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Alfred's Basic Guitar Theory 1 & 2: For a Practical and Thorough Understanding of Music, for individual or class instruction.

* Alfred's Basic Guitar Theory 1 & 2: For a Practical and Thorough Understanding of Music, for individual or class instruction, by Morty and Ron Manus. Alfred Publishing Co., Inc., 2007.; (818) 892-2452; 48 pp.; $6.95.


Alfred's Basic Guitar Theory (1 and 2), by Morty Manus and Ron Manus is a workbook-supplement to the same authors' Alfred's Basic Guitar Method. That Method is a general elementary introduction to playing melodies and chords on the guitar. Alfred's Basic Guitar series encompasses several other volumes, including a book of Pop Songs, a Chord Dictionary, a Chord Chart, and added DVDs and iPod-compatible videos.

This theory book fits the level and pace of the rest of the series. That is: it is an elementary-level workbook probably best suited for young students and beginners who have no experience with standard music notation. It supplies useful written exercises, which are thorough and provide the student with ample repetition and practice. Topics covered are basic pitch notation (treble clef), note values and rhythmic notation, time signatures, sharps and flats, and, later, major scale construction, common guitar keys and key signatures, and open-position treble-string chords.

There are many nice details that relate these materials to the guitar itself. New pitches are introduced to the staff string-by-string. The first-position three- and four-note chords are introduced as they would be voiced in guitar pieces and are reinforced with recognition exercises. Accidentals and half-steps are explained with the support of fret board diagrams. Several exercises ask students where notes would be played on the guitar (asking for string and fret numbers, and sometimes placement of notes on a finger board chart) and even move out of open position.

Teachers of more advanced students, or those looking for exercises on guitar scales, intervals and a larger chord vocabulary will find little of value here. However, others, especially new teachers, those already using the Alfred Method or those seeking additional materials to reinforce fundamentals will find the exercises and repetition of material helpful.--Reviewed by James Frederick Flegel, University of Minnesota

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Author:Flegel, James Frederick
Publication:American Music Teacher
Article Type:Book review
Date:Oct 1, 2008
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