The idea of a book came about during the early 1990s. I was living in Sydney (Australia), playing in various bands at night and spending my days in recording studios as a session guitarist. I was also staging guitar workshops. The main question I was always asked by the students was 'what scales do you use?', to which I always replied 'I have no idea, that's not what I'm thinking about' and I would go on to teach them just what it was that I was keeping track of. I had, over time, developed my own very simple way of 'seeing' the fretboard and coming up with parts and solos. It was always a huge revelation to those attending and I wrote out a 14 page course to hand out to them. That was the seed for turning my 'system' into a proper book.
After many failed attempts to write it out in text alone, I realized that a comic strip would be a way of having the student right there asking all the right questions. So, having been a bit of a sketcher all my life, I experimented with it. I needed my teacher and student to be trapped together somewhere long enough for the lesson to unfold. As a touring musician, I was often sitting on long flights next to strangers and so this is what I decided on. I wrote the conversation—the plane talk—out in one night, but it took me well over six months to draw all the pictures. I had already come up with the idea of the Guitar Slide Rule and when I was finally done I flew to Montréal where my talented graphic designer brother Gerry turned it all into a print-ready book. The rest, as they say, is history. The Internet was just becoming a part of everyday life, and after a short and frustrating stint of dealing with book shops and music stores, I built my first web site and started selling to the world.
In 2000, I decided to add a video to the package. I shot the footage with some friends and bought an iMac to edit it together. Another huge learning curve. That video became a DVD in 2005.
The PlaneTalkers' Private Forum came next, as a place customers could ask questions about PlaneTalk and could upload examples of their playing for critique. This later became the home of the extra lessons I put together over the years to reinforce the powerful mindset. It's a very friendly and active forum. We're all there for one reason only: to become better guitar players.
And that's the story of PlaneTalk. I encourage you to have a read through the many testimonials I have received over the years. Not a week goes by without some new customer dropping me a line thanking me for putting this all together, telling me how the lights went on, telling me they learned more in a couple of readings than in all the years they've been playing..
So, hoping I've convinced you to take the plunge, to learn what we know, and to see you as a new member of the PlaneTalkers' Forum soon.
All the best,