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A Selection Of Guitar Books


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We don’t have the “Helpful Guitar Resources” Forum yet, so I’m putting it here for the time being. I have a couple of publications from FUNDAMENTALCHANGES and I find them to be very well thought out and structured. The site has a pretty big selection by now, and everyone can find something for themselves. 

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I have found those Fundamental Changes books to be good too. I have The Complete Guide to Blues Guitar and a couple of others. You have to go download the tracks, but after that they are really nice books.

I also like the "100 Rock Lessons", "100 Blues Lessons", "100 Country Lessons" series. There are DVDs that you can buy as well for additional licks ("100 Blues Licks", etc.)

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I have the Fundamental Changes "The Chicago Blues Guitar Method" and it looks good.  I really haven't studied it yet.  The download itself wasn't a big deal to me.  But Joseph, I gave you the email address to get the download.  Do you have to email me every 5 minutes now?!?!  (Or so it seems :$)

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I posted this several days ago under the 'Music Theory' forum:

I ran across the Skeptical Guitarist series by Bruce Emery over the holiday break. The following books are a great compliment to Steve's lessons:

  • Guitar from Scratch
  • Guitar from Scratch - the Sequel
  • Music Principles for the Skeptical Guitarist: Volume One - The Big Picture
  • Music Principles for the Skeptical Guitarist: Volume Two - The Fretboard

Bruce's website is here: http://www.skepticalguitarist.com/

Bruce is an entertaining writer. All the books are down-to-earth and a fun read.

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I really like the idea of a Guitar Book section.  I love to read and learn.  I hope some of the rest of you will provide some books you have found to be interesting.  Here are a few I have read ... I will present others if you are interested.

Guitar Capo Mastery: A Step-By-Step guide to Using Your Capo Like A Pro
Sean Laughton
ISBN: 9781520664446
Got my copy from Amazon $8.95

Before reading this book I really knew nothing about capos; I considered them cheaters for people who could not play the guitar ... but I was wrong.  The capo actually can provide many benefits.  Mr. Laughton has broken his instruction into 3 areas: 1) Getting to Grips with your Capo, 2) Unlocking the Power of your Capo, and 3) Mastering your Capo.  The book begins with the correct application of the capo and the goes to keys and scales.  It shows several ways to use the capo and what happens to the music with its application.  He also includes a list of songs on You Tube that he uses to demonstrate the use of the tool.  This is a small book … 67 pages, but it has a lot of information in it for all grades of guitar players.


Teach Yourself The Guitar
Dale Fradd
NTC Publishing Group
LCC card number  92-80885
1990 (Originally published in 1932)
122 pages
You probably will have to check Abe Books or Ebay for this book.  I bought my copy in an airport book store many years ago.

This is a small book in structure … 5”X8”.  When I bought my copy I carried it with me on my travels for something to read.

The book is a full study of the classical guitar.  Like most guitar books the text begins with how to select the correct guitar (classical in this case).  It covers Basic Right and Left Hand Techniques and the basic theory of music.  Various chapters also present the phrasing and interpretation and playing with others.  The two areas I liked the best are the historical outline about the development of the guitar and the final chapter that is a glossary of terms used in guitar music … the neat thing is the terms are defined and shown in the original French, German, Latin, and Spanish.  Yes, the book is in English :)

Highly recommend if you can find it.

In Search of My Father: A Warm, True Story by the Daughter of Merle Travis
Pat Travis Eatherly
Broadman Press, Nashville TN
ISBN 0-8054-5727-5
191 pages

To start … “yes” Pat Travis Eatherly is Thom Bresh’s half sister.  If you are at all interested in Merle or the early Nashville and picking scene this is a must read book.  Like many of the country singers i.e. Hank Williams, Johnny Cash, etc. Merle had a mixed and at times rough life.    To review this book is hard because you are trying to cover the entire life of a man in only a couple sentences.  Dale Evans Rogers (Yes, Roy Rogers wife) wrote about this book … “Every parent and child should read In Search of My Father.  This poignant, real-life story reveals the deep need to love, communicate, and care between parent and child.  Pat has been painfully honest in this account”.  Chet Atkins wrote the forward to the book … “Merle Travis could write you a hit song and sing it; he could draw you a cartoon, play you a great guitar solo or fix your watch!”

My interest in the book is because I love the Travis and Bresh playing.  And to add to it my dad was one of 18 kids born in Kentucky to the same ma and pa.  One of his brothers started a butcher shop and Merle worked for him hauling meat around in an old model T or A.  He became very close to the family and in the book there is a picture of my aunt presenting Merle the key to the city (Drakesboro, Ky).  

Merle came through my town many years ago and I saw him perform.  I was with others at the time and could not remain behind to meet him, but I left a note asking him if he would like to come out to the house for some Baugh’s BBQ.  As I walked into the house after the concert the phone was ringing and it was Merle.  He had another engagement the next night and could not come out but we gabbed on the phone for over 45 min.  I met “The Breshman” a couple years ago and it truly brought back memories.

Be ready to laugh and cry if you can find this book.  I found my copy on eBay.  Well worth the read!!!!!!


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After members get their feet wet and understand a little about chords, they might be interested in Muriel Anderson's book Building Guitar Arrangements from the Ground Up.


Here is her arrangement of the Peanuts song:


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Very comprehensive list, Brad.  Thank you.  I am especially interested in the " Guitar Capo Mastery".  I am about ready to buy one and try using it so perfect timing.

I finished up Eric Clapton's eponymous autobiography a year or two ago.  There was nothing in it that hadn't been covered in the press or documentaries.  But a Clapton fan is still probably going to find it interesting. I did.

I just started Carlos Santana's autobiography, "The Universal Tone".  I'm not far enough into it to recommend it or not but so far it has been very interesting.

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  • 3 weeks later...


Howdy All,

Well I picked out a couple books that I have had for a few years. The unique point of my selections are that both books are written by Douglas B. Green …. Ranger Doug of the “Riders in the Sky” and he is also a singer and rhythm guitar player for the “Time Jumpers”. If you go through the archives of Steve’s shows you will find Doug and Steve talking about rhythm guitar.

Singing in the Saddle: The History of the Singing Cowboy

Douglas B. Green

Vanderbilt University Press

ISBN 978-0-8265-1506-3

The book cost about $20 and is available on Amazon or the Riders in the Sky web page.

A standing ovation for Mr. Green and this book!!!!

Now Ranger Doug and I are about the same age, so I totally understand where he is coming from and why I loved the book. In the 50-60s you could find me driving around in an old blue chevy with a couple saddles in the back and my German Sheppard sitting next to me in the cab. We would have the radio turned up full blast to any country and western station I could find. Before I go farther I should give the definition that separated country and western music. Country is about booze drinking, he or she doing another wrong song, and hating your job. Western songs on the other hand are about the silver moon, lazy shadows, and dusty trails … environmental songs if you will.

