It seems that whether self-taught or formally trained, most guitarists learn a very rock-centric style of playing based on the music they most enjoy hearing. Through the years they might find themselves limited by this or simply seek to inform their music with different styles. A new Lick Library instructional DVD seeks to provide established guitarists with the tools they need to add fusion styles to their arsenal. But how is the method? To find out check out my Tom Quayle From Rock to Fusion Instructional DVD Review.
Type of DVD: Music instructional DVD
Where to buy: Lick Library Store
Developer: Lick Library, featuring Tom Quayle
Here are some of the features:
- Develop killer fusion chops and theory knowledge in this exciting and easy to understand course with fusion guitar master Tom Quayle.
- Develop your legato and hybrid picking to get an ultra- modern sound and performs awesome lines for you to learn and digest.
- Tom also shows you his scale and arpeggio approaches, pentatonic scale development, phrasing exercises and ways to tackle playing over chord changes.
- From Rock to Fusion will push your playing to the next level and give you the tools you need to become the fusion player you always wanted to be.
When I look back to when I first started taking guitar lessons in the early 1970s, the breadth of techniques in popular use was fairly limited. Guitarists in rock were exploring the harmonic terrain already plowed by jazz guitarists, applying distortion and some other effects to distinguish their sounds. Certainly there was legato and staccato playing, and a number of picking and other techniques, but largely young musicians were just exploring the basic territory of rock music as it quickly evolved. I also remember that by the 80s many were critical of the ‘learning licks’ teaching methods of some music schools that favored simply learning popular phrases over the context and core techniques – because by learning such shallow techniques, musicians were unable to adapt to new styles and genres.
By now rock music is a mature set of genres that are reflected in myriad guitar styles and techniques, yet when a song from a fusion instrumentalist comes on it is immediately distinct. While Alex Lifeson, for example, learned much from Allan Holdsworth, there is a clear difference in approach that immediately marks on as ‘rock’ and the other as ‘fusion’. It is THAT divide that Tom Quayle hopes to help rock guitarists bridge.
The DVD starts off with an overview of some of the differences in typical rock and fusion techniques in terms of how they sound. Quayle shows off everything he will teach, from legato styles to alternate picking to different types of hammer-ons and pull-offs and his approach to utilizing the fretboard differently in scales and arpeggios.
From there you jump right into the lessons. I was actually surprised at the depth of instruction and how well Quayle explains what is going on, mainly because the entire DVD is only an hour long. Quayle is a gifted instructor, weaving personal insights and context in with detailed instruction in a way that feels and flows naturally. Given the depth of material – this is aimed at intermediate to advanced players – that is not trivial.
Quayle takes time to provide plenty of detail about how to change up picking, fretboard scale shapes and patterns and other seemingly basic techniques in order to alter your playing to a more fusion-like sound. It is interesting working on these techniques since most fusion guitarists were either rock players or jazz players who also loved rock music.
In the end what you get is an expanded palette of sounds and techniques. Quayle cannot make you a fusion guitarist in the course of a single DVD method, but with a great sense of teaching and sharing from experience he provides the insights and tools to help you expand your sonic arsenal to include fusion alongside your existing rock, blues and other techniques.
It is also worth noting that the Lick Library website has additional material including sheet music for some of Quayle’s lessons. This DVD is very much recommended for anyone looking to learn fusion guitar techniques.
Ease of use/Overall performance: There is no ‘basics’ section, no sheet music, no primer – you are expected to be proficient at playing rock guitar with a number of common techniques. But this is a double-edged sword – it means a high bar for entry, but if you already have the skills it means no wasted time.
Would use again/recommend?: Absolutely! For a single hour course, there is a load of material offered, carefully and thoroughly explained. Even more important is the context Quayle brings to examples, as many of the changes in technique are subtle and not easily documented – and as a result paying attention to the lessons is critical … and you will realize how useful his tips are as you go back again and again to perfect your techniques.
Suggested changes/wish list for updates: Nothing.
Price: DVD with online features for $19.99
Here is my video review: