2 out of 4 stars
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Learn to Play Guitar by Gareth Evans, which is a comprehensive guide to the basics of playing guitar, explains the fundamentals of areas such as technique, theory, and fretboard layout. The book starts by introducing the functions of both electronic and acoustic guitars and their function and describing the appropriate positions of one’s hands while playing them. Afterward, it explores the nature of notes’ tones and frequencies, giving examples of simple songs that readers may play and following each chapter with questions about its content.
In terms of spelling and grammar, the book is well-edited. However, in many instances, the writing style is extremely confusing. In the introduction, for example, the author writes “depending on your experience some of the subjects, particularly early on, may be something you have missed and whatever your strengths are there might be other areas to be brought up to speed.” Such long phrases may distract the reader from the lessons in the book and further delay their learning process.
Some technical words were also not explained well enough for beginners to understand. An example is the structures called ‘pickups’, which were shown on a diagram of a guitar but not explored further. Moreover, in the introduction section of the book, the author claims that accessible demo and backing versions of certain songs are included as an aid to readers. I felt that this would help readers distinguish the right track from the wrong one. Unfortunately, the audio files were not accessible, which is not only an annoyance but also creates an obstacle for readers due to the difficulty of learning an instrument without audio.
Of course, there were a few pleasant factors in the book. For instance, the diagrams and illustrations that the author provided, such as those of appropriate positions of holding a pick or resting a guitar on one’s lap, offer visual learners an alternate method of interpreting the text. The questions provided at the end of each section are also a useful technique for summarizing important lessons.
As a result of the predominant presence of run-on sentences and the complicated nature of the book, it a rating of 2 out of 4 stars. And, although the author stated that the book was directed at both beginners and intermediate guitar players, I would recommend that only readers with a background in guitar basics or a true dedication to learning the instrument should read it. This is because a mere simple interest may not give readers sufficient motivation to read through this book’s confusing text and interpret the unexplained fundamentals.
Learn to Play Guitar
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