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Showing 1-10 of 440 reviews(Verified Purchases). See all 499 reviews
on May 15, 2011
Today I finish Week 6 in this book, and I honestly have only good things to say about it. Well--only good things at the end of it all, that is.

* 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. Once I've practiced it for a while and feel that I have it down at that speed, I bump the metronome up +10 bpm to 50, and move to yesterday's exercise, which I did yesterday at 40. Once I have that down at 50, I go +10 bpm again to the day before yesterday's exercise, which I did yesterday at 50, and so on, all the way up to 10 bpm past the top recommended speed for the exercise a little over a week ago. On days when I don't have much time, I'll do my best to just quickly learn the new exercise so I can practice it more at 50 bpm the next day. Thankfully I've only needed to do that a couple times. At first I struggled with "putting away" the much older exercises when I get so far from them, but was able to relax when I reminded myself that . . .

* Each day of the week is always the same technique area. Monday is always alternate picking. Tuesday is always string skipping. Saturday is always legato (hammer-ons, pull-offs, slides). Etc. In addition to that, each new week's exercise builds on or expands the previous week's, in most cases. I was actually getting frustrated with it at one point because of that. How many legato sequences can you build out of the same Am pentatonic scale? But then one week, it switched up dramatically enough that it felt new again. This at first seemed to me like lazy writing, but I changed my opinion. It is SO important that it is done this way. It's baby steps. Even advanced players need baby steps with new stuff and with mastering new techniques. Also, this helps my personal practice approach to the book--since, for example, this Thursday's arpeggio exercise is building yet again on the same ideas from the Thursday exercise from 2, 3, 4 weeks ago, I don't need to keep practicing those ones. I'm slowly building the complexity, which means I'm able to fly through the old ones without hindrance. With this slow build, however, keep in mind . . .

* There are a LOT of exercises here. If you stick with this and actually do this over an entire year, it would be impossible for it to not improve your playing. That's not because the book is magical or something, or so amazingly clever, but because to do so means you're practicing regularly and advancing slowly but surely. At the start of my sixth week of this book, I was getting a little frustrated that I'd been at it for seemingly so long but so little progress in regards to the complexity of the exercises had been made. So I took some time to finally put both the rhythm CD and the exercise examples CD onto my iPod for easy access. Well, I had to type out and name all 53 tracks on the example CD, and got reminded about how many exercises there really are. Today I do exercise 42. Of 365. My weeks aren't even in double digits yet.

So in the end, this is a great book if you use it exactly how they suggest. Don't make it your only book or source--be sure to throw in some scale sequences, chord progressions, exercises to memorize the note structure of the fretboard, music theory study, and get some tab or something for some songs you like, too--but this book can easily be your daily motivation.
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SIX MONTH UPDATE

Today I started week 27 of 52 in Guitar Aerobics. Yes, I've stuck with it 100%, and my opinion has remained absolutely the same as it was four and a half months ago. The only thing that has changed is my personal advancement system that I described before, which is now a week-by-week system where I perfect all seven exercises over the seven days in a given week, using both a metronome and the provided drum tracks, and then come the next Monday I start with seven new exercises and do the process over again. These daily exercises keep me immersed in a variety of techniques and genres and regularly challenge me with stuff I wouldn't have thought of on my own--and more often than not, with stuff that I wouldn't have ran into any other way--and my focus is form and technique rather than getting the exercise to "sound right." Not only has my playing noticeably improved, but I've developed new skills as well, my personal favorite being hybrid picking. I can say with absolute certainty that I never would have tried hybrid picking had it not been for this book.

Again, let me reiterate that my satisfaction and success with Guitar Aerobics is not because it's the most brilliant guitar book ever written or anything like that, but instead because it provides the core of the daily motivation that I lacked in previous attempts to maintain a practice schedule (in that the book becomes pointless once you start being careless about keeping up with it). It's not flawless. I do have a few gripes, but nothing that ruins the book and nothing that I'll list so as to avoid leading anyone into opinions they might not have had otherwise. I'll do a final update again in six months. Until then: If you are looking for a guitar book with lots in it, a wide variety of things to learn, and a structure that makes it easy to keep a schedule, then you certainly can't go wrong with this one.
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FINAL UPDATE

