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Flatpicking Essentials Student Feedback

"Thank you for your acknowlegment of my recent puchase of vol. 1&2 flatpicking. I have to tell you, this is probably the best investment of any instructional material I have come across. I agree with a lot of the feedback you are getting from other pickers, I think there are a lot of us out there that you seem to describe so well. Started with fiddle tunes, and weak on the foundation. I play about 30 fiddle tunes, even have a band, my boom chuck is solid, but bass runs are weak. I have put nearly everything I practice on hold, and am focusing on Vol 1, dilegently, and am convinced it will make me a better picker. It will probably be the first book I will actually work my way all the way through. Already looking forward to vol 2, but plan on being solid with the basics first. Thanks for putting together such a well rounded program, and the history, the whole package." - Bob

"The wealth of information you have made available is unparalleled. Being a technical type, your methodology fits my learning style perfectly. I will comment more (keeping it short) as I go through the material." -John

"I really appreciate all the extras that you have posted, both messages and the additional .mp3 files of rhythm tracks. I can tell you really care about your product and want it to be valuable for everyone involved." -Doug

"First let me thank you for your fantastic books. I was stuck and didn't know which direction to take with my guitar. I love Irish trad music (i suppose thats not surprising as im from and live in Ireland) so I turned my ears to bluegrass and haven't looked back. Your first volume really livened up my rhythm playing, as did the Carter Style in volume 2." -Paul

"I just wanted to say, after getting volumes 1 and 2, that these books are great. They are filling in exactly the gaps that I was missing, especially when it comes to soloing. I have been trying to figure out how to create solos for a long time, but both the books I have been buying, as wells as the one on one lessons I have received have not been able to get me beyond memorizing licks or complex arrangements. Working from the melody makes what I hear other musians doing make a lot more sense." -Josh

"I have scanned the whole book last night in order to get an idea of your intensions with it. Your approach seems to be in line with what I perceive to be the correct way to study classical guitar (which I also do). That is to spend a lot of time on the fundamentals in order to build a solid basis before you proceed to the "real" stuff. I can see that you put much thought into this series." -Regards, Deon

"I'm writing you to commend you on this book you published "Flatpicking Essentials Volume 1"; which detail with rhythm techniques; which in recently purchased and downloaded three days ago. The history section alone makes this a good buy. The book provides me tab and techniques on runs and fills that I haven't seen anywhere else." -Take Care and God Bless You, Garry

"I have already obtained your Flatpick Essentials Vol. 1 and have read through the text. On first review of it, I found it to be one of the most thorough and easily understood method book I have seen. Thank you for writing it. I look forward to future volumes." -Ellen

"Thanks for putting together this fantastic guide to rhythm guitar. I’ve been teaching myself to play for the past thirty years or so and I can’t believe I have never run across this much information in one place before … but I haven’t . This is by far the best guide I’ve ever studied. I’m playing with a metronome now (I never was quite able to make myself use it before, but now I won’t play without it. Wow what a difference) and working my way through the examples. I love that you have explained the reasoning behind bass runs. It really makes a difference. I can’t wait to finish this book so I can move on to the next one, but I plan to learn this one well first so I’ll force myself to be patient." -Best Regards, Buddy

"Just to let you know that I received volume 1 safely. I had a quick browse this morning on my train journey to work & have say that I am mightily impressed - what a wonderful book! I so wish I'd had this a couple of years ago when I first went to Kamp & struggled to understand the basics of flatpicking, base runs etc - its just so clearly explained in your book & I'm very excited about how much more I'm going to learn & more importantly really understand by using it. Well done indeed!" - rgds, Guy

Dear Dan,
Just a note to let you know how pleased I am with your new instruction book, "Flatpicking Essentials Vol. 1." When I read the copy introducing the series, I knew this could be the book/teacher that I had been searching for. You talked specifically about the problems I was having: the where-do-I-go-next feeling after memorizing solos, the gaps in my understanding of music theory, my misunderstanding of the foundational role that rhythm guitar plays in the development of a natural flatpicking style.
I thought, "Is this guy reading my mind?" Then I realized that I'm not the only person who's ever tried to learn to flatpick by emulating what she's heard. I had a teacher for a year, but his thing is rock music of the '80s and he thinks that flatpicking is 'country music,' which translates as boring. He'd teach me some bass runs and then try to interest me in The Eagles or in finger picking, but I am very single-minded about what I want to learn. I just didn't know how to go about it; that is, until "Flatpicking Essentials Vol. 1" came out.
I feel so confident now - at Lesson 6 - that I am on the right road. Gaps are being filled - how about that one-four-five, that alternating root and fifth, that leading tone! My husband commented that my playing is louder and stronger (strum like you're shaking water off your hand).
I still play the versions of solos I've memorized, but now I have a new appreciation of them. They weren't channeled miraculously from some disembodied spirit in the outer limits, as it sometimes seemed to me. They actually grew and developed from familiar chords that learned how to jump through melody hoops while still maintaining that all-important rhythm.
So, thanks, Dan, for all the pleasure you've added to my playing. And put me down for Volume 2.
Yours truly,

