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PostPosted: Tue Oct 16, 2007 5:01 am    Post subject: Message to Andrew Reply with quote

I spent so much time and energy spilling the beans to my newest Canadian customer that I thought I should have to share the possible insights here, where it can also help search engines find me: Content is King as they say! Here is a copy of our conversation...

Wow! What a long letter! My wife just told me about it today. She has pretty much taken over the computer these days, becuase she runs her business from it. I've gotten to where I don't even bother checking my e-mail unless she tells me that someone wrote. Well, she forgot to tell me about your message until this morning. I'm very sorry for the delayed response. I'm on it now, though.

She may have even wrote you back at some earlier time. I don't know. Sometimes she answers my messages for me, if it's something she feels she knows the answer to. So, if you thought you already heard from me, you didn't, you heard from her. So, as for sending your package, and pray she DID get that in the mail already. She has also started helping me send rSoGuitar orders out. But, there's a little trickiness when sending international. So, I'm afraid it got delayed. Please forgive me/us. I imagine I'm not looking very professional here. And I guess that's just the truth. I'm a small-time guy as far as the business end of it all. But I can promise you that my product is one of the best kept secrets out there.

I have come up with a way of teaching the guitar that worked for me. I started developing it way back in 1996...or close to it. At that time it was just the shapes for soloing. And that was enough to set me on fire across the fretboard. I went into hermit mode for about (no kidding) about 9 months. I remember that because, after I had really gotten somewhere with it, I made a recording that I ended up calling "The Wings Of February Fly In October". And I got to hear myself play faster and wilder than ever. Now, I don't want to give anyone the impression that speed is everything or even "where it's at". I always tell my students that the main reason we try to play 90 mph is so we can play 25 mph REAL GOOD. It's so easy to fall into the trap of thinking speed is everything. But, when trying to push the envelope, as I was doing back then, speed was my main focus and would continue to be until I felt like it wasn't that important anymore, what a great be free of that trap.

I've got some stuff on youtube as well:
I just uploaded a sample of a video that's going to go with a future version of the rSoGuitar method. It's on how to alter the pattern and chords to invoke the Harmonic Minor scale. It's such cool stuff, that I would almost venture to say that the whole point of learning this method is to acheive that level of understanding. Once you see how handy it is to make the small adjustments to the pattern that allow for another scale, you'll realize how that same approach could be used to invoke pretty much any scale. And that's the ultimate! I have such a great bass player, who became my bass player because he was and still is the greatest rSoGuitar student I've ever had, because I can just look over to him in the middle of a jam and say "#OSis" and we both start playing harmonic minor...then I can call him/us off and go right back to the regular's the coolest thing ever. Also, another crazy thing about this method is how easy it is to actually teach someone something new over the phone. Really! The fact that the method gives us such an efficient way to communicate is a huge asset.

By the way, thanks for explaining how you found my site. I find that interesting. I should do more to help people find me, but it's a lot of work getting on forums and dropping links. Plus, I end up feeling like I'm being too much of a salesman. And that goes along with what you said about some other sites seeming too sensationalized. I agree entirely. And I have an interesting comment to share with you about that GuitarGrid site. As soon as I got serious about trying to sell my ideas on the web, I went looking for anything like it. There were only a couple that sounded like they might be similar, and GuitarGrid was one of them. I don't recall what the other was. Anyway, I thought about buying it, to see what it was made of...wondering if I was just reinventing the wheel. But, by the time I had gotten to that point I had made some unique advancements to my own method that I felt, chances would be near impossible for anyone to be able to compete with it...and even if there was something like it, it would absolutely HAVE to be different. What I'm referring to is the stuff on chords. Once you see the family of chords, you'll understand what I mean. On one hand it sounds like a bit of a dorky way to name chords...but on the other hand, it just works so well, that you have to go with it. And on that matter, you'll see, if you get into this method enough that the stuff on chords is my real claim to fame. The metaphor I built for chords is the real power. The stuff on soloing is weak in incredible as you may find it. Oh, now back to the GuitarGrid (sorry, it's late and I'm getting scatter-brained) someone told me that they had bought that method. They added that I basically had given away the secret of GuitarGrid right there in my free sections on spiral mapping and jumping. I thought that was probable. I mean, when I came up with the concepts of spiral mapping and jumping, I was pretty excited. But it wasn't until I hit the jackpot with chords that I really knew I had to get my name out there.

So, I can tell you that I have searched high and low for a system that serves the same function as mine, and I just can't find one. I have talked to music majors, I have chatted on forums, I have looked in books. I can't find anything like it.

