Ultimate Beginner Series - 2001 (2001) - Warner Bros.
Publishing (Warner Music)
by Dallas Ragan of The Digital Bits
Disc Ratings (Video/Audio/Extras):
Specs and Features
77 mins, NR, full frame (1.33:1), single-sided, single-layered,
Snapper case packaging, DVD-ROM features, program themed menu
screens, scene access (19 chapters), languages: English (DD 2.0),
guess I should start by introducing myself. My name is Dallas. I'm
in my late twenties and, just like more than 90% of America, I have
a dream of becoming a rock star (although you don't see Fox having
some American Guitarists
contests. Bastards). I started teaching myself guitar about three
years ago, when I first picked up my very own six-string. Ever
since, I have been learning and progressing and eating up every "Teach
Yourself" guide I could find. I've cut just about every knuckle
on my strumming hand with razor sharp strings and have built up
calluses the thickness of Oprah's ass on my fretting fingers. Why go
through all this pain? Because I don't want to be some
glasses-wearing twit writing articles and columns my whole life... I
am a Golden God.
With that said, I'd like to put my glasses back on and share with
you my first review in a series on learning to play guitar by DVD. I
thought I would start at the beginning, which I guess makes perfect
sense if you think about it. So let's look at Warner's
The Ultimate Beginner Series: Electric
Guitar Basics. Included within this DVD are the original
Parts One and Two
that were made for VHS a few years back. They've also added a
special internet feature, which can only be accessed if you have a
DVD-ROM on your computer. I have no DVD-ROM, so I'll just discuss
the set-top contents of the DVD.
Part One contains the very
basic information you'll need on your way to becoming a Golden God
yourself. These include guitar types, guitar parts, tuning tips, how
to change strings, the fundamentals of holding a guitar properly,
chords, playing along with a track and (of course) a conclusion --
all featuring the magic of Keith Wyatt (I have no idea who he is
either). Part One sucks. Yes,
I said suck. Why? Well, because it does. I guess it could be
somewhat informative to those of you who may have been born in early
Egyptian times, when guitar music didn't exist. Or maybe if you were
a time traveler from the way distant future, where music had been
banned by a regime of anti-Britney Spears cults who, for the sake of
their children and children's children, were afraid of the path
music was taking. Hey, anything's possible.
Everything in Part One is
pretty idiotic. There are, maybe, two parts where you might actually
learn something... if you can filter out the barrage of moronic
guitar tech talk. The portion on the subject of chords, where you
learn what a chord is and how to play the chord (with a nice little
graphic showing you finger position for the chord), is handy. The
useful part is the chapter called Play
Along Track, where you're allowed to play all those
wonderful six chords you just learned to a very basic 4/4 time Blues
Progression track. Part One is
very basic stuff. So basic, in fact, that you have no reason to pick
up a guitar if you have to see any of this for the first time on
this DVD. Most of this information is in your manual, or even that
cheap songbook you picked up when you bought your first guitar from
Part Two focuses on (drum roll
please) tuning-up (again), chord review (from the first part),
general discussion and examples of minor chords, dominant chords,
basic chords, chord progression and strumming, as well as notes on
soloing and picking, hammer-ons, pull offs and, of course, bends.
This part should've been called Keith
Wyatt: Look How Cool I Am.
For those of you who have smoked a lot of weed and have forgotten
who he is (I mentioned him like twelve sentences ago), he's the vest
wearing bad ass teaching us all about guitar playing. Keith is so
cool. We get to see Keith "rock-out" amid a nice blend of
80's designed backgrounds and camera effects. We get to hear him
slam down some hot licks on his fiery axe, and groove to that
hypnotizing sound that only Keith Wyatt can produce. I know why I've
never heard of Mr. Wyatt. It's because he's waaaaay ahead of his
time. And ladies, in case you're wondering... yes, he is married.
Although I can't see how some woman could tame a stallion like
Okay, I'll put the sarcasm away for a minute to briefly explain
what this part really has to offer. Unlike Part
One, there is some very informative stuff here, like: "no
hunching while playing 'cause we don't want any backs hurting"
or "it's going to take a lot of practice". Wow... thanks
to Keith, I'm now on my way to becoming that Golden God I've always
dreamed of becoming. Sorry, I keep ripping on Keith, don't I? In a
nut shell, Part Two quickly
goes over everything discussed in Part
One, and then goes into a more advanced look at chords
and how they will control every aspect of your guitar playing life.
That's about it.
I wasn't impressed with this DVD. And I don't think I can recommend
it for the beginner. I mean, if you're 5 years old, then this MIGHT
be a good lesson. Other than that, I'd say you'd be better off with
either a book or a live teacher. For the advanced (like someone
who's been playing for a week or more) this DVD is better used as a
And because Todd asked me to talk about the "quality" of
the DVD, here goes: it's presented in full frame with a slight video
look. It's not the best image I've ever seen coming out of my
player, and it's certainly not the worst either. It's a very clean,
professional image. Sound is a standard, no-frills Dolby Digital
2.0. Extras are non-existent save for the DVD-ROM feature which, I
assume, allows you to download chord diagrams and tablature.
The Ultimate Beginner Series: Electric
Guitar Basics isn't a very good teacher. If it's the only
option you have, then it certainly won't hurt your progression. Next
week, if all goes well, we're going to look at some DVD songbooks.
Which I can already tell you, are pretty good. It's what Warner
Music really excels at, so all is not lost. Until then, remember:
always alternate your strumming.