“Play It All Acoustic Guitar” review: Learn to Rock for Beginners

Play It All Acoustic Guitar
Play It All Acoustic Guitar

Hello and welcome to my “Play It All Acoustic Guitar” review.

Peavey Presents “Play It All Acoustic Guitar Beginner” is a DVD for the complete beginner who is just starting to play the guitar.

John McCarthy is the instructor on This Rock House Method beginner program.

Along with the 100-minute DVD, each Rock House product includes free lifetime membership to Rock House’s online guitar-lesson support system which includes chord charts, accompanying tablature, and more.

Here’s what you’ll learn…

Preliminaries Before You Start to Play Guitar

Play It All Acoustic Guitar starts with the preliminaries. It teaches…

  • The parts of the guitar
  • How to hold the guitar
  • How to hold the guitar pick
  • Tuning your guitar
  • Using guitar chord charts

John McCarthy does a great job clearly explaining and demonstrating these guitar-playing fundamentals. Even if you had just picked up a guitar for the first time, you would be ready to get started.

Hands-on Guitar Playing Lessons

The format of the hands-on lessons on the DVD includes an explanation and a demonstration of the lesson. After watching the lesson, the next step is to practice with the DVD’s backing track. The lessons include:

  • How to play guitar chords — E major, A major and D major. Not only does John demonstrate exactly how to finger these specific chords. He also uses a standard chord diagram and teaches you how you can form any chord with the chord’s diagram. He then teaches a basic strum so you can practice the E-A-D (I, IV, VII) chord progression.
  • Single-note guitar picking excercises. The picking exercise starts you off picking single notes. You quickly move into picking adjacent strings (cross picking).
  • Country and Reggae Rhythm Guitar Strumming. Next up is more advanced strumming using a Reggae strum with a percussive upstrum that gets muted. The country strum features a bass note then a strum for a boom-chick, boom chick rhythm.
  • Reading Guitar Tablature The next lesson demonstrates how to read guitar tablature. John shows a typical tab sheet and the various types of markups that a guitar player will encounter. It seems the DVD gets a little bit ahead of itself, he shows the tablature marks for pull-offs, hammer-ons, and slurs, but none of those techniques have been explained, and may be unknown to some beginners.

From there the lessons build on these core lessons by introducing:

  • Blues guitar chord progression.
  • Minor Pentatonic scale for soloing
  • Acoustic Rock guitar strums
  • Major scale for single-note guitar soloing.
  • Playing barre chords

What I like about Play It All Acoustic Guitar

The instructor is enthusiastic and a terrific player. The lessons are explained thoroughly, and demonstrated well. The support materials at Rock House’s web site and the membership to the site’s community is an added bonus. For an ambitious beginner, the lessons are deep and the student will be able to work with this video for a long time.

What I Don’t Like about Play It All Acoustic Guitar

The DVD covers a lot of ground, and very quickly. I would have liked to see the instructor stress the basics, the simple beginner’s moves and, to let the student know that it could take a week or so of practice to get the basics down.

For example, when beginning strumming is introduced, the lesson includes a Reggae strum that involves a strong, muted rhythmic upbeat. That’s starting to get into advanced beginner territory. I could see some beginners struggling with that strum, and possibly getting discouraged.

My Beginning Guitar Recommendations

I think this would be an excellent DVD for a confident beginner. An older student who maybe is returning to the guitar, or coming to the guitar from another instrument. The lessons do describe the basics for the beginner but would let an ambitious student work on more advanced techniques.

For a young beginner or a first-time musician, I’d be concerned that some of the advanced techniques may be too difficult, and possibly discouraging. For young students who need to move at a slower pace check out, Getting Started on Acoustic Guitar a Guide for Beginners.

Leave a Comment