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Contents: 2000-2017
Bruce Emery

Reviews and Comments from Satisfied Readers


Here is some of the feedback that I’ve received from customers, music retailers and magazine reviewers:

“The best theory book I’ve ever seen, and I’ve taught guitar for 33 years.”
Eddie Berman, Manager of The Music Loft, Raleigh, NC.

“’Music Principles for the Skeptical Guitarist’ comprises a practically based theory course with emphasis on application…Bruce Emery has ‘got it right’ with his gentle pace. Books like this are the result of extensive experience at the grass-roots level and should be welcomed by teachers everywhere.” Adrian Ingram, Review Editor for “Just Jazz Guitar” magazine.

“The books sell themselves. And they stay open when you lay them down!”
David Willmott, Owner of the Music-Go-Round, Cary, NC.

“Bruce Emery writes in a clear and understandable manner making it fun to learn. Well presented in a concise manner, demystifies theory and complex music principles. The format is also easy on the eyes and tab is included. A good basic foundation book. Check it out.”
Ed Benson, Editor of “Just Jazz Guitar” magazine.

“If you have found Howard Morgen’s ‘Fretboard Insights’ columns helpful, and hunger for more of this non-cryptic, layman’s terms approach, these books are a must.”
Tom Gannaway, Editor of “Fingerstyle Guitar” magazine.

“I have just begun to wade through Volume One, and in just a short time, I can see why people raved about this. You really have a way of explaining this stuff in simple terms. This is a great thing you did.”
Thomas McLachlan, Pittsburgh, PA.

“I bought your book because it made me laugh.”
Mike Schwartz, Montclair, NJ.

“I found Volume One to be (1) easy to understand and remember, (2) easy and enjoyable to read because it was short and to the point, and (3) jam packed full of information. I had about 6 years of piano lessons when I was a youngster, which helped me tremendously, but your book was the perfect review. I would like Volumes Two and Three for my collection.”
Lynn Sugg, Winterville, NC.

“We sell more of your books than any other book that we carry…They make great Christmas presents!”
Gary Filgate and Alison Magill, Acoustic Outfitters, Stratham, NH.

“Send more books. Our customers are eating them like peanuts!”
Linda Tillman, McFadyen Music, Fayetteville, NC

“I’m thrilled to find this material! After playing the guitar since I was a kid, chords were nothing more than increasingly difficult finger positions. Now it’s starting to make sense.”
David McGlohan, Rocky Mount, NC.

“Essentially, these books demystify music theory through practical examples. They should have been written years ago!”
Rob Farris and Scott Miller, Fat Sound Guitar Superstore, Cary, NC.

“I devoured the first two volumes in a few nights. Actually, I think I knew most of the theoretical background and the CAGED way of looking at the fretboard. Still, I think this is the first time that I have seen this much (applied) theory condensed into so few pages, with so much good humor to boot. Congratulations! As hoped, it proves very handy to have all this knowledge available in three books. For me, the most interesting themes were the comparability of fretboard “pockets” on different strings and the ‘Fling Bruce Emery’s Amp’ backcycling thing. I never could remember that, but now, hey, piece of cake!”
Gert-Jan Terlouw, Amsterdam, the NETHERLANDS.

“Your first book took me farther than any other book on music theory before my brain began to hurt. It’s very well written and enjoyable. Please let me know when future volumes become available. I thought the description of chord theory was great. I loved the way you related theory to what is heard.”
Bill Case, Madison, AL.

“What an accomplishment! Clear---I love the clean, easy-to-follow format. Your dialogue is ‘user friendly’ as well. You have made basic music theory available to guitarists; or should I say, you have translated it to the language of the guitar. As your former teacher, I can only sit back and smile like a Cheshire cat. Congratulations on a job well done!”
Joanne Ryan, Vicksburg, MS.

“(Volume One) I didn’t learn anything I didn’t already know: chord construction and fingerings, scales and modes and accidentals, etc.; HOWEVER, I did learn a very concise and well presented ‘why and what for.’ Your mathematical approach to the inter-relationships of Chord Families in conjunction with the Circle of Fifths was a revelation. I can finally sit back and see behind the standard ‘I really don’t know, it just sounds good’ reply to technical questions. (Volume Two) Clear and concise. Your chord voicings have taken a lot of the ‘gnarliness’ out of my jazz approach to the blues. Bring on Volume Three!”
Dan Miller, Macon GA.

