PSA $5 Truefire Courses

Discussion in 'Tab, Tips, Theory and Technique' started by eclipse, Jul 6, 2020.

  1. eclipse

    eclipse Tele-Meister

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    Just noticed a couple of Jason Loughlin country courses on for $5 for the next 6 hours. Lot of country pickers and Jason fans on TDPRI so just a heads up.
     
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  2. matrix

    matrix Tele-Meister

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    Some great courses on sale - they are changing up the sales every 24 hours. Quite a number of courses I have not seen on their $5 offers before. Great values - I picked up Fareed Haque's Modal Jazz course, Jason Loughlin's trading country solos course, and the amazing Massimo Varini's 4 hour pop guitar survival guide at five bucks each.
     
  3. branbolio

    branbolio TDPRI Member

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    Do you still have to view these on a pc or do they offer dvd now too?
     
  4. matrix

    matrix Tele-Meister

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    You can see on a computer, tablet, or phone, and can download the files directly to your computer or stream.

    They also sell physical media with all of the files, but those do not get the massive sale discounts. No DVDs as far as I know.
     
  5. nicknklv

    nicknklv Tele-Meister

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    I got the full 12-month deal when it was on sale in May, love the platform! I'll check out those courses, thanks for the tip.
     
  6. trxx

    trxx Tele-Afflicted

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    While I was looking for books on all things chords, I ran onto a book review comment mentioning a Truefire course by Howard Morgen called Fingerboard Breakthrough. The name of the course sounds gimmicky within the modern context of hype and click-bait, which is unfortunate because from what I can tell so far Howard Morgen is something of a very rare teacher, and the title is actually a good fit for what is on offer. Having looked at lots of Truefire courses in the past (and similar sites and courses) I have always passed on them, where most look to be half-baked and are generally dressed in buy bait. This one is an exception. It's essentially about constructing and using useful chords and the melody lines implied by the chords. But it uses a logical visual approach to the fingerboard layout and building chords on the fingerboard through some brilliant insights of the fingerboard geometry. This shows how ridiculous it is to blindly memorize lots of chord shapes as in other approaches (hey, Ted Greene's Chord Chemistry). I have only gotten a 1/4 of the way in, but so far it has been a series of light bulb moments that I wish I had learned many years ago. It wasn't a $5 course or on sale, but as a first course purchase it ended up being discounted to $21, and it is very well worth the price so far.

    Being enthused about Howard Morgen's course, I had a look at some other Truefire courses today, and most of them look like what I'm used to seeing when looking at this sort of thing. Half-baked, vague, gimme yer money. Blues Speak by Matt Schofield looked very interesting to me on the surface, but after previewing the course it looks to be half-baked in terms of effective teaching. The guy is an excellent player and his course does look to offer some scattered pieces of valuable info, but it essentially looks like he isn't able to articulate clearly why he is playing what he is playing (analyzing and communicating his own playing). So then it seems to boil down to watching and listening to a good player play some things with some vague comments along the way about targeting chord tones, mixing pentatonics, and some mentions of other approaches to adding color. In other words, you're going to work your butt off just in figuring out what it is that he is trying to relay AND getting up to speed with what is being played, which might not really be any better than sitting down and learning by ear from recordings at half-speed and thinking about how what is being played works with the chords and changes of the songs. Another one that essentially looks to be the same sort of teaching quality is Buena Vista Cuban Guitar Guidebook. Jesus Hernandez looks to be an excellent player but without that rare ability of teaching effectively what he is playing. Both of these excellent players could learn a thing or ten from Howard Morgen about effective teaching, in my opinion.

    Any way, I wouldn't put too much merit in the prices of courses that are on sale. Quality teaching of something you genuinely want to learn is what you're looking for, no matter the price. Buying a bunch of courses because of the $5 price tag will likely only result in having access to a bunch of courses that will never be worked through. And it seems that alot of these online music courses aren't really worth working through anyway.
     
