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Arlen Roth's Masters of the Telecaster
Arlen Roth's Masters of the Telecaster
Director: Tim Landers
Genres: Music Video & Concerts, Special Interests, Educational, Musicals & Performing Arts
NR     2004     1hr 30min

The Telecaster? is the only guitar to have ever spawned its own cult of "Teleplayers." The Tele's raw, penetrating sound, combined with unique physical characteristics such as a deeply scooped headstock and placement of it...  more »


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Movie Details

Director: Tim Landers
Genres: Music Video & Concerts, Special Interests, Educational, Musicals & Performing Arts
Sub-Genres: Pop, Other Music, Special Interests, Educational, Independently Distributed
Studio: Warner Bros Publishi
Format: DVD - Color
DVD Release Date: 09/13/2004
Release Year: 2004
Run Time: 1hr 30min
Screens: Color
Number of Discs: 1
SwapaDVD Credits: 1
Total Copies: 0
Members Wishing: 1
MPAA Rating: NR (Not Rated)
Languages: English

Movie Reviews

Learn From the Telemaster
BFract | 03/12/2000
(4 out of 5 stars)

"When a musician meets an instrument that is right for him, an exotic feeling overtakes him. It is like a high school crush. The instrument is all he can think about, and he feels as if he can't live without it. He will stretch himself financially to acquire it. He will carry a light, exhilarating nausea around in his belly until he can get it. This was how I felt when I first played a Fender Telecaster. It is an instrument that ignites the kind of passion usually found in romantic love or religious devotion. Arlen Roth is one who has been touched by this zeal as much as anyone. From the reverent tones in which he speaks of the instrument, to the photos of him with some of his favorite Teles, to his luscious playing on the demo CD's, it is evident that Arlen Roth is a man in love. But you don't have to be a Tele fanatic to get a lot out of this book. Any guitarist will come away from it a better player. Roth quickly gets to the meat and potatoes. The introduction is brief, giving a sketch of Tele history and a look at some of its better spinoffs. Then he gets to the music. Roth does not tell you how to intonate the guitar, change the nut, or reroute for new pickups. That is all for another place and time. This book is about playing. He starts the reader off with basic shuffles, rhythm grooves and fundamental techniques. All licks are written out in both standard muscial notation and tablature. Then he provides crash courses by genre, namely R&B, Blues, Country & Rockabilly, and Rock. The Tele is the most versatile guitar in the world, and Roth shows how to utilize it for these different styles of playing. He has also included biographical blurbs of some of the foremost "Telemasters" of each style, giving the reader jump-of points for further listening. The level of difficulty varies from basic to virtuoso. While this is not a book for beginners, one does not need great technical skill to play many of the licks. Others, on the other hand, will be out of the reach of all but the best players. The reader can hear it all on two CD's where Roth demonstrates what he has written. These CD's alone are worth the price of the book, not only for their instructional value but as good listening in their own right. The book also includes a section of beautiful color photos that dispel the common idea that Teles are goofy looking. Many of these instruments are works of art in their appearance alone. Roth is not a great writer. What little prose there is lacks the sparkle of a true wordsmith. But this book is more about music than words, and his love for the Telecaster comes through clearly enough. It is, in fact infectious. A spiral binding would have made the book much more usable. The challenege of trying to prop the book open while your hands are occupied with the guitar will be as great as that of learning the licks. Roth's presentation and explanation are user-friendly. The physical format of the book is not. _Masters of the Telecaster_ is the rare book that can at once inspire and instruct. Roth treads technical territory without boring you. You will look up from the pages and suddenly realize that you have been having too much fun to be aware of the fact that you were learning. And that is the mark of what Roth is above all else: a great teacher."
Chicken Pickin' Good
O. Buxton | Highgate, UK | 01/12/2003
(4 out of 5 stars)

