommend this book to anybody who wants to learn how to play guitar. Once you've studied the book for awhile, the rest gets easier and easier.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Lots of great information but you still need lessons, May 30 2000
By 
David E. Levine (Peekskill , NY USA) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Guitar For Dummies (Paperback)
I got myself a Fender Stratocaster and have been taking guitar lessons. I also bought this book. It's a great book to pick up a lots of great hints and has a wealth of good information about buying and caring for an instrument. However, this book does not replace lessons. For exzample, even though charts show you the proper fingering for the various chords, you need lessons to show you the proper positioning of you hand in order to be able to actually play the chord. If you are holding the neck of the guitar wrong, many chords are very difficult to play. Another example.. bending strings! The book can explain it but it sure is a lot easier to learn when you have a teacher showing you and practicing with you. On the other hand, the book shows chord progressions you can pick up and other techniques that, in conjunction with your lessons, you can learn. I recommend the book as a great supplement to lessons. A main reason for my recommendation is that the book is well written and is interesting to read. The fact that it can hold your interest makes it easier to learn than if the book were dry and technical in it's approach. However, I much less strongly recommend the book as your sole method of learning to play guitar. It can be done but not nearly as well as with a teacher guiding you along.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Simply the best guitar reference book I have used., March 30 1999
By 
I. Hsieh (California) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Guitar For Dummies (Paperback)
Guitar for Dummies definitely was made for dummies. This book was made for people with little to no knowledge of the guitar. Even though it is made for beginners this book has many sections that even a experienced guitar player can learn from. With this book you can learn to buy a guitar, take care of one, learn about famous guitarists, and of course, play one. When I bought this book there was no need to buy any other guitar books. This is simply the best and is really 'The Ultimate Guide to Playing the Guitar.' What the book advertises to teach you, it does. You can learn chords, improvising solos, styles (rock, blues, jazz...), you even have a buyers guide to accessories! The CD that comes along with this is a tremendous bonus. With it you can actually hear what the songs are supposed to sound like. Also with the CD you can train your ear and then learn songs off your own personal CDs! There are some great songs included in this book that it teaches you how to play. You can learn how a guitar is made and how to discern a great guitar from a mediocre guitar. This book can start out kind of cheesy with all the basics but once you learn them you can rock out with all the advanced techniques it teaches you. Excellent book, a must have for beginners and certainly a good read for veterans guitarists.
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