Acoustic Fingerstyle Guitar Workshop
by Richard Gilewitz
Book/CD/DVD Review
By Paul Kucharski
Oct.
2006

As author of the Acoustic Fingerstyle Web site, I am often asked for a referral to material that teaches fingerstyle guitar.  Until the Mark Hanson's books came out, there really wasn't much out there that I could recommend.  Now there is a brand new source of instruction that gives budding fingerstyle players a new choice.  Mel Bay has released a new Book/CD/DVD by Richard Gilewitz that offers a plethora of information on  guitar playing in general along with plenty of fingerstyle material to learn from.

Richard holds guitar workshops across the country and in these workshops, he imparts his wisdom to those who attend.  The first half of this book attempts to capture this wisdom in a series of short chapters based on many of the topics he might typically cover in his workshops.  Take a look at the chapter headings to get sense of what kind to topics he discusses. 

The thing I like about this new book is that Richard's music is more contemporary fingerstyle playing and offers both easier and challenging pieces in a variety of tunings.  Every tune in this book is a performance worthy piece, so while you learn, you build repertoire.  Plus he provides numerous useful exercises to give new players something to use to develop their right hand skills.

Of course a book alone has never really been enough to convey the information needed to learn new skills.  Many books today provide CDs that allow the student to hear what the music or exercise should sound like, but Richard and Mel Bay takes this a step further and provides a DVD with detailed video instruction on many of the topics covered in the workshop and exercises.  The CD contains verbal discussion of the exercises and "at speed" recordings of Richard performing the pieces.  The DVD supplements the book and CD by providing videos of the same exercises discussed on the CD but also provide detailed  information that only "seeing it" can convey.  He also provides detailed video performance notes on two of the performance pieces as well.  All together, the book, CD, and DVD make a very powerful combination to learn from.  The complete list of tunes on the DVD are shown in the pull-down below. 

Songs marked with ** = DVD Instruction, *=DVD Performance only

The book, CD, and DVD give you everything you could possibly need to be able to master these works (short of taking a class from Richard himself).  In the introduction to the book, Richard states "It is my intention to provide a useful book that kindles a desire to learn fingerstyle guitar."

All-in-all, I must say the package of Book/CD/DVD is one that every Richard Gilewitz fan will want.  The music is first-class and the presentation is exceptional. 

This Book/CD/DVD is available at Sheet Music Plus.

Acoustic Fingerstyle Guitar Workshop look inside

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Acoustic Fingerstyle Guitar Workshop By Richard Gilewitz. For Guitar (Fingerpicking). Wire bound, Technic. Acoustic Music. Beginning-Intermediate. Book/CD/DVD Set. 96 pages. Published by Mel Bay Publications, Inc (MB.20184SET)

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All Time Favorite
 Fingerpicking Guitar Tunes
Volume One
by Richard Gilewitz
DVD Review
By Paul Kucharski
Oct.
2006

Imagine yourself in a one-on-one guitar lesson with Richard Gilewitz.  In this guitar lesson, Richards says "I'm going to show how to play 6 tunes".  With that he proceeds to walk through each tune, breaking it down and showing you how to play each section.  While you watch, you visually see where his fingers are being placed and you duplicate what you see.  This age-old rote method of instruction is probably as old as the guitar itself.  The limitation of this way of teaching is that after the lesson's over, you need to go home hoping to remember it all.  But with these lessons on DVD you can stop, pause, rewind, and replay these lessons as often as you need to get them all down.  This is exactly what you get with Richard's new DVD on Fingerpicking Guitar Tunes.  Richard shows you in detail how to play the tunes shown below in the pull-down.

While no tab is provided for these tunes, the video is detailed in both the breakdown of the piece and video showing both hands at work.  It allows the student to learn new music without having to rely on knowledge for reading tablature or standard notation.  It can also be used as a great supplement to those who already have the tab, but are finding them difficult to master.  So if you have always wanted to learn any one of these and found the Tab just didn't do it for you, here's a chance to get some detailed instruction on playing these classic pieces.

These are all classic fingerstyle pieces; some of which I play myself.  If there was list of "fingerstyle tunes every picker should know", it wouldn't surprise me if most of these would make that list. 

This DVD is available at Sheet Music Plus.

Richard Gilewitz All-Time Favorite Fingerpicking Tunes Volume 1

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Richard Gilewitz All-Time Favorite Fingerpicking Tunes Volume 1 (Volume One). By Richard Gilewitz. For Guitar (Fingerpicking). Boxed, Solos. Acoustic Music. Beginning-Intermediate. DVD. Duration 102 minutes. Published by Mel Bay Publications, Inc (MB.21326DVD)

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