    Last edited: Jul 18, 2020
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  7. nicknklv

    nicknklv Tele-Meister

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    Certain teachers are better than others. Robben Ford has a number of courses on Truefire, and he is a fantastic player AND teacher IMO. He has been doing instructional content since the 90s afaik, and he is great at it. Explains very useful concepts and the thinking behind them. Breaks down some of his own songs too.

    And if you want to talk pure teachers, then Frank Vignola is just unmatched. I started getting into jazz some months ago wanting to learn some fancy chords, and I started taking his beginner courses. I've developed a real love for the music as a result. He is a top grade teacher and has something for everybody depending on where they are in their development.

    I think the platform is really valuable, and if you can find what truly interests you, and commit the time to go through it, you'll get a lot out of it.
     
  8. trxx

    trxx Tele-Afflicted

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    I have lots of topics of interest in music as I'm sure most other people do. The biggest problem that I find in these sorts of courses is not finding a topic of interest. It is finding someone who can effectively get to the core of of an interesting topic, logically break things down for teaching, and demonstrating along the way how to apply what is being learned in making music. For example, music theory is a generally interesting topic, but it is not an end. It is a means for analyzing music and making music. If someone makes a music theory course without that in mind (the core reasons for studying the topic) then what good is it? A potentially musically rich topic can easily be presented as a dry progression of rote memorization. Here are 12 tones and note names, intervals and construction of the diatonic scale, spelling of all keys and key signatures and circle of fifths/fourths, harmonization of the scale for building triads and chords. Memorize all these tables along the way. THE END. That isn't very useful for analyzing and making music. It's a means without an end. A useful approach to that topic might go something like: Here are the 12 tones and note names. Here is the natural scale only for now. Let's get familiar with the sounds of the intervals and put it to use for learning some lines and melodies and making some of our own. And let's start writing these melodies down in notation so that we can come back and develop them more later. Now let's stack some intervals, construct triads, and use them for learning some progressions from songs. And let's look at how they function and make some progressions of our own under the melodies we are working on. And let's make some progressions and develop some new melodies over them. And let's write them down for later further development. Now let's construct some chords and learn some more colorful changes from songs. And let's further develop our rhythms and melodies for more variety of color and movement. Now let's learn some other keys, songs in those keys, and how to transpose some music that we know to these keys. And let's look at some music that involves key changes add some key changes to music we are developing and write it down. ETC. Learning music theory without learning to use it for analyzing and making real music of personal interest is like learning math without ever learning to analyze and solve real problems of personal interest. In both cases, most people just want to run away from it as soon as possible, and for perfectly good reason, whether they can identify that reason or not. But I'm only using the topic of music theory here as an example of a wider issue. It's not so difficult to find topics of interest. It's much more difficult to find people who can effectively teach them. And it sure doesn't help when there is no means for 2-way communication between the teacher and student.

    On Robben Ford and Frank Vignola. Robben Ford is surely a fine guitar player and maybe a good teacher as well, but his playing approach and style are outside of my area of interest. And I'm of the mind that the student should have an appreciation for the playing of the teacher in order to effectively learn from that teacher, since learning music is about many small things that add up to a greater whole. He does seem to have the ability to articulate well what he is doing though. And for someone who is into his approach and style of playing, his courses would probably be worth checking out. Having a look at Frank Vignola's guitar method course, it essentially looks like a long string of lessons that are heavily weighted toward learning theory to some depth. But it also looks to be without a healthy balance of applying what is being learned to making music, which leaves me wondering what it is all really about. Have you worked through that course?
     
    Last edited: Jul 18, 2020
  9. matrix

    matrix Tele-Meister

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    Hey @trxx - Interesting post. There are a lot of different styles of instructional videos on Truefire, aimed at different levels. I have worked through quite a number, and started and stopped many more.

    There is quite a bit of variety in the instructors and styles, and not all will work for everyone. For instance, the poster above mentioned Frank Vignola - I am sure that it worked for him (and I know lots of people LOVE his instruction), but I find Vignola unbearable. On the other hand, Fareed Haque I consider to be one of the best instructors. I have learned a ton from his classes. Some of them, like the comping and modal jazz classes are classics. His comping course in particuluar skews towards making complex ideas simple & getting you to apply them.