“If you can teach me, you can teach anyone.”
Bob Burns, Fountain Valley, CA.

“Your books are excellent and have helped me quickly grasp some principles of music that otherwise seem too complex. I, for one, am glad you decided to leave forest genetics.”
Paul Patsis, Oswego, OR.

“I received my copy of Volume One of the “Skeptical” series, and I must say, it is really, really well done. I have taught guitar for years and have always found it difficult to present music theory for the “skeptical” student So, great job (from one who sympathizes).”
Dale Morgan, Crescent City, CA

“I couldn’t put it down, and I play the violin, not the guitar.”
Katherine Polk, Chapel Hill, NC

“Please send me Volume Two. You really have done a great job with this material; I understood everything you presented in Volume One.”
Dick Ezelle, Martinsville, VA

“Thank you for your warm, friendly style of instruction and bits of humorous illustration. Your book is not ‘dry.’ Thorough, clear explanations of music terminology, starting with things like what ‘notes’ really are and what ‘chords’ are, etc. No explanation, no matter how simple, is wasted on me at this point. I like the way you give examples of what you are explaining and really want to help the reader ‘hear’ what is happening. You have helped me to begin to find a sense of which chords sound good together and the like. It is good that you give the reader discordant things to play so as to learn what sounds ‘wrong.’ I play through all the examples.”
George Demosthenes, Jr., Newmarket, NH

“Thanks very much for Volumes One and Two of MPFTSG, which I received back in February---and am devouring daily! All I can say is YES! At last, after 26 years of playing, someone has really hit the nail on the head. Congratulations on a wonderful product---I hope it really takes of for you. (I originally started off with years of classical training, which taught me to read ‘the dots’ but was always light on chord theory. I’ve spent the last 20-odd years trying to fill in the gaps, and spent a fortune in the process---I’ve got a heavy bookshelf to prove it.)”
Martin Bell, Newcastle-under-Lyme, Staffordshire, ENGLAND

“I couldn’t go to sleep the first night I began reading Volume Two, it was so good. You really have a knack for writing that is breezy and conversational but still very clear and organized. (I’m the son and grandson of English teachers; can’t help but notice and appreciate.) I think this is why your books are such a hit with me and everyone. And the humor is the icing on the cake (and we all know that the icing is THE best part!).”
Chris Gaskill, Knoxville, TN

“I’ve played through the blues half of Volume Three and decided it was time to get a little better grounding in the earlier material before going on into Jazz. I’ve been very impressed with Volume Three, and how much stuff I learned. Some of it should have been obvious, so I wondered why I had not discovered more on my own. But it shows how important it is even to point out the obvious in addition to the not-so-obvious.”
Tom Thomson, San Antonio, TX

“I just wanted to say, excellent job, easy to comprehend. Volume Four?”
Ray Gaudet, Rumford, ME

“Every time I think I have a question, a page or two later you answer exactly what I was thinking about. It’s written just like you’re sitting there teaching me. I’m just starting the Circle of Fifths, which I learned in middle school while playing the trumpet. I thought it was only to count the number of sharps and flats. Wow, everything is in there! Thanks, Bruce, for taking the ‘voodoo’ out of music theory.”
Barrett Ferrara, e-mail

“I purchased the skeptical series earlier this year directly from you and I hate to admit that the books have languished on the shelf until this past week. A couple of weeks ago I sort of hit an impasse with my regular guitar teacher and it seemed best for us to take a break from each other for a while (your newsletter on the website about finding a teacher was very interesting to read in light of recent developments). Anyway, on Monday I picked up your first book from the shelf and it has been a Eureka-like experience ever since---it is pretty much what I have been looking for. You have done a great job with the skeptical book series. My day job is architecture and playing guitar is something I really enjoy when I am not working. I would be interested in your other (past and future) books.”
Patrick from California

