Review of New Troy Stetina Instructional DVD and Second Soul CD
Posted by Michael Mueller on April 21, 2011 at 4:52 PM
Guitarist Troy Stetina is a legend in the guitar education business, with over 1 million books/methods sold. His latest venture is an instructional guitar DVD from Fret 12 titled The Sound and the Story, jam packed with 3-1/2 hours of video footage, including guest lessons from Mark Tremonti, Michael Angelo Batio, Eric Friedman, and Bill Peck, and a 36-page tab booklet.
Cool point #1 is that Troy doesn't just offer up three hours of "look at me" licks; rather, he focuses on the essentials of making music on the guitar. Whether covering such core topics as playing in time, picking control, and clear articulation or teaching and demonstrating advanced licks and phrasing, Troy consistently hammers home the advice that you practice purposefully and with a clear goal in mind.
The video starts with pick-hand exercises using tremolo picking in various rhythmic groups, then moves on to fret-hand legato exercises comprising various finger combinations, before putting it together to tackle synchronization. To his credit, Troy does not regurgitate the same old "1-2-3-4" shapes we've all seen a zillion times; instead, he offers more useful and musical shapes and, more importantly, shows you how to create your own exercises to address the trouble spots in your own playing that you discover along the way.
Troy next moves on to meatier topics like fretboard navigation, intervallic structure, secrets to writing killer riffs, and tips for playing in the pocket. But above all, Troy's "take-home point" is that playing guitar should be effortless—an activity as natural as feeding yourself or tying your shoes. And knowing that Troy used the same exercises and concepts he's teaching to achieve his own stunning technique goes a long way in providing inspiration that you can do it, too. Like he says, "It's as simple as moving one finger at a time."
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Troy and his band Second Soul have just released their debut album, Beyond the Infinite, a pummeling 15-track effort produced and mixed by Troy along with singer Scott Yanke and drummer Eddie Szczepanski in Stetina's own Artist Underground Studio.
The disc kicks off with a balls-out instru-metal version of "Flight of the Bumblebee" before entering more straightforward territory. As you may know, Troy for a brief time gave soloing lessons to Mark Tremonti, and in exchange, Mark—one of the best rock riff writers of the past 20 years—offered Troy songwriting tips, which he most certainly put to use on album highlight "Shine Down." With a chorus hook that could net a marlin, a blistering yet melody-rich solo, and classic breakdown, the track is a radio-ready rocker. Other album highlights include Troy and Mark dueling shred solos in the outro to "Burn," the progressive-leaning "Deceiver," the acrobatic guitar opening and dynamically rich "Goodbye," and the acoustic-based power ballad "Beautiful."
Troy Stetina has always had great appeal to guitar players, but with this new band effort, he may soon find much wider audiences.
For more info or to buy The Sound and the Story and/or Second Soul's Beyond the Infinite, visit stetina.com.