Writing Guitar Books - Survey Results

by Tim Gillespie

The Easiest Way To Master The Fretboard!Uncle Tim's Building Blocks

The series was developed visually, because people natively think visually. You do not have to interpret a picture. You can understand it by looking at it.

And when you combine it with knowledgable text, the meaning and rules of music will jump out at you!

Immediately you will begin to see into the instrument and develop an understanding that is not possible any other way.

This is one of the main reasons this series of books carry a lifetime guarantee. We back up our words with an iron clad policy that has been in place for years!

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Last month I included a small survey with the second mailing of the newsletter link. People responded to the survey and voiced their opinions regarding what would make this a better newsletter. Here is what I learned.

A couple of trends have been identified in this and other surveys, and as you might expect the results are fairly predictable. Frequently mentioned was that beginners have a tough time following along when the conversation goes from elementary to advanced. It seems this group still reads along, but they are not getting the entire benefit from the topic being presented. So beginners want to have a series of articles they can follow.

I not only hear that often, but the inverse seems to be out there too. The column "Weird Diatonic Tricks" was responsible for the most email from the advanced group. I predicted this because of the advanced nature of the topic. "Weird Diatonic Tricks" infers you know something about diatonic keys and can manipulate them to some degree. Not exactly beginner material. So the advanced group responds to a column directed at their level too. This is not hard to believe, after all, we all want pertinent data. The tighter the focus, the more pertinent the data.

A couple of other trends that came up were multimedia (in other words scales and chords with sound), and the ability to print the newsletter.

So far this newsletter has only taken shape in web based markup language, it has not occurred in typeset. Anyone who has tried to print this newsletter has probably wished from typesetting control. I do.

Multimedia is something we are very interested in too. We are pursuing it right now.

As far as reader feedback goes, this month was more active than the last two. I have received the most comments regarding the quality of the newsletter and subject material (thank you), with small changes suggested. But if you put all the comments together and start to envision how to improve the design, it points to some central place with individualized learning.

My site and my newsletter are based on a few concepts which I have always assumed were valid. That is, there is a very real need for exact theoretical material pertaining to the guitar that applies to issues we face every day. After all the most popular styles and songs adhere to real rules of music. If you understand these rules, you can apply all of this to your music and what you do. That guiding rule has always been in place in our studios.

But this kind of change happens over time and with much thought. It starts an evolutionary process not unlike the learning curve of a guitarist. And hopefully as we go through the process and add up what we know and where we should be, somewhere in the process wisdom will unveil itself.

All of this is leading to some kind of change. There are other driving forces at work, from different directions as well. Many people have heard me talk about the fourth release in the Uncle Tim Series. This book promises to deal with advanced concepts beyond single diatonic signatures. Once you start to build complex chords and stack simple concepts on top of one another, the whole subject gets pretty involved.

Last month the newsletter got the first sampling of material from book four. The seventh triads are directly from this unnamed work. This is just a little sample of interesting things that happen in keys. There are many more. The problem is that the preliminary page count for this new book is in excess of 800 pages (and growing). This brings up a number of problems like how can a music store possibly accommodate an 800 page book? I can just imagine pages falling out from intense use while other parts are virtually unused. Not everyone needs 800 pages of advanced material.

So there are real issues with the timely release of this material as well as the other identified concerns. What this means is, there is some kind of change coming. What these changes are I do not know yet, but some of the suggestions are pretty exciting. Compartmentalized learning for different stages and styles. Printable typeset pages and permanent archived records and a chance to break up the advanced subjects into bite size pieces and get them to the people that want them.

I guess this column is my way of getting the word out that I heard these comments. They shout change to me but what the changes will be, I am not exactly sure yet!

So this month's newsletter is from the same vision that has guided it from the beginning, but make no mistake about it, change will come. And with it, new ideas that will shape the vision.

What do you think we should do?