Who is it for?
I wrote PlaneTalk for all those players who have a good understanding of the basics: they know the basic chord shapes, understand how barre chords work; players who can pick out a melody line and play scales; players who may have started to dabble in the art of improvisation ... players who want to be able to use the whole fretboard, not just the first few frets. Players who have 'hit the wall' and are looking for that next phase in their learning. Players who want to know what the 'trick' is.
So it's not for beginners?
I didn't write it for beginners, but many have bought it and are glad they did. I certainly wish I had been shown this when I started out.
Is it about all the different scales and modes?
No. I have always seen scales as building blocks, not real music. I think it's essential to understand what scales are, how they differ, but I have never seen scales as being helpful to creating melody, to improvising, to navigating a melodic path through a chord progression, to understanding the way music imposes herself on a fretboard. To my mind, there is one very important scale to understand inside out, and that is the Major Scale. It is the source of all music.
So what's it about then?
It teaches a way of thinking about music and the guitar, a way of seeing the whole fretboard in context at all moments. Every piece of music is a series of moments, each ruled by the chord that is in play. If you can see that chord for what it really is--a selection of 3 or 4 notes (plus their duplicates and octaves) that are scattered the length of the fretboard--then you can literally 'see' the potential, the possibilities, whether chordal or melodic.
So it's like a fretboard map?
In a way. But it's not a static map of all the note names, it's dynamic, it keeps track of the numbers of all the notes, which is much more informative.
That sounds very complicated and mathematical.
Music, especially when played on a guitar, is not easy to understand, anyone starting out can vouch for that. The way guitars are tuned (with that kink where the B string is tuned to the 4th fret of the G string instead of the 5th fret all the other strings use), coupled with the very asymmetric structure of Music, precludes any repetitive pattern you can follow on the fretboard. But there is a very simple, uncomplicated way of decoding it all, one that solves everything at once.
What is it?
It's a simple visualization technique, which, by the way, has nothing to do with remembering movie stars names or any other silly game. It is something that is pure music.
What do you visualize?
You need to buy the book for the answer to that ...
Why the comic strip?
I have found over the many years of passing this on to my fellow twangers that the easiest way of explaining it is in conversation rather than listing cold hard facts. I have the student in the book ask all the 'right' questions for me to pass this knowledge on; you get to listen in. It is in fact this user friendly format that really makes PlaneTalk unique. In the end, there is only one system called 'Music' and one fretboard layout ... but, there are many ways to explain how it all works. PlaneTalk uses plain English, some powerful analogies, some simple graphics and the Slide Rule.
What is the Slide Rule all about?
The Slide Rule displays, at a glance, what the book teaches. It shows you how to set your brain to the right wavelength. It also reveals exactly how the guitar works, how music lays herself out in standard tuning.
Is the DVD the same thing?
No, the DVD actually shows you in real time and real playing how the PlaneTalk mindset can set your playing free, how the simple visualization can lead you to play anything, anywhere on the neck, with the confidence of knowing it's going to be right. So what the book/slide rule teach, the DVD demonstrates.
Is this the CAGED system?
No. It is one layer deeper than CAGED. It makes seeing the CAGED template dead easy, and adds detail. I still haven't read the Fretboard Logic book, so I can't compare, but Nick Torres from Guitarnoise.com says in his review that it makes the CAGED system look like brain surgery by comparison.
So what will I gain from reading PlaneTalk.
First of all, you will be reminded of the basics of music theory. You will be shown why and how chords really rule the roost, and then how to see them for what they are (neck-long structures) and how to find them instantly. You will learn how to use all of the bits and pieces, how to turn them into melody, other voicings, harmony lines ... whatever. How to use the entire fretboard. You will also learn about 'hearing' music and knowing what it is without even playing anything ... recognizing by ear the chord changes and knowing why they are what they are.
What goes on in the PlaneTalkers Forum?
Plenty!! It's a very active forum (many members here are also members of the PTF). We leave no stone unturned where it comes to finding your way around the fretboard and making music. We upload examples of playing along to backing tracks, give and take constructive criticism, discuss the PlaneTalk mindset at length and generally feel very chuffed about knowing 'The Trick'. There are many PlaneTalker lessons there as well, all designed to reinforce the mindset.
How long would it take me to gain fretboard freedom, as you put it?
Like all aspects of learning a musical instrument, time and practice are the main ingredients to progressing, however knowing WHAT to work on is the most important thing. I can guarantee that once you fully digest the lesson that PlaneTalk teaches, you will never again wonder what to practice. Many have told me that when they bought PlaneTalk, they bought their last 'How to play guitar' book.
Have other questions about PlaneTalk?
Contact me here.
Where do I go to order it?
To order, just click here.