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Gary Talley


I thought this was a fantastic idea, and asked to cover it for our first video review. Gary is a fine musician, and extremely experienced at both songwriting and backing up songwriters who may not be strong guitarists. This combination made him perfect to put this video together. It's interesting that he's also one of the original Box Tops, who had several huge hits, including "The Letter."

Many people who are moved to write songs may not be so moved to practice hard on guitar, enlarge their chordal vocabulary, or become good rhythm players and/or fingerpickers. When this is so, their songwriting frequently becomes constrained by, even defined by, their limited knowledge of the instrument.

One can learn a lot from this tape. In lesson One, the viewer is acquainted with chord progressions in numerical form, like a I-IV-V progression. Relative minors and color chords are discussed. It may seem a little confusing at first, but a good workbook is provided, and a little rewinding will clarify any details that might get by you the first time. In lesson Two, there is valuable information on connector chords: diminished, augmented and suspended chord forms. Lesson Three concentrated more on the strumming/picking hand. Gary illustrated cleaning up a sloppy strumming approach, playing the muted 1/8 lick that we associate with rock and roll, and "rhythmic songwriter guitar" with accents and muting the stings. There is also a little time devoted to elementary fingerpicking.

Although I would have preferred a one teacher presentation to the teacher-student conversation method employed in this video, it is a very informative, helpful and affordable way to become a better guitarist, and we highly recommend it. You can email Gary at guitgar@bellsouth.net, or visit his website.   • FG


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