Learn and Master Guitar is billed as "the world's most complete video instruction course for guitar." Steve Krenz, the author, has a degree in music, along with a ton of practical experience playing for quite a few big name bands, in multiple musical styles. Any course making such an impressive claim ought to be evaluated by a third party, so I wanted to get my hands on a copy of this course and judge for myself its true value. Following is my review of Learn and Master Guitar.
Learn and Master Guitar is a physical course - there is no download option - and the first thing you notice when you open the shipping box is how nicely it is presented. Clearly, some work has gone into the packaging, for what that's worth! Inside the box you'll find a 107 page lesson book, as well as 20 DVDs and 5 CDs. All the material is presented very professionally, as one would expect from a market leading guitar course.
* Please note: the product photos on this page are from the previous version of Learn & Master Guitar; they've since partnered with Gibson and updated the course. The updated course is what you will get if you order via the links; this review is still relevant for the new course.
Inside Peak (Watch my video review)
Disclaimer: If you purchase through links on this page, I will receive some compensation.
Learn and Master Guitar is geared towards beginner players (and also intermediate players who need a better grounding in the fundamentals), and is intended to give one a solid and broad foundation to build on. Styles that are touched on include: acoustic, electric, fingerstyle, blues, jazz, country, R&B, and funk.
There are 20 sessions in the book, and each one corresponds to a DVD. More info on the topics covered is available here. Each lesson consists of three parts: playing along, video tips, and a practice workshop. Nice large chord charts at the beginning of each lesson show you what you'll be working with, and every example is notated in both musical notation and guitar tablature (tab). Each session has an assignments section, sometimes giving you a quiz on the musical theory you've just learned, and always assigning some playing to do.
The entire Learn and Master Guitar course is designed to be worked through at your own pace, however depending on your current ability, in my opinion it would take you between six months to a year to work through all the material. A highly dedicated student could get through it in three months. Each session does have an "Estimated Time To Learn These Concepts" so you know roughly how much time you should be spending on each topic. That said, you shouldn't allow yourself to progress until you've properly mastered each section.
One thing about Learn and Master is that it is laid out very logically and methodically. Although it is a large course (book, 20 DVDs and 5 CDs) everything is integrated together very well, so you'll never feel like you're lost in a sea of material. The book is a clear road map of where you're going, and it will queue you as to when and what else you need to refer to.
Support & Guarantee
Learn and Master Guitar comes with a 60 Day Satisfaction Guarantee. That means you have two full months to evaluate the course, and if you don't like it, you can send it back and get a full refund. No questions asked.
Customers get unlimited access to the Student Support Site, which is basically an active forum where students can ask questions, get answers, and share their progress with each other.
- Learn and Master Guitar is packed full of song examples, each of which is notated in music, tab, on video, and of course with play along jam tracks.
- The Jam Along CDs have all the song examples in two or three speeds, so you can play along regardless of your ability. In my opinion, jamming along with something, whether it be a live band, or a backing track, is one of the surest and quickest ways to learning guitar, so these CDs are a valuable component of the course.
- The course is thorough, methodical, and logically laid out.
- It starts right at the beginning (though quickly moves on), and is therefore newbie-friendly.
- It gets right into learning songs (first song is on p. 14).
- Broad selection of musical styles and techniques are covered: acoustic, electric, fingerstyle, blues, jazz, country, R&B, and funk.
- It's Flexible: you can view this on your computer, or on a TV with a DVD/CD player.
- Strong satisfaction guarantee, backed up by a strong industry reputation.
- Top marks for presentation - all materials are professionally laid out and easy to use.
The Bad (Minor)
- No download option. Many courses these days have cheaper versions that offer 'online only' editions. This one doesn't.
- The book doesn't lie flat. A ring binder would solve this, but currently you kind of have to bend it backwards to get it flexible, or put something on top of the pages to weigh them down.
This course deals with musical theory in a much better way than Jamorama, one of the other most popular beginner guitar courses online today. (Click here for my Jamorama review). I believe it is safe to say that if two people went through these two courses at the same time (Learn and Master and Jamorama) the Learn and Master student would have a much stronger knowledge of the guitar, as well as a more robust understanding of the music behind it.
So what about this claim that Learn and Master is the world's most complete course? Well, I guess so far I would have to agree, but that needs to be qualified. Learn and Master Guitar is definitely a comprehensive guitar course - no doubt about that. However, I think the statement is a little misleading. You need to be aware that if you buy Learn and Master, as with any guitar course - at some point you will complete the material and go on to need more instruction. This course can only take you so far. It will give you a very strong base, and will bring you from newbie to intermediate, however in a year you'll need to invest in something else in order to keep learning. That should be expected!
If you're serious about learning guitar, it will be a lifelong pursuit, and you need to expect to invest in that.
Learn and Master is one of the more expensive courses out there, however it is very comprehensive - more so than other courses - and if you compare it to the cost of one year of one on one instruction, then you're coming out way ahead. (Minimum cost of a guitar tutor would be around $30/week - for a half hour lesson - each week all year - or $1560)
If you're a beginner guitar player, this course is a good choice. By beginner I mean either you've never played before, or you're comfortable with a few chords but need to take it to the next level. Learn and Master Guitar will introduce you to music, tab, scales and give you the basics of soloing, as well as several different styles of playing.