I’m sure Ranger Doug worked his butt off putting this book together!  The book starts with the introduction of cattle and horses to the americas and gradually works it way through the civil war and development of the cattle industry. Music is introduced from the medicine wagon and steamboat times. Doug has a fantastic way of writing that is very descriptive and smooth. He slowly moves you through several life times where you gain a lot of knowledge and it is a pleasure not a chore. The book does not leave you asking “what if” or “how come” questions. This is particularly so when he discusses the various movie producers and studios.

The book goes from the New York stage presentations to the Chicago radio shows with many participant presented in each phase … along with their contributions to music and especially western music. Many of the people I had never heard of and others were very much a part of my life. Mr. Green has chapters on the Sons of the Pioneers, Roy Rogers, Gene Autry, Tex Ritter, Jimmy Wakely. If any one made a western movie with singing called for in the script they are mentioned in this book … along with their life stories. Most of the “B” westerns began during the “depression” years. Most of the singing cowboys were just guitar players looking for a job. This was the first big push for the average individual to learn to play the guitar and look for work. The book goes up through the “Riders in the Sky”, Willy Nelson, Chris LeDoux, as well as "The Sons of the San Joaquin".

Now if you are close to my age you will find this book will bring back a flood of memories. At one time in my life I was the youngest professional horse show judge in my state and lot of the actors and musicians in the book would show up to a fair or powwow I was working and we would get a chance to talk horses and music. For the most part they were a great bunch of individuals working at their chosen profession. Thanks Doug for some super memories.

For you who are younger music lovers … Western music became popular during the Blues, Jazz and Big Band era and each contributed to the other. This book is a true history of the guitar during this time and especially the western rhythm guitar. You owe it to yourself to read this book and add more guitar history to your knowledge.



Rhythm Guitar The Ranger Doug Way

Doug Green

Suze Spencer Marshall

Centerstream Publication


ISBN 978-1-57424-204-1

Publication is available on Amazon and at the “Riders in the Sky” web page $16


The combined efforts of Doug Green and Suze Spencer Marshall created this book. Doug plays rhythm guitar for both the “Riders in the Sky” and “Time Jumpers”. Suże is a guitar instructor in the Pacific Northwest and plays rhythm guitars for the western swing big band “Way Out West”.

A couple comments, found in the book, that are made by Doug are: 1) “You can play all the fanciest chords in the world, but the heart of getting that sound out of your guitar is your right hand”; and 2) “If less is more with the left hand, it is also true for the right: if you find that sweet spot on your guitar you don’t need to bang it or trash it to get the sound out.” Doug continues …. “I urge you to experiment to find the way that’s best for you”.

Doug talks about his own history and the influence of Karl Farr (Sons of the Pioneers) and Freddie Green (Big Band of Count Base). He also describes his guitar collection … according to George Gruhn he truly has a “collection” not just an accumulation of guitars.

Before the tunes are presented there is a discussion about each song … why it was selected and suggestions on how it should be played. A page of chord diagrams used by Doug is present although most chords are also diagramed over the chord names identified within the song.

This book is just chucked full of great songs … After You’ve Gone;  Ain’t Misbehavin’;  All of Me;  Along the Navajo Trail;  Amber Eyes;  Avalon;  Compadres InThe Old Sierra Madres;  Embraceable You; How High the Moon; Idaho; Jessie Polka; Limehouse Blues; Lullaby of Birdland; Miss Molly; Oh Lady, Be Good;  Out of Nowhere;  Polka Dots and Moonbeams; Racing With the Moon; Red River Valley; Right or Wrong; Sally Goodin’;  Suzette’s Blues;  Tangerine; That’s How the Yodel Was Born;  Tumbling Tumbleweeds;  Wah-Hoo; The Yellow Rose of Texas


This is a chance to get rhythm guitar music that you can play and lay down as a back track on your looper … opening you up to some big band soloing.



Ranger Doug, Andy Reiss (Also look for Andy in Steve’s archives … Steve only brings in the best!!), and Bobby Durham put out a great guitar cd.

“The Art of the Archtop”

Andy played the solo guitar

Ranger Doug the rhythm guitar

Bobby Durham played string bass and sousaphone

The cover description on the disc reads …. Three old friends, a couple of stellar guests, a couple of hot summer days, a stack of classic swing tunes and a room full of priceless Stromberg and D’Angelico archtop guitars. It’s a recipe for good times and a celebration of the rich, full, exciting, romantic sound of the acoustic arch top guitar. No amps, no pickups, no electronics, just classic instruments, classic music: The Art of the Archtop. To me there is not a lie in the paragraph.

The songs on the disc are: Blue Lou;  Do Nothing Till You Hear From Me;  Love Me or Leave Me; Besame Mucho; The Nearness of You;  I Can’t Believe that You’re in Love with Me;  Usted;  You Took Advantage of Me;  I’m Confessin’ that I love you;  Stompin’ at the Savoy;  Skylark;  Exactly Like You.

OK I am partial to Big Band and Western Swing.  However this is a great disc with great guitar artists and it should be in your collection … I don’t care what age you are. There may never come another time to hear such music.

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It took me a while to get through all of this fascinating info but I'm glad I took the time.  That was very interesting.  Thank you for the great research!

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One more book for this month.  The main reason I am presenting it to you is Amazon has a heck of a buy on it and I would hate to see them all gone without me telling you about the book.

Total Guitar: The Complete Guide to Playing, Recording and Performing every Guitar Style with Over 1000 Chords

Terry Burrows
Barnes & Noble Books
ISBN  0-7607-1166-6

256 pages

I paid $25 for my copy when it first came out …. Amazon has them available for 25 cents!!!!!

I have the hard cover copy and it is a beautiful coffee table book (There is a soft cover copy available).  The book is done all in color!!

Since it has been a few years since I read the book … although I use it as a reference I will just give you a list of topics along with a couple comments for this review.  More interested in getting the deal out to everyone  (No I have no connections with anyone producing the book or Amazon.)

Chapter I   The Guitar …  As you would expect this is the history of the guitar which is broken down into several sections:  The First Guitars; The Classical Tradition; Guitars in America; How a Guitar Works and The Electric Guitar.

Chapter 2  Playing the Guitar …  Sections include Picking; Playing Chords; Scales and Keys; Lead Guitar Effects; Country Guitar; Modes; Jazz and the Guitar; Acoustic Techniques; Slide Guitar.  Several other sections are also included.

Chapter 3   The Chord Finder …  This chapter lists and shows the finger structure of over 1000 chords (all in color).

Chapter 4   Guitar Maintenance …  Sections in this chapter are: Taking Care of the Guitar, Changing Strings, Setting up, and Cleaning and Storage.

Chapter 5   Gettin a Sound …    Sound and Amplification; Amplifiers in Practice; Finding the Right Sound; Altering the Sound; Pitch, Volume, and Tone Effects; Combining Effects, and a Table of Effects make up the break down of this chapter.

