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“Scratch,” as in something being “from scratch,” is a funny kind of expression, don’t you think? It turns out that it means: “proceeding from the starting line, or a scratch in the dirt, as in a race.” This leads to a more general definition: “to come from nothing, to be without advantage.” If this describes your current relationship with the guitar, then, boy, have I got a book for you.
But why would this tired old world need yet another beginning guitar book? Well, I think the world is probably tired of authors who teach beginning guitar as if they are teaching organic chemistry. In Latin. But I am willing and able to make your first dabblings with the guitar, in a word, fun. Or at least not so mind-numbingly boring.
I’ve been teaching guitar lessons full-time since 1986. In 1997, I decided to make my teaching methods available to a wider audience, and over the next three years I wrote three books about guitar theory under the title Music Principles for the Skeptical Guitarist, described elsewhere on this web site. Since these theory books have done much better than I expected they would, I’m encouraged to keep writing. Actually, it may now be difficult to shut me up.
Guitar From Scratch is my attempt to go back to the beginning, back to that scratch in the dirt. You know, I have come to believe, truly, that Star War’s George Lucas and I are kindred spirits, and I’m sure he feels the same way. After George Lucas created his trilogy, Star Wars, The Empire Strikes Back and Return of the Jedi, he returned to his own scratch in the dirt with The Phantom Menace. I had originally planned to name this book The Phantom Menace, but settled on Guitar From Scratch in deference to Mr. Lucas.
But I digress. This book is all about CHORDS. For now, forget about reading music. Forget about playing single-note leads. And forget about music theory. Focus on the mechanics of PLAYING CHORDS, which is the single most important function of the guitar from “Happy Birthday” to the Beatles, from Nirvana to the Bossa Nova. May the chords be with you.