Total Scales Techniques and ApplicationsAuthor: Mark John Sternal

Maybe this is stating the obvious, but Americans are always looking for a quick fix. If that weren’t true, I wouldn’t be getting numerous emails each day offering to get rid of my spare tire and consolidate my debts overnight. Sadly, that same desire for the “quick fix” often pervades the six-string world – there are numerous books and DVDs flooding the market, promising to turn any fumbling teenager into a bona fide rockstar with just a few minutes a day. Where’s the dedication to settle in for the long haul?

If you’re tired of the quick fix, there’s now a better way. Guitarists who aren’t afraid to put some honest-to-God elbow grease into their chops will want to pick up a copy of Total Scales Techniques and Applications. In one of the most thorough books I’ve seen, Total Scales takes you from the basics – musical notation and tuning your guitar – all the way to complex fretting hand techniques and truly exotic scales.

Of course, there’s a catch. After each example given (and there are plenty), whether it’s covering two-string exercises or ghost bends, the book dutifully instructs you to, “apply this to every scale position, technique, application and rhythm in this book.” Yeah, you read that right. There’s a lot of ground to cover, and it can be slow going at times, but there’s no doubt that if you dedicate yourself, you’ll come out the other side a completely different player.

Even for those less inclined to spend hours each night with a book, there’s plenty to be learned here, from the detailed scale charts to the finger-testing exercises. Total Scales would make a good addition to any guitarist’s library, as both a valuable reference and a constant reminder to turn off the television and practice.