Unfortunately I cannot hold my head high and say I made it through all 52 weeks. I got to week 44 and stalled in light of life and frustration with the monotony of this book and finally, after six weeks of not being able to stick with it anymore, put it away. I said in my last update that I didn't want to list any gripes that I have in fear that I would influence someone else to have those same gripes, where they may otherwise not. Well . . . I'll loosen that rule up a little in order to state what I think is a valid "heads-up" to anyone who sets out on the same quest as me: brace yourself for a lot of mind-numbing monotony; like, more than you expect. For example, every Friday is a sweep-picking exercise. You'll learn that there's a five-exercise (or is it seven?) cycle that gets repeated throughout almost the entire book. After about 25-30 weeks of this, it can become too much to bear. The authors fall back on this repetitive crutch for several other days of the week, too (though Fridays are by far the biggest place for it). This doesn't ruin the book--after all, it's about getting better at guitar and not about entertainment, so monotony is part of the deal--but I think knowing what you're in for a little more might help one to weather more of it than I eventually could.

This is still a 5-star book in my opinion, though. As I've stated before, without this book providing the daily motivation, I wouldn't have advanced to where I am on guitar nearly as much. I had a solid 7-8 months of 90 to 180 minutes of daily practice largely due to using this book. I'll take it back out eventually, too, and maybe try to advance through it a different way or a different pace. It's by far the most important guitar book I own.
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on June 27, 2017
I have been playing a very long time and would like to think I am a solid player. Books like this let you know how sloppy you have become as a musician and quickly show you all the bad habits you have developed over the years to cover technical gaps in your skill as you learn riffs and progress.

Sometimes it is good to start over and take it slowly from the beginning and unlearn what you have learned.

I like the general practice concept of this book. Start slow and work up the tempo. It gives you a chance to work your mechanics and get it precise as you increase the speed. Perhaps more advanced players don't need to start at the ultra-slow tempos ... but it never hurts to start somewhere in the middle.

Personally, I found that I had become very sloppy on my chord changes and simple things like a D to C change I was dropping and deadening some strings. This showed up very noticeably on the arpeggios. In this case, slowing it down and working on mechanics got me retrained into a proper habit. I also found that I was blazingly fast and precise in one direction and laggingly slow and sloppy the other direction. I.e. I have most likely been covering up poor technique with more bad habits. Slowing down and working my way up to speed again got another bad habit developed over the years identified and on the road to recovery.

Overall, this is good for any level of player and i encourage new players to take their time and get the exercises down. More advanced players should just concentrate on the technique and take it as a chance to work on the fundamentals you may have forgotten along the way.

I found it helped me become less sloppy and get a better balance by working on things I should have worked on previously. Sometimes we can become too obsessed with learning licks and becoming instant guitar heroes versus taking the time to polish the fundamentals. Just a few minutes a day in this case will get you in the right direction.
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on March 28, 2017
I've been using this lesson book for over 3 weeks now and I am learning much of what I didn't learn years ago. There is a different kind of lesson every day of the week, for example, on Mondays alt picking, Tuesdays string skipping, Wed. string bending, and so on so you keep building on what you've learned. The other lessons are arpeggios, sweep picking, legato and rhythm. It is a great habit to get into - a few minutes every day, which usually leads me to continuing playing songs, or go back over previous lessons. I highly recommend this book. Only problem I have is the online recordings that go with each lesson are played on an electric guitar and for me the string bending doesn't go that well on an acoustic, but that might just be me.
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on September 16, 2013
ive put off starting as im taking lessons now too.i started first day first week execise this morning, I thought I had it pretty good . then I realized the bpms I was suppose to be at. I wasn't even near it , but through out the day have gotten a lot closer. what i'm getting at is at first I thought this was too much for me as i'm only a few months into learning guitar. but now realize a challenge is the point. now for a advanced guitarist I don't know if it will keep you interested. but the claim is the exercises get more challenging as you get further in. the cd that comes in the book are helpful to me as a beginner not quite understanding all the musical notation etc . you can here the tempo and bpm etc as it should be played. I only went through todays lesson on the cd, but on my laptop with windows media player I can skip ahead week to week and fast skip to each day within each week. I mention that because I read a review that says you cant do this. I brought this to my lessons to show my teacher . he has shot down most of what I try to do on my own.but this he said would be ok . I don't know if i'll be going exactly day by day with this but when I get stale its good to know I've got it to turn to for filler if needed. I seem to be a slow learner so it very well may be easy for someone else to handle as newbie with lessons. bottom line it's worth it.
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on May 29, 2014
I am only on week 3, so take that in consideration with my review.