Chapter 6 Performing and Recording …  This is the final chapter and consists of The Recording Studio; Where to Begin; Preparing to Record; Understanding the Studio; Connection to the Desk; Studio Effects; Microphones; Recording the Guitar; Home Recording Formats; Putting Together a Project Home Studio; Laying out the Studio; Computers and MIDI; Taking to the Stage; The Live Guitar; Selling Your Soul; Mass Production and Spreading the Word.

I realize that it is somewhat a dated book and this may be the reason it is a great buy, but it still has good information in it and you can use it as a reference, a history text, and a good start to developing questions about the advancing industry.

Oh, I might mention that throughout the book there are off sets about Charlie Christian; Eddie Van Halen; Chet Atkins; Les Paul; B.B.King; **** Dale and others.

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I have another book for you and I have no idea where you can get it.  I have had it for many years.  I was playing around with my classical guitar the other day and I got thinking … when did I first become interested in classical music.  I was always a Bob Wills Texas Playboy fan.  And then I realized it was back in the days of radio (For you youngsters a radio was a little brown box that you could hear the news, music, and stores.  Oh what stories!!!  And 3 of the best productions came out of WXYZ in Detroit.  And they used classical music for their themes and during the adventures as fill in.  Some shows had live bands and orchestras while others used wax recordings.  Most shows were not recorded until around 1938.  Anyhow the 3 shows that taught me to love classical music were The Lone Ranger (The finale of Rossini’s William Tell Overture), The Green Hornet (Rimsky-Korsakov Flight of the Bumblebee) and Sergeant Preston of the Yukon (Reznicek Donna Diana Overture).  Interestingly this may bring me to like some Metal picking … I will tell you about this later.

The Mystery of the Masked Man’s Music: A Search for the Music Used on “The Lone Ranger” Radio Program, 1933-1954
Reginald M. Jones, Jr.
The Scarecrow Press
Metuchen,NJ & London
ISBN 0-8108-1982-1

219 pages

As I mentioned earlier I have no idea where or when I got my copy.

Reginald Jones most definitely had a love for the Lone Ranger program and the music because what he went through to write this book was done over many years with a lot of work.

The Lone Ranger was first broadcasted on January 31, 1933.  It was done live in a small studio with a small band … “Mountain Pete” and his Mountaineers.  They would play music that they thought fit the scene i.e. “Home on the Range”, “Red River Valley”, etc.  Long story short Pete and the boys went to Hollywood Ca. to get in the movies. About the same time Republic Pictures staff had heard the Lone Ranger on radio and thought it would make a great serial on screen.  With the move to the movies and wanting to keep the movie and radio show as much alike as they could Fred Flowerday was hired for $12.50 per week to search for suitable musical excerpts … this was in 1934.  Like all productions the music followed the mood of the story … chase scene, fight scene, love scene, pleasant day etc.  And with this in mind only excepts of productions were used so many time the production from which the excerpt was cut was not identified. And again at that time data on the music was really not maintained.

Jone interviews multiple individuals that worked on the show and gained as much information as he could and then moved on to the next person.  

He found hundreds of music excerpts that had been used just on that one show.  I will list few at this time:

COMPOSER                      COMPOSITION

Dukas                        The Sorcerer’s Apprentice

Jolin                        Maple Street Rag

Rossini                        William Tell Overture

Tchaikovsky                    Romeo and Juliet

Wagner                    A Faust Overture

Wagner                    The Flying Dutchman Overture

Wagner                    Renzi Overture

Wagner                    Ride of the Valkyries

To those of you that are music majors you will find this a very interesting book not only because of the arrangements listed but also in the description of the production of the music to the show.

O.k. that is how I learned to love classical music and now I have a couple downloads that will present the 3 major songs and with the exception of Donna Diana the others are done on guitar … I think you will understand when I say I need to listen to more metal:)





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On 2018-02-08 at 3:07 PM, Brad Baugh said:

I think you will understand when I say I need to listen to more metal:)

Yes ..., but not necessarily. :)

“Flight of the Bumblebee” 

Classical Medley 


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On 2/2/2018 at 8:16 PM, Brad Baugh said:


Now if you are close to my age you will find this book will bring back a flood of memories. At one time in my life I was the youngest professional horse show judge in my state and lot of the actors and musicians in the book would show up to a fair or powwow I was working and we would get a chance to talk horses and music. For the most part they were a great bunch of individuals working at their chosen profession. Thanks Doug for some super memories.



I've been meaning to respond to this and keep getting distracted.  Sorry for the delay.

What kind of horse shows and what state? I am a National Reining Horse Association approved judge and an American Quarter Horse Association approved judge. 

And, again, what state or where are you from that you attended Powwows?  I'm about an hour from Winnebago and Macy, NE.  They have two huge ones every year that we often hit.  Of course, we have quite a few smaller ones here in Omaha area.  And my mother is from South Dakota, the Rosebud area ( a town called St. Francis) and that is Powwow country!   I used to spend a lot of time there, summers,  when I was young.

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I am in Washington State.  My horse show judging was back in the 50-70s.  Most of the shows I worked were in Washington, Idaho, Oregon, Montana and British Columbia.  I held several licenses i.e. American Horse Show Association; Canadian Horse Show Association and a couple others.  I judged everything from western and english to jumping and dressage.  Loved it.  I was working on a Quarter Horse License and did a lot of Jr. judging with QH judges, but because I raised Arabian Horses instead of Quarter Horses I could never get approved, but I still had a heck of a good time with all the quarter horse people.  Also worked close with the cutting horse group and the polo club.  Reining patterns were just starting.  Spent time on the local reservation with a friend trading horses and my brother in law married into the Blackfoot tribe so spent time in Montana in my younger days.  I traveled so much with my work that when I retired I told my wife I wasn't driving anymore and she was the driver for the family.  I haven't driven for 4 years ... by choice. In fact I skipped my favorite rodeo last year and I doubt I will go this year ... just tired of crowds and the me first attitude of many people on the road now days.  Still have 3 horses in my back field ... don't know what it would be like not to have a horse and a dog around.  I have driven through the Dakotas but have not spent any time in the area.  I am an avid western history buff and if I could go back and meet anyone in history my first choice would be Wild Bill.  But as usual I am getting off the trail.  I'm glad you wrote ... it is nice to meet new people that like guitars and horses:)

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  • 3 weeks later...

Hi All,
Before I present my book review for this month I would like to tell you of a great experience I had.  I have been looking for a new classical guitar and I followed all the directions that Steve has given us about purchasing an item.  However I could not find the guitar I wanted within our local community so I went to the web … this was also suggested by Steve during one of his presentations.  Anyhow I found Kraft Music  and I thought I would take a chance and order a guitar bundle.  They not only first notified me that my ordered had been filled but continued on contacting me during the shipping of the guitar and after it arrived (especially with the worthless blundering services of UPS).  They wanted to make sure I was completely satisfied.  Now the item may not be the top of the line, but when you are retired all the money you spend is important.  I can not say enough about the service rendered by this company and I am looking forward to doing more business with them.  If you think they might be of help to you give them a call or visit their web page.  They are in Franklin, Wisconsin.  Highly recommend!!!

