What happened to the Guitar Conspiracy and all other eBooks?
Back in 2007, when Spy Tunes first launched, I sold an eBook that explained the chords, chord progressions, arpeggios, pentatonic and modal concepts of Spy Tunes. It was called the ‘Guitar Conspiracy’.
Along with the book came ‘DIY TABs’. These were structured but empty sheets for the student to fill in, for each song. Only the roman numerals were displayed and the idea was for the student to learn to transcribe, using the video and the roman numerals as help.
With hindsight, I realised that this was much too complicated for beginners to do and as a result, the majority would give up on transcribing after a song or two. Instead, they tended to learn the song using the video and then translate the roman numerals into chord names.
However, they didn’t transcribe because I had set the bar too high.
The Work Book, Acoustic Fingerstyle Guitar, Rhythm Guitar and Music Theory
Along with the ‘Guitar Conspiracy’, came the ‘Work Book’ which included the TABs for all of the chord progressions, arpeggios and modal exercises. The first hundred copies were printed and they sold out immediately. Some people just wanted the PDF so I offered that as well, at a lower cost.
It quickly became apparent that once printed, I had limited myself. I couldn’t add any new songs or exercises. Since the whole concept of teaching guitar online was to remove excuses such as time and location, it made sense to stop the hard copy version and go completely digital.
This led me to produce a number of eBooks over the next five years. I included free updates as I developed them. At the time, it made sense to pursue this and I enjoyed the challenge.
One of these eBooks, ‘Acoustic Fingerstyle Guitar’, had fingerstyle exercises and a practice version of each song.
Another eBook, ‘Rhythm Guitar’, had two different concepts. The first concept was to say rhythms using syllables, then play them. The second concept was a practice version of each song, a simplified loop if you like.
I also wrote an eBook called ‘Music Theory’ which taught you how to read and write music on the stave.
Backing tracks and improvisation
To help the student learn how to improvise, I offered two eBooks with hundreds of backing tracks.
The first was called ‘Blues Jam Tracks’ and it contained two hundred backing tracks. There were also videos moving licks from one shape to another and lots of ideas to help the student get going. These used the concept of ‘new chord = new scale’.
The second eBook, ‘2 Chord Loops’, used a similar concept to the ‘Blues Jam Tracks’ but with different chords and a focus on more modal scales.
By now, I had written so many eBooks I decided to package them into a bunch of offers. The most popular offer was ‘The Spy Tunes Method’ which was – yes you guessed it – all eBooks!
As a result of all of this work, I had a few ecstatic students. I mean, all eBooks for $79 is a pretty good deal! All the answers were there but it was starting to become a case of “Good luck, now you’re on your own!”. Those students who were not ecstatic were becoming frustrated as although they now had a lot of eBooks, they were unsure where to actually start.
The writing and packaging of all these eBooks had given me the same issue as the ‘DIY TABs’. I had set the bar too high again and although some people loved it, for most it was overwhelming. This was not at all what I had intended and I needed to find a better solution.
The answer came from one of my students who suggested that I change my eBook approach into simple step by step instructions so that he didn’t have to plan his learning for himself.
With my previous experience of writing step by step instructions (for guitar magazines, music colleges and, more recently, an online college in America) I realized that he was right. The simple step by step idea was definitely the way forward!
Step by step guitar courses
The beginner guitar course was created from the Beginner elements of the eBooks, along with all of the exercises and acoustic songs from the beginner section on site. It was launched in 2012 and took me six months to write. This course was immediately successful and made me realize that the eBooks would soon be obsolete.
I started to wonder how long the entire advanced course might take, bearing in mind there would be so many more songs and exercises involved. However, I put this to the back of my mind and set about writing the intermediate guitar course. It took me an entire year to write and was launched the following year. The response was equally as good for this course.
The only problem that I had now was that some students were signing up for it straight away and then realizing that they actually needed to start at the beginner level instead. To resolve this, I simply switched them over manually, problem solved!
In February 2014, I started working on the advanced guitar course. I spent over two years planning and writing this course and also the master course. Because the course writing period was so lengthy, in order to ensure I was motivated enough to finish them, I launched the advanced course when I had only written the first term of it. I literally needed the pressure of my first test group students catching me up to help push me along!
All of the original information in the ‘Guitar Conspiracy’, all the other eBooks, and how I could improve on that material, were all considered and tweaked based on feedback from my test group. As a result, my original eBooks really were becoming a thing of the past.
For my students, it was now a much better idea to use the ‘Guitar Conspiracy’ as a reference manual as they took the step by step courses. That aside, there were some chapters that I wish I hadn’t left behind, including the new section in the ‘Music Theory’ eBook, the exercises in ‘Acoustic Fingerstyle Guitar’ and ‘Rhythm Guitar’.
Nevertheless, I didn’t miss the practice songs. All of the TABs for the actual songs were now in the courses instead, bar by bar.
I also didn’t miss the concepts that the ‘Blues Jam Tracks’ and ‘2 Chord Loops’ offered. Instead of moving licks around the fretboard to backing tracks, in the step by step courses, I took a vocal melody or a second guitar part and moved them around the neck.
This worked much better. It was clearly easier, more fun and made more sense.
The step by step method had won me and my students over completely, so much so that in 2015 I pulled the plug on all eBooks. Instead, now I offered step by step courses only. As a result, the path was laid out beautifully, however, the goal now wasn’t as clear as it had been in the ‘Guitar Conspiracy’.
The Guitar Conspiracy is back!
To resolve this and help you understand the goal, I decided to reintroduce the ‘Guitar Conspiracy’ eBook in a new, updated, 415-page format called ‘Guitar Conspiracy 3.0’. It now includes all essential chapters from some of the other eBooks:
- Exercises from ‘Acoustic Fingerstyle Guitar’
- Reading rhythms from ‘Rhythm Guitar’
- TABs from ‘Work Book’
- A simplified version of ‘DIY TABs’
- A brand new section about chord progressions from ‘Music Theory’
‘The Guitar Conspiracy 3.0’ is now the perfect reference manual to use alongside the step by step courses. Read it from cover to cover and you’ll discover how music on the guitar fret board actually works.
Dan (your guitar guru)
Beginner Acoustic Course
Not only will learning songs help you with switching from one chord to another and improve your rhythm playing – they also hold the key to how music works theoretically.
To see all lessons in the beginner course, go to Beginner Guitar Course
Intermediate Electric Course
These Motown/Soul songs require you to learn how to play fractions of barre chord shapes and build improvised licks using pentatonic scales.
As we learn each song, we practice all chords and licks in all areas of the neck to learn the fretboard as well as how to improvise.
To see all lessons in the intermediate course, go to Intermediate Electric Guitar Course
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Including detailed, but bite-sized explanations on how the music theory of each song is applied to the neck.
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