I hope to God you dig into my method enough to see what I'm talking about. It changed my life as a guitarist. I remember, long ago, thinking I had a pretty good handle on the guitar. I even had a few people bowing down at my playing...but, looking back, after developing this method...I see what a fool I was. I can still play the same way, haphazzard/inventive/adventurous like an artist in the dark. But now, when I want to back off and play intelligently, I can shift into that gear with great precision. I can go by the book...and I can even warp the rules without losing sight of what it's doing to the pattern.

Sorry if you're tired off all this reading. I meant to keep it shorter, as I have plenty of other work to developing my harmonic minor videos, but your long message got me going. I feel that you are probably really primed for this method. I mean I've tried to teach this stuff to people at all kinds of different levels. Beginners don't know enough to know that they are in the presence of something extraordinary...they just haven't struggled on their own enough to know what a huge gift it is. And then there are the foolish bluesmen, pentatonic blues sounds so good with so many different kinds of music that they end up thinking they don't need any new ideas or help. And then they complain that they've hit the ceiling and can't seem to break into any new ground. Funny...and I was a bluesman/pentatonic nut for so long. I thought the same thing. But, I gather from your message that you are very ready to soak up this stuff.

So, let me extend a hand to you and say that I am here to assist. My method is no joke and I'm here to prove it. I'm telling you, it really should be advertised somewhere in a big publication. I'm, as of yet, undiscovered. I sometimes get the feeling that, if this method were better known, it could spark a renaissance in the guitar player's world. More and more people would be conquering greater heights on the guitar. It could have the same kind of effect on the guitar world as "tabs" did...or even greater. You know what I mean? Writing for guitar in the form of tabs was just a little different way of showing the guitar being played but it had a tremendous advantage over the traditional 5 ledger line system. It's all about efficiency. My system simply offers a generic naming system to defeat the confusion of chords with names like G#minor. In a given key there are 3 possible minor chords, 3 majors and one diminished. They are a chord family that are all spelled with the same notes that the soloist is using. That's the name of the game. When you understand that much, you have launched yourself miles ahead of thousands of other guitarists in the race for understanding. Sure, many aren't even really trying to understand...they just play what they feel they know...which can be very little in some cases. And how can you blame them when traditional approaches all leave you bored out of your mind at about page 5? I tried, I'm telling you! I tried to pull up my britches and just really decide to learn it the hard way. I couldn't hang! It beat me...terribly. And it took me a good 10-15 years to even start to scratch the surface on my own. I must be really thick because I had to break this stuff down to kindergarten level. I just couldn't learn it while it was so hard. As I taught myself, I began writing it to share with others. At first, I was afraid to share, because that would fill my little world with more guitarists who could be my peers. But, as I began teaching and sharing it...something incredible happened. The more ways I had to explain it, the better I understood it myself. I don't know how many times I thought I knew a concept only to be shocked at a new, stronger view of it because of having to find a new way to explain it to someone who was being stubborn.

Now, I can imagine you are getting tired of all this talk. I decided many lines above this one that I would make this even more worth my while by copying and pasting it into my forum so others could listen in and get a feel for what I'm about. That's the only way I get to add anything new to my forum these days, anyway. Now that spammers have tried so hard to hack into it, I've had to practically disable it to anyone but myself. So, I'll just add this little wealth of knowledge to it, if you don't mind.

Now, you asked about my flash animations being tunable to alternate tunings? Well, I was actually on the verge of some code that would help array all the notes according to a scale/key the user picks back when I was trying to modify my diagrams to accomodate harmonic minor for the first time. I had just gotten to the point of making the breakthrough and stopped due to the fact that I was starting to get ahead of myself. I've been fighting like mad to build all these lessons that lead up to other scales, trying to get them out of the way, so I can start sharing the really good stuff. But, I can tell you that I will take your request and work on it for future versions. It may not be long before I can come up with an interface for selecting any kind of crazy tuning you want. I've gotten pretty handy with the code these days. Oh, now I just read your next few lines and see that you are possibly offering to write some code to take care of that? Does that mean you work with flash too? If so, that's way cool!

Oh, my wife just came in and told me that your DVD just went out today. Sorry for the delay! It's all her fault, you know? : )

So, as for the question about tuning differently...I can develop something with a little time. But I have to share with you that my method has made me a banjo player...and mandolin player (same tuning as violin), a piano player and I'm just freaking out at the way I can pick up other instruments and sound like I really know something because of this method. Now, on these other instruments I don't necessarily have the techniques down (like using a bow on the violin is not easy for me) but those kinds of things aren't a matter of music theory.

