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4.5 out of 5 stars
Guitar Exercises For Dummies
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49 of 50 people found the following review helpful
on October 29, 2010
After buying few books and one of the famous DVD full-guitar course I finally found what I needed and wanted in the first place.
I'm a self teaching guitar-lover.

--- About my research ---
I was looking for material to start from scratch and slowly build up some good technique. Some of the books I bought start with "easy-songs" that you can play right-away but after a while there is no overall real improvement in your technique. They get you accustomed to certain hands-movements and it gets boring very quickly.
The Full-course (Guitar Method by eMedia) is a "fun to play course" and overall interesting but after a while again I noticed no significant improvement about my technique/speed/strength especially in my "left-fingers-action". I was playing "happy and sloppy". In the end I wanted much more..
I looked on-line where you can find every kind of information, Tabs, Chords, free stuff and of course I got lost in that ocean of knowledge. All I wanted was a "DAY TO DAY EXERCISING ROUTINE" that will bring me up to serious playing.

--- About this book ---
If you know the very basics:
-How to correctly sit and hold a guitar.
-Which guitar will do for you (there are lots of free info on Internet about how to choose your first guitar).
-The knowledge of the various guitar-parts, the neck, the nut, the frets, etc.
-Basic knowledge of the music-terminology.
-How to strum and how to use a pick.
(all stuff that you can find free of charge on internet)
This book will boost you into learning solid technique.
It starts with the "famous-boring" exercises but guess what? they work! you will need to build some confidence and strength in your fingers before playing songs. This book teach you exactly that. Step by Step with discipline and patience this book will bring your concentration-mind-fingers-muscles-speed up to a ready-to-perform status.

MOST IMPORTANT OF ALL I EXACTLY KNOW WHAT I'M GOING TO DO WHEN EVERY DAY I PICK MY GUITAR UP. No trying new ways, Not trying new books, No trying the "fast-lane" to learn how to play. No bad feelings and discouragement. Simple as it sounds "my day to day routine" 1/2 hour or more when have the time. Patiently going "up the stairs" one step at the time and feeling great. Sooner than later I'll be able to play with confidence and challenge myself with complicate songs.

- A great easy-book for the serious beginner who wants to learn from scratch with scales, arpeggios, chords and more. It will bring you up from beginner to intermediate and you'll be able to tackle pretty much everything you want afterwords. That's the beauty of it. Want to learn flamenco? you'll have a good base to start from. Feeling like playing Heavy metal? guess what, you'll have a good starting point. Fingerstyle? again you'll be able to learn it.

- Also a book for intermediate who want to reinforce overall skills such as strength/speed/accuracy and have a ready-to-go routine to follow.

Buy it and practice every day with discipline. It is a "guitar-gym". This book has so many exercises to keep you busy for quite a long time and you won't be disappointed.
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29 of 30 people found the following review helpful
Guitar Exercises for Dummies is a great aid for developing technique. Its well-organized collection of scales, chords and arpeggios (in all different keys and patterns) provides a solid foundation for any player. Included are five patterns for the major scale, five patterns each for the three minor scales (natural, harmonic and melodic), and five patterns for arpeggios (major, minor and seventh chords). Thankfully, the book is well organized, so it's easy to find any scale in any pattern.

Once you learn how the authors name the five patterns (two start on the 6th string, two on the 5th string, and one on the 4th string), you can use the table of contents to quickly find any scale or arpeggio based on that pattern. Looking for a Bb minor 7th arpeggio starting on the 4th string? No problem. That's pattern #5 in 8th position (page 145).

Also included are chord exercises, which is unusual in a typical "exercise book." As a bonus, each chapter include. You also get a CD--nice playing! It's not really necessary for the scales, but it's nice for the songs. You won't find modes, or chords beyond the 7th here, but for a comprehensive collection of major and minor studies in all positions and keys, this 200+ page book is hard to beat.
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23 of 25 people found the following review helpful
on January 24, 2009
Drill, baby, drill! That's what this book is about, with its scales, scale sequences (patterns), arpeggios, and chords numbering in the hundreds. The exercises here are organized by patterns, and each pattern is presented as a neck diagram (complete with fingering) and in music & tab at the beginning of each section. I particularly liked the arpeggio and chord sections, as that's what most scale books don't deal with. Authors Mark Phillips and Jon Chappell include some interesting songs (Mozart, Irish songs, Christmas carols, etc.) that apply the material taught in the chapters. The book includes some speed drills in the back, and the CD is helpful, especially for hearing the songs at the end of each chapter, and for "keeping you honest" when trying to keep up with those seventh chord arpeggios. Nice work, Mark & Jon!
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
on August 18, 2010
I had checked this book out from the local library not knowing what to expect. Once I started going through it, I had to have a copy for myself to keep and continuously use.
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
on October 21, 2013
This book has very little content for its size. And the focus isn't really on providing "exercises" - the things you practice to improve your technique and speed. It's as much theory as exercise, only the theory isn't very clearly explained. At all.

