Play series book and DVD packages from Alfred Publishing

In this review. I'll be taking a look and listen to the "Jazz 3", "Rock 3" and "Blues 3" book and DVD combination lessons from Alfred.

The DVD-ROM in all three books includes a "GuitarView" lesson player that syncs to standard and TAB notation. You can customize the player to show or hide information such as note names, articulations, etc. The player allows you to adjust the tempo of the exercises without altering pitch, so you can grasp more difficult concepts without transposing. A bonus chord dictionary and built in virtual guitar tuner are nice touches. The instructors, both male and female, are young and are excellent at relating the material in a clear and complete fashion. The video portions are well shot, with close-ups of fingerings on both right and left hands when appropriate.

"Jazz Guitar 3" covers the very basics of Jazz guitar, concentrating on major scale fingerings, music theory, intervals and triads.  Triad inversions and chord etudes using the material close the 32-page tutorial out. Any player could benefit from the material presented, as the info is not solely applicable to Jazz playing.


"Rock Guitar 3". The lessons begin with basic open-voiced strumming, then moves to moveable chords and show some common rock progressions. Moveable major scales and minor pentatonics follow, with an introduction to power chords and a section covering the use of pedal tones and power chords together. I like that the power chord is treated as a reduction from a major or minor chord. I think students should learn chords in that order as full chords and then power chords, even though the power chord is most common in Rock. Chord embellishments are given a brief overview, with sus4 and sus2 examples an exercises. The book closes with exercises using all of the chords learned in previous lessons.


Starting off with bending notes in the minor pentatonic scale, the "Blues Guitar 3" book/DVD gets right to the specific techniques associated with the genre. Trills, pull-offs, hammer-ons and slides are covered in depth, giving the student a firm foundation in Blues articulations. The instructor emphasizes ear training while introducing each topic. Using the "box" method of organizing scales, the lessons gradually move on to more advanced concepts like double-stops and 6ths, ala Steve Cropper and Robben Ford. In all, an excellent 48-page reference of Blues guitar techniques.


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