I have been playing guitar on and off for 28 years. I must confess that I wish I were better, but that is why I got this book. I have glanced over all the lessons and I understand the teaching method this book presents. Even if I feel like I am in kindergarten at this stage, I am glad to get back into a normal practice routine and learning, or rather re-learning the basics at this point. I am sure that soon I will be challenged by the lessons, but overall I, so far it has been very useful and helpful to get back into shape!

I think I should also mention, you should know several basic concepts before starting this program. For example is assumes you know how to read literature and are familiar with the fret board. So, a brand new player may not get immediate benefit from the lessons. Nevertheless, as you advance and are ready for expand this seems to be a good addition to the learning library!

Also, it is a 52 week program, so be willing to hang in and keep committed to the lessons!
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on November 27, 2012
Overall thoughts:

I bought this book a little over a year ago, and I just finished exercise 365 today. I think this is one of the best guitar books I have ever run across. It is organized so well! That is why I actually completed the whole thing. I have tried other "lick a day" books, but they are so random. This one has an overall theme/strategy, so it keeps the momentum going forward. However, this book is not for everyone. I have been playing for 17 years now, have a music degree, and have taught guitar for a number of years. So you could say I was an "advanced" guitar player before even doing the exercises in this book. As a teacher, I would say this book is for intermediate to advanced students. If you are just starting out, you will be very frustrated by this book.

Details of my experience:

Even though the book says that week 18 is the start of "intermediate" level exercises, I decided to start at the very beginning. I completed 279 exercises at the highest or second highest speed from the rhythm tracks. I only had 3 weeks where I was able to complete all 7 exercises at the highest speed. Also, I skipped 3 of the exercises (all the Wed. string bending exercises) due to them being too painful on '10 gauge strings. So you can see, even if you are truly advanced, you will be VERY challenged by this book.

My recommendation to you:

If you have a hard time reading tablature and sheet music, this book might frustrate you. Each exercise is demonstrated on the CD though, so that could help to hear it first. I rarely listened to the exercises beforehand. Get this book if you want to truly work your *ss off, because it was a lot of work to make it through the entire book. However, I am playing better than I ever have, and I really am grateful to have stumbled upon this book.

Good luck!
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on May 11, 2016
A good book for technique improvement, especially for electric guitarist. I am playing acoustic but it is still useful to learn a lot (I suggest just skip some licks since not every of them is good to play in acoustic).
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on March 12, 2013
I'm only up to week eight, but these exercises have noticeably improved my overall guitar skills. Each week builds on the previous seven lessons with modifications and new challenges. The calisthenics focus on both hands: right hand picking and strumming, as well as left hand fret control. While it is geared toward electric guitar, acoustic practitioners will benefit equally well. The only drawback that I found was on the accompanying soundtrack. Each week must be played in its entirety. In other words if you want to repeat Thursday's lesson from week three, you first have to listen to Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday of that week. Otherwise this has worked perfectly for me.
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on May 23, 2013
This books promises you aerobics and aerobics it delivers! :)
So, being someone who is trying to get time to learn how to play for years now I was intrigued with the idea of the book that has a workout for each day of the year and not as a set of random workouts from 39 different "gurus" and from what I have seen so far this was a good choice.
The book offers a short workout for each day and it is up to you how long will you work at it. Being a newbie, I don't find the exercises easy but I don't find them too hard either and they certainly manage to inspire me to continue until I get it right.
It has a different style of playing for each day in the week:
MON: Alternate picking
TUE: String skipping
WED: String bending
THU: Arpeggios
FRI: Sweep picking
SAT: Legato
SUN: Rhythm
Also, there are 2 CDs included - one with the sound that you should actually produce while exercising and the other with rhythm supplied by drums for each exercise. Pay attention that the workouts are played using ELECTRIC guitar - did not stop me from practicing on my acoustic ;-)

Finally, why give 5 stars to this book: it is systematic, well laid out, the exercises increase in the skill needed to perform them, workouts are short and don't take too much time to get into them. But the biggest benefit (from my point of view) is that you have your workouts laid out for you for the whole year - you just need to concentrate on your 10 minutes of working out per day and in a year's time you can't be a worse player than you are now and if you have discipline to make it 10 minutes per day - you will probably enjoy playing more and more, workout more ore better and really improve in much much shorter time - just a feeling I have ;-)
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on June 13, 2017
I've bought a lot of books that try to teach how to play....this one is unique as it breaks down lessons by the day. As monotonous as some lessons may seem, it's a good idea to stick with the plan laid out within the book. If you have a metronome that's helpful in making some of the more mundane lessons a little spicier.
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