“Wow! Great books---I’ve read all three. I am a guitar and blues harp instructor at Harry’s Guitar Shop in Raleigh. I was attracted to your books by the silly title. I have recommended them to my students as well as used them myself to help me explain the (seemingly) unexplainable. I played in bands for years and avoided theory like the plague until I started teaching. My mother was a piano teacher and my father was a jazz trumpeter and band instructor. So I was ‘forced’ to read and comprehend music as a child, and promptly erased it from my mind when I decided to be a ‘rock star.’ After years of playing, I finally gave in and jumped off the deep end of theory. Understanding it is wonderful, and all the interrelating patterns fascinating. Explaining it is a whole other challenge. You have done such a great job of this that I am tempted to chuck Mel Bay out the window!”
Laurie Bottomley, Raleigh, NC

“They’re our number one beginners’ books.”
Mike Ayers, Fat Sound Guitar Superstore, Cary, NC

“Thank you so much for having the patience to actually explain the ‘secrets’ of music rather than just listing the way it is. With other books, I’ve had many questions to go along with each page, but not yours. (I bought your first book at the music store my dad owns, Sam’s Music in Nashville.) I read your book [Volume One] on three different planes from Nashville to Honduras, Central America, when I went to visit family last summer. I left Nashville musically ignorant and arrived in Honduras fully enlightened. I’ve been a drummer my whole life and fully understood rhythms, but wasn’t a complete musician till a book came along that didn’t instantly discourage me and make me want to take a nap. I’m excited about receiving Volume Two.”
Chris Tritico, Steele, Alabama

“Absolutely the best, most useful books that I have ever come across. The students love them. I have a friend in Africa that I sent a copy to and he said that it just opened up his whole world of playing guitar.”
Steve Bissell, Beaverton, OR

“Bruce, this is an absolutely terrific book. I wish I had it when I first started without a teacher, when I was trying to figure out everything I could get from reading many books. I give you a grade of A++++++++, a Summa Cum Laude ranking and many kudos. Your book shows you have a wonderful sense of humor, a high degree of humility and a great sensitivity to others. I have skimmed volumes 1, 2 and 3 and they look every bit as good as the above-noted book. I can hardly wait to read these books. However I am really trying to read everything in order so that I do not miss out on any of your “pearls.” I wish to thank you again for the superb books and reaffirm my interest in your continuing your wonderful writing.”
Dick Masom, Tequesta, FL

“I have your other books and they are just fabulous! Other theory treatments have never explained how useful the Circle of Fifths is. You brought it alive.”
Robert Meyer, Columbia, MD

“It’s just as you said: I am one of those guys who have bought many guitar theory books in hopes of higher learning of chord formation, structure and where everything is located on the fingerboard, only to find that the first few pages start out at a level that I can understand, then – poof! – I’m lost…..I wanted to tell you that, like so many others I’m sure, you have explained guitar music in a way that I can finally understand. Thanks and keep writing instructional material. If you write it, they will buy it.”
Paul Miller, New Bern, NC

“Hi! I literally just made it through one of your lesson books, Guitar From Scratch, and after reading the Epilogue, I felt inclined to write, even if it is just to say thanks. Since a week and a half ago when I acquired an electric guitar from a friend, I’ve learned more than I could ever have expected. Your book came highly recommended from the kind, wonderful people at my local Music Loft. But what surprised me was that you are actually IN RALEIGH. Here I am thinking that you’re some unattainable guitar-God [my emphasis] but you live in the same city I do…..Thank you for writing something intelligent, witty and something that I actually looked forward to reading. Eternal gratitude.
Meredith Cox, Raleigh, NC

"You're my new hero!"
Jeff Molde, owner of The Podium, Minneapolis, MN

"Hey, this guy's pretty funny."
Adolescent son of a friend of a friend, at the breakfast table, who got Guitar From Scratch for Christmas.

