Lesson Testimonials

“If you are new to fingerpicking and want to learn, Travis basics is a home run. Less than a year ago I didn’t have the foggiest idea how to keep a decent finger picking pattern going. After spending several hours with the Travis lesson and repeatedly going over Jim’s basic patterns and exercises I have developed a good amount of speed and fluency when fingerpicking. WAY cooler than shredding if you ask me...

...If you are looking for something a little easier to digest and still very applicable, I have to agree that Country Lead in G is the way to go. I am getting tons of mileage out of these tightly and cleverly constructed phrases. Country Lead in G is loaded with candy and a blast to dig into...

...I am just finishing up the F Jazz lesson myself. I have now completed over 20 lessons by mail and can honestly say that F Jazz was one of the most challenging and most satisfying. I don’t think that I would be having such good results, however, if I hadn’t already completed B flat blues. I highly recommend the B flat blues lessons as pre-cursor to the F Jazz. In B flat blues Jim very clearly outlines each chord with a corresponding triad. The triad approach is the first part of the lesson and a step that should not be skipped. Once I had the triads down, learning the solo over the changes was relatively easy. If nothing else, the notes “made more sense” because I had the triads completely ingrained in my head. That brings me to the F Jazz lesson. When I first started the F Jazz lesson I felt a little overwhelmed. It is more advanced than just about anything that I have ever attempted. To ease myself into the lesson, I first started to play over the changes using the triad approach from the B flat lesson. This did the trick. Everything clicked after that. In addition to being a nice segue into the F Jazz lesson, the B flat blues lesson will really open up your blues playing and ability to create beautiful harmonic lines in general. I couldn’t recommend B flat blues one more highly...

...Finally, Over the Rainbow is an outstanding lesson especially if you would like to learn some new chords and add some color to your musical pallet. This one kept me busy for a long time as I was brand new to anything remotely “jazzy.” Nearly a year after learning this tune, I still play it on a nearly daily basis. It is my warm up song and a tune that always forces me to concentrate. An excellent learning experience and really fantastic song to have in your repertoire...”
—IC Gedeon, New York, New York

“... working my way through "Panhandle Rag"... I appreciate the "concept" approach since you present so much material to help develop an understanding of the mechanics. These lessons have really helped me expand my vocabulary as I can apply these ideas to so many situations...”
Kevin Dudley, Alexandria, Virginia

“I have taken over 50 lessons and can say with total confidence that these are the finest learning experience any advancing guitar player could have. The lessons are so well structured and focused while your honest approach to teaching the material comes together to form what I consider the best guitar lessons out there.

Since I started taking your lessons two years ago, I've noticed rapid and dramatic improvement in my playing and understanding of music: melody, harmony and just enough theory to inspire me to a new level that was unachievable on my own. What I find so inspiring is your tireless and genuine effort to teach the student a thorough and well thought out lesson that is clearly the product of many years of thinking it through, working with the material and knowing approaches bear out success.

The lessons are successful in every way, too. The goals are clearly stated from the beginning of the lesson with the song or material recorded, and with your clear description of what we are going to learn that "day." Your approach is so intuitive that you clearly know when to carefully explain a difficult passage or concept that only years of teaching experience can predicate. You instinctively know when to slow it down, talk the student through, playing the difficult passage over a few more times, taking great pains to make sure the student "gets it." And never do you stray from your sense of fun, surprises and humor.

Your generous in sharing every lick, "trick" and trapping that you've worked out yourself; I've said it before, that it's like having Roy Buchannon, Danny Gatton and Jimmy Rivers sharing their trade secrets, which you dispel the myths and mysteries in getting those killer riffs. Further, you quickly demystify "jazz," right from the start, without the hurdy gurdy. I simply couldn't understand what the hell a ii, v change was, let alone a iii,vi, ii, v, and was too embarrassed to ask. Your lesson, "Bb Jazz Blues," made mincemeat out of every book/cd tuition I have. That, together with the, "F Jazz Blues Concepts" lesson made it come together.

Your lessons also introduced me to a genre of music that otherwise would have escaped me, the wonderful world of Jimmy Bryant, Jimmy Rivers, Hank Garland, and your own music: pedal steel licks, country jazz and exhilarating twang! I hope you never stop churning out these masterpieces....I've worked myself up into a state, here, please send two more lessons!”
Daniel Parrott, Boston, Mass

“The lessons arrived on Monday. The way they are organized and presented is top notch. After a short practice session I was able to memorize the chords and play Freddie Green style rhythm for All of Me. Later in the day, a friend who plays guitar stopped by and I played rhythm while he played the melody . It was great to be able to take what I learned in the lesson and immediately put it to use”
Algis Tamosaitis, Portland, Oregon

" ... Good stuff! Just got the Bryant's Bounce lesson in the mail and worked on it through the night. I loved the tab style. Although I've never seen it before It only took me a few minutes to get my head around it Once I did it was a piece of cake! I already like it better then the other styles of tab. I was a bit skeptical about the lessons, as I am with all lessons, there just seems to be a lot of stuff out there in this world masquerading as something its not. This lesson is not the case, its the real deal. I am already pondering over which lesson I will order next. Really nice work..."
Matthew Prouty, São Paulo, Brazil