Will Mitchell
Sales Advisor
Kraft Music, LTD.
(800) 783-3368 Ext 4053
Fax: (414) 858-9770


This month I will give you a couple reviews and hopefully a new treat.  Last fall I began to look for a specific guitar book that I had heard about, but the best I could do was to find a copy of the book for $400 (this is a 40 page booklet) however it was not available … so I kept looking.  While searching I ran across a neat web site …  SCRIBD.COM  


If you have used this web you will know what I mean when I say its a hoot.

There is something for everyone.  It is not only made up of guitar information but it also has general books, etc. … including Willy Nelson’s autobiography. :)

You will get a free trial when you first go on the web and then there is a small monthly fee if you want to continue access to everything they have.  I find myself going to the web several times a month

Both of my review booklets for this month are “free” from this web page.  Have fun exploring everything they have

Diatonic Major and Minor Scales
Andres Segovia
This little 9 page booklet offers up the musical scales one right after another.  I could see where those who first picked this study up because Segovia recommended it could have become frustrated with the practice.  It is more the presentation rather than the task.  It is nice to have a copy just from the historical standpoint … especially for your classical guitar bookshelf.

The next booklet expands on Segovia’s scales

Segovia Diatonic Major
and Minor Scales:
A Pattern Approach.
David P. Aitken

Mr. Aitken opening remarks to his presentation reads …  “While there are other publications of scales for Classical Guitar, Segovia's has become the de-facto  standard. There are many reasons for this:
• It was the first publication solely dedicated to playing scales for Classical Guitar. It contains 24 scales, 12 Major and the
associated melodic minor scales.
• The scales allow the student to become familiar with virtually the whole fretboard of the guitar.
• By following Segovia's suggestions, it enables the student to develop both speed and technique.
And, of course, it carries the Segovia name. A name that is synonymous with guitar excellence.

Having said that though, the 8 page publication with the 24 scales can be daunting to the student. How am I supposed to remember all those? Couple this with the general approach of teaching the scales, which often involves starting at the beginning with C Major and steadily working through all 24 to D minor. Although the student gradually becomes familiar with all the scales, they may lose their enthusiasm along the way.”   

However, Mr. Aitken has taken the time to place the scales of Segovia out on the fretboard in a colored pattern approach … much more pleasing to study. 

I have pulled out my Steve Krenz  Major Scale Mastery Levels 1 and 2 and I have taken the patterns developed by David and added them to PDF with Steve’s course … it just gives me additional practice forms to cover and repeat.

You may want to download this booklet while you are checking out the web … hey, its free.

O.K. next month I will look at a couple books I have found in the Classical Guitar world that talks about the physics of the guitar sound and also guitar techniques.

Have a good month.

March Book Review.pages

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  • 4 weeks later...

April book review posted early since Easter falls on the 1st.

Last month I briefly touched on the Classic Guitar and Segovia scale practice.  I will continue this month with three more classic guitar books.  The books this month are more directed towards playing the guitar and the physics behind the instrument.  (Less history:))  I have included both John Duarte and John Taylor’s books.

Side note … as these books are limited in the number of pages that make them up I could not figure if they were actually books so I did some research with this result….

    “According to UNESCO definition, a book is “a bound non-periodical publication having 49 or more pages”. However, USA postal service defines a book as “a bound publication having 24 or more pages, at least 22 of which are printed and contain primary reading material, with advertising limited only to book announcements”.

Take your pick if these are books or booklets:)

The Bases of Classic Guitar Technique for Guitar
John W. Duarte
Great Britain
36 pages 

www.stringsbymail.com … $9.50

Must Read !!

Now I consider myself to be very lucky and have approached life as a neat scientific experiment.  Throughout my life I have accumulated 8 university degrees in various subjects (none in music) and have done everything a little boy in my generation wanted to do from being a cowboy, working with the circus, chasing Bigfoot professionally and flying in all types of aircraft as well as traveling in all forms of watercraft.  Now why do I say this … because of John Duarte’s statement:  “My first discipline was that of a scientist and, over a period of many-years, I have applied it to the observation of the playing of most of the world’s greatest players - not only in the concert halls but also in the comfort of my own home.  ”Duarte continued ….”The object of this book is to present a fundamental basis for sound technique, resting on the underlying principles, in such a way that any student (or teacher) may understand his real objectives and assess his own situation and /or progress in relation to them.”

A scientist always respects another scientist even if he doesn’t agree with him … I had to read this book!!

Duarte remarks about the differences of how we play because of our own anatomical differences.  I then thought of Merle Travis learning to play with basically his thumb and one finger and Jerry Reed not able to use his index finger because of extreme arthritis.

Because the techniques applied to the Classical Guitar appears to be very specific I was surprised by Duarte acknowledgement of individual differences.  Regarding this book Duarte further states, “None of the principles or directives is of my own invention, all represent the distillation of the practices developed by the finest players in the world, reduced to a logical order and separated from the dictates of a particular physique.”  “It is written in the belief that, even more important than to know what one is doing, is to understand why it is done in that way - to comprehend the problems to which the actions are solutions.”

I believe the strength in this book comes from the following statement …”Everyone must find the detailed ways to use his own hands to work within the framework of the basic principles, and should not try to copy anyone else.” 

“ With typical wisdom Segovia often said ‘You should strive to become the first Yourself, not the second Segovia”.

The book is broken down into the following chapters and explores the applied techniques.


First Principles
Positioning and Use of the Hands (The Right Hand … The Left Hand)

Appendix one  Nails and Flesh

Appendix two  Care of the Nails

Appendix three  Vibrato

Appendix four  Stability through contact

As addressed above I learned a lot from the book and mark it as a “must read” (I do “must read” on a very limited basis).

The Guitarist’s Hands
John W. Duarte and Luis Zea
Universal Edition
35 pages

Purchase it here... https://www.boosey.com/shop/prod/Duarte-John-W-The-Guitarist-s-Hands/2017150

After reading my first book by John Steinbeck I had to read all of his other writings because in my opinion he truly understood life.  So up came another book by John Duarte and it was on my must read list because I truly enjoyed his first book.

You may want to break out Steve’s video on Speed and Agility before you look at this book.  Maybe its Steve’s presentation that makes me feel more comfortable, however Duarte also encourages everyone that they can improve but ……….

O.K. this book by John Duarte follows from the first text, but adds multiple exercises to practice in order to build strength and flexibility in your fingers.

Duarte states:  “Of course, the younger one is, the more pliable one is, and the greater ones potential for improvement.  Even so there is no reason why normal and healthy hands of any age cannot be made better.”

