William Bay,
Mastering the Guitar:
Technique Studies:
A Comprehensive Method
for Today's Guitarist

(Mel Bay, 1997)

This book is meant to be an additional source of study for the first and second volumes of the excellent Mastering the Guitar book-and-CD series. (This is the only one in the series that does not come with a CD.) However, it can be used in addition to any beginning guitar method as a source of additional study and songs. It begins with an introduction to traditional music notation, rhythm and some basic music theory.

There are plenty of studies for plectrum picking, crosspicking, fingerpicking, chords, moveable finger patterns, finger-agility studies, etc. After the studies are songs for applying the skills learned in the studies. The studies and tunes are all grouped according to keys. Thus, for example, the first key introduced is C and it has all of the studies I mentioned above followed by several songs. The tunes represented are of several styles of music. Everything from folk and classical to rock and blues is here.

The majority of studies are presented only in music notation but all of the tunes are presented in both standard music and tab. I realize this was done as a concession to the marketplace as there are many guitarists who don't want to know how to read music. However, for anyone with even the slightest curiosity, I would encourage you to give learning how to read music a go. For only a bit of effort at the beginning the later rewards are considerable. This book certainly makes learning to read and play standard music notation fun. The tunes are fun to play, cover several popular music styles and a beginner will have complete numbers to add to their repertoire to play for family and friends. Don't be like some folks I know who can only play bits and pieces of their tunes! In my opinion, a beginner who can play even one single piece well is actually more truly deserving of the title "guitarist" (and is definitely the better musician) than such dime-a-dozen guitarist wannabees.

If you love the guitar and don't want to be a wannabe, this book will definitely help you on your way to that goal.

- Rambles
written by Dana Fletcher
published 29 March 2003

Buy it from Amazon.com.