Good guitarist - poor teacher
R. A. Burke | 03/04/2006
(2 out of 5 stars)
"There's an old saying: "Different strokes, different folks" which certainly applies to this DVD. Your appreciation (or lack of appreciation) for this DVD will probably be in direct proportion to your level of expectation. Without offence to Curt Mitchell, he is a fine guitar player but he is clearly not a teacher and I think he was happier doing the Eddie Van Halen instructional DVD than this one in which his attitude runs the gamut from disinterested to bored. The DVD starts out with Mitchell soloing on slide guitar, which is odd considering that Eric Clapton did not build his reputation on his slide guitar work but rather on his refining of the guitar styles of a variety of noted blues guitarists including, among others, B.B. King, Freddy King, and Otis Rush. Mitchell then notes that, although Clapton used Gibson Les Pauls and SGs in building his style, he (Curt) will be using a Fender Strat to demonstrate Clapton's riffs. This is fine except that Mitchell then makes a point of stating that, if you want to get a good sound on a Strat, you need to use very heavy strings. Now, it's true that if you want to sound exactly like Stevie Ray Vaughan, you do need to move over to a heavier string gauge. However, in this day and age of separate clear and distortion channels and modeling amps, it's not necessary to switch over to heavier gauge strings for a better sound. I would advise beginning guitarists to use 10s over 9s (too light) but there is no real reason, other than worshipping Stevie, to move up to 13s. Mitchell also fails to mention that changing the gauge of your strings on a Fender Strat may seriously affect the intonation on your guitar depending on what kind of tremolo unit you have.
Now, this may be nitpicking but I like a guitar instruction DVD which begins with the instructor making sure that everyone is in tune by going up the strings, high E to low E (or vice versa). Mitchell seems to be in a bit of a rush to get to the actual riffs as he tells the viewer to tune to A 440 if you have an electronic tuner. For those lacking an electronic tuner it's sufficient for him to pluck his A string a couple of times. And yeah, before all the guitar players out there object, I agree. Before you view an instructional effort like this, you should at the very least be able to tune your instrument. However, I still like the complete tuning, string to string. It tells me that the instructor is willing to take the time, even over small points.
Guitar Method: In the Style of Eric Clapton is more a dictionary of Clapton riffs than a primer of how to play in the style of Clapton. As such, intermediate and advanced guitarists will probably get more out of this effort. Through observation and effort, you too might be able to play Clapton's solo from "Sunshine of Your Love." But,there's not a great deal of discussion on what exactly made Clapton a guitar icon. This is where a real guitar teacher would provide analysis and context. Sure, Clapton is using blues and major scales and pull-offs and hammer-ons but what exactly does he do that makes him a standout? A true guitar teacher would show that the key to Clapton is his use of vibrato, his phrasing, his timing, and his taste. Some of this can be taught. The same teacher would spend time showing you how to emulate Clapton's vibrato and how he connects his riffs through use of different finger positions. Over time, through practice and effort, you could learn to play somewhat "in the style of Eric Clapton." While a fine guitar player, Curt Mitchell always appears to be in a rush to get to the next riff. And that's the trouble with this DVD: too many riffs and not enough instruction."
Very talented guitarist
Pickup Lines | USA | 01/12/2006
(5 out of 5 stars)
"This DVD shows you a lot of riffs from early Clapton tunes - the good stuff we grew up wishing we could play. Curt does a great job at reproducing these riffs. The teaching style of slow playing alternating with real time is probably not great for beginners, but intermediate and advanced players will learn alot of material. And FINALLY there is a seperate TAB section on the DVD so if you can't follow along too well you will know where your fingers need to go for each riff! No downloading or relying on a skimpy booklet like with older titles in this series."