“I am enjoying your book, Volume One: The Big Picture. I started working on guitar about 6 months ago, and I happened to start in the right direction by using a book that taught the 1-4-5 chord system, plus most of your Big Fifteen chords. I had learned the fifteen chords by the time I found your books…..That first book was like a rowboat in the middle of the ocean; I didn’t know if I was going to sink or swim, and didn’t know which way I was going, but I stayed with it…..Then when I first opened your book, I knew that I had been picked up by a cruise ship filled with all the music principles I could ever use, and the Captain knew the way…..With that said, I am buying Volume Two and Three. Keep up the good work.”
Jim Avey, Los Olivos, CA.

“I met Bruce at a guitar workshop where we were both students, but only after Eric Schoenberg recommended his books to me and I had a chance to use them. He's got a very nice way of presenting material, and he's a fine fellow to boot. He's written a very good beginners' book called Guitar from Scratch, and more advanced books, Music Principles for the Skeptical Guitarist, Volumes 1-3. Lots of food for thought and practice here.”
Don Venne, FolkBlues.Com, Minneapolis, MN

“I just finished my first reading of Volume One. I am a beginning player who learns best from immersion. I thought your book was very interesting and a perfect balance between the familiar and the challenging.”
Allen Ramsay, Winston-Salem, NC

“I had all four of your books but I ‘loaned’ Guitar From Scratch to a friend. Oh well, I didn’t really expect to get it back. It’s too good to part with. So, enclosed is a check for another copy.”
Mike Smith, Glastonbury CT

“I wanted to write to say ‘thank you!’ I picked up Guitar From Scratch at the recommendation of Dusty Strings Music in Seattle. I have played music for nearly 30 years in one form or another with formal classical and jazz training on bass…..I read your book cover-to-cover yesterday. You cover a HUGE piece of ground in this books; I really have some work to do….You have given me a gift far beyond the $17.00 I paid for your book.”
Larry Johnson, Seattle, WA

“I can highly recommend a series of three books by Bruce Emery called Music Principles for the Skeptical Guitarist. They comprise the most practical and accessible approach to basic theory that I’ve ever seen, and I’ve looked around a lot. Since last fall, I’ve worked my way through the first two volumes and am about 30 pages into Volume Three now….Bruce Emery’s web site is http://www.skepticalguitarist.com/, but I’ve seen the books in music stores, too. I don’t know Bruce, and certainly don’t work for him, but I think he’s written some very good and badly needed books. They’ve contained lots of ‘ahas’ for me.”
Gordy Bushaw, Cyberspace

“I really am enjoying Volume One! These books (Two and Three) will be in care packages to me while I am in the Peace Corps in eastern Europe. I’m sure I will share them with my students (I’ll be teaching high school English). In a few years, you may be famous in Moldova! Thanks again for the great books.”
Ruth Cutcher, Longmont, CO

“Thank you so much for writing the best guitar book series ever. When I read the intro to Book One, I was so happy. I’ve always felt so inferior for not being able to learn from books. No book could ever keep my attention and I would give up thinking that I would ever learn theory since I can’t afford lessons. Anyway, I just started Book One, and it’s a review for me, but I just know deep inside that this is the winner! I actually look forward to practicing!”
Chris, e-mail

“You, sir, have saved me. For the first time ever, I am learning true music theory. It is amazing to me what doors this is opening up. I am trying diligently to take one page and one book at a time.”
Jim Fisher, Charleston, SC

“Just wanted you to know that your book, Guitar From Scratch, is great. Your tips on the smallest of details are what set it apart. For the first time, I’m confident that I will be able to stick to it. Because of your book, I have a great escape from a hard day at work, the wife doesn’t complain as much, my utility bills have gone down and CNN said world peace is just around the corner. How’s that for a book review?”
John Walko, e-mail

“THANK YOU! I really enjoy your style of writing and teaching. When I read the first three paragraphs at the top of page 16, I knew I was in the right place. Thanks for being so real. I carry the book around to read even if I don’t have my guitar with me; each page is packed with great stuff to chew on. I share it with all my friends who play. Thanks for sharing your knowledge and style with the world.”
Dan Steelquist, Blaine, WA

“I went through the first book on the day it arrived and spent most of that day with little lights going on in my head. In short, many concepts that sorta made sense before are now clear and some concepts that I never took the time to become aware of, much less understand, now make perfect sense. I look forward to “owning each page” as I move on through the series.”
Bob Borzelleri, e-mail