    I think you also need to differentiate between the courses that are an opportunity to sit in and catch some gold from a master, and which are truly structured with clear didactic approach. For instance, courses by Johnny Hiland and Redd Volkaert aren't for beginners, and are not designed to take you from A to B step by step. Still valuable, and full of gold for the more advanced player, but not a methodology. And you need to be willing to put in the time to dig the gold out of them.

    On the other hand, I find that courses by Corey Congilio and Jeff McErlain to be carefully structured & presented with detailed, thoughtful explanations that really work for me. Some of them feel like downloads of information straight to my brain and fingers. Amazing teaching, really.

    There is also the importance of being ready for the message. I think Andy Timmons' "Melodic Muse" is just a brilliant, brilliant course (by a great player) that really help change the way I play a lot (and even the way I feel about playing) - and is founded on a very intelligent methodology. But it took a while for me to be ready for it. I spent nearly 2 years working through other courses that got me ready to make use of Melodic Muse.

    Similarly, I purchase the Jim Campilongo course, and realized that I was just not there yet (no fault of the course). After nearly a year and half of working through Jason Loughlin's Country Lead Survival Guide, I think I am almost ready to try again.
     
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  10. trxx

    trxx Tele-Afflicted

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    I think the gist of what you're saying applies in general to music education and education in general. A major issue for a potential learner is knowing where he currently stands in terms of knowledge and skill and navigating his way through the mazes of choices to what is personally relevant. Someone who I have alot of respect for said once (paraphrasing) that you could drop a bright student into the greatest libraries of the world, but the student wouldn't really be any better for it for lack of guidance. He was was using the analogy in response to a question about what he thought about the vast amount of information available on the internet today to everyone. On one hand it's great to be able to look up and read about so many things in veins of personal interest on a whim. On the other, it can contain you within a small radius of endless directions, never getting you onto the right path of progress. Some guidance from a mentor can be key here, not to dictate without meaningful explanation what you should be working on, but to help make it clear what are good choices along the way and why. So then a person looking for some effective guidance in learning (that is what everyone is looking for) is already at odds to a large degree with much of what is being offered at a site like Truefire. The number of courses is vast. Most of the courses are being packaged in marketing speak as THE path for as large of an audience as possible (courses are on offer as a means for an income stream as the ultimate goal). And there is no real means of 2-way communication with the creators of the courses for student inquiry where clarification might be required. So the potential student is essentially on his own at guiding himself through the maze of all that, much the same as picking up a dead tree book among a vast array of choices and getting 'educated'.

    I would say to anyone thinking about using one of these courses to exercise some patience (beat back your impulses) and fully preview what is available of it, trying your best to work out whether it is personally relevant AND whether the instructor is effective in his aims. In that order.
     
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  11. matrix

    matrix Tele-Meister

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    @trxx I think we are in general agreement - and your last paragraph there is 100% bang on in my opinion - sage advice.

    A lot of what you point out is the challenge of being an autodidact, and that is something that hits close to home for me. Since my early 20s, I have wanted to study at Berklee or something like that (I wonder if that desire is also the impact of effective marketing...). At least in my imagination, accessing a full program of study like that would help shore up my musicianship, identify my blind spots, and - hopefully - turn me into the well-rounded musician I wanted to be.

    A great instructor could in theory offer that. But the ones I have worked with I could not in fairness classify as "great". So, for better or worse, the autodidact path is the one I am on, and I need to find the best way through it. And not all learning approaches are created equal.

    Part of my passion for Truefire is that they DO offer me something significantly better than random youtube videos. Many truefire courses are truly courses. They lay out a program of instruction that covers a curriculum. If that curriculum is well thought out, well taught ... it varies. But it is a program. The marketing that may be laid on top of that is chaff.