"It's an odd thing that a certain way of playing has evolved for one model of electric guitar, but with the Fender Telecaster, one absolutely has. Broken down to its fundamental bits, the Telecaster is 95% the same as its fancy sister, the Stratocaster (in the most brutal analysis, functionally a Stratocaster is just a Telecaster with some extra woodwork and a couple more gizmos on the front), but, while the style and approach to playing a Stratocaster is interchangeable enough with that of most other electric guitars, you can't just pick up a Telecaster and play it the same way. To get the best out of a Telecaster you almost have to re-learn the guitar. This is not just a case of tone or sound - it's actual execution. If you want to do that, then this is the book for you. Arlen Roth is one of the best known Tele session men in the business, and while he's no Byron or Keats, the explanations are simple enough to follow, and the exercises (there are hundreds of them so do not fret (har har) that you'll run out any time soon) are great mix - some challenging, some easy, but most importantly all authentic sounding. You don't need to get far into this book to be learning useful stuff which will expand your tonal palette for good. For some reason, Telecaster playing has developed in a different direction to "normal" guitar playing, and dipping into this book gives you another direction to explore. It does require your own application of course - more application than I can easily be bothered mustering, so I think this book will be dipped into every now and then rather than worn out cover to cover. That's a criticism of me, not the book, of course.Nitpicks: the CD track numbering doesn't match the exercise numbers. This seems to me to be an elementary mistake, and it means that tracking down the CD part for, say, Exercise 104 (Elvis's Mystery Train - practically the first thing I did when I opened the package from Amazon) - is hard. Also the book won't (without massacring the spine) stay open when you try to play along with an exercise.The book also includes a brief history of the Telecaster and a few photos, but neither the photos (included mostly to show off Roth's collection, I suspect) nor the history are really much chop and I certainly wouldn't recommend the book for these alone. It's a fairly cheaply produced and printed edition, but the value of the advice in it alone justifies the price."
Change your ability and repetoire overnight
Steven H. Dymond | Englewood, CO USA | 09/25/2003
(5 out of 5 stars)

"I have played for thirty years, and I am primarily a blues and rock player using a Les Paul. My roots are in country folk and blues on an accoustic. I have taught guitar, long ago. Also attended Berklee College of Music briefly. I have played country music from time to time, but it is not my area of musical interest-thus I am a less than a neophyte and it is on this basis you should weigh my review. I was elated when I went through this book. As background I am a busy professional, and have a son who is learning guitar as well. I regularly buy imported technique magazines in order to continue to grow in my playing. As with any book, you have to be willing to sit down and work through the book. You neednt read music, but exercises are in guitar tablature as well as standard notation.Heres the great stuff:
Lessons are short and achievable. While aimed at the tele, this book would be great for an accoustic player as well. The breadth of technique and style are excellent, from country to bluegrass, to soul, and rock to blues. Everything is universal in terms of using it without a tele-but, the 'quirks' of a Tele and its design are addressed in technique pointers-cool.Roth's exercises teach great fundamental licks ( 'cowboy chords' in the first three frets) to slick stuff (up and down the neck like the 'gods'), combined with technique-something that makes a player feel like they have accomplished something right away and which is usable in playing with others. Simple exercises often have a slightly different finger technique to work on. Guaranteed to help you find the groove, and to help you to grasp more sophisticated techniques. This book can take a player outside of whatever box or rut he/she may be in. It offers fun, and yet can be a great exercise in precision as well. Much of the exercise 'stuff' you have heard, try to play it, try to play it perfectly.....Offers a window into the Kingdom of Tele, and perhaps genres outside your world, or, a more in depth glimpse.This is one of the best and most easily digestable books I have ever found. Period. A beginner will be able to use it-you must have the CD's that accompany it, and use them side by side.Drawbacks: the previous reviewers have noted that the book's binding and CD tracks are a bit less than perfect. These are valid observations-nothing that is a problem-IMHO-use it, by the time it falls apart you will be a better player-and for the ...retentive-have it three hole punched or whatever-to its credit the cds are each stored in a divided plastic sleeve desinged to protect each of the CDs from paper scratches. The CD index is in the book, (and only in the book) and up to 4 exercises are in each track-I found this to be a minor issue. I can find each exercise with minimal hassle.Roth's Tele insight is great for the novice-a breadth with moderate depth-an overall roadmap to Teledom. The comments about the text not having the best 'sparkle' are well taken, but it is more of a technique book than a history. I found the insights into players and other areas great because they were short. For its retail price it could have more color photos and be more "ergonomic" in layout, etc. as observed.As a guitar geek regarding Les Pauls, thier history, construction, and specs, this is not Tele techno minutia-there are other sources-and-this can be a blessing to the non-geek.Would buy it again and will probably give several copies to my guitar playing friends and family-it is a formula for success for all but the totally unmotivated player. I wish this had been out when I started playing, its an entire 'goody box' to add to your guitar "bag of tricks"."
Excellent Introduction to Telecaster Technique | Denver, CO | 06/17/1998
(4 out of 5 stars)

"Arlen starts out with telecaster basics and moves into great examples from the "Masters of the Telecaster". This genre of instuction leaves me wanting rhythm tracks to try out newly acquired licks. You basically get a primer for the different styles. I have found this book to be an excellent instructor and the Tab and examples are the easiest to follow that I have encountered. No matter what type of (electric) guitar you play, you will find hours and hours of useful instruction in this title"