I just finished the Truck Drivin Guitar lesson that was recently added. It's the playing of Gene Moles in Red Simpson's band. Three songs are taught; Truck Drivin Man (key of E), Highway Patrol (key of A), and Diesel Smoke, Dangerous Curves (key of G minor). Great songs with great guitar in the good old Bakersfield Country style. Gene Moles is phenomenal and I would have to believe if he played with Buck or Merle that he would be much better known among guitarists. Red Simpson is great in his own right but he didn't have the popularity of the other two.
Jim teaches the intro, solo and rhythm for each song. Jim goes out of his way to show his admiration for Gene as he teaches, and if you get the lesson you'll see why. The solo's are great and really illuminate Gene's unique style. I guarantee these probably are not licks you've seen, heard or played before. These solo's really twist, turn, and twang. Once you get through Highway Patrol you'll see what an influence Gene was on Junior Brown. Junior covers that song and lifts parts of Gene's solo verbatim. From what I understand Gene was also an expert in twisting the tuning pegs while playing and Junior also got that from him. I also see a bit of Gene in our friend Mr. Campilongo. When Jim gets aggressive when playing a single note solo, it seems to me he picks harder, plays staccato and cuts the notes short. It sounds cool. I hear that in Gene's playing, though not really in these solo's except maybe the end of Diesel Smoke.
Another thing I really liked about the lesson was that Jim does a "recap" of each solo where he plays it in its entirety, with limited accompaniment, at about 3/4 speed and he counts it off. Really, really helpful. A good middle ground before trying to play along with Gene.
I really marvel at Gene's playing, and the more I learn the more I wonder where and how he came up with this stuff. I like this format where Jim focusses on a single players style across a number of pieces. I could go for more of that. The whole lesson being devoted to Gene really provides a lot of depth.
CJ, New York City
Here is my top 10 list of Campy lessons:
10) Freddie Green - I took this lesson as a follow up to the "Understanding Voice Progressions" lesson. Again, as a newbie to playing jazzy sounding tunes, I was looking for a lesson that would provide good building blocks and insight. This lesson hit the nail on the head. There were a bunch of new chord forms that I learned that have been priceless in the creation of my own original tunes. And the included studies progress nicely from beginner to intermediate to fairly advanced. I think that this lesson has a little something for everyone no matter what level of skill. Oh, and its a lot of fun!
9) Prettiest Girl in New York - This one has to make my list because it also one of my favorite Campy originals. Its one of the "sweetest" sounding and most "playful" tunes that I have ever learned. Its another song that I can never get enough of. This is a perfectly paced and logically laid out lesson. This is a fun song that has a few challenges along the way but again very doable because of the thoughtful way that the lesson is presented.
8) Backburner - So I had been obsessed with this song for a few years and was wondering if Jim would ever do a LBM for it. When I saw it available on the site it was like Christmas had come early. I actually took a vacation day from work to stay home and dig into this one. Outside of those crazy Low E string behind the nut bends, this was a song that was more "doable" than I had anticipated. This tune has one of my favorite guitar solos of all time. There are very distinct parts and each one is so melodic and voice like that it still blows me away every time I hear it. Learning how to play it note for note was such a great feeling! And once again, the perfectly paced tempo of the lesson facilitated an easy learning curve.
7) Chet Song - This could be the most "FUN" lesson on my list. Learning some Chet inspired licks is always gonna be a challenge, but Jim breaks this down so nicely that its a snap. And most importantly, the improv ideas on how to use 3rds and 6th were incredibly insightful. And learning some really cool ways to create solos out of the major scale was a real treat. Add more ideas/techniques on how to play over changes and this lesson is a home run!
6) Twister - This is still one of my favorite Campy originals and love the way this lesson is paced. I remember purchasing the lesson thinking that I would never get through the entire song but would learn a few of my favorite licks. Well, I ended taking the lesson exactly as planned out and...to my surprise...within a few days I could play a recognizable version of Twister. Learning this song really boosted my confidence in my playing AND inspired me to attempt even more complex pieces. A very well thought out and well paced lesson that is fun and inspiring.
5) B - Flat Blues - This is a challenging and incredibly insightful lesson. This lesson will take your blues playing to the next level and way beyond. This lesson takes the triad approach for playing over changes and cranks it up a few notches as you learn to play over various chord forms. Something incredibly satisfying about nailing these changes all while maintaining melodic and fluid melodies. And I learned a ton of licks in this lesson that I started to change around to create my own melodies. This is literally "a lesson that keeps on giving." This was definitely a game changer for me that really did help me break out of the rut of playing the same old tired blues riffs that I had been playing for years.
4) Over the Rainbow - This was my first LBM and one that opened my eyes to chord forms that I never knew existed. This was by a recommendation from Jim when I was looking for a lesson to expand my chord repertoire. I remember looking at all of these new chords (because I was mostly a 3 chord Ramones/Stones hack before my LBM journey) and thinking that it would be impossible. But in a short amount of time I started to really nail these new and "exotic looking" chords. Clear instructions and brilliantly charted out. Within two weeks I sounded like an entirely re-born player. I was hooked on Lessons By Mail!
3) Travis - I always loved the sound of fingerpicking and had failed numerous times trying to learn from youtube videos. I remember spending an inordinate amount of time the first night trying to get the first pattern down. But, I followed Jim's instruction on the lesson and went over the pattern repeatedly. The first evening with the lesson, I really thought that it was beyond me. However, the next day I sat down to give it another shot and...all of a sudden the fingers on my right hand were dancing around that first pattern like it was second nature. I'll never forget the feeling of that. The next patterns were a snap. Over time I started to pick up some speed and come up with some pretty cool uses for working the finger picking into some of my original tunes. This is an A+ beginner lesson that I have gotten years of mileage out of. I simply could not have done it without Jim's incredibly logical and realistic approach to the entire venture.
2) Understanding Voice Progressions - As a newbie to "jazz chords" this lesson changed my playing life forever. This was a big lesson for me wherein I really just focused on the new chord grips and utilizing the grips to learn the included Hank Garland progression. As all of these chords were completely foreign to me, I had to spend a good deal of time just getting my fingers to line up properly. Once I could nail that Garland progression using the various grips I started to make up my own progressions using these chords all based on the two main progressions that Jim teaches to kick off the lesson. For me this was like "jazz boot camp" that was worth every second that I spent on it. The creative doors that this has opened are too many to count.
1) Playing the Blues (AND) Playing the Blues/Nailing the changes - Ok, so I'm cheating again as these are two separate lessons. But taking them back to back changed my world. I had been playing blues based music for a long time and thought I had a good grasp on the blues scale and how to use it. Well, these 2 lessons really blew me away and taught me how to "strip away" a lot the fat around what I had been previously playing! In the First Playing the Blues lesson Jim slices the pentatonic and blues scale into much more usable fragments than I had ever worked with...all the while teaching me how to nimbly and effortlessly move up and down the neck. A lesson that on its face looked somewhat basic and rudimentary has proven to be one the most profound and impactful lessons that I have ever take. Then, in Nailing The Changes, new createive doors continued to open as I learned how to confidently start playing over changes in a way that really opened up the musicality in my playing. And, to my surprise both of these lessons planted the seeds for learning how to play country and rockabilly. There is genius in the "simplicity" of these two lessons that have somehow proven to be infinitely applicable every time I pick up the guitar. In my opinion, these two lessons offer the essential genetic/molecular structure for anyone who wants to play more fluently and melodically.
“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
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
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
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
David Youngsmith, San Francisco , Calif.