on September 18, 2012
I can't stress this enough: if you purchase this product, and are willing to put the time in, this DVD/book set will completely change your playing in amazing ways. Give it just a LITTLE bit of time i.e. "wax-on, wax off" (see "The Karate Kid" for you younger folks) and you will see what I mean...If you are not willing to put a little extra time in, then ask yourself "Why not?" Trust me, it will not take much before you WANT to do it, which will accelerate the process.
Here is a letter that I wrote to Desi thanking him for the product, it summarizes my recent experience. Desi immediately wrote back, which was great to see that he genuinely cares for your learning process and feedback.
I wanted to write and thank you for your excellent Fretboard Theory book and DVDs. They quite simply have changed my life in so many positive ways.
I fell in love with guitar 25 years ago as a teenager during the height of the "hair metal" days. I was obsessed with guitar heroes like George Lynch, Steve Vai, Joe Satriani, Eddie, and many of the lead guitarist in the bands that looking back might appear silly with their long hair and outfits, but could really play their instruments. I soon began playing guitar and spending hours trying to get each tab note for note, which would often take weeks (if ever) given the complexity of some of these guitar solos.
This approach allowed me to build a small repertoire of sorts, while developing technique (bends, hammer/pulls) and impressive speed. But to say that I felt limited in my abilities, despite appearing as a major shredder on a few well learned songs, was an understatement. Soon frustration met college and career, and the guitar remained in its case for extended periods of time.
A few years ago I decided that it was time to take another stab at things and really improve me playing. After shaking the rust off, I quickly regained my earlier skills and even began experimenting with recording. But frustration again would limit my progress, I would play maybe 30-60 minutes a couple times a week and never really make any progress.
The main source of my problem was that in my head I was a complete genius virtuoso. Ever since those hair band days, it seems that on some level 24×7 my mind is composing riffs, leads, rhythms...I even air guitar constantly. But I could not remotely replicate this in real life.
A few months ago I came across your book and DVDs on Amazon, however I was leery of wasting money on a poorly written/organized system. Still, the glowing reviews reassured me and I placed the order.
The layout and format of your product was perfect for me in that it immediately gave me hope with the Pentatonic lessons. The book showed me the patterns that I already kinda knew, but I did practice them more. Following up with the DVD and seeing how they were really applied showed me instantly what I have been missing out on all these years. I immediately was able to start expressing myself. I felt like a 2 year old must feel like who can finally start talking...frustration left instantly.
This incentivized me immensely, I practiced up and down the fretboard in all the keys. My playing went from sporadic to several hours daily. I was finally soloing over all my iTunes songs seemingly at will. This got me over the hump so to speak when I got to the CAGED system. Seeing the value of what I was learning, I would spend hours just practicing arpeggios, whereas before I would have given up well before mastery.
My familiarity with the fretboard peaked just in time for the Major scale, and for the first time in my life I was playing by ear with I, ii, iii, IV,V,and vi after watching the DVD.
I got to Modes in the book, but completely missed the point at first as it seemed a little too "obvious". But I popped in the DVD, and it immediately brought everything FULL circle for me. THIS was the lesson where I finally felt like I could start playing what I was hearing in my head; designing my own mood versus reacting to randomness and "happy accidents".
I'm sorry for the long email, but I wanted you to know how massive this was for me and how your format was the catalyst. In less than 2 months, I have learned more about guitar than I have in my entire life, and my playing has improved 10 fold. It's exponentially improving every day, and being able to express myself has completely enriched my life."
on December 7, 2011
While I have not yet completed the entire course as I am still working on the pentatonic scale phase I have found the course presentation to be excellent and most useful in helping me better understand the "theory" behind playing the guitar. I have been trying to play the guitar for a couple of years now with limited success as I am not a natural and have little, if any, musicality in me. Following Desi's program has made it easier for me to understand the "fretboard" and has made the experience a enjoyable one. I highly recommend the program. For your information this is coming from someone who is 68 years old.
on June 30, 2015
If you don't understand MODES, make sure you get the MODES DVD, at a minimum.
I just received this just a day ago but skipped to the chapter on modes and wow -- finally someone made this concept simple.
The fretboard theory book is well written and I love that it is spiral bound and printed on fairly heavy paper. Nice quality there.
I've only begun to experience this course but I wish I had found it a decade ago! This is very likely to become one of my favorite guitar instruction packages. There are not very many on my short list of favorite instructional materials.
I will update the review further as I go through more of the course.
Update: I've gone through a few chapters of the book and even though I was very familiar with the pentatonic scales and CAGED chord forms, I learned a few things from both of those chapters. I have watched 2 of the 4 DVDs and really like the instructional approach of this material. In fact, I liked it well enough that I bought the 8 DVD Fretboard Theory II set, and the Theory II book in spiral bound as well. The DVD's really help because in addition to the written material, you get to hear the examples and also some of the song examples. Desi uses many many many popular song references to illustrate concepts - and that is a really great feature of the course...you can see, hear, and reference real world application of the concepts -- then go learn them. It helps to analyze what is going on in particular songs and how the basic concepts are applied. Emphasis is more on pattern visualization than musical notes and so forth, and I think you need both. But this is a well put together "course" and well worth the money. The book is good alone but for me DVD's are my favorite learning media - especially when coupled with strong written materials.
on February 13, 2013
I consider myself an intermediate guitar player. I have purchased several other guitar instruction DVD's in the past and most, if not all, of them had one frustrating thing in common...they all went too fast. So, I had to pause quite a bit and rewind to try to "get" the material. Desi's pace is just perfect and he CLEARLY presents the material and a very easy straightforward manner. The videos are also well done...at least the ones I've seen so far, which are the first two: the pentatonic scale and the CAGED patterns. The book is also drafted very well...again, very clear and done at a good pace with great detail. The spiral bound spine was an additional bonus with the book. I received this set as a Christmas present for 2012 and it's now February and I feel that my playing and my understanding has increased tremendously. The reason I'm still on DVD #2 is because I'm trying to master (or at least get comfortable) with the material that Desi has taught me so far, which takes time if you're trying to do it right. I'm very happy with this purchase.
on August 10, 2011
If you are an intermediate or advanced guitar player, buy this book and accompanying DVD's! Desi Serna's book, "Fretboard Theory" is a practical, comprehensive and truly clear guide to the mysteries of the guitar. There is not a wasted page in it......all meat and potatoes. Not only are the explanations of the concepts clearly written but also well illustrated in fretboard diagrams. He offers many, many examples of familiar songs which give the student opportunities to try what they have just learned on their own.
The 4 DVD's he has produced are just great. Desi is a truly great teacher and a really good guitar player. He has an engaging and encouraging personality and never "talks down" to the viewer. I stumbled across Desi on Youtube while looking for something else. His teaching style got me so interested that I went to his website [...] to learn more about him. I bought everything he had. I advise you to do the same if you want to more fully understand and enjoy the music you want to learn and play.