The basics that all guitar players should recognize in their fingers is that they require: flexibility, dexterity, independence, stability and economy.  John takes the concept of individuality he presented in his first book and continues to talk about the anatomy of the hand and various approaches one can use to improve the basic hand features by the use of specific exercises.  He stresses that the exercises need to be performed as directed and in order (no short-cuts). The program is divided into 14 phases.  It can take several weeks to complete any one phase.  O.K. here comes the “pucker power” … he talks of each finger being separated by two frets … now that is stretching!!  

Remember when you fought through E2 open chord and G2 moveable chords?  When he talked in one of the exercises placing 2 frets between fingers 1&2 and 3&4 I felt the pain.  He does not claim all of us will have fingers like Barney Kessel or Tal Farlow, but he does believe if each individual would try to do their best they would get some playing improvement by faithfully following his program.

Finger concepts directed toward and represented in the 14 exercise phases:


Here is a goody to build strength in your right hand.  Lay a newspaper on the floor … no half piece or ad, but a full sheet with 2 halves.  Now pick the paper up in the middle using only your right hand and form it into a ball … easier than other ideas John presents. :)

I liked this book and the approach, but I am still trying to learn all the chords we need to know and working through some other L&M projects (Acoustic, Electrical, and Classical methods).  You can read all you want but you must apply what you have read in order to get ahead, so this book will go on my shelf to be addressed and utilized hopefully next fall.  I think it does have benefits to offer but there are only so many things you can practice at any one time.  I do recommend it to you for your library.

Tone Production on the Classical Guitar
John Taylor
Musical New Services
A Guitar Magazine Project
80 pages

Purchase it here...  https://books.google.com/books/about/Tone_Production_on_the_Classical_Guitar.html?id=wmw0GQAACAAJ


Hang on to your pick if you haven’t had physics for a little while.  This is the best book I have found on sound production and the guitar.  I will review a couple sound/noise texts later on in the year or next, but this is the best you will find for the guitarists.

I found this book before I did Duarte’s.  In fact Taylor mentions where he doesn’t agree with Duarte in several topics … this pushed me into reading both books to determine where and why there could be a disagreement on basic tone production.  These ideas can be as simple as if the string should be plucked by the inside or outside of the finger to get the proper sound, or so I thought.  There is much more to it.

Taylor’s book is broken down into the following chapters:

The Musical Note
The Plucked String
String and Soundboard
Apoyando and Tirando
Use of the Nails
Some Controversial Issues

I could paraphrase Taylor but I think his approach to the guitar is more important if it is presented directly from Taylor’s writings. The following are a few comments provided by Taylor:

“Since the guitar is nothing without its sound, one might expect all the instruction books to be full of useful information on how to produce and vary the tone.  However, this not the case.  Most of the books fail to give any detailed instructions on the action of sounding a string and the ones that do contradict each other at every turn”.

“The same ignorance of the basic principles seems to be the rule rather than the exception even among performers; although the good ones certainly know how to produce the sounds they want, I suspect that few of them are more than dimly aware of what they are actually doing.”

“I cannot claim to be the first to have reached this conclusion.  It was a realization that technique as a whole is bedeviled by such vagueness that prompted John Duarte’s admirably clear and concise little book, The Bases of Classic Guitar Techniques.”  “My debt to Duarte will be apparent in my many reference to his book; but equally obvious will be the radical differences between his account and mine.”  “The reader is urged to compare the two arguments …… “

Taylor’s main belief is represented in this statement … “A student who knows how the instrument works, and who has a clear idea not only of what he is doing but also of why he is doing it, has a head-start towards gaining that confidence in his ability to produce exactly the sounds he has in mind which will leave him free, during actual playing to concentrate fully on the music.”

The book offers some neat laser scans of modes of the vibration of a soundboard with a discussion of what all objectives apply to tone production and this is only part of the presentation.  This is an excellent book on the physics of the guitar, starting with the basic sound wave.  Taylor discusses the modes of vibration of a string, excitation of the modes by plucking, the energy distribution among the modes, methods of suppressing the higher modes, the motion of the string after its release, and the guitar body as an amplifier.  As you can guess this a great scientific guitar book!

As with the other two books I covered this month Taylor’s book has a lot of information in it.  This is the book that I found for $400 (that wasn’t available) and eventually found a free copy on the Scribd web.  I really was glad to find a copy and I do highly recommend it for your guitar library.  Once again it is free so why not add it to your collection.

That’s it for this month.  Next month we will look at Lee F. Ryan’s Book The Natural Classical Guitar.  I love books and although I may not agree with every author I usually find something in a book that is beneficial.  Hopefully you will find something you will like  and be able to use.  Coming up in the future book  and DVD reviews: music theory, left brain/right brain and the guitar, the physics of sound, along with more specific guitar style techniques (Barney Kessel, Pepe Romero, Les Paul, Chet Atkins, Merle Travis, Tal Farlow, Buster B. Jones, Herb Ellis, B.B. King, Joe Pass, Jerry Reed, Charlie Byrd, etc.).  Have a great month!!

Edited by Steve Krenz
Removing the Scribd references.
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Hi Gang,

Well I am putting off the review of the guitar zen book by Lee. F. Ryan until next month because I found a new book that grabbed my fancy.

“When you run into something interesting, drop everything else and study it.“
B. F. Skinner

The book I found is Guitar  Zero by Gary Marcus.  Gary is a cognitive psychologist who decided at the age of 39 he was going to learn how to play the guitar.  Since a couple of my degrees are in psychology and I specialized in developmental and affective psychology I became very interested in Gary’s studies and experience.  I had to laugh as he was concerned about learning anything … especially the guitar at age 39.  Since I took on the learning of the guitar at age 74 I really wanted to know what the young kid had to say :)

GUITAR ZERO: The New Musician and the Science of Learning
Gary Marcus
274 pg.
Penguin Books
ISBN-10: 9781594203176

Amazon: New and used versions running from $2.50 to $30.00

scribd.com …. if you did what I suggested earlier and subscribed to this page you can find a FREE copy of the Guitar Zero audiobook

Let me first say this book may not be for everyone as it addresses the scientific aspects of what it takes to become musical. The author speaks of neuronal changes in the brain and the modeling of neurons through practicing material over and over.  Much of the information follows developmental psychology concepts.

I do recommend this to students of music and those who will be teaching music as he does talk about many different types of teaching styles and the learning theory behind each style.

 The book goes through Gary’s history of learning the guitar and the cognitive values that are present with the task. The book jumps between specific concepts and generalizations especially when he discusses the drive to learn by various guitarists (the true talented individual vs. the non talented individual). Practice is essential for all … musical skills must be cultivated according to Dr. Marcus.

