15 October 2008

Intermediate Blues Guitar, Matt Smith

Here is a first look review of Intermediate Blues Guitar from the National Guitar Workshop by Matt Smith. I love blues guitar and I've been looking for an opportunity to improve my blues skills. I already had a positive experience with the first part of this series, Beginning Blues Guitar, already reviewed on this site. So I had no trouble selecting this second part of the series to continue learning.

Intermediate Blues Guitar is a book and CD package that teaches electric blues guitar. This book targets guitarists who already have some blues skills, or rock guitarists who want to learn some blues chops. Here's what the back cover blurb says:

This book is great for the guitarist who knows the basics of blues guitar and is ready to take the next step. Topics include blues techniques and phrasing, R&B and funk-blues fills, non-scale tones, chord extensions and substitutions, and more. You will start with a quick review of basic materials and finish with "Licks of the Masters."

My first impressions of the book are good. It is professionally produced and looks like it covers its topics in good depth, I think I've got my work cut out for the next few months.

I'm especially interested in rhythm guitar playing and I think this book will give me some really interesting stuff to learn. It covers some great rhythm styles such as boogie, funky blues and Curtis Mayfield/Jimi Hendrix/Stevie Ray Vaughan style ballads.

There also seems to be a lot of information on different types of blues chords for more varied accompaniments. Chord extensions and substitutions are explained and you'll become familiar with exotic chord names like 9th, 11th and 13th. The book shows example of these chords in a variety of styles from shuffles to comping to funky blues. I'm looking forward to working with those, it should be so much more fun than just playing the shuffle all evening.

The wanna-be guitar heroes out there should be happy to know that the book also covers a lot of soloing skills. It also includes typical licks from legends such as BB, Albert and Freddie King, Jimi Hendrix, Stevie Ray Vaughan and Eric Clapton.

The book comes with an accompanying CD that includes all the examples from the book played by Matt Smith. The examples are played at both normal and slow speed which should make them easier to follow and play along with. The sound quality is excellent and there are some tracks that sound really good. I can't wait to learn how to do them myself.

One thing to note is that quite often several examples are grouped into a single track on the CD. A player with A-B repeat will be useful to loop just a part of these tracks so the example can be played over several times.

Well, that's my first impressions of this method. I plan to post some updates on my experience over the coming weeks and months. Be sure to sign up for the RSS feed if you are interested in following along for more in depth reviews.

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Here are some useful resources related to this post for you to explore.

Matt Smith's Intermediate Blues Guitar book at Amazon.com.

Beginning Blues Guitar, an excellent place to start learning blues guitar. Read my review of it here.

Matt Smith's web site.

Learn more about the National Guitar Workshop, and the blues courses they offer.


Jason said...

Hey Gary,

I like the review of Matt's Book. I have linked your site on mine.



Jason Shadrick
National Guitar Workshop

Gary Fletcher said...

Hi Jason, thanks for dropping by. It's nice to have such a prestigious visitor.

Congratulations on the new arrival, I hope it doesn't mess up your practice schedule too much ;-)


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