Most helpful critical review
73 of 81 people found the following review helpful
Useful in part, but might not be worth your while
on November 30, 2002
On my high praise of Mr. Edward's approach (in my review of the first two volumes of this series), it may come as a bit of a surprise that I consider this - a continuation of the method - unworthy of the rest of it. However, there are several reasons for it, and few, if any, of them are the author's fault. His intent is to keep the series accessible to as wide an audience as possible.
The first two volumes, which I recommend in the combined anniversary edition, go through the organization of guitar as an instrument, with the promise of actual music coming into play at a later time. Well, this volume is where the music not introduced in the second volume comes in.
Applications - Creative and Analytical (ACaA) is not necessarily something to be read in sequence. Rather, it is something to refer to as an encyclopedia, upon need of certain elements. If you're anything like me, you may find that you will buy this book for 20 out of the 170 pages of it, and end up using the rest just to make yourself feel that you haven't wasted any money.
ACaA goes through the fundamentals of music theory in this book. He uses guitar, not piano, to expain them, which is a bonus, but learning, or re-learning, to read standard notation may be a bit of a drag. Not that it isn't worth it, but it's something that can be acquired in other sources. It's not that difficult.
Another thing ACaA covers are technical development exercises, particularly for lead playing. Again, something we can easily find elsewhere. Rhythmic and melodic exercises, same thing. In short, there is a lot of material that, unlike the stuff in the first two volumes, can be found in other places in a duplicate fashion - Mr. Edwards simply adjusts it to his teaching style.
ACaA also includes some original compositions by Mr. Edwards, which is a nice addition, but the analytical application takes away from the creative aspect - having the tool (the guitar), to discover the music for oneself and grow with it. I've seen bands with guitarists who have mastered this approach - their playing is quite bland, with very little spark to it. In other words, this third volume is insufficient to make one a great guitarist, not just a great guitar player.
There is a very useful section on chord progressions, from which any player would benefit, and which all fans of volumes I and II will love. And to give credit where credit is due, there are many great pedagogical techniques in this volume, which are worth looking at, even if only academically. Also, there is a ton of great advice regarding learning techniques for everyone in this book, so don't write it off based on its negative aspects.
Also, on a negative note, there is a number of typographical errors in this book, which, unless you already know the concept being explained, might give you a little trouble.
To conclude, this book is something to consider. However, as Plato notes, be careful with logic - use it only once you've verified that the axioms of your system are true. I will use similar advice: use this book well, but don't limit yourself to it.