As you would expect, Level 2 of Guitar Super System picks up right where Level 1 left off; you can check out our review of Level 1 here. As you may know, Guitar Super System follows the structure of the guitar curriculum at the Berklee School of Music, which means that what you get is the nuts and bolts of a tried and tested guitar course with many famous graduates such as Steve Vai, John Scofield, Mike Stern, John Petrucci and many others. Having enjoyed Guitar Super System Level 1, I was expecting good things from Level 2, so let’s see if it lives up to expectations.
What’s in the Course?
Guitar Super System Level 2 is broken down into six sections which include the whole tone scale, the melodic minor scale, triads, four-part chords and arpeggios. There are also some bonus lessons on sight-reading, which you’d be expected to learn at any music college, but in this course, you’ll find all the material in both notation and tab. If you coped well with the material in Guitar Super System Level 1, then you’ll find the learning curve the same in Level 2, only with slightly more complex material.
From the outset, this would seem like a theory-heavy course but there are a couple of good reasons for this. At music college, the heavy theory stuff is usually dealt with in the first few semesters (each level of Guitar Super System is the equivalent of one semester at music college) to make way for applying it in diverse musical situations. This is the stuff you need to get under your belt, or at least be very aware of early on so that you can make use of it when you’re thrown in at the deep end, so to speak. Learning theory also helps you make sense, not only of your own playing up to now, but of any style that might be thrown at you. Having been through music college myself, I can relate to the overwhelming sensation of having to assimilate a lot of theory, but as little as months later you’ll be reaping the benefits of it.
What about the Teaching?
Tyler’s teaching style is straight to the point and always includes clear-cut examples of theory concepts which are broken down into easy-to-digest parts. Tyler’s irreverent humor also moves things along nicely, and takes the heaviness out of the subject matter at hand. I like the way Tyler communicates the information in the course on a need-to-know basis, so that the doses you’re getting are just right; this is actually one of the main advantages of a course like this versus music college—you’re moving at your own pace as oppose to being drowned in endless material which provokes many a sleepless night.
Guitar Super System vs Music College
Having completed both music college and levels one and two of Guitar Super System, I thought it would be relevant to compare the two, so that you can see what you’d be missing out on… or not, as the case may be. Let’s start by saying that Guitar Super System happens to also be a great course to prepare yourself for music college. You get most of the heavy theory out of the way to concentrate on the other aspects music college has to offer such as networking, performing, getting a band together, and generally learning about the music business. On the other hand, if you already have an idea of where your music career is headed, you have the resources at hand and you just need to become a more solid player, then Guitar Super System is a great option. There’s also the price; Guitar Super System is a tiny fraction of the cost of music college.
Level 2 of Guitar Super System is a great, and very functional, way to learn the essential theory to be able to hold your own in virtually any playing situation. Tyler plays the role of facilitator very well, and has stepped up the production for this level which features PDFs, backing tracks, 34 lectures and 1.5 hours of video instruction. This is not the kind of course you’ll blow through in a week, but having it nicely structured, wrapped up and delivered to you in very manageable chunks is an absolute godsend, and definitely beats wasting hours stringing together scraps of knowledge from places like YouTube. All Udemy courses also come with a Q&A section where you can ask the creator of the course for clarification on any of the content. All in all, it’s a very usable course for the asking price.
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-Interview with Tyler Larson - Creator of Guitar Super System