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Guitar Aerobics: A 52-Week, One-lick-per-day Workout Program for Developing, Improving and Maintaining Guitar Technique Paperback – December 1, 2007
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More About the Author
Born in the small town of Viroqua, Wisconsin (population 4,000), Nelson picked up the guitar at the age 14, after months of begging his parents for an axe. He tapped into his savings account for a Harmony electric, a Fender Strat knockoff from the JC Penney catalogue.
From that moment forward, Nelson would spend hours each day, much to his buddies' dismay, woodshedding in his bedroom, playing everything from Stevie Ray Vaughan and B.B. King to Dokken and Metallica.
"My friends would come to our front door on the weekends to ask me to hang out, and I'd say 'no thanks' and go back to my room to play guitar until dinner. Then, after dinner, I'd return to my room and play until my sister would bang on the wall to make me stop," remembers Nelson.
When he wasn't playing guitar, Nelson was the star quarterback of his high school football team. Though he received letters to play football from several of the state universities, Nelson chose music instead, attending Milwaukee Area Technical College, where he earned an Associate's Degree in Occupational Music.
Following graduation, Nelson spent several years as a freelance editor for Hal Leonard Corporation, the world's largest music print publisher, where he transcribed and edited many of the top guitar songs of the day. In 1995, jumped at the chance to work on a new magazine Hal Leonard was launching, Guitar One.
In 1999, Nelson moved with the magazine to New York City. For a decade, he worked tirelessly at the magazine, holding the titles of Music Editor, Senior Editor, and, finally, Editor-in-Chief. "I'm quite proud of what we accomplished at Guitar One. What began as a start-up, evolved into the No. 2 guitar title in the world when I left in 2005," remembers Nelson fondly.
After a decade of success in the music business, Nelson decided to pursue a career in his other love--football. After a stint in the media department of the New York Jets, Nelson headed south, to the University of Georgia, where received a Bachelor's Degree in Sports Management in 2009, graduating with top honors (summa cum laude). While attending UGA, Nelson somehow found time to write his first book, Guitar Aerobics, which has become a #1 bestseller, with nearly 100,000 copies sold to date.
"As a guitarist, I wanted to write a technique book that would appeal to me; that is, a book that had a practical structure and music examples that didn't sound like warm-up exercises. I wanted to compose music examples that guitarists could incorporate into their own music while, at the same time, improving their chops," says Nelson.
After UGA, Nelson went on to work for several football entities, including the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, the All-American Football League, Gardner Webb University, and BLESTO, a football scouting coop owned by seven NFL teams. It was during his time at BLESTO that Nelson had another book idea. The result was Fretboard Freedom, a book Nelson authored after work and on the weekends. Fretboard Freedom is a novel approach to visualizing and navigating the neck of the guitar--a concept that initially struck Nelson while he wrote Guitar Aerobics back in 2007.
Although life as a football scout was difficult to put on hold, music eventually pulled Nelson back into its clutches. He took a breather from other career pursuits and spent the better portion of 2012 authoring Rhythm Guitar 365 (Hal Leonard), the follow-up to Guitar Aerobics and Fretboard Freedom.
"Like my other books, Rhythm Guitar 365 contains daily music exercises--one for every day of the year--with this book focusing on rhythm-guitar playing, which doesn't get nearly the attention that lead playing does," says Nelson of his latest title.
Nelson currently lives in Nashville, Tennessee, with his wife and twin daughters. Look for his fourth title, One-Man Guitar Jam (Hal Leonard), in the summer of 2014.
Guitar Aerobics (2007)
Fretboard Freedom (2013)
Rhythm Guitar 365 (2014)
One-Man Guitar Jam (TBD)
Top Customer Reviews
JR has a good point that there's not as much guidance on technique as I'd like on a couple of things. I think he was overly critical though. There are short notes on each day's lesson about technique. One was to keep the fretting pinky in place on the G while you shift from a G to an E chord - it helped me to stop fumbling around for the E shape. Another that I have not mastered, is in sweep arpeggios, to mute each note after you play it by slightly releasing the pressure on the fretting finger. That's one that I would like more details on, because I find it hard to do, especially if I'm barring the 1st and second string with my index finger on say the 3rd fret while catching the 3rd string with my middle finger. Do I roll them off, or do I ease up on all strings between each pick?
Anyhow, I like the breakdown into small bite-size daily chunks that I can spend 10 or 15 minutes on a day, as part of my regular practice.
The critics are correct in their statements that the book does not contain thorough instruction on each and every aspect, i.e. holding the pick, building speed, how to hold your mouth, etc., of playing the guitar. But, look at the price of it...... There are pages and pages of free material on the internet regarding the actual mechanics of playing. This book provides exactly what is advertised; useful exercises for "Developing, Improving, and Maintaining Guitar Technique"
If you are fortunate enough to have stumbled across this book before spending countless dollars on other worthless material and instruction, consider yourself blessed and buy this book.
* Its day-by-day structure helps easily-distracted players like me keep a schedule. It will quickly become useless if you miss days, skip exercises, or try to use it irregularly. With that in mind, I've been able to stick with it every day, which keeps me playing everyday. Quite the feat. You COULD try to use it as a source for guitar licks, but that's not what this is meant to be and there are better books for that.
* If one's serious about using this as the skeleton to their practice method, as I have, you actually have to develop an advancement system on your own. They don't provide one. You have the daily exercise in notation and tab, a couple short paragraphs on what it's teaching and a quick tip on how to properly play it, or how to get a little more out of it (such as switching up the picking style, etc.), the bpm speed range that the rhythm CD will provide, and a couple other small tidbits of information. Unless you're an extremely gifted player, you're not going to master even the first lick at its top speed of 112 bpm on the first day. You need to keep coming back to it for a while. Also, by the time you get to the first Friday's exercise, there's no way you'll master it the first day--I still goof it up. Plus, rushing through each one to max out the speed is not useful. You need to spend time with each one at slower speeds before cranking up the metronome. Such is basic practice knowledge.
It took me a bit, but I developed a plan of attack that I like. I start each new exercise at the slowest recommended staring speed, so far 40 bpm in every case.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Great for dexterity. I broke my ring finger while doing on OCR and was sidelined from the guitar for a few months. Finger recovered but was still weak playing. Read morePublished 8 days ago by Justin
The exercises in this book are laid out very nicely. One exercise each day for each technique, alternate picking, string skipping, rhythm, sweep picking. Read morePublished 11 days ago by W Burroughs
This book helped me do something I never would have done on my own: practice every day for a year. It's such a simple concept but it's brilliant. Read morePublished 13 days ago by StumbleFingers
This year, I resolved to use Guitar Aerobics as a basis for daily practise. So far I've stuck with it and I am developing a daily practise habit. Read morePublished 16 days ago by M.Ruddy
I still need to check out the CD portion of this, but the content is great. Very progressive and bent on repetition. I love it. This will be a very good year, indeed.Published 17 days ago by Amazon Customer