“I just purchased all three of your Skeptical Guitarist books. Boy, did you hit the nail on the head about music theory books. I measure my theory books not by the number of titles but in pounds, probably about 30 pounds, not counting yours. I am immensely enjoying yours. I read Volume One all the way through the first night I had it and finished around 1:30 am. And now I have read into both Volumes Two and Three. Using the 5th of the 5th really makes sense to me. After all these years this is helping to tie everything together.”
Chuck Thompson, e-mail

“You know, every time I think things might be stabilizing with your book sales, I’m wrong. Volume One has 14 committed and 31 more sold this month. The only thing I can think of offhand that sells like this is ‘O Brother, Where Art Thou?’ Congrats!”
Carrie Rowe, Elderly Instruments, Lansing, MI

“Please send me the new Guitar From Scratch Sequel. I purchased all your other books in one grand slam and I couldn’t be more pleased. I can’t wait for your next offering. Your instructions are the best I’ve found and I’ve literally spent $1000’s over the years. I got more of what I needed from you for $91. Where have you been all my life? I visit Stefan Grossman’s woodshed chat room frequently, and every time someone mentions wanting to learn theory, guess whose wen site I throw at them? Thanks again for the super lessons and your superb method of “splaining” it to us neophytes.”
Jim Connelly, Greenville, SC

“My status is rank beginner and, yes, I have your book Guitar From Scratch. It is far and away the best teaching book ever done! I am having a ball. From your book I get an enthusiasm for guitar playing as well as fundamentals. The more I work through your book, the more I want to learn. Thanks for writing this great book and for the other books I am ordering (and also a set for my son-in-law).”
Jim Ross, Greenville, NC

“Bruce, are you working on any new projects? I’ve about worn the writing off your other five books. I find them to be kinda like my BIBLE; I see something new every time I read them. Good Stuff!” After my reply: “Great to hear the books are doing so well. I felt sure they would as soon as word got out how enlightening and downright enjoyable they were. I’ll keep an eye out for the new one and wag my tongue about the other five every chance I get.”
Jim, e-mail

“Your books continue as our all-time best sellers!”
Rob Roberts, Gryphon Stringed Instruments, Palo Alto, CA

“Thanks for writing these books. I learned more from reading the samples on your web site in ten minutes than I have in months reading a host of other books on theory. In my experience, I have found that there are many who can complexify a subject but very few who can simplify while capturing the essence of a lesson. You make it fun. Bravo and thanks!”
John Neder, Lindsay, Ontario

“I seldom bother to send e-mail notes but decided to make an exception today. I am not an expert on playing the guitar, BUT I AM an “expert” of guitar books. I have most of them that have been published in the last 20 years or so. I have studied them for countless hours without a whole lot to show for my effort. They have now migrated to the closet. Just wanted to say that as a “book expert” I believe that your series is far and away the best that I have ever stumbled onto. These books seem to have been written just for folks like myself. Thank you for your contribution to my effort.”
Jerry Sutherland, e-mail

“I picked up Guitar From Scratch at a guitar store in Livermore, CA called Fretted Friends and it’s the most useful book of the dozens I own.”
Dennis Marshall, e-mail

“These are no doubt the best guitar theory books around and I’ll be canceling the others that are currently on my web site when I get yours in stock…..You are rapidly becoming my one-stop shopping center for alternative serials. It’s amazing that you are covering all the bases that I haven’t had time to write about…..All of my stuff is at the advanced level, so your new fingerstyle book will help folks get up to speed to take on my tunes. Great match.”
John Standefer, Praise Guitar, Vancouver, WA

“Just wanted to take the time to thank you for such a wonderful book. I just recently decided that I wanted to play the guitar. I started about a month ago and I am having a blast….It’s nice to see people teach in plain English.”
Gary Pennington, e-mail

“I want to thank you for writing a good book for the person that has some experience, but not enough, the (older) person that may decide to progress into one-on-one lessons later on. And for writing a book that is easy to understand and get through. A book of instruction, not just songs in the style. So thank YOU!”
Tom Pennington, Scottsdale, AZ

