The former Editor-in-Chief of the popular Guitar One Magazine (more on that later), Nelson wrote his first book, Guitar Aerobics, shortly after leaving the magazine in 2005. The title, which has become a #1 bestseller, has sold over 100,000 copies and appears consistently in the Top 10 for Amazon guitar titles for over a decade.
“As a guitarist, I wanted to write a technique book that would appeal to me; that is, a book that had a practical structure and music examples that didn’t sound like warm-up exercises. I wanted to compose music examples that guitarists could incorporate into their own music while, at the same time, improving their chops,” says Nelson.
Following up the incredible success of Guitar Aerobics, Nelson next penned Fretboard Freedom, Rhythm Guitar 365, One-Man Guitar Jam, all published via Hal Leonard Corporation.
How to Play Guitar in 14 Days Series
Since 2017, he has self-published nine books and started the popular series How to Play Guitar in 14 Days. His books consistently become #1 new releases within weeks of release.
Says Nelson of the beginner guitar lesson book in the series, “I didn’t want to write a beginner guitar method book until I was sure I had a revolutionary way of teaching and learning, one that beats all other beginner methods–something that really will get you playing and sounding good QUICKLY.”
His first guitar
It was in the small town of Viroqua, Wisconsin (population 4,000) that Nelson first picked up the guitar at the age 14. After months of begging his parents for an axe, he tapped into his savings account for a Harmony electric, a Fender Strat knockoff from the JC Penney catalogue.
From that moment forward, Nelson would spend hours each day, much to his buddies’ dismay, woodshedding in his bedroom, playing everything from Stevie Ray Vaughan and B.B. King to Dokken and Metallica.
“My friends would come to our front door on the weekends to ask me to hang out, and I’d say ‘no thanks’ and go back to my room to play guitar until dinner. Then, after dinner, I’d return to my room and play until my sister would bang on the wall to make me stop,” remembers Nelson.
Guitar One History
Nelson attended Milwaukee Area Technical College, where he earned an Associate’s Degree in Occupational Music. Following graduation, Nelson launched his music editing career at Hal Leonard Corporation, the world’s largest music print publisher. In 1999, Nelson moved with magazine start-up Guitar One to New York City. For a decade, he worked many late nights and weekends at the magazine, holding the titles of Music Editor, Senior Editor, and, finally, Editor-in-Chief.
“I’m quite proud of what we accomplished at Guitar One. What began as a start-up, evolved into the No. 2 guitar title in the world when I left in 2005,” remembers Nelson fondly.