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Learning Guitar For Dummies
Visual Entertainment Group/Visual Entertainment Group . R4 . COLOR . 83 mins . E . PAL


Do you see yourself as a bit of a Jimi Hendrix, or maybe the next “Slowhand’? There is nothing wrong with that. We all need dreams and goals. The reality is, of course, that most of us will be lucky to end up a Phoebe Buffet. However, that should not deter you, and if playing a bit of guitar has long been something you would like to try but felt unsure where to start or what to do, then this DVD is going to come in very handy.

Broken up into nine logical and sequential lessons, this presentation from American guitar teacher Jon Chappell is excellent. His tuition is well paced, well explained and accompanied by excellent camera angles, on screen diagrams, icons, jargon explanations, myth busters and tips.

Learning Guitar For Dummies is aimed squarely at beginners who have played little or no guitar. It will take you right back to naming the various guitar parts, how to hold it, tune it and what each guitar type is, so if you already have some ideas about that, then you will want to skip a few lessons to where you actually start making some noise.

These instructional lessons start from the very basic naming of the strings and progress through basic chord structure, chord naming, changing chords and playing with rhythm. Right hand and left hand techniques are addressed separately and then together, and there are several styles examined such as playing full chords, fingerpicking and “boom-chick chick”. That basically involves playing a bass note before the rest of the chord.

The musical pieces used to demonstrate and accompany the lessons are appropriately simple and mostly traditional such as Skip to My Lou, Row, Row, Row Your Boat, and The Sloop John B. Most guitarists will tell you that the first tunes they learned were either these or others quite similar.

As said, this is aimed squarely at the true beginner who has had almost no experience. The lessons do increase in difficulty, and you will almost certainly have to spend some time learning what you have seen before you can move on to the next lesson. Chappell does sing the songs as he goes, and encourages beginners to do the same. Thankfully, he is no Bono or Sting and is not going to put anybody else to shame.

By the end of lesson nine, anyone who has mastered all they have seen is well on the way to being a decent guitarist. It is not going to happen in a couple of days, and determination, persistence, and discipline are required, but the pay off is a lifetime of enjoyment.

If you have ever thought about learning to play guitar, then grab this DVD, a six string, and get it happening. The only advice I would add is do not go and buy a $3000 guitar on day one, and do not expect to be playing like Keith Richards after just a few days. If you can accept that it takes time, effort, and yes, even a little pain (your fingertips will never be the same), then you are going to do just fine.


Being an instructional video, the video quality is probably not much of an issue for many, but fortunately this is a great looking full frame presentation that is very sharp and clear There is great colouring, excellent black levels, absolutely no shadow problems, and in all it is a very clean and clear presentation. There are excellent camera angles and some split screen techniques that allow you some great views of the action. There is but the slightest shimmer sometimes, no grain, and everything looks clean and shiny.

The audio is limited purely to Jon Chappell’s voice and the three guitars he uses. The excellent presentation has great volume and clarity. There are no issues with distortion or synchronisation. It is only a Dolby Digital stereo presentation, but even this is largely irrelevant. The most important thing is that Chappell’s instructions are loud and clear, and his guitars are clear and natural.

There are no extra features included other than a rather neat little booklet that has musically notated songs as played during the lessons.

There are countless guitarists all over the planet, and they all have one thing in common; there was once a time when they couldn’t even play an E chord. Some of them went on to achieve hero status, many have made mega-bucks from their passion and skill, and most progressed beyond Frere Jacques. If you want to join them, then Learning Guitar For Dummies is an excellent first port of call.

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  •   And I quote...
    "Don’t know your whammy bar from your G-string? This DVD will help..."
    - Terry Kemp
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