I’ve been following bassist Jeff Berlin’s work off and on over the years. He’s very outspoken about his thoughts on bass education especially on his Facebook page. However I’m not gonna focus on that aspect but am excited to share my thoughts on his very first book for electric guitar.
Jeff mentions on his Facebook update: “I wrote it to be as equally impactful with guitarists as its bass counterpoint is for bass players. In fact, I upgraded some of the bass etudes to fit the guitar and they ended up great.”
As I read through the book, it reminded me of the kind of sight reading I did when I started learning guitar as a classical guitar student. The cool thing about the exercises is that he builds on the logic of the open position, string by string and gradually increasing the difficulty as he adds more notes and more rhythmic subdivisions.
The book in uncompromising. It does what it sets out to do. This is not a book that you pick up for fun, but a book that you will study on your music stand daily to challenge your sight reading, musicality and technique.
Some of the exercises can be boring at the beginning, but patience rewards those who embark on this journey. I really liked the challenge of reading passages when he introduces rests and more syncopated phrases. As we go into the later part of the book, the etudes get really challenging especially when you get to the higher register and larger interval lines.
The book’s etudes reminded me of the kind of lines that I had to read whenever I had to sightread music in big band, ensemble, chamber and orchestra settings. Definitely useful training material and to be honest I wish I had access to this book before all my Malaysian Philharmonic Orchestra performances years ago.
All in all, this is a good addition to the guitar pedagogy world. I recommend this for serious guitarists who want to learn guitar from a musical aspect. For anyone who needs technical guidance (picking technique, posture, tone production), other resources or teachers would be great in conjunction with this book.
If you’re currently studying guitar with a private instructor, I recommend going through this book as part of your daily practice routine. It would definitely help as part of a balanced guitar practice routine.
Pros: Great book for learning to play single note melodies/lines on guitar.
TLDR: If you’d like to learn guitar in the same kind of structure typically seen in other instrument’s instrumental methods (learn by playing melodies systematically by reading lines), then get this book.
You can get this book from: https://www.jeffberlinmusicgroup.com/
I wrote a lot of other book, course and video reviews too.
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