I just got my copy of Volume 1 of your new instructional series and I must say it looks terrific - just what I've been looking for.
But the main reason I'm writing is that I was especially pleased to see the material on Tom Paley's rhythm style. Tom plays at one of the sessions I attend, here in London. He's been a resident here for many years, although he also spends long periods each year back in the U.S. and in Sweden, where he also lived for a while. These days he mainly plays the fiddle and is especially fond of the most crooked tunes, which gives the back-up guitars a good workout or a bad headache or both.
However, he does still pick up the guitar or banjo now and then, and picks a tune or two. I've often heard him play that version of Frankie and Johnny, and a couple of times he's borrowed my guitar to play Railroad Blues, which is a real honour for me. He suffers somewhat with arthritis these days, and finds my medium gauge strings a bit heavy, but he's still a great picker. In fact he's really a better guitar and banjo player than fiddle player, if the truth be told! The most striking aspect of his playing, to my eyes anyway, is that he only lifts his (left hand) fingers a fraction of an inch from the strings when he's not fretting a note. It's an object lesson in economy of movement and effort. I regularly force myself through exercises where I lift my fingers but keep them close to the strings. A great deal of discipline is required!
So, anyway, keep up the good work. I really like your historical approach to learning flatpicking. The FGM issue on the pioneers is my most thumbed copy, and that approach solves so many problems I feel a renewed urgency to learn and practice - and then take it to the sessions.
Thanks again and all best regards, Simon

"Thanks for your email and for this series you are putting together. I met you a couple of years ago at camp bluegrass (07) in Levelland TX when Brad and Tim were there also. I am looking forward to studying the history and evolvement of flatpicking as you have presented here. It makes sense to me to study and learn the in the way that it has evolved and so I am excited about getting started."
Thanks for the support!

"The appeal for me is your approach of a logical order of progression ( something many of my former teachers don't put enough importance on.) And beginging with rhythm and timing ,it never fails that no matter what i learn on guitar staying in time and on the proper count and loosing your place ect. are always the most difficult part for me given my level of experience. Being a white boy with no ryhthm doesn't help either. Is there a vol. 2 ,3 , 4 available yet?" Hope all is well get back to you soon , mike

"Very strait ahead approach and exellent for beginners to start rhythm playing. as we're told by all the players, we always come back to rhythym but usually don't learn it right first time around. Thanks for your efforts". -Jeff

"I'm excited about the series. I recall reading the comments in the "Flatpicking Pioneers" issue about this kind of progressive approach, and not really having a clue about how to pursue it in a systematic way. I'm looking forward to digging into them, and I'll certainly give you a holler if I get stuck." Best, Joe

"Wow! All of this fantastic stuff that I didn't know. And it's not that hard to master. Keep it up." Thank you very much! Bill

"I just finished working with the first few lesson pages of Volume 1 then scanning through both Volume 1 and Volume 2. I am delighted with my purchases. The history is fascinating and your instructions are clear, comprehensive and succinct. The examples are great. I'm a solid rhythm player but have never done much with walks and runs because I've been afraid of muddying the pulse. Your course is going to move me out of that safe little boom-chick niche." Thanks, Rebecca

"I've recently downloaded your brilliant Vol 1 & Vol 2 "Flatpicking Essentials". I plan to get the complete series! Your description of the frustration felt by many learning to copy songs from DVDs etc is right on the nail! At 58 years old, I've dipped in and out of playing over the years. But all I've ended up with are a couple of blues fingerpicking tunes learnt from DVDs. I'm greatly motivated by your teaching approach; the gradual and thorough method starting with the basics." Best regards, Les

