Bang for the buck!
Pros: Professional quality etudes. Clear and concise explanations
Cons: CD audio could be better quality
In this book, Gonzalo gives us six etudes over gypsy jazz standard tunes. But don't be fooled by the small number of etudes, because these six etudes are jam packed with musical information! They are very well thought out, and the musical ideas can be put to use immediaetly. Gonzalo has constructed most of these etudes so that they "end where they begin" on the fretboard. This allows you to play the etudes in infinite loops, chorus after chorus. It's extremely beneficial work for developing technique. Instead of playing scales, you'll be playing Gonzalo style phrases with heavy Bireli influences. You practice what you'll eventually play in your own improvisations - no dry exercises. With each etude, Gonzalo has added comments to each lick explaining how to apply them to your own solos. He also has a short written explanation on practicing and proper technique of the right hand. Gonzalo explains how he learned this style by practicing licks, plugging them into solos and transposing them to work in as many situations as possible, which is how the other masters learned as well. I'm getting volume 2 once I'm done with this. I give it five stars! -Gypsy jazz guitarist Amund Lauritzen.
Submitted by: NorwayGadjo on 06/04/2012 03:47:39 PM
Pros: Many important ideas covered
Cons: None; just know that it doesn't cover everything
I believe Gonzalo's materials fill a niche in the learning material market. Specifically, if you're sick of transcribing lick and lick and having problems connecting them, this book will be a great way to see why things work in a song concept. Gonzalo breaks down licks in a way that will help you connect them when playing. This is great; personally I don't put enough ideas in a song concept. However, all phrases are 8th notes. Anyone that listens to Django knows he could play two notes and make your heart race with them. Why? Because the guitar is a stringed instrument and vibrato, pull-offs, and other ornaments give it an expressive power that many instruments don't have (so maybe I am biased). And Django knew to use rests and not just play every second. Gonzalo's book does not cover such effects, or how to add that level of sophistication to your phrases. So don't expect to buy this and to sound like Django — or Gonzalo for that matter. This, again, just solves the problem that you know phrases but want to connect them, or play substitutions, build tensions, etc. I would recommend this book highly, but only in conjunction with (1) ear training and (2) Denis Chang's DVDs and (3) Buy the Loeffler videos from dc-musicschool and watch the one on interpretation.
Submitted by: Vince on 02/03/2012 11:55:03 AM
Pros: Excellent explanations
Cons: Very basic in format
Gonzalo Bergara's contribution to the "how to play Gypsy Jazz" library is not like any other I've seen so far. For each tune he has included what I suppose could best be described as an etude. On the opposite page is a detailed explanatory discussion that breaks it down a cord at a time. You will not be wowed by slick production...trust me. But, after spending several weeks working with Bergara's approach I've noticed a considerable growth in my ability to understand what I'm trying to do. While I would not recommend it for an absolute beginner, it is well worth the price.
Submitted by: Michael on 01/18/2012 06:13:28 PM
Gonzalo Bergara: How I Learned Vol.1 Mr. Bergara definitely deserve much wider recognition as a musician with his creativity and also as a teacher with his books. These two thin volumes + cds (Vol.1&2) hold enough material to make you work for years, despite their simplicity. And service from DjangoBooks,com was great - fast and reliable. Thank you, guys!
Submitted by: SGasan116 on 05/09/2011 12:38:39 PM
Very good book !
This book is worth buying for those who want to learn GJ.
Submitted by: rafal on 05/01/2011 02:16:27 PM
Learn the neck
While this seems like a homebrew solution to learning the GJ, it is a welcome addition for us beginners who really don't know how to even think about the music. This breaks down six common songs (and song forms) that one might encounter in GJ and tackles each with a written solo for each song that tackles some of more challenging parts. Each solo is accompanied by a detailed bar by bar breakdown of the reasoning behind each phrase. Each solo can be approached as either an etude or as a source for lick generation in the style of this music. It's not my everyday practice tool, but its something I keep coming back to. Buy me.
Submitted by: jkaz on 12/29/2010 12:31:16 PM