Hal Leonard Guitar Method

The Hal Leonard Guitar Method is the basic, easy guitar series that has sold a bazillion copies and translated into like 30 languages or something... It's basically Hal Leonard's answer to the good old Mel Bay method. But its pacing and structure is a bit better than Mel Bay or Alfred's. It's all written in standard music notation (staff) and the thrust is reading single-note melodies in open position. Folk melodies are the main thing... stuff like "Buffalo Gals" and "Mary Had a Little Lamb." Well, actually Mary's not in there, but that's the jist of it. The method progresses to simplified three-string chords, then fuller chords and eventually strumming rhythms and accompaniment techniques. Sight reading is relied on throughout. There are a number of supplementary books that include more "modern" music... stuff like Beatles melodies and such.

If you are an absolute beginner and want a generic guitar method of the "old school" type of learning, this is it. Very non-stylistic, and builds a "standard musical base." Many years ago, before anybody wrote a good rock guitar method, this was what everyone used including myself. Works great for younger kids who want to play guitar but don't have any real stylistic interest in particular. It is equally viable for acoustic or electric guitar.

Now if you're interest lies in rock, there are a number of far better choices these days. Yeah, this series does try to cross over into rock with its "Rock Trax" books, but these fail to deliver in any real sense. But it's like an older folk guitarist trying to teach rock... it just ain't the real thing. For real rock instruction, you are far better off to look into a stylistic-based series like mine (Troy Stetina Series). The Hal Leonard Guitar Method is best as long as it sticks with what it does and stays in the generic, folk-type, sight-reading stuff. I suppose those watered-down "rock" books do have a place, though. If you are already into the Hal Leonard Guitar Method and you just want a simple rock book that continues with the same approach and format, you might like the Rock Trax books. (I wouldn't, but some might.)

For the record, the author -- Will Schmid -- is a very nice guy and has been a professor at UWM for many years. He also was the editor on my first books (the original "Heavy Metal Guitar" series with the red guitar on the cover) and he did those funky voice-overs! No, it wasn't me! NO!...

Click to see all the Hal Leonard Guitar Method books.

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