Richness of Content: Brought to you by Hal Leonard, "Blues Guitar Technique" is a Berklee production, a university that has set new standards in on-line music training with the likes of Steve Vai. In this book/audio set, Michael Williams teaches various constructs of blues in the styles of B.B. King, Albert Collins, T-Bone Walker, Jimmy Reed and other legends. Some books tend to glorify lead soloing, but this book begins with a solid structure of rhythm and syncopation that develops eventually into its soloing counterpart as you learn to merge major, natural minor, pentatonic and blues scales. // 8
Style: For those wanting a solid structure in electric blues guitar, this book starts off in the right direction with easy-to-learn Jimmy Reed-styled rhythms, which merges into "uptown" and "downtown" Chicago-style shuffles, and then into more funky and "greasy" blues. All tracks are broken down generously, into online mp3 files (that you can save and download to your computer if desired) that involve rhythm-only tracks, backbeat tracks, full band with and without lead soloing, etc., so that you can pick apart key playing aspects for more expedient and thorough learning.
The author provides some theoretical teachings, but keeps it restricted, for the most part, on chord progressions and the basis for his selections. Rather, he focuses more on performance tips and what occurs in each chorus of the examples, so that you can understand the flavor of playing and compositional directions throughout. // 8
Overall Impression: If you are a skilled blues guitar player, then this book/audio set will leave much to be desired, but if you've dabbled and what to develop a solid structure in playing and understanding the blues, then this is an excellent resource. What made Jimi Hendrix such an influential guitarist is not his lead or rhythm work, but the ability to integrate simultaneously his rhythm chops with lead playing. This book/audio set applies such easy and fundamental rhythm and scale techniques that it becomes obvious how the two interact and overlap within a band setting (and within the sound files provided). This makes it easier to harmonize that rhythm-lead integration that Hendrix and a few other guitar greats have been able to achieve so flowingly and seemingly effortlessly. Although there is a large amount of learning and practicing within the pages of "Blues Guitar Technique," what I would like to have seen more of would include information and samples on: 1) different rhythm syncopation techniques; 2) rhythm and solo phrasing; and 3) solo composition. // 8