“I just recently purchased (Volume One) and just wanted to tell you how much I am enjoying it…..I was in Jackson’s Music Store here in Georgia and saw your book and bought it. When I started reading it, it was like a light went on in my head and I couldn’t put it down. It reminded me of the time when I was a kid and trying to do a wheely on my bicycle. I tried for about a year every day and then one day, all of a sudden, I was riding on the back tire and could do it any time I wanted to after that. Like your book, it was a sudden onset of knowledge that I didn’t have before.”
Ricky, e-mail

“Thank you for turning me on to the guitar, keeping my marriage intact and avoiding the purchase of a red sports car! I absolutely love your refreshing, clear and motivating approach to teaching guitar…..I’m an elementary school music teacher out here in Seattle. When I asked my second graders what music they listen to, someone yelled out, “I like the Beatles!” Another chimed in, “Yeah, Yellow Submarine!” Then on cue they all started singing the song. I was blown away and immediately ditched my school district-approved music curriculum.”
Ken Pendergrass, Seattle, WA

“We do appreciate the quality of your learning materials and they are the primary publications we use in our guitar instruction program.”
Kenny Burford, Rivertown Music Shop, Lexington, MO

“I purchased “Scratch” a couple of months ago when I purchased my first guitar from a local music shop. I was instantly won over by your wit (much to Hal Leonard’s chagrin). In any case, I began taking lessons at another “indy” shop in town and after mentioning “Scratch” during my lessons, I finally brought it in to show to my teacher. He thumbed through it and ordered a bunch from you the next day. Now he is teaching all of his students out of it…..I think the books are greatness because of the enjoyment you experienced while writing them. You took what should be a fun topic and treated it as... Well a fun topic. Others have taken great pains to make the journey as insipid as possible.”
Christian Briere, Weatherford, TX

“I’m an amateur guitarist and have been playing off-and-on for the past 25 years…..I asked my teacher to recommend a theory book. He recommended your series and man, I wish your books were around back when I was in high school. Since working through book one and two and really learning how to apply the circle of fifths, I've been able to figure out chord progressions to many of the songs that stumped me before. Additionally, I'm able to write some of my own stuff that is much more interesting than the three chord songs I put together before (everything sounded like a 1980s hair band ballad). Anyway, I think your books are wonderful.”
Fred Zevin, Alexandria, VA

“I must tell you that I own, and have read, all of your Musical Principles and From Scratch books. I just can't get enough of them! I must have read them cover to cover a dozen or more times. I was wondering if you were working on any more books. I thoroughly enjoy your sense of humor and the manner in which you approach teaching the guitar and I feel that there is no better teaching aid on the market than your books…..You could write a book on the proper way to place a guitar on a stand and I would buy it! Thank you very much for all the time and effort you've put into your current books and I will keep my eyes peeled for any upcoming works.”
Kevin S. Johnson, San Antonio, TX

“I have to be honest...I was trying to decide whether to go with your books or a book called Fretboard Logic. The reason I don't feel that I'll go with that is because their web site stinks...it doesn't really explain what they're all about and that makes me a little leery. I really think your site is well designed, gives a preview of the topics covered and I feel that I can really relate to your teaching style.”
Dave Kotovsky, e-mail

“Just bought the series - really impressed. I'm an intermediate guitarist who missed out on the basics. Thanks very much for books that are easy to use and which form an understandable framework for playing. Will spread the word in Calgary, Alberta!”
John Morgan

“Your book is the first book I have found that made music principles “click” in my head. Most books seem like they are written for music scholars and are too intimidating. Your book brought it all home to me. Thanks for putting this book out on the market! I am not nearly as frustrated as before because music is making sense to me.”
Matt Bible, e-mail

“I was very impressed with your Web Site, particularly with its completeness of explanations and its thoroughness. I downloaded and printed some of the information so that I could better digest what I was reading in a timely and relaxed manner. I appreciate the fact that your Web Site contains some real meat in its examples rather than just a superficial overview of what is to be expected in the instructional manuals.”
Richard K. Hagerty, Granite Bay, CA

