If you are a looking to learn and master guitar and are a beginning guitarist, or an intermediate guitar player looking to improve your playing, you may be evaluating your options on what ways to fast track your progress. You may want to take private lessons with a professional instructor. This is the old “tried and true” method, and it is great for a lot of people. However, it is not for everyone. Maybe you realize that the average cost of private lessons is $20 and that it adds up in a hurry, becoming more than you can afford or just more than you would like to spend. The Gibson’s Learn and Master Guitar series could be just what you need if your schedule is too busy to allow for lessons, or maybe you just feel more comfortable learning at home without someone watching you. Whatever the reason, your best option would be to take guitar lessons on DVD.
If you are reading this review, then you are most likely at least considering video guitar lessons. Gibson’s Learn and Master Guitar series, winner of the 2011 Acoustic Guitar Magazine’s Players Choice Award for Best Instructional Material, could be just what you are looking for. I can’t make that decision for you, but by the time you’ve finished reading this review, you will surely have enough information to decide for yourself.
What the Series Offers
With 20 DVDs, you will be getting about a year’s worth of guitar lessons on video with the Learn and Master Guitar series, while only requiring about 20 to 30 minutes of your time per day. Instructor Steve Krenz, who has performed with Grammy Award winning artists such as the Fifth Dimension and Israel Houghton, does an excellent job of helping you learn to play guitar, while neither over-explaining things nor rushing through the material. His demeanor and presentation are perfect for guitar DVD lessons.
Every essential element of learning to play guitar is included in this series, even some basic music theory. The lessons include tablature and actual musical notation, as well as basic and more advanced chords. As long as you don’t try to skip over DVDs, you will find the lessons are quite easy to follow. You will find the included lesson book and jam along discs to be very useful as they play a big part in your learning experience. Let’s take a closer look at them now.
The Lesson Book
You are going to find the lesson book to be absolutely essential when it comes to practicing. After each lesson, Steve does what is called a workshop lesson. These workshops come down to him giving you practice exercises to do and an idea of how much time you should spend on it before moving on to the next section.
The lesson book proves its value by allowing you to simply open it up to the corresponding section rather than having to go back and review a particular part of the guitar lessons on DVD. Every exercise that Steve covered in the workshop can be found in the lesson book and it proves to be quite a time saver, allowing for more hands on time with your guitar.
Jam Along Discs
Another positive feature of this series would have to be the jam along discs. You get professional quality song tracks that correspond with different sections of the lesson book featuring a full band. In my opinion, this makes practice a lot more interesting and fun. No more boring, repetitive exercises here.
Superb Video Quality
A lot of how to play guitar DVDs are low budget and it shows in both video quality and presentation. As you can see from the screenshots shown here, that is not an issue with the Learn and Master Guitar series. These DVDs are shot in high definition and feature beautifully done on screen graphics of chord charts, tablature, music, and more.
The camera angles are also excellent, providing multiple views so that you can see just how your fingers should be positioned on the frets as well as proper picking. The value of these demonstrations really can’t be expressed enough, as proper picking and fret hand positioning are vital to playing guitar.
The time and effort put into the production of this series is quite evident, and the visual presentation is unparalleled by any other guitar lessons on DVD that I have encountered.
Drawbacks to the Series
There really aren’t a lot of negatives when it comes to this series. It is one of the pricier options when it comes to guitar lessons videos, but as I mentioned in the previous section, its quality is unsurpassed. In other words, you get what you pay for.
Another thing to consider with the price would be comparing it to taking private lessons. As I mentioned earlier, the average lesson costs $20. You are going to be taking lessons once a week. That works out to an average of $1,040 per year with private lessons. This series covers a year of lessons and costs $149, making it clearly a better value.
The only other possible drawback I can see with this course is that the sheer size of the series may be overwhelming to some beginners. However, keep in mind that you can always stop and come back to it at your leisure, it’s not like you have weekly appointments to keep with the instructor.
What Others Are Saying
You have probably figured out by now that I think this is an excellent way for you to learn to play guitar. However, that’s just one man’s opinion. I wanted to give you a chance to hear what others who have tried this series have had to say. Take a moment to read over these testimonials from Learn and Master Guitar’s site, mostly from people who were once in the same position that you are in now.
“This is by far the best guitar learning program I have ever encountered. I have tried quite a few ‘learn guitar’ programs that also give you a progressive and varied learning format. However, they never ever had the same kind of depth and structure; let alone the community support, as Gibson’s Learn and Master Guitar. If you put in the effort to learn what has been taught, the 20 sessions will make you a pretty decent guitarist. Best of all you learn it at your own pace and eventually fall into the structure where you know how fast you can learn something.” – Michael from Lonoke, Arkansas
“I just wanted to pass along my thanks. I have been using your lesson DVDs and find them to be the best I have every come across. If I can do this I feel anyone who wants to learn to play a guitar can. Thanks so much.” – Richard Reinke from Waukesha, Wisconsin
Placing Your Order Online
If you have never ordered anything online, don’t worry. There is nothing to be intimidated by or any need to worry about the security of your personal information. Gibson’s Learn and Master site is a secure, encrypted site so all of your personal information is safe from prying eyes. The ordering process is simple and straightforward, no need to worry about whether you are doing it right. Just follow these easy steps:
- Choose from the clearly marked options of buying the series in one lump sum, buying it in three monthly installments, or purchasing the Epiphone Player Pack by clicking “Add to Cart” by the product you want.
- You will be taken to a screen where you will simply select the quantity you would like to purchase (it is already set to 1 by default) and your shipping option. You are then shown your total with shipping added in. Then click “Proceed to Checkout”
- Next you will be asked if you would like to bundle with another of their products and receive them at a discount. If you would like to do this, you click the box next to the appropriate product, if not, simply click “No, thank you.”
- On the next screen you either enter your credit card or PayPal information, along with your name and address and then click “Place Order.”
And that is all there is to it. It’s simple, safe, and convenient. Within days you will have a package at your door via UPS containing your guitar lessons on DVD, your lesson book, and your jam along discs.
One final thing worth noting is that there is a 60 day money back guarantee on this product. No need to worry about spending $149 only to find out that this series wasn’t for you, simply send it back and within 8 days, you will have your full refund. So why not give it a try? I think that you will see that Gibson’s Learn and Master Guitar will be just what you are looking for and have you playing like a pro before you know it.
About the Author:
Gerald Crawford, semi retired from the Material Handling Industry, now spends his time rekindling his passion for the guitar which he learned to play when he was a teenager, then pretty much stopped playing in his early twenties. In 2008 his wife bought him a Les Paul electric guitar for his 43rd birthday and he hasn’t looked back since, and tries to inspire others who would like to learn to play an instrument.