"Just purchased your #2 carter style pdf. Ive been flat picking for over 10+ years. I'll admit that I"ve been a tab junkie for years like so many others. In the past have collected quite a collection of instructional books, tapes, videos, and formal lessons from Adam Granger. And I just wanted to say hands down this is the best instructional material I"ve purchased for guitar. I"ll admit the first section of the book was fairly simple but the latter half had me stealing your licks and combining mine to your solos. Keep up the good work and I looking forward to volume #3." -Keven

"I get something out of every book/dvd/tape etc. that I run across. I started pickin' at 65 ( a bit over three years ago ) and I am amazed at the things I hear when I go back to the basics that I've already run though several times. Something new every time. So far I'd say you have a hit on your hands with those books/CD's. You can never be too old to start and you can never NOT get something out of looking back" Thanx, Rick

"I was so impressed with Volume 2 I ordered Volume 1 to that I could gain a better understanding of your references to material in that Volume." -Fred

"At this point, I have to say ... it is unlike any 'course or guide' I've ever looked at or used...If asked ...I would say you are with out a doubt on to something with your approach to transfering, not just information, but 'Understanding' of how to learn/play the 'flatpicking' style."
Thanks a lot Dan! I couldn't be happier!, Rod

"Your volumes ! & 2 are great just the way they are. I particularly liked the fact that the songs are not all that difficult to play and have enough panache to keep things from getting monotonous. I put my skill level at about Beginning Intermediate mostly playing out of the first position." -Howard

"Thanks Dan. Volume 2 looks really interesting & I'm already trying my own Carter-style version of "Will the Circle be Unbroken". Can't say I've mastered vol 1 yet but I'm sort of dipping in & out of both. They're a real labour of love by the way & beautifully written in my view. " rgds, Guy

"I have beat on my guitar, on and mostly off, for 30 years. I never got better. I always played the same couple of songs. I have been inspired by the musicians that I have heard at Bluegrass festivals and local venues here in North Florida. You touched a cord with me, since I am self taught, that if I start back with the basics of rhythm, scales and training my ears that I will have a better base to grow from and will become a better player. I can't wait to play tonight." Regards, Tim

"I am not advanced very far yet with them since I have just tackled example 13 of the 1st section of the 1st volume and gone back to the beginning as suggested but I would like to say that I very much appreciate your pragmatic approach which was what seduced me to buy the 1st volume and I consider myself lucky as a beginner to have come across such great instructional material. It is in fact the best method I have ever come across and some of the principles explained I can already apply successfully to simple songs for use in jam sessions. Also I don't believe going too fast is a good thing. One has to allow time for things to sink in hence the good idea to go back to the beginning every once in a while." Sincerely, Francois

"I'm enjoying working through volume one and am keeping my hands off of volume two until I get the material in volume one under my belt. This is the first course that I have come across that follows a logical order of teaching and is just what I was looking for especially having been a bass player for the past forty odd years and really only dabbled with guitar never really getting past the rythm stage. Thanks for producing such good instruction material." -Steve

"I have really enjoyed working through volume 1. I am in the area of just starting working through the G run series. I just got back into playing guitar playing after about a 25 year hiatus. Although I enjoy a variety of music, to my ear, flat picking and acoustic guitar belongs together. The Essential books include more details which has prompted me think about what I am learning rather than just reading the tab. This enhances the learning. I picked up on your suggestion about working with the metronome. It gave me better discipline in my practice. I have volume 2 now and I am looking forward to participating in the following volumes. Many thanks for the well done books. Thanks too for the track list for volume 1." -Robert

"Just a quick note to let you know I have added the metronome into my daily practice and it really isn't so hard after all (lol). My instructor has embrased the information and I am implementing the base runs and walk ups to a number of songs I work on daily. This is more difficult but I am working through it and finding it a "labor of love." I am moving slowly but I am trying to implement the material into my playing rather than just learning it and still needing to learn how to use it (like a lick). I am excited about vol#2 but I want to have a firm grip on the information in #1 before moving forward. Thanks for your work, it is a great tool!" -Rocco

I wanted to let you know that I'm really enjoying both books! They're exactly what I was looking for! When you wrote in the first book about people memorizing the melodies and not spending a lot of time with rhythm and then having difficulty at jams, that was my exact story.
However; about a year ago I went to an Old Time music gathering and learned how important good rhythm play is, and how much fun you can have driving a fiddle tune with the rhythm part. I looked around but couldn't really find a good instructional book on rhythm guitar until I came across yours. It was just what I was looking for!
I've been playing for about 7 years. I'm good with the boom/chuck, my ear has developed, but the embellishments were really missing. These books have given me great inspiration and path to follow on my guitar. Thanks!" - Gerard