Guitar Encyclomedia - Has anyone used this?

Hello Friends. I’m wondering if anybody here has had any experience with a print book called the Guitar Encyclomedia, by Mike Overly. The book has been around for decades and is sold in a print edition by its author. From the author’s description of the book, it sounds very compatible with the learning methodologies encouraged here (such as describing note sequences by a number representing scale degree) but I’m wondering if anyone here has actually used the book. It’s rather expensive and I’m hesitant to spend the money without a little more due diligence. The author offers a money-back guarantee but returning it would be a hassle for me. And, honestly, while I’m happy to return things to Amazon and their ilk, I don’t like doing that to a small business, where profits are harder to come by. Any feedback – good or bad – from folks here would be very helpful. Thanks!

Not me.
I’d found IFR before I got my guitar and from day one my interest in guitar has been melody led. The approach I’ve taken to study that has been to use the IFR book, plus @ImproviseForReal (David Reed) 's guitar oriented courses to help me learn for myself how the fretboard works for me.

The one other ‘course’ I’ve made use of is Jamie Andreas’ book The Principles of Correct Practice for Guitar , but I’ve mainly used that for what you might call the ‘physical’ aspects of playing. For the ‘musical’ aspects I’m fully behind exploring through the IFR approach.

I still have a long way to go, but the journey is interesting & fun. :grinning:

PS. Actually I hope the journey is never ending…

I am not familiar with the book, but had a quick look at a preview. It looks like a fairly comprehensive music theory book based on guitar. It depends what you are looking for, and how interested you are in the theory side of things.

I found the IFR book and other IFR resources gave me enough information to avoid to much confusion, but I did come into it with a little theory knowledge.

It all depends in your own background/existing knowledge, and what you feel you need to move forward. I’d highly recommend immercing yourself into IFR, the book, jam tracks etc. and follow the approach, and if you feel you have gaps, then have a look at other resources.

Hi David, thanks for your thoughtful response! I recognize you from Musical-U and it’s good to see a familiar face here.

I appreciate your endorsement of @ImproviseForReal 's guitar-focused courses, as I’ve have been thinking hard about signing up for David’s Chord Melody course. IFR’s style and method of teaching is working for me more than any other music-focused education site that I’ve encountered, to date (and I’ve seen so many of them). I’d also really love to take Mireia’s ear training courses, too, as I’m having a lot of success with Sing the Numbers. My challenge is that I tend to bite off more than I can chew, time-wise. I need to pick one and run with it. Probably Chord Melody, as I still have a lot of practice left to do with Sing the Numbers.

It was interesting to see you mention Jamie Andreas’ book. I’ve seen her channel over on TrueFire. While she’s definitely working in a very specific niche, my guitar teacher has been really helpful in steering me out of bad physical habits, so I’ll not likely focus on that in the short-term.

Thanks again for sharing your thoughts. I hope our paths cross frequently! :grinning:

Hi @mem ! You make a really good point. There’s not going to be anything in that book that isn’t embedded in one of the IFR courses already. If I’m going to spend money, I’d rather spend it here on what I consider a sure thing. To your point, I have no shortage of IFR material with which to work. I don’t need the book. Thanks so much for sharing your opinion.

I doubt I’ll ever ‘finish’ with practice on those? :wink:

That’s a person I don’t have. I live in a very very remote area & don’t travel much, so it’s all books, videos, tapes & on-line for me. Fortunately I’m not in a hurry. :slight_smile:


An interesting free resource from her are the “Daily Guitar Wisdom” emails. If you sign up (free) you get short email with a pithy gem of “wisdom” everyday. Most are (naturally) snipets from her various products (& thus act as subtle adverts), but if you can put that to one side & just take them for what they say they can be usefully thought provoking.

When I reached the end of my first year, I was sufficiently happy with the arrangement that I took the option to go round the loop again (I’m not 100% sure they are exactly the same this year as last, but that’s really neither here nor there).

You can sign up at

I’m doing those lessons on Skype. I found this particular teacher on YouTube. He is hundreds of miles away from me. But, I find that I like it better than in-person lessons. He’s very responsive to questions in email and, at the end of each lesson, I have a complete video recording to refer back to. Happy to share his information with you should you decide to give it a try.

I’ll take a look at Jamie Andreas’ newsletter. Thanks for mentioning it!

Advancing guitar technique is not my priority just now, since I got a Chapman Stick.

Bravo, @DavidW Good for you! I considered getting one a while back but decided against it because it was just too complex for me. I can barely manage 6 strings, as it is :joy: I did own a Harpejii at one time. If you’re not familiar, it’s very Stick-like but it’s played horizontally and laid out like a piano. Very approachable and easy to figure out. But, ultimately, I sold it and decided to focus solely on guitar, for better or worse. I haven’t regretted that choice. I wish you well in your Stick studies! Perhaps there is a Tony Levin lurking inside you :slight_smile:

It’s certainly a big challenge! The biggest things seem to be two hands at once each playing different interval shapes.

The ascending perfect 4ths arrangement on the ‘melody’ side is not so hard to understand given I was already using ‘all 4th’ tuning on guitar. The descending 5ths on the other side are quite mind bending (equivalent layout of tone ‘names’ & ‘numbers’ due to descending 5th being the inversion of ascending 4th, but all the interval shapes are different). And of course it’s all on a bass like scale length, so the frets are further apart than on a guitar, especially towards the headstock end.

Yes, I’ve come across the Harpejii, though only ‘on-line’.

Thank you. Actually I’m more interested in finding the me inside… :wink:

PS. While working at this I’ve also taken up harmonica - some might say for light relief? LOL!

Hi @Manley, welcome to the forum! I’m sorry I’m not familiar with that book but I just wanted to welcome you and thank you for starting the discussion about it. Thanks for the kind words about IFR. I’m so happy that this way of studying music resonates with you! A very warm welcome to our community and to the forum! - David

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