So I recently hit ten years of playing guitar, which really took me by surprise. I remember when I first picked one up - my brother’s - and I was lucky enough at the time for the whole thing just to make sense to me. I took a few lessons to start out, but once I knew a few licks and a few chords, I decided I would teach myself, because in the back of my mind somewhere I knew the kind of player I wanted to be: free, creative and competent, and I wanted to get there in my own way. This process really put me in touch with analysing what does and what doesn’t move me towards the level of guitar player I want to be, and it’s still a process I’m learning and understanding.
Over the years I searched and worked to find the rules, formulas and ways of thinking that helped my development. I recorded them, tested them, veered away from them, or decided to completely test them fully, both in my own playing and in my lessons with students. Some theories fell by the wayside, but some stuck and proved effective and correct time and again, and they’re the ones that have made it into the ‘Complete Guitar Freedom’ book. For years I’ve wanted the one-stop place I could remind myself of what works; the guidelines for when I feel like I’m in a rut, uninspired or regressing on the guitar, and that is what I’ve strived to pack into these pages.
Treat this book as your own set of guidelines; a roadmap to help you to the next step. Get lost on some parts of the fretboard? Sick of playing the same scales and chords? Want to finally have the technical freedom on the guitar to play what you want? Want to feel more in touch with what you’re playing or writing? Here you’ll find the practises, mindsets and exercises to do exactly that and more. I know this because these are questions that have kept coming to me over and over again for over ten years, and in this book are the answers that I’ve always inevitably found.
Of course there’s a lot of specifics you’ll learn along the way, but when I think of the one thing that it all comes down to, I think it’s this:
Learn the bigger picture, and the details will become simple
Want to learn a song, but there’s a legato section that you just can’t get? Instead of intensely focusing on just that one part, improve your legato technique in general (using the steps in the book). That way you’ll avoid the trap of only being able to play that legat part, and instead be more comfortable with any legato part that might come up in any song.
Want to be more creative and improvise? Instead of just copying and learning more stock guitar licks, learn where they come from in the first place. Develop them, find out what key they’re in, and break down the really basic idea of the phrases and adapt them. You’ll gain much more of a freedom with your improvising, and you’ll never run out of things to play.
Want to have more chord shapes to use? Instead of just learning shape after shape, learn how chords are made. What notes are in them? How do you find them on guitar? Which ones go together? That way you can make your own shapes, and again, never run out of shapes to play!
This book really goes into the step by step methods of how to think, practice and improve through this concept, to make you a more free and creative musician.