2 out of 4 stars
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Learn to Play Guitar: A Comprehensive Guitar Guide for Beginners to Intermediate Players by Gareth Evans is a guidebook for beginning and intermediate guitar players. Evans discusses proper techniques for basics such as holding the guitar and strumming the strings as well as more advanced techniques like palm muting and suggestions for improvisation.
I have had a casual interest in learning to play guitar for a while, going so far as to get instructional books and borrow a guitar from a friend. I thought this book would serve a double purpose—it would help me learn to play while also giving me a review opportunity. I went in with the expectation that it would be for new musicians with no musical background, so I placed my own knowledge of reading music aside in order to focus on the purpose of the book.
I like that Evans gives examples of both correct and incorrect ways of playing. For example, instead of just showing the proper way of holding a guitar, Evans provides a picture of the improper way to hold a guitar. I also like that there are many pictures throughout because I learn both visually and hands-on, making the set-up of this book useful for me. These pictures made it easier for me to follow properly without straining any of my muscles. I also greatly appreciated the chapter reviews because it made me actually retain the information rather than read it and move on.
Unfortunately, there are times that the text is difficult to comprehend. There are several places where commas are misused (or not used), and the wording is sometimes awkward. There are times where more explanation would be useful (such as explaining how to tune or the meaning of plectrum), and there are also times where more information than necessary is provided. Because Evans is a well-versed player, he may not realize how overwhelming a new player may feel in these instances. This book would do well to have a different organization, beginning not only with basics of holding and strumming the guitar but also with the fundamentals of music. Perhaps it would do better as a book simply for beginners instead of beginning and intermediate players.
I rate this book 2 out of 4 stars. It has some useful parts, but the wording in some areas and incorrect use of commas made it more difficult for me than it should have been. Additionally, the organization blended techniques for both beginners and intermediate players rather than having separate sections for each. However, some of these critiques may not impact other readers, so I would recommend it to anyone looking for a free or inexpensive book on learning to play the guitar. I would not recommend it for people who have a keen eye for grammar/punctuation mistakes or without a background in reading music because of the music theory included in the lessons. Evans knows a lot about playing guitar and this book could easily get a higher rating with some editing and revision.
Learn to Play Guitar
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