"...I have to say this lesson (Panhandle Rag Concepts) is the best I've ever ordered. That CD will keep me up the next 20 nights in a row. You are doing a fantastic job. I'm so thankful to have found somebody like you, who can teach the stuff, I want to learn. If you don't mind I will spread the word and put a link on our website http://www.randyrich.de and try to write one or two review articles in some fanzines over here. Keep Up The great work... "
Randy Richter, Hanover, Germany

"... Jim's Lessons By Mail are like having a master class with a living legend right in your home. Head and shoulders above any other instructional materials I have encountered in my many years as a player and a teacher. I only wish I had discovered these lessons years ago. Money well spent!..."
Bruce Kiely, Calgary, Canada

"... I have taken over 20 of Jim's LBM. Everyone has taught me something interesting and new. Covering the realm of styles of Blues, Country, Swing, Jazz, Steel, Gypsy...every lesson has opened up my playing to new sounds, new ways of playing things, great chord progressions and how to play with humor. It's been fun learning some of Jim's own tunes as well as some classics from Jimmy Bryant and Jimmie Rivers...Jim has been very open to taking requests for new lessons as well! Each lesson is real easy to follow on the tab, along with the excellent diagrams in the transcriptions that clearly illustrate what's going on...even on tough tunes. An added bonus are the no charge street sounds of New York included with some lessons! This is the best $45 you can splend to improve your playing and repertoire and learn from a cool Tele player that always is thinking outside of the box ...."
Peter Bartlett, Lafayette, Colorado

"... The lessons have all been great. Very detailed and precise. The written material is helpful and compliments the audio.The subject matter is wonderful and I plan on purchasing more...."
Dave Prlocyk, Apple Valley, Calif.

"...... I am so glad I stumbled upon your website and found your lessons. I live in Texas and have been looking for a teacher for a long time and it's been a hard search. Been playing guitar for twenty plus years and gigging every weekend for the last 15 or so. I am into country meets jazz meets roots type music and your stuff fits the bill. I've now purchased three lesson packages and each one is exactly as described. The format is easy to understand, tab is clear and CD provides great examples. I like the fact that you provide several different takes on your concept stuff and this is beneficial for even more advanced students. I have been playing Sleepwalk for several years but now is one of my favs of the night cause I get to use some of your jazz substitution suggestions and it changes every night. You have a ton of different topics and enough to keep me busy for a long time. Not only are you a great player, but also a great teacher and that is hard to find. Again, thanks a bunch for making these available to all. I'll continue with them on a regular basis. It's the next best thing to being in NYC and taking from you in person ..."
Glen Kozielec, Missouri City, Texas

".... When I looked for a teacher I wanted simple terms and easy to understand music to help me understand what it is I'm playing. Jim's 'Lessons by Mail' delivers it all in a format that puts me at ease and gives me the feeling that he is on my side for success.

Learning a song, melody or solo is great but it's only good for that specific song. Jim's lessons dissect solo's and chord melodies explaining how they move through each chord, why notes are where they are and the most effective finger techniques in which to play them. In learning songs this way, I simultaneously learn music theory and have become more confidant and competent with improvisation and soloing in any song.

Each of Jim's lessons are in audio and written formats and are the easiest to read and understand that I have ever encountered. They are meticulously clear and concise and useful for musicians of a wide range of style and abilities - even the most accomplished pro will pick up new insights and techniques.

The written music is presented in Jim's unique and easy to understand style which is a 100% improvement over conventional guitar tablature. I take Jim's charts to every gig I play and they've even aided me in learning to read the 'dots' of traditional sheet music. Jim's audio is personable and explains everything written; each rhythm pattern, solo line, melody and even the intangibles that are beyond the grasp of paper.

Lessons arrive quickly and come complete with everything I need, including an open invitation to contact him with any questions about the lesson. It's like having an 'on call' guitar virtuoso...."
Kevin B, Los Angeles , Calif.

"... The "NIGHT RIDER" lesson was very accurate, inspiring and easy to learn (not so much to play ... eh eh eh).I will record it on my next CD. Thanks again and I'll take a look to your site for other great lessons as Jimmy Bryant's "NIGHT RIDER" ..."
Ettore Chiavinat, Padova Italy -- http://www.johnnyloda.com

"....I wanted to take some time to thank you for all the great lessons over the past couple of years. Your take on things has really opened up my eyes and my mind to a much deeper understanding of the guitar. My playing has matured much and my love for the instrument has grown. I now feel free to play more from my heart without having to overthink everything....."
Thomas Short, Cerritos, Calif.

