Peter Lutkoski MA(mus), The Association for Music in International Schools, London, England
30 Days to Better Blues Guitar by Simon Joseph James is a clear, well-sequenced and comprehensive blues guitar instruction eBook. Filled with practical techniques and musical excerpts, James approaches teaching the blues with a strong grounding in both theory and practice. Despite the title, there is enough depth and quality teaching in this book to keep guitarists challenged for months and months.
The essential listening sections are especially useful, as after working through the exercises and licks the reader can go right to the source, and hear where these ideas came from. James has drawn his lessons and musical techniques from the great masters of the blues, and their playing is embedded in the riffs you’re taken through in the book.
The lessons are very accessible, and you can dip in at various points, using the book as a reference guide. It is also extremely comprehensive, touching on topics that are often missed in other instructional texts, such as vibrato, dynamics, and varied rhythmic practices.
Finally, James gives students the tools to develop musically beyond the lessons he provides, with clear instruction on how to approach ear training and transcribing in order to improve playing. This is a great resource for burgeoning blues guitarists of all ability levels, filled with useful lessons and musical material.
James Whitehead BA(mus), Session Guitarist, Songwriter and Producer, London
The 30 Days to Better Blues Guitar eBook is a great guide for advancing guitarists. I thought the inclusion of chord tones and extra theory related to blues harmony was a nice addition, as you don't tend to see that very often in blues books. Also nice to see a section on vibrato, which is often overlooked but so important.
The licks based on the CAGED chord shapes is a good idea, something covered usually in jazz more than blues books, so very helpful.
What was, in addition, extremely helpful was that whenever a famous player was mentioned references were made to particular recordings for the student to research, and a further listening page at the end of each section with albums was included. They did this in the ACM textbooks when I was studying and I always found it a great source for inspiration to be able to put the ideas in the book into context.
In my case I am more of a visual learner, so I have always found boxes, say for voicings and scale shapes, as a real handy reference. This is a personal thing for me, and is more than compensated for by the detail on the scales and chords that comes in this eBook.
This ebook is a great concept and really will provide you with enough insights and juice for practising to keep you going for way longer than the initial 30 days. The bonus lessons were a welcome plus, particularly the Jazz lesson at the end.
Roland Jesperson, University of Utah, Salt Lake City, US
I've looked through dozens (probably hundreds) of beginning, intermediate and advanced "how-to-play-blues/better blues-guitar" books and, based on the topics covered, the 30 Days to Better Blues Guitar eBook is absolutely superb. There are several elements treated in your book that I've rarely, if ever, seen touched upon in the standard commercial catalogue. And these are important topics in my view--extremely important to a full and comprehensive understanding of the concepts necessary to developing genuinely inspired, cohesive, musical blues improvisations (from fills to extended solos).
A few people, like Stevie Ray Vaughan, for example, just 'get it,' without the need of formal analytical understanding--we call those people "geniuses" and they are few and far between, no matter what the musical genre. For the rest of us, some help through developed understanding of core concepts hastens the performance-improvement curve a lot, for many, it's essential. Excellent book, congratulations!.
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