Mel Bay’s Guitar Method is a long-standing and popular method for learning guitar. The entire Mel Bay guitar method series is seven volumes and aims to build the theoretical and technical foundation needed to play guitar in any style. All seven volumes (or grades) of this method are written in standard notation to encourage better sight reading. Book One is also available with an accompanying CD and DVD.

Mel Bay's Modern Guitar MethodEach string is taught one at a time with exercises focusing on the new string. MB uses familiar songs in the lessons (Twinkle Twinkle, When the Saints Go Marching In, Aura Lee, etc.).

By the time the student is introduced to even a single chord, he/she should have a strong understanding of how to count and read music on the treble clef, as well as a better than average vocabulary of many guitar and music terms.

Once chords are introduced, the book presents songs in a “classical” style, which includes playing both melody and chords at the same time.

After completing book one, students will be proficient first-position readers with the ability to play a variety of chords, and should be competent at rythem basic lead guitar.

The play along tracks on the CD/DVD feature a single acoustic guitar playing to a click track.

Watch a video browse-through of Mel Bay’s Modern Guitar Method Grade 1.

Title Mel Bay’s Modern Guitar Method Grade 1
Author Mel Bay
Copyright  1948
Pages  48
Recommended for A complete beginner, or an experienced player who wants to learn how to read standard notation.
Prerequisites None. This book is suitable for an absolute beginner.
CD/DVDs The volume in this review contained an accompanying audio CD. This book is also available in a version with a companion DVD.
Contents  Lessons include:

  • How to hold the guitar and the pick.
  • Tuning the guitar.
  • The Rudiments of music including notes, the staff, and rests.
  • Reading practice for all six guitar strings at the first position.
What I like It’s hard to argue with a method book that has been successfully teaching guitar to players for over 60 years. The course is nicely paced and will gently lead the beginning guitarist into learning how to read guitar music in standard notation.
What I don’t like  This series was originally introduced in 1948, and the song style may seem a bit dated for young students.
Recommendations The book is written for beginning students of all ages. A young beginner would have no problem working with this book. Another good audience for this book would be experienced guitar players who never got around to reading standard notation, and now want to learn
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