And ... while it lacks an index, they don't seem to have included pentatonic scales (!), while covering less common scales in great detail.

I don't know who the target audience for this book is. The topic of the book is great - I need a guitar exercise book - but the reality is a disappointment.
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11 of 14 people found the following review helpful
on May 24, 2011
I checked this out from my local library, but had to put a hold on it and wait a month before I got it because it's so popular. After having it for three weeks . . . I'm still giving it 4 stars because reading and using this book will absolutely help you in learning guitar. It's structure is first teaching you the various scale patterns in one chapter, ending with a few songs using some of those patterns, then moving on to studying various kinds of scale sequences for those patterns in the following chapter, ending in a few new songs using said sequences. After that, you move on to different kinds of patterns, then their sequences, and of course songs.

In the end you've learned ONLY the diatonic patterns and arpeggio patterns.

On the plus side, the songs in each chapter are a nice touch. They're all open-source, mind you, including some Bach and lots of Christmas carols, etc. BUT that's a step further than many books go, which teach you guitar as a series of building blocks and almost forget the entire idea is to make music.

After that, though, I do have some gripes.

First of all (and please know that I get frustrated at other reviewers for knocking any book for not doing something it didn't intend to do, so pardon my mild hypocrisy), but I feel like the authors missed a golden opportunity. They teach you the scale patterns, and order them based on which string contains the root note, developing their own internal numbering system for them (pattern #1, pattern #2, etc.). Not only is that a little confusing, but they've bypassed the fact that those patterns interlock with one another via the CAGED system. Now I know they've set out to give exercises and not help you memorize the fretboard, but the two should really go hand-in-hand--like how a note written on a staff represents pitch AND rhythm: you can leave out one or the other but you're short-changing the pupil.

Second, they only get to arpeggio patterns. There's SO much more in getting comfortable on the guitar that they could have touched on, and which I expected when the book is called "Guitar Exercises . . ." What about ascending and descending triads and quadrads? What about lead patterns? What about . . . did they do pentatonic scales? I don't remember. I don't think they did pentatonic scales. How can you skip pentatonics? Maybe I'm wrong--I returned it a week ago. Regardless, diatonic patterns and arpeggio patterns is pretty light content for the amount of potential in a book based around nothing but Guitar Exercises.

Thirdly and lastly, their "exercises" are JUST scale sequences. You can go online and get scale sequences. Here's my favorite online spot for them: (they removed the link--google "Guitar Cardio"--first result). It's not a perfect site, but it gives you almost what you get in this book, minus arpeggios. The sequences in "Guitar Exercises for Dummies" are very good, and a handful are very challenging, but when I saw that was all they gave, I felt something on par with getting a book on, oh, let's say abdominal exercises to find it teaches only a variety of ways to do sit-ups. There HAS to be something more than expansions on what I already know, but it's not found here.

You can argue that the book is "for Dummies," thus explaining its limited material . . . but personally I thought "for Dummies" meant "in language you can understand," and not actually "because you're simple and slow and we don't want to overload your poor hindered mind."

In the end, I wouldn't say don't get this book--the price isn't awful and the information is not bad or misleading. It just had much more potential than they actually used.
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
on June 22, 2011
I was lukewarm on the book and CD for the first month of picking it up and doing the exercises. Then I got to some of the minor scale examples (after impatiently skipping ahead to arpeggios) then finally realized the value. Specifically, a G minor Allegro example from Handel that I never would have found or known about without this book demonstrating all the Exercise points in a beautiful simple masterwork. Sure made me more aware of how great a genius Handel was, talk about packing a maximum of feeling, mastery and drama into a minimum of notes. Now the problem is I can't quit doing Allegro minor scales - but it keeps me out of trouble. Oh yes, if anyone out there knows the HWV # for p.p. 68-69 let me know. This is not immediately recognizable, esp. for a Dummy, unlike the more famous Bach, Mozart and pop examples.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on December 5, 2012
I really have to say this is a complete workout book. My skills have flurrished because of Guitar exercises for Dummies. The scales in this book are easy to follow and to comprehend. None of the questions that newbies normally have with other fast tracks and plenty of book to read.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on April 21, 2013
As promised, as advertised. Content was just a little dissapointing. Could have had longer and more involved exercises,other than that I'd buy again.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on April 11, 2013
If you follow the instructions you can't help but improve. It goes step by step and is easy to comprehend.
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