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Mark Phillips and Jon Chappell : Classical Guitar for Dummies

Mark Phillips and Jon Chappell

Wiley Publishing : 388 pages ( includes a CD)

I think may of you would have seen in the shops this large group of books on stands all a very striking yellow and black , called ‘…………for Dummies’, and include Dos, Chinese, E Publishing, PCs , How to Fix Everything, Bitcoin, and Football, just to randomly pick a very small amount. So how does a book for classical guitarists fare amongst all this vast array of volumes, and how is it when compared to the many tutor books already on the market?

At nearly 400 pages, it seems a hugely detailed volume, and it is, but the print on the page is a large one, so it isn’t quite as detailed as 388 pages might make you think! It is however split into 6 separate parts, making 18 chapters in all, and those chapters spilt further into several subjects, so you do get a lot for your money. It begins by giving a brief history, and then goes into the mechanics of sitting, holding and playing the guitar, using language that is immediately quite friendly and not so ‘serious’ as some other books, not that that is a problem as such , but this more approachable language may suit quite a number of pupils who might get fed up with the slightly high – brow approach of some other writers of tutor books. Then the guide the players through all the various techniques, exercises and piece in a plain and helpful way, so that they know exactly what to successfully play any exercise that appears here. They use staff notation and tab underneath one another, just in case players find some parts harder to understand than others. There are plenty of photos and pictures to show players exactly what they need to do in various situations and even though the book starts right at the very beginning , by the last quarter of the book , you are getting involved in some quite interesting and complex music, providing you’ve followed the book correctly and not skipped around !

I can see that this hefty volume has a lot of good things to say and the manner in which it is written will no doubt endear itself to many players , and as such I can say that you should give this well thought out volume a go!

Chris Dumigan

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