So, I’ve moved on to lesson 2 and am already wishing I had more time to devote to this. I am crazy busy at work right now, and did I mention I have 2 young daughters who demand most of my time away from work. Lesson 1 was very basic and I just ran through the exercises to get in the habit of doing it and work on my left hand technique. I am also trying to concentrate more on where all of the notes are on the neck.
Looking over the written material for lesson 2 gave me the old familiar, “Screw this”, feeling as that it was a lot of notes and music and talk of scales and such. Typically this is what has turned me off from instructional books in the past, but I decided not this time and plugged on. After reading through the material I realized that I actually do know most of this stuff, just not as well as I should and certainly do not have it memorized. Okay, now to the video portion.
Lesson 2 starts out with a brief intro and then jumps right into time signatures, note reading and major scales. Roy actually has you play through all of the major scales, first using flats, then sharps. These gets a bit tedious but he does speed it up once the concept has been established. This is still within my grasp of knowledge, but I could definitely see a beginning player getting overwhelmed here. So much is covered so quickly and we are only on lesson 2. Roy does his bit to encourage you through the process, and if you bear with him it’s no so bad in hindsight.
Once the major scales are covered we move on to the 1-4-5 progression and triads. Suddenly learning all of the scales makes sense, they were leading to this. Once you know a scale it is simple to play a 1-4-5 or a R-3-5-3 triad. As I said, this is all within my knowledge base, but no one has ever put it all together like this for me. Suddenly it all makes sense,like a light bulb came on in my head. I’ve been blindly playing these progressions and triads for years and heard the terms applied variously, but never truly understood it. Now I do.
Having learned the 1-4-5 and R-3-5-3 we are now presented with an actual song to play along with “Keep it simple Blues”. Roy takes us into the studio with an actual band and we get to play along with them. The nice part is that first you play through it slowly with Roy on bass until you are comfortable then you can play through it fast with Roy on bass. When you feel you have mastered the tune you can then play along with the band without Roy, so you ARE the bass player. This is pretty cool as that if you are not on it, you can tell and you know that it is all you.
Up next is a second song “A new Key to Jamming”, which is in G, “Keep it Simple Blues” is in F so basically you are playing the same bass line as the first song, just in a different key. Again you are able to play along with Roy as well as without him. I found both of these songs to be well within my ability, yet enjoyed going through the exercise and can see how beneficial this is for new players.
One thing to note is that Lesson 1 lasted about 45 minutes,whereas Lesson 2 clocked in at almost 1.5 hours. I have found nowhere where it tells you how long any of the lessons are other than the display countdown on the DVD player while you are actually watching the lessons. It would be nice to know how long the videos where before getting into them. When I started lesson 2 I expected that it would be about as long as lesson 1, perhaps a little longer. I know now that I will preview each lesson before working on it to get an idea of how long it is going to be to ensure I set aside enough time for each lesson.
So there you have it, lesson 2 seemed a bit academic to start, but Roy brings it all together in the end and actually gets you started playing songs. While it can seem overwhelming, I guarantee that if you stick with it you will definitely learn some basic, yet vital concepts. This lesson helped to clarify a lot things for me as well as taught me a couple new concepts. I think I will jam along with band a few more times before moving on to Lesson 3. The DVD’s have a great “Loop” section that allows you to find the exercises you want to work on specifically and practice them to your hearts content. My motivation is still high! Can’t wait for lesson 3.
To read this series from the beginning start here: http://wp.me/pRvjK-h