If you are a beginning guitarist, or someone who hasn’t even picked up a guitar yet and isn’t quite sure where to start, there is a DVD that can help you: Ravi’s Learn Guitar in 21 Days.
Developed by Guitar Lab and developed on the TrueFire platform, this DVD claims to be a sure-fire method for quickly getting the skills needed to play thousands of songs on both electric and acoustic guitar.
Can it be done?
The DVD begins with a lengthy but important introduction by the host – Ravi. Some important distinctions and goals are defined here; he’s not claimed to be able to teach you scales, arpeggios, and soloing. Ravi sets out a very specific goal of teaching you eight basic chords and strumming patterns, and how to play simple chord progressions that are found in many songs. This is at the heart of his claim that you can learn thousands of songs by the time your work with the DVD is finished.
Ravi does an excellent job of explaining where each finger should go, how to position your fingers, and how to strum the chord. It’s a progressive learning model, so you will continue to reinforce previously-learned material at the same time as learning new material.
All of the chords are simple – C, G, Em, Dm, Am, etc. There are no surprises here, but for the beginning guitarist (as we all know) these are the most important chords they need to satiate that instant gratification part of our personalities. And the split-screen provides very nice close-ups of the hand and fingers, so the viewer knows exactly where the fingers need to go and what the shape is supposed to look like. The angles they chose to shoot at are great, too, so the viewer doesn’t have to try and look around the hand in order to see exactly what is going on.
As with all of the Guitar Lab DVDs, you also have access to a host of extras. In this DVD the extras come in the form of chord charts and a song reference guide. You can print them out and refer to them as you are going through the material, especially when you are practicing away from the DVD player.
But Does It Work?
So the question really boils down to whether or not a beginning guitar student can really learn to play guitar in 21 days. Well, I think the answer is both yes and no. It’s going to take longer than 21 days to really get the chords under the fingers and be able to move between them effortlessly, especially when playing songs. However, I do truly think that the curriculum has been set up well enough that after 21 days a dedicated student should have all of the chords memorized and with a little bit of effort be able to hack their way through most songs. Of course, there is also the caveat of each student’s ability to memorize the chord progressions and strumming patterns!
Overall, I think this is an excellent DVD for the beginning guitar student. You won’t get theory, you won’t learn how to read music, and you won’t learn any whammy bar tricks or pinched harmonics, but you will learn the fundamentals of playing guitar and how to quickly and efficiently start playing; that is the whole point, isn’t it?