“Strumming the Guitar” by Gareth Evans

Gareth Evans
Intuition Publications (2019)
ISBN 9781912135554
Reviewed by Susan Violante for Reader Views (11/19)

Not many know that I am a very frustrated guitar player. The guitar is my favorite instrument, however my parents never signed me up to take guitar lessons. Instead, they bought a piano and signed me up for piano lessons. They finally realized that I would never learn the piano after months of making me go to the class. Still, they didn’t give me a guitar for some reason, I had to buy one myself in college. I am a self-taught, not very good player, so when I saw “Strumming the Guitar” by Gareth Evans I grabbed it as it focuses on strumming (something I never really got to learn and made up as I played).

“Strumming the Guitar” consists of 6 chapters that go from how to read the chord diagrams to studying music pieces. The diagrams show chords and strumming. In the beginning I learned (finally) how to position my hand, and which are the right fingers I should use when strumming. I also learned that the hand should keep moving up and down (even if not touching the strings) in order to keep the beat! It may sound a minor detail, but to me was an aha moment, as I had been doing it wrong, and thus mostly using the same movements and never advancing. Little details like this one is what made this book worth having for me, as I had been just basing my learning of the songs, I like through the chord charts.

The book is complemented with video and sound though a website link. This fact also worked wonderfully for me because I could listen to how it is supposed to sound, without having to put up with the explanations that I don’t need from a generalized YouTube video tutorial.

Gareth Evans did a wonderful job creating a well written guitar strumming learning tool. But what he might not know is that it works for other types of strings as well. I currently do not play guitar anymore as my arthritis makes it very painful. Instead I used his book to learn strumming on my customized ukulele to sound like a “Cuatro” (Venezuelan type of 4 string ukulele). Although the rhythm of the Venezuelan music might be different, “Strumming the Guitar” by Gareth Evans helped me understand the basics for me to make my playing better and new strumming techniques for me to try new things on my instrument.

I found “Strumming the Guitar” by Gareth Evans to be a Five Star tool to learn and improve guitar playing. Definitely a must-read reference to keep and use as a tool for all guitar players (and other guitar like instruments)!

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