By: Jesse Mazzoccoli
Matt Palmer’s The Virtuoso Guitarist Volume 1: A New Approach to Fast Scales just came out a few months ago and it’s already on its 2nd printing! I’ve had the great opportunity to preview it and give feedback, and review it and do the same.
Matt does an excellent job of explaining his technique throughout the book, first giving a brief history of how he developed his technique, and then a complete run down between the approaches to both hands.
In Part I, he addresses the Left Hand. One thing to take note of: Matt started out as a self-taught shredder, and some shredders have the finest of facilities within their left hands. So a lot of the scale runs he does are intentionally set up using 3-note per string scales: a shredder’s bread and butter.
The Right Hand is the focus of the much larger Part II. Matt addresses many aspects including fundamentals, tone, and rest stoke vs. free stroke, which is a topic that I think more authors of method books could address. Another gem of brilliance is his approach to thinking of music or musical passages as a single event instead of thinking about all of the notes in a piece or musical passage. I know many people have their own takes on this approach, but Matt does an excellent job of making such an abstract idea tangible enough to understand just by reading it. Many instructors have issues SHOWING this to students, leave alone writing it with success!
Matt’s explanations for the issues of getting caught up playing triplets because of the consistency of using three fingers (AMI), and the fact that we will have one and two notes per string in some places is genius, but I don’t want to give too much away. This book is a must for the 21st Century guitarist, and even though it focuses heavily on classical guitar, it’s a great approach for any finger picking style of guitar.
The Musical Applications sections show you how to incorporate these virtuosic techniques into the scores that you are already playing or plan to play. This is a great tool for approaching the same pieces with a new flair!
Part III is packed full of Advanced Techniques that focus on direction changing, chromaticism, ascending and descending shifts, and much, more. Get yours before he runs out again. But even if they do run out, they are well worth the wait.
Matt Palmer receives an A+ rating for his genius and technical approach in The Virtuoso Guitarist Volume 1: A New Approach to Fast Scales!
Check out this amazing video of Matt Palmer playing Appassionata by Ronaldo Miranda to get an idea of his amazing technique and passion: