Since I have no teacher available, I'm always on the lookout for learning aids (I need all the help I can get). I tried this pair of books/cds on a lark after seeing the ad on TB. I love 'em. I've use the Aebersold series, which I like. However, that series seems (to me) not to have a clear cut progression. There are a couple of volumes that are clearly for beginners, but beyond that it seems omnidirectional. The 1st McNeil book (haven't gotten to the 2nd yet) goes in stepwise fashion and is based on which scale fits which chord (yeah, I know it depends on the melody/remainder of the tune, but there are some general guidlines that help.....a lot). I needed this. I'm a hobbyist who learned in middle age and have no delusions about quitting my day job. I'm not worried about sounding too "inside" or cliche; I'm more concerned about hitting the wrong note. The 1st book covers 6 of the more common scales. The cd gives opportunity to play each scale around the neck, and then use it in a tune format. The DVD isn't as useful, however, and is not directly related to the book/cd. Overall I found volume 1 worth the price of the pair. I think the knowledge gained here will help me get more out of the intermediate Aebersold volumes and the Pattitucci play-along I've got.