If you're like me, you love the music of Jimmy Bryant and his buddy Speedy West, but you don't have a clue how Jimmy could play a Telecaster like that. Jim Campilongo's lessons can "pull back the curtains" per se,and show you how it's done....down to the last detail. You're not going to sound like Bryant (or Campilongo) unless you practice...practice...practice, but these lesson materials can get you started. The printed materials have shown me whole new levels of tablature notation. Take advantage of Jim Campilongo's willingness to share the details of the Bryant/West music, as well as his own Tele-torturing compositions....."
Tracey Bradish, Oakland Calif

".... I would to give the lesson "B flat Blues Concepts (playing and nailing the changes using simple triads)" a ringing endorsement. The lesson really challenged me and kept my interest. I got a lot out of both the chord substitutions and the accompanying guitar solo. I also like the fact I can work on a lesson at my own pace. I was paying my previous guitar teacher a lot of money and he wasn't bringing anything interesting to our lessons. Your lessons have solved this issue. Thanks Jim! .... "
Steve Molfetta, Commack, New York

"....The good thing about Jim's lessons is that they are concise, easy to understand, and laid out in a logical fashion. I recommend starting with the basic "101 Lessons" (especially for the beginner) and working your way up. Jim has such a variety of lessons and they cover a wide range of musical styles and techniques. So, it is there if you want it. Good stuff! Highly recommended!... "
Kyle Blackburn, Oklahoma City, Oklahoma

".... The lessons are A-OK !!! The style of tablature really helps to view the shape of the chord as a whole as opposed to the traditional linear form. Personally, I find that I'm a visual player and if I can grasp what is going on around the chord shape it really sets me up for other ideas. I am still working on "Night Rider" and am enjoying every twist and turn of the ride. The way the lessons are deconstructed makes it a very user friendly learning experience. The detailed chord chart is great as it helps solidify the soloing concepts. Despite their relatively simple progressions I always had trouble figuring out some of Jimmy & Speedy's chord progressions and the easy to read chord charts made it obvious and clear. All of this coupled with the step by step CD definitely makes "Lessons By Mail" the best learning experience in my many years of playing..."
Kim Clarke, London, Ontario

"... Jim is a great teacher whose ease with the material makes the lessons totally understandable and easy to apply. I've had people show me things in person that don't do as well...all that and he's totally entertaining. the lessons are well worth the money AND an investment...just think, sixty years from now they'll be collector's items.
Julia Shirar, Oakland , California

".... I have been trying to learn to play the guitar for 4 years. I take private lessons, buy books and CDs on learning to play and practice an average of one to two hours a night. With the private lessons I don't always remember all the details, with the books I am never sure if I am translating it correctly and the CD are usually over my head or go by too fast. Jim Campilongo's lessons by mail work for me. First, Jim's Tabs are unique and tell the whole story on how to play a piece, right down to which fingering to use. I wish all books and CDs used his system of Tab. Jim breaks the piece down into parts that you can swallow and explains it in plain language. He shows you the phrasing with a real style. There is no way you are not going to able to play it with his technique. All of Jim's lessons are also very challenging and have given me a true sense of accomplishment when I am done. Jim's lessons are truly like having the same great private lesson over and over again....."
John Casado, San Francisco, Calif.

About every three weeks or so Jim sends me a lesson. Over the years these lesson have served as my monthly dose of inspiration and have propelled my guitar playing to new levels. While I may not be able to play each tune like Jim -- I always come away from the lesson with a new perspective on my guitar playing and this has helped me become not only a better guitar player but also a better musician.
Philip Heithecker, Chico, Calif.

I've been playing for over twenty years and Jim Campilongo's Lessons By Mail are for me, note by note, pound for pound the best damn bargain I've found in the lesson realm. Yeah, there's a homemade, less "slick" quality to them when compared to the average "store bought" lesson and he ain't exactly givin' them away, but the density, quality, and MUSICAL RELEVANCE of the material presented is amazing. I can't tell you how many times I've put down a lot of dough for a lesson by some Big Shot player only to find out it's just a bunch of licks and useless yacking. Well, I'm done with that. I've purchased over a dozen of Jim's lessons so far and no matter what your level of playing, there's no doubt in my mind that whatever lesson you choose, you'll walk away with a lot of knowledge and a TON of your own musical ideas. In a word: Inspiring. To paraphrase the inimitable Eric Cartman, "Campilongo Kick's Ass!" .... "
Dave B, Los Angeles, Calif

I have been receiving Lessons by Mail for a couple of years now. I get them once a month, like clockwork, and I get as excited as a kid at Christmas when I see that packet come through the mail slot. I never know what Jim will send me, but I know it will be fun, challenging and always cool. Jim covers rock, blues, jazz, country--you name it--and his selections range from the classic to the quirky. (I usually leave the lesson choice up to Jim--that way, I am always surprised and never disappointed.) The lessons are clear, detailed, and, of course, smattered with snippets of Jim's awesome playing. He supports the audio lessons with detailed, easy-to-read charts, so there is never a problem with fingering and finding the notes. I actually organize the lessons in binders, so I can go back and play them over and over. Because of Jim, I have a great repertoire of cool songs to amaze my friends and family. Lessons by Mail are a convenient, reasonably-priced, wholly satisfying and personal way to have regular, long-distance lessons from a guitar master ....."
David Youngsmith, San Francisco , Calif.