The concepts of learning a language vs. music are brought up during a discussion of brain development and social needs (cultural variations).  Gary appears to believe genetics is a better predictor about skills or a task than living in a specific musically enriched environment.  However, both are important.  According to Dr. Marcus the history of music and development of new sounds are based on genetic likes and why each of us enjoys different forms of music and/or sounds.  And yet he stipulates there is no musical center within the brain. The question may be where does DNA play a part in becoming musical?  

He points out that historically harmony was actually developed by early musicians and if it hadn’t been then 12 bar blues would not have occurred, etc.  Much of musical change and development is based on cultural familiarity and also novelty.

Adults learn quicker than the younger individuals, whereas the kids are more persistent in learning a task. However, both eventually reach the same goal.  And of course the more knowledge gained the easier new tasks will become … especially when applying “chunks” of material towards a specific goal, such as learning lengthy songs.

Dr. Marcus stretches his guitar study into playing music with others and also the writing of songs … what works and what doesn’t work (what keeps the listeners interested in a specific tune).

The chapters are titled, but will provide little information to the pre-reader…

Tuning Up
Take Me to the River
Learning to Crawl
It Don’t Come Easy
Talking Heads
Back to School
School of Rock
True Talent
Into the Groove
On Stage
The Worst Song in the World
Knowing Without Knowing
Take it to the Limit
Heavy Metal

Hopefully you will enjoy this book.  I found it to be very interesting and challenging to some of my beliefs.  As an adult with attention deficit I have always fought against my abrupt change of interests and dropping tasks.  My drive to meet the specific task of learning the guitar is being accomplished through using multiple guitar styles and scientifically investigating the instrument.  This form of varied environmental factors appears to off set the lack of my DNA musical capability and ADHD.

Well, next month I will look at Ryan’s book.  I have also picked up a couple new books on guitar engineering, history of the electric guitar, and amplification for future reviews.  Have a great month.

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Hey Brad, that sounds like a really interesting book. I'm interested in the psychology of making music as well.

I just got another book called "How Music Works", by John Powell. I haven't been able to start yet, but it looks like a really interesting discussion of the science behind how it actually works. 

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Thanks Colder,  I will have to check out the book.  I am not sure how far you are into the brain etc., but here are 3 books I really like ....

The Triune Brain in Evolution: Role in Paleocerebral Functions
Paul D. MacLean
plenum Press
New York

As titled this is a book about the brain development.  I really think music is present in lesser animals ... take the birds, crickets, and even some of the sea creature, just listen to their songs.  

Animal Behavior: An Evolutionary Approach
John Alcock
Sinauer Assoc.
Sunderland,  Mass.

Great book dealing with song birds and hormonal changes caused by singing.

The Archaeology of Mind
Jaak Panksepp
W.W. Norton
New York

Seeking, Fear, Rage Lust, Care, Grief, Play, Self

Jaak was a friend and a mentor to me.  If you go on to Youtube you probably can find a video of him tickling a rat to make it laugh.  This is one guy that should have been awarded the Nobel Prize for Medicine.
You will find a couple pages on the effects of music causing a release of oxytocin in the brain which causes gratification and comfort in the human’s and animals tested.
This is a great book!!!

All of these are pretty large books so you may check the library or used bookstore for copies.

Let me know more on how you feel about your new book.  I am booked up :) for the next few months.  I try to read a guitar book each month and then I also try to read a book on each of my areas of studies.  I was a child mental health specialist, psychiatric nurse and then spent many years in environmental and occupational health, so I try to select stuff that will keep me up with those areas.  I no longer work, but I do review professional articles ... along with 3 hours of guitar and 2 hours with horses each day.  Have a great day and thanks for the book, which will go on my list.

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OOPS  Another old man BF Skinner moment.  COLDER suggested a book.  I picked it up and could not put it down.  I’ll let COLDER do a review on the book, but from my standpoint I think the chapter on the history of scale development and formation is worth the entire book.  Powell is a kick in the pants to read and you will gain a lot of information from his writings.  Thanks again for the heads up on this book.  MUST READ BOOK

How Music Works
John Powell
Little Brown and Company
ISBN 978-0-316-09830-4
260 pages plus great cd with examples

Amazon … variable $2.00 -10.00+

June Book Review

The Natural Classical Guitar: The Principles of Effortless Playing

Lee F. Ryan
The Bold Strummer, LtD
Westport Connecticut
ISBN  0-933224-50-8
290 pages

Can be purchased at Amazon … $40

Just as the author mentions in the beginning of his writings, I would like to stress that this book is more for an intermediate and advanced student … especially those playing the classical guitar.  However the information can be used by any guitar player.  

The book will be most beneficial to you if you have learned the fretboard and can move easily about it.

Ryan stresses 10 major principles …. note that these principles are represented by individual chapters.  The chapters are very direct, but require some studying.

The 10 principles stressed by Ryan are:

1.  Let Nature support Your Playing
2.  Increase Mind/Body Awareness
3.  Develop Natural Concentration
4.  Cultivate Dynamic Relaxation
5.  Apply the Play-Relax Technique
6.  Refine Your Guitar Skills
7.  Learn from the Masters
8.  Use the Mind Over Fingers Approach
9.  Share Your Enjoyment of Music
10. Evolve from the Guitar to the Self

Chapter make up:

The Ten Principles of Effortless Playing
Increase Mind-Body Awareness: tune in to the Present
Natural Concentration: Focus the Mind Effortlessly
Dynamic Relaxation: Balance the Opposites in Sitting and Hand Positions
The Play-Relax Technique: Use the Spaces Between the Notes
Refining your guitar skills: Pay Attention to the Details
Learning From the Masters: Use Natural Study Methods
Mind Over Fingers: Visualization for Guitarists
Mind Over Fingers: Visualizing and Realizing the Musical Meaning of a Piece
Sharing Your Enjoyment of Music: The Delight of Playing Recitals
Ensemble Playing and other Topics: Enjoy Playing with Others
From the Guitar to the Self

Each chapter has unique ideas and proven techniques to try.  I found one of Lee’s statements to be very interesting basically because Steve gets questions about practicing the guitar and getting incentive to practice.  Lee says … “One thing should always be borne in mind when you are studying the guitar: It is meant to be enjoyed.  You can enjoy each moment of practice if you really want to. …. If you are frustrated or bored during your practice sessions, then you are simply doing something contrary to nature.  It is seldom the fault of the guitar.  It is just that you are going too fast or trying too hard.  You are living in the past or future — not in the now.”

As via title and Ryan’s writing he teaches natural relaxation and enjoyment when playing.  You learn techniques in order to play music … which is why you are learning the guitar.  

One technique he teaches is “visualization” … where you practice without the guitar by visualizing (eyes may either be open or closed) your left hand fingers and where they should be placed to play a chord or song.  Next you visualize the movement of your right hand and finger movement.  He also has you go through the song you are trying to learn and sing it or clap your hands to the tune … allowing your body to feel the music before you actually play the tune with the guitar.

