Update on books after reviewing 250+ methods

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Re: Update on books after reviewing 250+ methods

Post by Aaron » Wed Feb 24, 2010 5:58 pm

I did actually post a full review of Celino's book here: viewtopic.php?f=4&t=46488
I didn't feel it deserved mention in my rambling list, although it's not bad. Certainly it is justified in being published unlike some books that I wish would go away and stop cluttering the field. The biggest problem with "The Art of Spanish Guitar" is that it is inappropriate for a lot of people being too advanced for many and too basic for others. I did give it 4/5 stars in my database.


Re: Update on books after reviewing 250+ methods

Post by relayer66 » Wed Feb 24, 2010 6:26 pm

I just read your review of the Romero book, and I agree with all you said there.

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Re: Update on books after reviewing 250+ methods

Post by Luis_Br » Thu Feb 25, 2010 9:07 pm

Have you read the Carlevaro "School of Guitar" together with his exercise books?
Here in south America they are the most used books, I would like to know your opinion when comparing to the others you have mentioned.

Hector Quine's "Guitar Technique" is also an interesting book. Have you read this?

A lot of teachers here also use a method by Mario Rodrigues Arenas in several volumes (ed Ricordi), which is a kind of compilation of 19th century methods of Sor, Carulli etc. with Tarrega influence. i would certainly consider this method together with Pujol's "La Escuela Razonada de la Guitarra" in the analisis.


Re: Update on books after reviewing 250+ methods

Post by Aaron » Thu Feb 25, 2010 9:28 pm

I read some of "School of Guitar" and then got fed up and skimmed through the rest. I gave it a tentative 3/5 stars in my list. I have not reviewed his exercise books etc.
Carlevaro's stuff is quirky and too dogmatic. The book advocates strictly perpendicular right-hand fingers to strings with a big hang-up about possible scraping noises of being at all diagonal. Tons of great players today play at more of an angle and sound superb. I think his approach is at best a mixed-value and of historic interest.

I had a similar experience with Hector Quine, who's book I started and decided not to finish, though I might some day. His ideas seem mostly good. I did note that he dogmatically ruled out resting the thumb on the 6th string while playing notes on other strings, and he says that this probably came from flamenco guitar without addressing the obvious question: if flamenco players make great music using that technique then why should it be ruled out?

This is the first I heard of Arenas. I probably won't get to looking into that any time soon, but you could provide more specifics, such as book titles, publications, or links?


Re: Update on books after reviewing 250+ methods

Post by joelewis » Thu Mar 04, 2010 5:51 am

Aaron wrote:
joelewis wrote:This was very useful. Any sense of what would be the most effective method for younger kids - say in the 8 to 10 year old range?
Very hard to say. I've looked at lots and many have good elements but no method seems to combine them all.
Thanks Aaron for those notes - I'm trying a number of options right now but ultimately agree - it's important to just have a lot of music to run through and to have fun.


Re: Update on books after reviewing 250+ methods

Post by Ruston » Thu Mar 04, 2010 2:51 pm


I'd also like to thank you for taking the time to post your review of the various books. I'm currently working through the Parkening and Noad books, but my question is related to what you alluded to but didn't post. :) My daughter has expressed an interest in steel string acoustic guitar. I'd like to get any feedback you may have on books that cover chords and basic finger picking. She's 14 and has been playing piano for 8 years so music notation and site reading are not a problem.

Thanks in advance,



Re: Update on books after reviewing 250+ methods

Post by Aaron » Thu Mar 04, 2010 3:57 pm

Stanley Yates' Mel Bay’s Modern Classical Guitar Method is the most chord-oriented of classical methods, and in that sense is good for tying things together.
For chord-focused strum-style books I like the "Guitar Chord and Accompaniment" series by Yoichi Arakawa, which are strangely out-of-print even though they are recent books, I got them from the library system.
For traditional folk-song approach, there are tons of options, but I'll mention some of my favorites like "How to Play the Guitar", "Beginning the Folk Guitar" and "Folksinger's Guitar Guide" (all out of print) all by Jerry Silverman.
The common traditional methods, such as the Alfred Basic Guitar and the Dick Bennett books I already mentioned. The 21st century Guitar Method books are ok. There's also Mel Bay's "Mastering The Guitar" series, which is multi-style and multi-approach.
I already mentioned Richard Corr's "Guitar Academy" books which are promising multi-style books.