“My friend, Harry Tueting [Harry’s Guitar Shop, Raleigh, NC] recommended your Skeptical Guitarist Volume One as a good way to understand music theory as it relates to the guitar. The book is very good. Every time I thought I was getting lost, you set me straight with the next paragraph. The scale discussions and exercises are easy to understand and practice. Finally understanding the Circle of Fifths was worth the purchase price. I must admit, you had me wondering where you were going with the C-A-G-E-D business. But when I got to pages 50 through 60 in SG Volume Two it was like a heavy curtain was raised from the neck of the guitar and I finally saw it in all its splendor. I am working my way through Volume Two and looking forward to getting your fingerpicking book. I hope that understanding the guitar better will lead to greater proficiency. Thank you very much for your thoughtful and easy to comprehend books.”
Robert S. Brown 3rd, Raleigh, NC

“I bought your "Guitar from Scratch" book a few months ago at Great Southern music in Houston, and have found it to be undoubtedly the most helpful book yet. No other books explain the "why", which seems to me to be fundamental to making the move from basic campfire strumming to songwriter. Your book seems to be the only one that takes the time to explain, in layman's' terms, and not in quick soundbites, what we really need to know, and builds on knowledge slowly and logically. I have now bought two of your other books ("The Sequel", and the fingerpicking book) and ultimately may buy the two music theory books (don't need the jazz book, but the first two look helpful)…..In any event, keep up the good work, and thanks for sharing the knowledge with the lower class of us who pick and play only as time permits. You clearly have a real gift, and we're lucky that you put it down on paper.”
Mark A. Waite, Houston, TX

“I mostly taught myself to play guitar, and didn't pick up much music theory until I started teaching about three years ago. It's not that I resisted learning it--it's just that it was never presented to me in the proper way, so of course it was confusing and boring. Articles in my guitar magazines were either too simple or way over my head, and my high school friends who I jammed with were as clueless as I was.
“Then a few years ago, I discovered Bruce Emery's books. These books have taught me so much about both teaching and playing. They present theory and technique in a clear, logical manner, but more importantly, they make me laugh. I have a hard time paying attention to anything if it isn't making me laugh every two minutes. These books are so entertaining, they've achieved the highest honor a work of literature can receive in the Hampton household--a place on the back of the toilet.”
Rob Hampton, Heartwood Guitar Blog, Seattle, WA

“Yeah! Glad to see that Pecknel Music in Greenville, SC is now carrying your books. I have been teaching guitar for the Furman University Learning in Retirement program for the last couple of years and have recommended your books to my students. Thanks for the most useable materials I have come across. First theory book that I enjoyed reading. Now I'm eager to check out the Christmas books.”
a not-so-skeptical guitarist anymore.....
Dianne Sutton, Greenville, SC

“Thanks for creating a wonderful series of books. I own the first 3 and learned more from them than I did attending a full year of music theory classes at U Maine Augusta. When a friend borrowed "The Big Picture" she was amazed at how fast she "got it" (in fact, she still has it. I'd better get that back). I look forward to picking up the finger style book and am sure I'll enjoy it as much as I have the first 3. Keep them coming and thanks again.”
Your no longer theory challenged friend,
Jay Becker, e-mail

“I’m about half way through you first book and the progress I’ve made is incredible. Interestingly, I had bought a Hal Leonard book at the same time, and finished it knowing 3 or 4 chords (and shabby at that). I plan on getting all of your books. Thanks.”
Lou Rodriguez, e-mail

“I’ve been working with your Skeptical Guitarist books for two years now and I love them. I have been playing stringed instruments for a lot longer than that and believe me, you have found a style and a means for articulating and describing music theory that are truly unique and effective.”
Marko Schmitt, Northampton, MA