Anyway, I'm done here for now. Don't feel like you have to be long-winded when you write back. I promise I won't put you through this much text in the future. Keep in touch and fire back with any questions you have. One of my favorite things, obviously, is talking guitar and teaching the method.

----- Original Message -----
From: Andrew
To: fred
Sent: Wednesday, October 10, 2007 11:27 AM
Subject: Rosetta Stone of Guitar


I just ordered your DVD today. I paid via PayPal, but at the end of the transaction noticed that PayPal was still using my old university email, which doesn't work anymore. If there's any way you can re-send the order confirmation, too, I'd appreciate that.

If you're interested in how I found your site, I've actually been looking for something like your product for a while now. I like to think I'm already fairly good at the actual *playing* aspect of guitar (if you're interested in seeing me play, I've got a couple of videos up at -- and if you do check them out, comments and criticism are more than welcome!), but being self-taught I never really got into theory very much. Now that I'm at a skill level where I think learning scales, modes, and so on will actually be enjoyable instead of tedious, I've been looking for a more intuitive and easily-applicable way to learn theory (and especially improvisation) than the painfully dry and academic material that's available all over the place.

I saw a Google ad for GuitarGrid earlier today and checked out their site. It sounded like they were selling the kind of fretboard diagram-based material I was looking for, but the site's claims seemed a bit sensationalist, and their refusal to put any samples up made me suspicious. So I searched Google for reviews, and while I didn't find any reviews of their product, I did find an old forum thread where someone had asked about GuitarGrid and you posted to recommend your product. Since you actually do put up sample lessons, that made all the difference. Smile I imagine the animated lessons will be easier to learn quickly from than static diagrams alone, and I liked that one of the lessons explicitly said "your ultimate goal should be learning how to find the answers yourself"; that's exactly the kind of attitude I'm looking for, as I've always been much better at gaining that kind of understanding than I am at simply memorizing things I don't really get. In hopes of doing just that, I'm also going to be picking up a couple of books on general musical theory which Don Ross recommended to me, and I'll probably go through those alongside your lessons.

Anyway, with that out of the way, I wanted to ask you something. Are your Flash lesson videos animated by hand, or did you script some code to programmatically determine and display the fretboard layouts? I'm curious because I tend to use alternate tunings much more often than EADGBE these days, and so it would be nice if it were possible to have the demonstrations adjusted for other tunings, or at least a program to display adjusted diagrams. Is there a tool like this on your DVD, or online that you know of? (I've found basic ones online, but nothing that does everything I'd like.) If not, then if I wrote such a program, would you have any interest in including it on your DVD? I can't make a firm commitment to do that just yet, of course, but it's something I've been thinking about doing anyway, and I'd be happy to share it if it would be useful to you.

Naturally I realize that all the patterns and techniques in your lessons can be adjusted for alternate tunings, but (A) it'll be many, many hours of practice before I can do that mentally, and (B) it seems like some tunings would shift the formations far enough to be difficult to play. For example, two of the tunings I'm in most often right now are DADGCE, and CADGBE with a capo on the 3rd fret of strings 1-5 (so that capo/open 5th string and open 6th string are a full octave apart). DADGCE isn't *that* far off from EADGBE of course, but it seems like the two-fret difference on the 6th string might make some progressions a little awkward if I stuck to the head/triple block/bridge arrangement described in the sample Soloing lessons you've put on your site. And of course it's much worse with CADGBE, with a 9-fret difference between the 5th and 6th strings. How do you adjust for that kind of thing? Is that covered explicitly by the material on your DVD, or is that something I'll have to figure out on my own? Smile

Thanks for your time,
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PostPosted: Mon Oct 29, 2007 2:32 am    Post subject: From Andrew Reply with quote

Hi Fred,

Thanks for checking in. Unfortunately I haven't received the DVD yet, but I have started practicing a little bit with the lessons online. I quite like it so far! I think you were spot-on in a previous message when you described it as being conceptually like tab -- it's streamlined for guitar in a way that makes the whole process much more intuitive than traditional theory.

I think one of the things I'm appreciating most so far is the fact that while the techniques you teach simplify things greatly, they aren't in any way incompatible with traditional theory. I wasn't expecting this, but I think I'll actually come out of this not just knowing the rSog method, but knowing a lot more about traditional theory as well. I'm not going to be playing with other musicians who know the rSog method, so I'm making a deliberate effort to, as I learn rSog, also learn to 'translate' between it and musical theory, so I can take advantage of the simplifications of your technique while still communicating with other musicians in the language they'll understand. It's kinda interesting: I'm finding the traditional theory much, much easier to grasp when I learn your methods first. Straight theory requires all these intermediate steps -- figuring out your key, figuring out its sharps/flats, figuring out which frets those are, and so on -- while your method gives me the fret pattern immediately; that lets me just get started playing, and when I can play first and then learn the gritty details after, the whole thing just makes more sense. Plus I don't have to bore myself to tears trying to memorize the circle of fifths or where every single A# on the neck is! Smile

Oh, and thanks for including the lessons on how to improvise along with any music you hear. I was stunned by how easy that actually is. I'm almost ashamed of the years I spent assuming that was so hard..

