Learn To Play Django-Style Gypsy Jazz Guitar, vol. 2 [VHS] Reviews

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  1. Jim Vence says:
    8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
    4.0 out of 5 stars
    An brilliant introduction to the planet of Gypsy Jazz Guitar, February 8, 2002
    By 
    Jim Vence (Rochester, NY United States) –
    This review is from: Learn To Play Django-Style Gypsy Jazz Guitar, vol. 2 [VHS] (VHS Tape)

    Gypsy Jazz is the well loved term for the style of jazz music
    made well-known by Django Reinhardt, who by the side of with Stephane
    Grappelli formed the Hot Club of France in 1933. Also
    known as “acoustic swing”, this instrumental music is
    infectous, and fun to play.

    If you play acoustic guitar, you should familiarize yourself
    with Django’s music. Should you choose you want to play
    in the style, but can’t find a suitable teacher, Paul’s
    video set is a excellent alternative to get you started.

    Volume One is about playing rhythm, but in a larger sense it
    gets to the core of the Gypsy Jazz technique, which focuses on
    a strong picking motion and fretting techniques, such
    as “choking” the strings to enable the hair-trigger response
    that is essential to this style. The video instruction format
    is brilliant for this purpose, as it allows you see the arm and
    wrist action involved.

    Volume Two is about soloing, and is essentially more
    a primer on jazz improvisation, but includes some excellent
    exercises to develop your technique.

    This video is not about culture 400 Django riffs, it is
    a study of how to tailor your guitar playing technique
    to adapt to the Gypsy Jazz style.

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  2. Alex F says:
    4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
    1.0 out of 5 stars
    Very nearly nothing here – Paul doesn’t even know his audience, October 23, 2003
    By 
    Alex F (Smyrna, Ga United States) –
    This review is from: Learn To Play Django-Style Gypsy Jazz Guitar, vol. 2 [VHS] (VHS Tape)

    I reckon that this is a horrible video.

    The first 57 minutes teach you things like:
    -what is vibrato
    -how to do hammer ons, pull offs, trills
    -A (G) major arpeggio (he plays it – no explanation like ‘this is the root, then the 3rd, then the 5th, now I repeat it’ or anything like that, he just plays an arpeggio. Huge whoop.)
    -augmented & diminished chords (he plays them with very small explanation other than one has a flat 5th and the other has a rasied 5th – at point he says that if you want to know more you should go buy a book!)
    -A George Van Eps lick

    OK, here is the thing… These are all EXTREMELY BASIC. These are things that anyone who has been playing guitar for more than a year or two should already know, for the most part. Maybe not surrounded by and out, but he doesn’t teach it surrounded by & out.

    For most of the higher than he gives only 1 model with very small explanation at all. None of this has to do specifically with Gypsy jazz.

    Oh, but for the last 2 or 3 minutes he plays a Gypsy jazz tune. He could have taken the exact same video and played an Yngwie Malmsteen song at the end instead and called the video “neoclassical soloing” and it would have been just as “valid” as calling this a gypsy jazz video!

    Now, I would imagine that someone wanting to get into Gypsy Jazz already knows how to do hammer ons and pull offs. If they don’t then they need to continue practicing for many more years before hoping to tackle gypsy jazz. So who is this video for? Does Paul Mehling even know?

    There is NO scheme in this video at all. NOTHING! He does not tell you when to play the scales and trills, etc. that he shows you, or how they relate to the chords, or anything. There is no examination of rhythmic placement of clarification when soloing (that would be the SWING part of gypsy swing guitar). There is no examination of what scales django preferred over what chords, nothing like that at all.

    The video is “here are some basic techniques that any beginning student of guitar should know about, now watch me play 1 Django tune with no explanation at all.” There is no dissecting or ripping apart Djangos style at all as another reviewer suggested. Nothing of the sort. Neither is it a primer on jazz improv in my opinion.

    The sad thing is that this video COULD have been so much more. Paul is obviously an brilliant player, and knows the style. He doesn’t teach it well though. There are lots of brilliant guitar players that just don’t make excellent teachers. Paul seems to be one of these. Someone should tell him!

    I am now headed off to eBay to sell my video to someone else.

    I would HIGHLY reccommend for anyone else tiresome to get into this style the hotclub website for some basic lesson info, and Stan Ayeroff’s book

    “The Music of Django Reinhardt 44 classic solos by the legendary guitarist with a complete analysis” MelBay pub, ISBN: 0-7866-3388-3

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  3. David Miller says:
    1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
    2.0 out of 5 stars
    Middle-of-the-road at Best, February 29, 2004
    By 
    David Miller (Somerville, MA) –
    This review is from: Learn To Play Django-Style Gypsy Jazz Guitar, vol. 2 [VHS] (VHS Tape)

    I really have to agree with the review by Alex F of GA. I don’t know what the other two positive reviews were all about, but any actual viewer of this video would see the obvious flaws. Paul Mehling may be a fantastic gypsy jazz guitarist, but just watching him perform a few solos in the reinhardt fasion (while entertaining and minimally insightful)is not my thought of culture to play in the gypsy jazz style. he gives the viewer a handful of techniques that he does briefly clarify. mainly, a few django style riffs. but it is not enough material to constitute ‘culture’ a style of jazz.
    if you don’t already have a firm understanding of guitar scheme or jazz concepts, then i would stay away from this video. in fact, i really don’t know who this video should be geared toward at all. paul mehling does such a terrible (non-existant) job of explaining what he is doing, it would take a mind-reading student to appreciate this video.
    if you want to try your hand at the gypsy jazz style, first i would recommend becoming adept at playing square jazz improv and get a excellent grasp of basic jazz concepts, such as chord scheme, circle of 4th, 5th, etc. etc. if you cannot solo honestly quick and maintain a level of comfort at higher tempos in the first place, then even the best gypsy jazz video will not help you play anything like django or other gypsy jazz guitarists. so lay down the foundation and then go for a gypsy jazz video.
    it is my experience that there really are no ‘fantastic’ gypsy jazz videos out on the market today. but, if you want to get your hands on a better gypsy jazz video (mehling didn’t exactly set the bar high) then check out Ridge-Sprinter Video’s Kelly Lancaster gypsy jazz guitar. It is part of Chord Melody- Music for the Advancing Guitarist. he goes a small more in depth with scheme and what scales django would play over what chords, etc etc. beyond that, i would just flat out recommend staying away from these videos all together and invest in more real jazz instructional books and cd’s.

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