“Remember that there are always several possible ways you can play a given piece or passage, so be imaginative.”  Ryan continues, “the great guitarists are always coming up with fresh ideas about how to interpret the music they play and thus they are always discovering new fingerings.”  He stresses that, “there is no need to be stuck in only one way of playing a passage.”

Lee has 2 great chapters on how to play FOR others and WITH others.  Techniques for expressing your music to the fullest in front of an audience … what to do before, during, and after the performance.  He presents ideas for the individual who wants to play for others but is too shy … in the beginning.  

I did like this book!!  When I was in high school and I was getting frustrated from trying to read “Science” magazine I had a teacher tell me just keep reading it and you will begin to put things together.  She was the best teacher I ever had and she was correct … you learn through doing.  As I have mentioned before I have no formal music training short of what I obtained in grade school, so when I started this book it took me back to my beginning to read the old “Science” magazines.  But with the teachings of my math teacher I just kept reading and fighting through the book and I really gained a lot of information from it and I think everyone that works through the book will also benefit from reading it.

Because of the other guitar books I have read and the infinite techniques that are expressed in this text I truly began to think of all the time it takes to become even an average guitar player.  At the same time I was reading this book I was reading one of my nursing books and it closed with a quote that I think is truly apropos ….

No great thing is created suddenly,
    anymore than a bunch of grapes or a fig.
If you tell me that you desire a fig,
    I answer you that there must be time.
Let it first blossom, then bear fruit,
    then ripen.

EPICTETUS (First Century A.D.)

Well, that does it for this go around.  Next month I will look at Play it Loud: An Epic  History of the Style, Sound, & Revolution of the Electric Guitar and in the following months I will review books on Guitar Engineering, Music Theory in general and Music Theory as it applies to the guitar.  I am also considering some method books written by Charlie Byrd, Roy Clark, Merle Travis, and Pepe Romero.  Learning never ends … especially if you desire a fig.  Have a great month.

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PLAY IT LOUD: An Epic History of the Style Sound, & Revolution of the Electric Guitar

Brad Tolinski  and  Alan Di Perna
Double day
ISBN  9780385540995

Amazon … $26 -$3.50

Audiobook … on script.com (If you are a member)

WOW WOW … WOW.  Well this will be an interesting challenge for me.  This will be my second time through the book because the first time I went through it …  it was a real roller coaster for me.  As you know I am in my mid 70’s so I lived thorough much of the time that the electric guitar was developed and the political and historical events.  Many of the things brought up in the book I really didn’t care to return to or remember (especially many of the people).  I am going to try and approach this as a “This is Your Life Electrical Guitar (EG)” and try not to comment on the beliefs and behavior of those picking at the poor instrument.  However, I  will state at the beginning I do not have any use for someone that breaks a guitar or amplifier or sets them on  fire because it is “a cultural art” … I see them as being one of my psych patients with delusions of grandeur  and worthlessness.

O.K. EG this is your life.  The following chapters of the book make up your life ….

 1. Brother Musician, Listen to a Miracle!
2. The Christian Crusade
3. The Wizard from Waukesha
4. The Model T
5. Cowboy Cool: Leo Fender and the Birth of the Telecaster
6. Surf’s Up:  The Stratocaster Makes the Scene
7.  The blues (and country) had a baby
8.  The solid-body stradivarius
9.  The FAB twelve
8.  The Revolution Will be Amplified
      a.  A Tool of  Capitalism? Dylan Goes Electric
      b.  Machine-gun Loud: From Townshend to Hendrix
      c.  The Birth of Classic Rock
10.   Eruptions
11.   Made in Japan
12.  The Revenge of the Nerds
13.  Plastic Fantastic

Carlos Santana had a few words in the forward:  “To me, the guitar symbolizes rebellion, liberation, and freedom of expression.  It is a doorway through which we can profoundly touch people’s hearts and souls and change lives.  In the ‘60s we had the Black Panthers, Woodstock, and Vietnam, and the electric guitar became the iconic voice of our generation.”

EG you were developed by a Texan Hawaiian-style steel guitar player (George Beauchamp) and multiple European immigrants (Dopyera family) trained in violin and guitar building.  Many country western swing guitar lovers … Leo Fender, Paul Bigsby, Merle Travis contributed to your development.  Rhubarb Red (Les Paul) began developing “The Log” … a solid block of wood with strings stretched across it.  More research into the electrically controlled vs. the hollow body sounds was undertaken during these times.  

Others mentioned in the book and EGs life were … Ricky Nelson, Elvis Presley, The Beach Boys, B.B. King, Howlin’ Wolf, Muddy Waters, Jimmy Reed, Buddy Guy, John Lee Hooker, Jeff Beck,  The Beatles, The Rolling Stones, The Yard Birds, (… the worthless art school group … The Who and Pete Townsend), Keith Richards, Eric Clapton, jimi hendrix, Bob Dylan, Frank Zappa, Eddie Van Halen, Kurt Cobain and others.

The history is presented where Fender and Gibson gave way to their competition … Gretsch, Martin, Kay, Ibanez, Teisco. Kawai, Kent, Guyatone, Harmony, Yamaha, ESP, Rickenbacker, Epiphone, etc.

Fuzzboxes and extensive pedal alterations were used to change the guitars sound.  The Indian raga scales to alter the sounds was also used. Switching the on/off toggle switch on the guitar made it sound like a machine gun …  more experience into the  guitar sound and alterations began.

Corporate rock vs punk rock effected the sale of guitars.  “Seminal punk band the Ramones had one cardinal rule according to the group’s guitarist, Johnny Ramone: “No hippie ****”.  I tried to avoid that as much as I could …  playing pure rock and roll and not instilling any sort of blues or anything into the music.”

Pot gave way to cocaine and the yellow smiley face.  Van Halen became the ultimate party band.  Eddie  Van Halen replaced hendrix and Eric Clapton as the new guitar hero.  He was a professionally trained musician, but not on the guitar.  However he found the guitar to be easy to play … a natural gift with many practice hours and his destiny was created.

In 1965 CBS (Columbia Broadcasting System) bought Fender guitar.  By 1966 the guitar declined in quality. Post-CBS … bad news guitars were created.  Gibson also began to go down hill in 1969 after being purchased by an Ecuadorian company.  Japanese manufactures began to export knockoff’s only they had excellent instruments.  In 1972 Larry DiMarzio began making new Humbuckers to replace the poor quality Gibson pickups.  Additional companies began creating better replacement guitar parts.  At the same time Eddie Van Halen began experimenting with these new replacement pieces and began tearing his various guitars apart and trying new pickups and new designs.  He learned more about guitars and finally decided to build his own guitar with various “junkyard” parts.  He created his “Frankenstrat” … made up of  parts from Eddie’s Strat, a Les Paul Standard, and an ES-335.  During this time Frank Zappa thanked Eddie for “reinventing the guitar.”

Steve Vai studied at Boston’s Berklee College of Music.  He contacted Frank Zappa and was hired to join the Zappa band.   Like Van Halen, Vai began looking for a guitar that he could use.  Vai wanted a whammy bar, Humbucker  pickups and a floating bridge.

Vai joined the Ibanez company when Japanese guitars began invading the US.  The first Vai guitar arrived in 1987.  During the same time period Cds gave way to videos … so guitars were now being viewed and had to be unique.  Vai suggested the addition of the 7th string to his Ibanez (1990) model.  Historically George Van Eps had Epiphone build him a 7 string guitar in the late 1930s.

In 1975 Ted Nugent met Paul Reed Smith and had him build him a guitar for $2000.  Smith’s guitars forced Gibson and Fender to start making good guitars once again.  Peter Frampton also commissioned Paul to build a guitar.   Carlos Santana (who had represented both Gibson and Yamaha) refused to purchase a guitar but he did like the drive of Smith.  Santana finally purchased a guitar and then asked him to make 3 more guitars … to test the accuracy of the building of the instrument.

Smith was then challenged to provide an instrument with the tones of both a Stratocaster and a Les Paul.  This style desire eventually produced the creation of PRS Guitars.  However the vintage guitar market grew at a faster rate as the new players were not impressed with the new designs.

Following the time line … George Gruhn, the author of Gruhn’s Guide to Vintage Guitars explains how he got started in becoming the authority on vintage guitars.  In 1970 George opened his guitar store in Nashville.  (Now I know right off I like this guy, not only does he love guitars but he has a background in Zoology … 2 of my degrees are in zoology and biology.)

New guitar manufactures are discussed in the final pages of the book … Deusenberg, Eastwood, Ernie Ball, etc.

The book is very comprehensive and could have only been written by lovers of the electric guitar (EG) and also the business of building guitars at the whim of actual and pseudo guitar players. Only the future will tell the changes to be made in the life of the EG.

If you play a guitar or are interested in the guitar this book is worth the read … especially if you can get past the politics and concentrate on the guitars.  It is a great history book!!!

Well, I have started an Guitar Engineering book that is heavy into the math so I am spending time refreshing my memory  with a couple of my university texts … Technical Mathematics with Calculus and DC/AC Principles: Analysis and Troubleshooting.  Been a few moons since I have delved into them.

At this time I am not sure which guitar book I will tackle for next month’s review.  I do have a stack of less technical guitar books and may find one of those to report on and save the engineering text for later and give my mind a chance to relax.  Hopefully you are all having a safe and great guitar summer.

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Hi All,

The Art and Times of the Guitar: An Illustrated History of Guitars and Guitarists

FredericV. Grunfeld

Collier Books
New York
1969  (There are several other editions)

CN 69-10465

AMAZON …  $6.00 - $130.00

I have the original paper back edition from 1969 and that is what I will use for this review.  With some of the unique pictures found in the book I kind of wished I would have gone for a newer hardback edition.

This book should be REQUIRED READING for anyone majoring in guitar at the college level.  For the rest of you if you like to haunt old museums and look at old old paintings and pieces of different types of stringed instruments this book is for you.  It not only looks at the development of the guitar but also the love hate relationships with the instrument throughout the past.  For instance following a military battle between the Spanish and Portuguese the defeated army evacuated the field of confrontation leaving behind over 11,000 guitars … at least that was what was reported.  At another time in history all the guitars were confiscated by a government and some of the players lost their heads … wonder what happened if the average musician played a bad note (Ah yes, another reason to practice.  Yes, this is the book that compares man and ape on their ability to play the guitar.).  More than one story talks about the “love” of the guitar and its actual design following that of the female figure (That ought to get a couple of you to read the book.).

Just as the title states this is a highly illustrated book with a lot of interesting history about the guitar based on art.

The chapters in the book consist of:

 A Twang for All Seasons
 When Is a Guitar?
 Guitarra and Vihuela
 La Guitar Royalle
 The Age of Figaro
 Wine Cups of Daybreak
 The Guitar in America
 Six Maids Dancing

Isn’t it interesting how if you don’t read the chapter you don’t understand the title.

I wasn’t sure what kind of book I was getting when I picked this book out of my collection.  It is truly the history of the guitar starting with its conception i.e. a turtle shell with strings strung across it.  Add this to the book I reviewed on the history of the electric guitar (Play it Loud) and you should know most of the things hidden under the bed about the instrument.

Not only is the evolution of the structural design of the instrument presented but the story progresses with the development of the different number of strings on the instrument, creation of the frets, and various instructional methods.  

The pictures in the book are done by Master Artists as well as sketchers and show the guitar in many different concepts.  Along with the music of different time periods the use of the guitar for romancing and dancing are discussed.  Interestingly the instrument was played by both sexes and in some cases the ladies out did the men.  At other times the guitar was described as not being “lady-like” and the polished woman should learn a different instrument.  

Multiple paragraphs describe the “feelings” of various individuals (especially song writers and composers) and their countries towards the guitar.  The first part of the book concentrates on Spain, England, Italy, Germany, and the Arab conquers and how the guitar was played everywhere.  

Side note …. interestingly guitars were hung in some barbershops and patrons could play them while waiting to be shaved.

The author then leaves Europe and skips to America.  Here he talks about the 3 basic guitar schools or philosophies that developed within the country … European guitar (Chiefly English from the Revolutionary times), the Blues of the deep south, and the Spanish Latin-American style of the southwest.  As the country grew everyone had a guitar and many guitars traveled west in covered wagons, on the back of horses or oxen, or in bags slung over the shoulder of those who walked.  The enrichment and love for the guitar continued and as the nations population grew the guitar made many people wealthy.

The next section of the book presents a brief history of the blues and jazz scene in early 20th Century, followed by the more lucrative end of the guitar business.

Len Slye bought a $3 guitar, learned to play it and then became Roy Rogers King of the Cowboys.  According to the author Roy said “Music makes our family rich and our life happy.”   This story is followed with Elvis Prestly’s dad giving him a $12.95 guitar … and that story still has not ended.  Groups were formed… a hod  carrier (Don Wilson) and his building foreman (Bob Bogle) created a guitar quartet, “The Ventures” … a $25 million enterprise.  A brief discussion about “The Beattles” occurs towards the end of the book,  bringing the story of the guitar back to the European scene.

The final chapter looks at the 20th century classical guitar players, such as, Australian John Williams  and ends with Andres Segovia.

The guitar has been a truly multicultural instrument with just about every country adding something to its design or development.  I am sure that any of you who would read this book would not consider it a waste of time.

As in the past I am not sure which direction I would like to go for next month.  I still have a couple more guitar history books, plus my guitar engineering texts, etc.  I also have a book on the guitar tone and effects that just arrived.  So guess I will wait to see what mood I am in when it comes time to read another guitar book.  This is also the month I do my continuing education in  Animal Behavior … most of those texts are pretty chunky.

Hope summer has been good to all of you and I’ll see you next month.  Have a great E2 day!!!

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