Right now, I'm still focusing mostly on spiral mapping; I've looked at stuff further ahead, but I figure I should really nail the basics down so that I can get the most out of the later stuff. At the moment I'm splitting most of my rSog-practicing time between just messing around/basic improvisation (I've started trying to play along with any CDs my roommates play, for example), and just spiral-mapping my way up 12 full frets while calling out "head set 1, head set 2, bridge set 1, ..." as I do it; I'm hoping to get to the point where the awareness of which row and set I'm on is immediate and instinctive instead of something I have to consciously think about.

I hope to get that and jumping nailed down soon, because I'm pretty excited to start on the chords. I remember you said that's where the real power of the method is, and I have no trouble believing that. The family naming is genius, even if a bit cheesy at first. Learning the major, minor and diminished chords for a given key (plus sharps, flats, etc) just feels like trying to memorize a jumble of almost unrelated facts, which I'm not very good at; with your method the logic underlying the whole scale structure/chord progression is made plain, and becomes much more intuitive for that. And as I mentioned above, I figure all I really need to do is learn your method, and train myself to quickly identify the traditional note name of any given fret (so I can identify my root note), and I'll still be able to tell theory-trained musicians what I'm doing in a way they'll understand.

Even more than that, though, chord formations are generally more powerful for fingerstyle playing than just scale patterns, so I'm *really* eager to get to the point that I can see and play chord formations all over the neck, instead of just using the head/bridge/triple patterns like I'm doing now. Since I'm still just learning those patterns, I mostly have to stick to playing one string at a time, or maybe up to three at the most. It feels a bit limiting considering the kind of stuff I'm capable of playing (heh, guess I'm just not happy unless I've got most of my fingers going), but that just drives me to get through the basics as fast as I can.

Now that I think about it, I think that may have touched on the biggest single advantage your system has for me: I can keep my eye on the prize, so to speak, even when I'm just starting out. With traditional theory, it always felt like I just got bogged down in a swamp of little tiny details that seemed to have no underlying logic at all, and I just couldn't stay motivated through that.

I hope the review from Guitar Noise works out! And whichever way it goes, I hope you can get some more magazines and sites to take a look at it; even if one reviewer doesn't really get it, others will. Good to hear you've been getting into forums, too. If you feel like you're selling yourself too much, though, then scale that back a bit: forums aren't your typical advertising venue. Since they're so community-based, your reputation (once you're known) will probably make a bigger difference than what you actually say when you suggest rSog to someone. If people get the impression you're just there to shill for a product, they won't listen. So don't go there just to mention rSog as much as you can; be a forum member first -- try to earn a reputation for being helpful and knowledgeable, and then just recommend rSog to people when it's relevant to the topic (say, someone complains about how hard it is to learn theory).

Another option which might get things going a little faster might be to go to one of the larger guitar forums and offer free copies to forum members who want to try it and give you some feedback, and get those comments and feedback posted in a thread if you can. Stick around that thread and help people out if they need it, and if all goes well, by the end of it you'll have a bunch of feedback, plus a whole forum thread on an external site which you can point to for testimonials. Not quite as good as getting reviews into magazines and such, perhaps, but more effective than simply posting customer testimonials on your own site. Just make sure there aren't forum rules somehow prohibiting that kind of thing, of course. Smile

Anyway, this is probably already much longer than you wanted to read, so I'll wrap this up Smile Thanks again for keeping in touch; hopefully Canada Customs will see fit to send my DVD along soon..

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PostPosted: Mon Oct 29, 2007 2:32 am    Post subject: From Fred Reply with quote


I have a few moments, so I thought I would respond, at least a little. Well, first of all, I found what you had to say very refreshing! You say so many things that I have been telling my students over the years.

