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214 of 221 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An excellent starting point
I will have to disagree with the negative reviews posted about "Dummies". I started learning guitar with no prior knowledge of anything musical. I could not play any musical instrument, I knew absolutely nothing about the world of music theory, notation, nothing. This book explains concepts very well; the lessons are easy to follow. And, I made it past part...
Published on December 20, 1999 by Jay

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34 of 35 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars A Good Start, But...
I concur with those who found the book useful, but not comprehensive enough. Its strengths lie in teaching how to strum early on, and how to use the basic patterns of different styles right away. I was certainly not bored, and some of the material (especially near the end, with the section on classical playing) is very challening. The CD is definitely a plus, and...
Published on November 19, 1999


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214 of 221 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An excellent starting point, December 20, 1999
By 
I will have to disagree with the negative reviews posted about "Dummies". I started learning guitar with no prior knowledge of anything musical. I could not play any musical instrument, I knew absolutely nothing about the world of music theory, notation, nothing. This book explains concepts very well; the lessons are easy to follow. And, I made it past part 1 chapter 3 just just fine, thanks. You won't get stuck, unless you are illiterate. IF you want to study theory, notation and scales (which I suggest you do after this book) then start here. Dummies will introduce to PLAYING, and that is the central thesis to this book. Not too much too soon, I found too little, I understood the music theory concepts perfectly, and found myself looking to the net for further explanations. Just remember that this book is meant only as an introduction, and a brilliant job it does of it.
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130 of 134 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great Book for overview of guitar but..., September 22, 2001
By A Customer
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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122 of 126 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great, great beginner's reference!, December 16, 2000
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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132 of 141 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Simply the best guitar reference book I have used., March 30, 1999
By 
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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42 of 43 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A great resource, May 30, 2005
My background:

I am an adult player and have been playing guitar for about a year and a half. I struggled for about 9 months, playing with a friend of about the same ability level. I would share what I had learned and vice versa. I am not "serious" in that I play purely for my own enjoyment and have no aspirations of ever playing professionally. I am "serious" in the sense that I want to sound decent and use proper techniques. My previous music experience on guitar is virtually nil. Prior to this, I basically knew the C, D, and G chords. Other music background; I played snare drum from 4-8 grades. I didn't and still don't know how to read music and although I see that it could be beneficial, would rather concentrate on playing music rather than reading it (at this point in my life).

What the book isn't:

This book is not a substitute for a guitar teacher. It never claims to be and in fact may even state such early on. It is not a music theory book although there is some theory (certainly enough for the recreational player). This will not satisfy a "purist" or someone who is planning on studying music with a focus on guitar. It is not comprehensive in either theory or style.

What the book is:

It gives some background in the beginning chapters, but in the first chapter you actually pick up the guitar (after tuning); you can play a song (Kumbaya). If you're a beginner, that is a real charge (not so much the song itself, but the fact of actually being able to play any song). The book is written in plain language in a style that is easy to understand, interjects humorous antidotes and encourages you to have fun. It is written logically, each skill building on the previous one, but not dependent on it. It is a reference. I mentioned being able to play a song early on, however, don't be fooled, there is definitely a learning curve here. It gives enough techniques to keep one challenged for quite some time. I have a hard time with barre chords and revisit the chapter periodically, but have been able to continue, learning other techniques. It is a book that will give a good overview. It will allow you to play songs and give you the desire to become a better player. It will give you a good foundation on which to build.

Summary:

Music is supposed to be enjoyable. In the tradition of the "for Dummies" series, it takes a subject that can be complicated and breaks it down into understandable parts, which doesn't mean you will be able to read it once and understand everything. It gives enough background to help you know what you are doing. It gives a good basis for going deeper into the subject. The bottom line is there is no substitute for hard work and practice.
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32 of 32 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars My Thoughts, January 9, 2000
By A Customer
I think that this is a pretty good book if you want to teach yourself guitar. When I picked it up I had had some previous guitar experiance and there are a few spots that could have been comfusing if I knew absoloutly nothing about this instrument. But I would still recommend that you buy this book. The graphics are good and it includes a lot of detail, and also has sections on how to clean your guitar, change strings, and picking out the right guitar to buy. Very informative and interesting. All the chords are clearly illustrated and so are the notes. Plus it doesn't focus on a particular guitar style or type, whatever you play, it has the info you need. A good buy!
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30 of 30 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars More than I expected, October 30, 2000
By A Customer
I'm a self-taught guitar player who's been playing for over 10 years. Unfortunately, all I've managed to teach myself is basic chords. This is the first book I've gotten my hands on that's showed me how to play basic scales and fake my way through some basic blues solos, etc. I also appreciated the equipment discussions. Though I skipped over a lot of the chapters that covered ground I already knew, I learned a fair amount from the rest of the book. Definitely better than those old Mel Bay books I used to have that made no sense whatsoever.
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34 of 35 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars A Good Start, But..., November 19, 1999
By A Customer
I concur with those who found the book useful, but not comprehensive enough. Its strengths lie in teaching how to strum early on, and how to use the basic patterns of different styles right away. I was certainly not bored, and some of the material (especially near the end, with the section on classical playing) is very challening. The CD is definitely a plus, and the ability to block out the accompaniment (by selecting a specific stereo channel) allows you to follow along and build playing strength. However, there is no chart of chords beyond those that are used in the songs, and the attempt at learning music notation is very meager. I used this book in conjunction with another. The other book used notation only, and I found that you can read time much easier with notation than with tablature (the latter being emphasized in this book). In short, the book gave me confidence that I could learn if I applied myself, but other manuals were necessary.
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33 of 34 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great Starting Point, July 15, 2000
I, too, bought a new Fender and this book. I wanted to sit down and learn some basics and see if I enjoyed playing guitar before going out to lessons. This book was probably the best at getting you playing the guitar as any I have looked at. The authors really zoom in on the important aspects of starting to play the guitar as well as adding some of the theory behind why and how things are done. After using this book for about a month, I was able to play recognizable tunes for people. This book got me to that point so fast, I really fell in love with playing and I have started taking lessons. The book propelled me way past beginner status so the lessons I'm taking are actually "more bang for my buck" and I'm playing real songs after only 2 lessons. I would recommend this book to any beginner who wants to learn the basics at their own pace. This is a must have for anyone starting out.
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22 of 22 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars If you buy this book, buy the dvd/video as well...., July 4, 2002
By 
Bruce Lyew (Toronto, Ontario Canada) - See all my reviews
I must say that I bought this book about 2 1/2 weeks ago. At first I was loving it. I read up to Chapter#4, then after that I found that I was starting to get stuck by it. I didn't know if I was doing it correctly. Also it seemed like too much at one time(I was starting to lose focus). But just two days ago I happened to stumble upon the video/dvd on Amazon.com. So I bought it too,in hope of pushing me on to pursue my interest. Well it paid off, I found that the video is a better way of showing you how to do it!! I'm not saying that you can't learn from just the book alone, but if you get stuck like me, the video is out there too!! (Together they both help you out) I don't think that anybody mentioned the video here before but if they did, nuff respect due. Thank you Jon Chappell for making this video, it really helps out a lot. And folks do remember to have "FUN" learning your guitar!! Peace
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Guitar For Dummies
Guitar For Dummies by Mark Phillips (Paperback - October 14, 2005)
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