What happened to the Guitar Conspiracy and all other eBooks?
Back in 2007, when Spytunes first launched, I sold an eBook that explained the chords, chord progressions, arpeggios, pentatonic and modal concepts of Spytunes. It was called the Guitar Conspiracy.
Along with the book came DIY TAB‘s. These were structured, but empty TAB sheets for the students to fill in, for each song.
Only the Roman numerals were displayed and the idea was for you to learn to transcribe, using the YouTube videos of the songs and the Roman numerals as a guide.
The Work Book, Acoustic Finger Style Guitar, Rhythm Guitar, and Music Theory
Along with the Guitar Conspiracy came the SEPR Work Book which included the TAB for all the chords, arpeggios, and modal exercises. The first few hundred copies of these books were printed and 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, as well as having the ability to offer seamless updates, it made sense to stop the hard copy versions 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 Finger Style Guitar, had fingerstyle exercises and a practice version of each song.
Another eBook, Rhythm Guitar, had two different concepts. The first was to say rhythms using syllables, then play them. The second concept was a practice version of each song played with a pick, a simplified loop if you like.
I also wrote a book called Music Theory which taught you how to read and write music on the stave.
Backing tracks and improvisation
To help you learn how to improvise, I offered two eBooks with hundreds of backing tracks.
The first was called Blues Jam Tracks, it came with two hundred backing tracks. There were also videos moving licks from one shape to another and lots of ideas to help you 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 Spytunes Method which was – 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, was 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. I needed to find a better solution.
The answer came from one of my students who suggested that I transform my eBook approach into step-by-step instructions so that he didn’t have to plan his learning for himself.
He referenced an exercise app he had that basically told him: Now do 20 push-ups, now do 40 crunches, etc.
With my previous experience of writing step-by-step instructions (for guitar magazines, music colleges, and, more recently, an online college in the U.S.) I realized that he was right. The step-by-step idea was definitely the way forward!
Writing the first 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. It was launched in 2012 and took me six months to write.
This course was immediately successful and made me realize that eBooks would soon be obsolete.
Next, I set out to write the intermediate guitar course. It took me an entire year and was launched in late 2013. The response was equally as good for this course.
In February 2014, I started working on the advanced guitar course. I spent over two years planning and writing this course.
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.
I definitely didn’t miss the practice songs from the Rhythm Guitar and Acoustic Finger Style Guitar eBooks. Instead, the actual TAB for each song was now in the courses, note for note.
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 now take a vocal melody or a second guitar part and move these around the neck.
This works much better. It’s clearly easier, more fun, and makes more sense. What had happened was that all these theories now had context in the form of actual songs.
Having context, a song when you practice is key to becoming musical. If you practice scales or music theory in isolation you will end up playing music theory, not music.
This has been my biggest discovery as I’ve studied my student’s progress since 2007.
Simply put, you should not practice how to solo over a II – V – I in general. You should practice soloing over a song that has a II – V – I.
Develop that song’s melody, change the key, and dig deeper. Now find another song with the same progression, look at how this song’s melody is designed rhythmically and harmonically, learn it, then develop it.
This idea of context is vital in order to become a musical guitar player. If you work for an artist and they ask for a solo in one of their songs, they want something related to that song, not your favorite licks. And by the way, so does the audience.
The step-by-step method had won me and my students over completely, so much so that in 2016, I pulled the plug on all eBooks. Instead, now I offer step-by-step courses only.
Since then, these courses have been tweaked, I’ve recorded the songs again, now featuring 2nd guitar parts so we can play the songs together and you can learn how to design a guitar part.
Since 2019, there’s also an intermediate electric course available where you play with an actual band which I recorded live in the studio.
This is a Motown/Soul course that will help you design rhythm guitar parts, licks, and solos mainly using pentatonic scales.
As the step-by-step courses have found their format and almost all songs have been re-recorded, I felt that the only thing missing now is a general overview of the method.
Spytunes method returns
By 2022, the courses have been tweaked many times over and we are close to completion of what I set out to do back in 2007.
It’s been quite a journey, so much more complex than I could ever have dreamed when I first started this.
Even though it was a complex journey for me, in the end, it all became a pretty simple solution for you.
What you need is a book that can be read on a weekend to understand the method, and then help to actually do this.
So I’ve put that eBook bundle I sold for $79 into just one, very comprehensive eBook and I will give you as soon as you sign up for my guitar courses.
As if that’s not enough, I’m also going to offer you to try the step-by-step guitar courses for an entire month, access all areas, no ads, and no restrictions, for just $1.
You can cancel your membership anytime, and keep the eBook forever.
I hope to see you in any of the courses soon, I’m sure you’ll love it!