    One of the first courses I bought was "50 Blues Rhythms you must know". Cheesy title (marketing!), but the course was actually brilliant. It took me from basics that I knew, to much more sophisticated approaches in a gradual, stepwise fashion of progressive difficulty, with plenty of tips along the way that helped me to think about the musical space and what I was doing with the guitar as a rhythm instrument in that space. Limited scope, but a clear program of instruction that over 4 hours provided solid, in-depth information. And I could set the pace. For me then, that was several months of work, and there was an unmistakable difference in my playing abilities before and after that went well beyond having a few new licks.

    Since that time, I have worked through a number of courses. Just like in university, sometimes I have learned very important lessons from professors who were undeniably talented in their field, but not necessarily brilliant instructors.

    Btw, Truefire offers 1 on 1 video lessons with their instructors at reasonable prices. And those go on sale too. Haven't done it yet, but I am certainly contemplating it.
     
  12. trxx

    trxx Tele-Afflicted

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    Yea, youtube is geared toward scatterbrained click-me, click-me, no click-me. A structured progression of a topic is definitely a good thing.
     
  13. eclipse

    eclipse Tele-Meister

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    All the courses that have been in rotation are on offer now, about 75 courses.
     
  14. trxx

    trxx Tele-Afflicted

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    I tried the 'In The Jam' app today for a few minutes. Very cool and useful for practicing improvising with a 'band'. For anyone who doesn't know, it's an app that runs on your desktop that plays multi-track tunes purchased from Truefire, where you can control the volumes of drums, bass, rhythm guitar, lead guitar.
     
  15. Junkyard Dog

    Junkyard Dog Tele-Afflicted

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    Thanks for the notice!

    Does anybody have the Loughlin's 1-2-3 Country lesson? I have both editions (lead and rhythm) of Loughlin's County Guitar Survival Guide.

    For $5 I'll probably go ahead and get it. If I learn even just one thing, it will be worth it.
     
  16. trxx

    trxx Tele-Afflicted

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    I downloaded the rest of In The Jam sample tracks this morning and had a play over them. It sure highlighted some of my weaknesses in improvising, which I was already aware of. Pretty boxy vague playing without a good sense of harmonic movement and direction (me, not the tracks).

    Something that would be really good here is some added features to the player for looping and slowing the speed, for working out playing ideas over specific changes. It would also be good if the person using it could record a couple of their own tracks, for trying different chords over the drums and bass. I guess I will have a look around for some multi-track backing tracks to load up into my daw, since there is no indication that these sorts of features will be added to the player anytime soon. But a benefit of this In The Jam format is the video tracks of the guitar players playing along and the commentary tracks, which are things that won't be provided with straight up backing tracks.
     
    Last edited: Jul 27, 2020
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  17. Junkyard Dog

    Junkyard Dog Tele-Afflicted

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    Well I went ahead and bought 1-2-3 Country for $5. I already learned one thing from it! A little 2-bar double stop hybrid picking groove. I spent about an hour learning/practicing it, and it will likely take several more hours of practice and patience to get it down just right.

    I also bought the 50 Country Masters Licks You Must Know. This one looks like it may be less useful (for me), but...what the heck it was only $5 too.
     
  18. matrix

    matrix Tele-Meister

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    1-2-3 Country for $5 is a great deal. I paid near full for it & got my money's worth.

    I have just about completed a full pass through his "Trading Solos" that I picked up at the start of the sale. Actually pretty great - 5 good jam tracks, 10 solid accompaniment approaches and 30 licks. Especially like the licks. Quite a few are taught more as concepts than "play these notes", making them easier to slide into your playing.

    Both the sliding 6th chord steel guitar licks & the 4th chord substitution licks are ideas that I will be milking for a looong time.

    Also been working through Massimo Varini's Pop Guitar Survival guide. A crazy 4 hours with a top player for 5 bucks. Already picked up a number of cool ways to think about my rhythm playing, been forced to re-think ideas about picks, and cleaned up some slop on my non-bluegrass acoustic guitar playing.

    Will probably grab a few more before the sale is up. I keep on thinking "this is what I used to pay for a guitar magazine"
     
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