"Acoustic Guitar Styles" by Larry Sandberg teaches traditional fingerpicking and chords and such in a very special non-rote way that I highly recommend. The only issue is that it is not very modern.

For a more modern approach there's the "Complete Guitar Player" by Russ Shipton or the Rock & Pop version by Rikky Rooksby. Both of those use pop recordings as their focus but have a non-standard crappy notation system.

Although I think it is much too challenging to fit the title, perhaps in your case Frederick Noad's "Complete Idiot's Guide To Guitar" might be good. That teaches many styles, not just classical.

The Hal Leonard Guitar Method's "Acoustic Guitar" book by Chad Johnson is great for really being modern, using popular recordings as examples, but it isn't simple beginner stuff, it's more intermediate level.

Overall, for folk/pop chord approach, there are tons of books that basically teach the stuff pretty well for the traditional ideas but basically all of them fail to teach it the way it really should be taught. I use them all and then I add all sorts of extra discussion and understanding. I haven't seen any book that's ideal yet.

I'd recommend "Beginning Guitarist's Handbook" by Jeffrey Pepper Rodgers for acoustic style general ideas and attitudes that should be understood along with whatever method book.
And I'll once again mention The Listening Book by W.A. Mathieu...



Re: Update on books after reviewing 250+ methods

Post by Ruston » Thu Mar 04, 2010 4:19 pm

Thank you for the quick and thorough response!


Re: Update on books after reviewing 250+ methods

Post by Damian » Tue Mar 15, 2011 8:51 am

Blimey! No ref. to Villa Lobos???? Just kidding, wonderful post, now if I could just get through all those books.........Damian


Re: Update on books after reviewing 250+ methods

Post by Aaron » Tue Apr 05, 2011 9:00 pm

Thanks for the note, Damian. I'm now up to 328 methods reviewed, and it's been an interesting process. I know the Villa Lobos stuff, but I don't think of it as method material so to speak. I haven't reviewed the Carlevaro master classes books on V-L. I've been moving away from this sort of obsession with guitar methods, but that's a whole other subject...

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Re: Update on books after reviewing 250+ methods

Post by Tim Wang » Thu Apr 30, 2015 3:08 pm

Hi Aaron, I realize this is an old post, but I was wondering if you ever got to the Pascual Roch books? Wondering what's your take on those books?

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Re: Update on books after reviewing 250+ methods

Post by etorgerson » Tue Jun 20, 2017 3:53 am

Re:Roch- personally, I find them pretty clear, concise, and comprehensive for 1921. and for free from Imslp.org, that's even better! Just print out what you need to work on if you don't have an e-something to read from.
Personally, I've found many of the other methods to have too many holes and inconsistencies. The fact that this one is this complete is helpful as a reference and benchmark if nothing else.

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Re: Update on books after reviewing 250+ methods

Post by Daniel Penalva » Tue Jul 25, 2017 2:32 am

wrong topic :chaud: :desole:

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Re: Update on books after reviewing 250+ methods

Post by DCGillrich » Tue Aug 22, 2017 9:33 pm

Another resource not mentioned is The John Mills Classical Guitar Tutor by Musical New Services Ltd, England, 1981. It starts as an entry level book, but moves to intermediate level material towards the end. I has quite a lot of detail on finger placement (LH and RH), and sitting position, etc. supported by good photographs. It also came with a tape of the exercises and pieces being played by Mills--but I no longer have that--don't have a player now. I bought a copy in 1988 because I felt it explained (and showed) the basics better than most other tutors--and John Mills used to teach in NZ where I live. An interesting aspect is that it includes four, modern pieces commissioned for the book (Study by Brian Sexton; Fantaisie by Julie Inglis; Prelude by Lance Bosman; and Canzona by Reginald Smith Brindle) with detailed paying instructions. The last piece, Canzona, is a definite jump in level to "...open the student's eyes and ears to the many possibilities which lie tantalizingly ahead in the realms of the modern repertoire for the instrument."
Cheers... Richard

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