“My 9 year old son began lessons last May and I ended up taking over the lessons after he started playing card games, and losing interest in guitar. He will probably pick it back up in a year or 2 and I may be able to teach him a thing or 2 by that time. But anyway, your books are so much fun to work with, you have a sense of humor from the "horse with no name" comments to issues that you can relate to. We have several Mel Bay, etc. with lots of old songs. But your series is truly unique. Less boring and more to the point. You would laugh if you could see the 2 books that I have Guitar From Scratch and Music Principles for the Skeptical Guitarist volume one. The pages are flagged and highlighted. I keep rereading portions to fully absorb the whole concept. My favorite page is the simple Big Fifteen. Other chord chart seemed to confuse me. I have shared this page with several loved ones. It must feel good to know that you have encouraged many who thought they could never learn to play a guitar to pick one up and give it a try. I'm really enjoying trying to become a better guitarist and musician as it related to piano, and your books cover it well.”
Lisa Harris, Ann Arbor, MI

“This [Blues/Jazz book] is exactly what I've been looking for. I have a long way to go before I grind all the way through it, but Bruce, maestro, I will grind through it, because you did a great job, and it's exactly what I've been looking for…..I bought your book in the Carrboro Music Loft. Just casting around. I asked the sales guy (sorry didn't get his name, good guy) if there was a better book for a guy like me who knows his chords, knows no theory, comps well enough to impress his kids, but just a little, and wants to push off in the direction of blues. He sized me up instead of his bookshelf, said, ‘This is the book you want.’ And so it is. You really are a special case--I stood in front of the large rack of books at the Music Loft, and your book was the only one I wanted.”
Morgan Ryan, Chapel Hill, NC

“Visited your fine web site yesterday for the first time in a long time. Congratulations on your new Christmas songbooks. And thanks so much for adding the ‘audio files’ to accompany your books. I've been enjoying your ‘skeptical trilogy’ and your ‘scratch trilogy’ for a few years. Now with sound, they're even better. Keep up the good work, but please do more of it. And quickly. Winters are long, slow, dismal, and cold here in Kentucky.”
Don Parks, Lakeside Park, KY

“Your books are out of this world. I hope you don't get tired of hearing that. You appear to have a testimonial list exceeded only by the Pope (there are longer lists, but not for mortals)!” Experience with other books: “…most notably Stewart's ‘Introducing the Dots’ and Edwards' ‘Freeboard logic.’ Unfortunately, these books started out great (aimed at the skeptics) but they both transitioned into goblet gook, or skipped some of the essential "connective tissue." and I was lost. DAMN...FOILED AGAIN…but wasn't skeptical...I KNEW that somewhere there had to be someone who had found a way to fully explain what I wanted to know….THEN, enter your series....THE GAPS ARENT THERE! Continuous, painstaking (for the author, not for the reader) steps. In short, for me, your books remind me of my hero, Richard Feynman, the theoretical physicist, in that you have a way of keeping it simple....all the way through, without compromising the transitions. To me, your books rank up there with Mark Hanson's fingerstyle books and Russ Barenberg's way-old-but-still-superlative ‘Mastering Bluegrass Guitar’ masterpiece. The subject matter, styles and media are different, but the dedication to having fun and making things clear are the same.”
Peter Overly, Jackson Hole, WY

“I recently found your Fingerstyle Guitar from Scratch at a local music store. Wowee, it's really good! So I'm going to work my way through it and I'm going to order four more of your books if I can't find them locally in Madison, Wisconsin. Clear and humorous writing on any subject is a real joy to read and when applied to learning guitar (it's functional as well). It's going to take me a while to work through it all since I'm gainfully employed and quite possibly a slow learner. That should give you plenty of time to finish up that Solo Fingerpicking from Scratch book you promise in the Fingerstyle Guitar from Scratch book. If it is as good as I think it will be, I'm going to forget those group lessons I took (where I found out I may be a slow learner, at least compared to the younger whippersnappers in my class) and start all over from scratch.”
Rick Chenoweth, Madison, WI

“Finally I have found a plan that makes sense to me. I bought a few of your books and started out reading Guitar From Scratch all the way through. I am now going back and going through learning all. I am 61 and have not touched the guitar in over 20 years. Long ago I was able to entertain myself somewhat strumming some tunes. This time I really want to learn guitar in a different way so that I would understand what it is all about. Your presentation is just what I was looking for...thank you, Bruce.”
Warren Wendt, e-mail