I was especially pleased that the chapter called "Pattern Detective" really worked for you. I had the same kinds of feelings when it made its debut in my mind. I couldn't get over the excitement of finally knowing how simple it all was, but my greatest feeling was one of almost anger! I was mad at the world for keeping that secret from me for so many years. Yeah! I mean, I figured, if it was THAT easy, shouldn't someone have been able to straighten me out WAY back in the beginning? So, that was one of the first instances when I felt like maybe I would just have to have a hand in showing the world. I mean, it's always been that simple, but it's never been known to enough people to be the kind of guitarist's "common knowledge" that I think it should be. It has always been protected behind a wall of inpenetrable jibberish. Right? You spoke of it when commenting on the line that traditional methods seem to always follow. You can't seem to make it past page two because it all seems so unimportant to what we guitarists spend our time doing. We spend our time looking at the guitar, if anything. We hate to hear that our future depends on knowing, as you said, where every A# on the neck is.

Yeah, and about the circle of fifths...I can look back now, now that I understand rSoG, and realize what they are trying to tell us with that mystic circle of fifths, but before my giant leap I couldn't tell you anything more than the fact that it was in every guitar book I'd ever tried to read. Speaking of which, it reminds me of how I arrived at the name The Rosetta Stone Of Guitar. I don't know how much of a history buff you might be, but the historical Rosetta Stone was the artifact that helped us decipher the ancient Egyptian writings. Centuries of people have walked through the tombs, looked at the same symbols (they might as well have put a big "circle of fifths" up on the wall) and had no idea what was being said. I'm sure they knew it had to be dreadfully important to understanding ancient Egyptian culture, but try as they might, they would walk away virtually empty handed. Along came the Rosetta Stone, the tool that would help them find out what had been right there, staring them in the face for so long.

A lot of what you said about my method is amazingly accurate. It does support traditional theory. It actually makes it more accessible. Or, if a person doesn't feel the need, they could possibly bypass it altogether (though I don't know what limitations that would wind them up with). For a long time my goal was to render traditional methods obsolete (if possible). I believe I did quite well, in that a student can go very very deep into music theory without every looking at traditional stuff. But, as years have gone by, I have backed off on being so against traditional approaches. I think that if we deny ourselves access to traditional material we are denying ourselves access to centuries of ideas.

I have actually learned a number of great ideas by reading other people's website lessons. It's pretty much always in the ancient "coded" traditional verbage. I always feel like I'm wading through a sea of jargon hoping to make some sense of something I can actually use. And I have came across some real gems, but only after pulling and pulling at my hair. In fact, I read the same text from a jazz website about 3 times over the course of many months before something great hit me. I can vividly admit that I learned about the "tritone substitution" and the "2-5-1" by reading traditional texts. I can shed some light on those things for you sometime if you'd like. They will be subjects of future volumes of the rSoG for sure. So, I have discovered many delightful things about music just by playing with the rSoG method of thinking, but I have also learned some good ideas from the jargon sources. And when I do, I always take it back to my method and try to find a way to describe it in rSoG terms, to make it easier for myself and others.

Oh, and I laugh and agree totally with your assessment of the family naming system as being "a bit cheesy". Yeah! I have to admit, I tried to escape it...I tried like hell to find a different way that accomplished the same thing, but it forced itself upon me. It worked so well that I just couldn't say no to it. And you haven't even seen the best of why it is here to stay. You won't see all that in the volume of rSoG that's headed your way. You'll just get the foundational stuff. I'm working myself towards carpal tunnel and volume two as fast as circumstances will allow...but, when this next version comes out and you get to "the metaphor of the adopted boy" you'll surely get a kick out of it. I wish it were ready when your order came in so you could have it. But I'm just not done yet.

What you will hopefully see is that there's a family of chords for every scale. If you know what they look like, you can invoke any scale you want. The chords are your license to drive a given scale. And if you know what alterations to give the existing family members to sort of morph them into one of those exotic families, you can cause yourself to weave in and out of the normal scale and other scales. Such is the pavement toward jazz and the sky is the limit.

From hearing what you've already had to say about music and your brief look into my system, I think you are destined to go real far with all this. You are the kind of person I really enjoy working with. I can't wait to hear what happens with your playing after a while. Your determination to conquer the basics, your eagerness and your ability to see the value of such approaches is awesome! I need players like you going around freaking people out with your playing and whispering "rSoG" into their ears. Just think of all the poor lost fools out there who need this! I mean, most of them think their guitarists one year, but, because it's so hard to get better...because their fingers don't make up cool stuff...they only know how to copy others...they end up as "former guitarists" someday. Whereas, if you know where to put your fingers, you sound better to yourself and everyone else, you keep practicing the right stuff and you stopping hitting walls...I don't see why anyone who loves it would ever put it down.

Anyway, it's always a pleasure to write good listeners about this stuff. But, I have gone long enough, once more. I'll put the ball back in your court for a while.

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