Jazz Guitar
Learn how to play jazz guitar with our eBook bundle
+ Reply to Thread
Results 1 to 30 of 30
  1. #1

    Books Chord Melody Method Book?

    Hey guys,

    I'm looking for a book which will explore methods for writing your own chord melodies and solo guitar arrangements.

    I'm not looking for a book that is just a bunch of guitar arrangements.

    I'm hoping to find something that will talk about a concept, and then apply it to a standard by example. But hopefully it will give you enough material to work with that you could apply it to other tunes on your own.

    I was thinking about buying Martin Taylor's Beyond Chord Melody book but I'm open to other suggestions.

    Thanks

  2. #2
    I think the only book I ever looked through about this style that I liked was one of Howard Morgens...

    Really, all you need is a real book and a basic knowledge of chords, inversions, and basic substitutions...

    You can do a heck of a lot just knowing your drop 2's and 3's and hacking away at a few tunes...play the inversion of the "chord of the moment" that allows you to best place the melody note on top.
    Jeff Matz, Jazz Guitar:
    http://www.youtube.com/user/jeffreymatz

    "Jazz is like life...it goes on longer than you think, and as soon as you're like 'oh, I get it,' it ends."

    --The Ghost of Duke Ellington

  3. #3
    we have a book salesman who should chime in soon with some ideas
    White belt
    My Youtube

  4. #4
    I haven't seen Martin Taylor's book, so I can't comment. However, I do have Frank Vignola's "1-2-3 Chord Melody" Truefire course and I highly recommend it. He gives you a "formula" for building your own chord melodies. He applies it to 3 public domain songs. He does a basic, simplified version and then a more complex version of each. Check it out next time Truefire has a sale. I think you'll like Vignola's approach.

  5. #5

  6. #6
    Quote Originally Posted by mr. beaumont View Post

    Really, all you need is a real book and a basic knowledge of chords, inversions, and basic substitutions...

    You can do a heck of a lot just knowing your drop 2's and 3's and hacking away at a few tunes...play the inversion of the "chord of the moment" that allows you to best place the melody note on top.
    Yes, that's one way to do it but I'm looking to make more interesting arrangements than just playing basic chords with the melody note in the lead.

  7. #7

  8. #8
    Quote Originally Posted by Ellistan View Post
    Yes, that's one way to do it but I'm looking to make more interesting arrangements than just playing basic chords with the melody note in the lead.
    Well, it'd be helpful to know where you're at in ability now.

    There's certainly no need for it to be just "basic chords," if you know some subs and what extensions to add to things...
    Jeff Matz, Jazz Guitar:
    http://www.youtube.com/user/jeffreymatz

    "Jazz is like life...it goes on longer than you think, and as soon as you're like 'oh, I get it,' it ends."

    --The Ghost of Duke Ellington

  9. #9
    Important question: by chord melody, do you mean 30s style acoustic chord melody or solo guitar in general? Regardless, I agree with Jeff. Playing/arranging solo music is about integrating melodic and harmonic concepts. As such, there’s no good “chord melody” tutorial. You need to get good at comping and playing heads to the point that you want to do them both. The way to get good at it is to find the voicings that express your voice and complement the melody, find positions where you can play those voicings and the melody simultaneously. That requires enough chord vocabulary to be able to evaluate and selecting among multiple options.

    Also you say you don’t want books of solo arrangements, but I’ll argue that it may be the best way to learn rather than trying to build everything from the ground up. Learn an arrangement, steal some ideas for your next original arrangement. Play some classical pieces on the archtop. Play some Eddie Lang. I use stuff from those pieces I would never have learned from a method book.

  10. #10
    My current favorite “chord melody” books are the Thelonious Monk Plays Standards transcriptions. Obviously you can’t play all of those notes on the guitar, but you learn to distill. You have to think like a pianist and try to move voices independently. It’s a real challenge. I find myself having to sacrifice the bass line to make it work, but I’m trying to figure out ways to express the ideas on guitar.

  11. #11
    I don't think it needs to be binary choice nor to I believe the posters above were necessarily arguing for a one size fits all approach. .But all three options addressed above can and should be utilized, especially to make the arrangement/tunes your own.
    I'm a middling arranger of solo guitar tunes but I can steal or borrow ideas, phrases, lines etc. so I lift sections from the jazz greats and integrate them into my own arrangements. Today there are so many choices one can borrow from it is ridiculous. As far as solo guitar transcriptions go I would heartily recommend joining Francois LeDuc's Patreon website.


    Francois Leduc Online Library

  12. #12
    I can't recall who it was, but someone years ago here, suggested of thinking about chord melody, I should think of melody with chords. Simple statement but I found that did make things easier.

    Although not a book, you might want to check out the Frank Vignola chord melody videos on the True Fire site, especially if looking for introductory material.

    I think a lot of us learned chords from the Mel Bay Rhythm (Orchestral) chord books. Good but they did not cover the chords that could be played on strings 5, 4, 3 and 2. I found learning chords on those strings helped considerably and gave a lot more choices when you want the melody note on the 2nd string.

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Aug 2015
    Location
    www.rwtwguitars.com
    Posts
    1,086
    It seems like there are more people arguing that you don’t need a book. I’ll asume you’re an adult and understand the limitations of books.

    Martin Taylor’s book/method is quite good, but assumes some experience. Robert Conti has a two book/DVD series called something like “Assembly” and “Formula”. They are the opposite end assuming no theory and little experience. Frank Vignola’s course is like an abbreviated version of Conti’s Assembly book. There is also a new Fareed Haque course that is to Martin Taylor what Frank’s course is to Conti.

    I would also recommend Alan Kingstone’s book. It is not specifically chord-melody, but it lays a good foundation for playing a ton of inversions of a chord under a top note, and at its heart that is the core competency.


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk Pro

  14. #14
    Robert Conti's Chord Melody Assembly Line.

  15. #15
    Join Date
    Dec 2017
    Location
    London
    Posts
    7
    There is this online resource by Tony Beltran CHORD-MELODY GUITAR:

  16. #16
    Quote Originally Posted by omangas View Post
    There is this online resource by Tony Beltran CHORD-MELODY GUITAR:
    Have you worked through this program?

  17. #17
    Join Date
    Oct 2016
    Location
    Beaufort, S.C.
    Posts
    634
    Robert Conti has a course comprised of 2 book/DVD combinations that map out his entire approach to learning how to do your own arrangements with some full length arrangements also included.

    One is The Chord Melody Assembly Line and the follow up to that one is The Formula.

    Hope this helps!
    Steven Herron
    Robert Conti Tabs - Guitar Solos, Tab Books, Instruction DVDs + Video Lessons

  18. #18
    Join Date
    Jan 2013
    Location
    British Columbia
    Posts
    1,300
    I have a book called Chord Melody Solos by John E. Lawrence (Mel Bay 2001). I found it extremely helpful. I also bought a course by Frank Vignola 123 Jazz Chord Melody which was also good. So was the Conti Assembly Line course. The Vignola and Conti courses involve a lot of memorizing specific block chords for specific notes, ie: if you need a C chord with an E on top for the melody play Cmaj7.
    I also have the Martin Taylor course and was enrolled in his school (a bit too expensive.) Martin has his "scaffold" system which is a great concept.

  19. #19
    I like this one...

    Amazon.com: Solo Jazz Guitar Method (9780786690985): Barry Greene: Books

    +1 for Frank Vignola & Martin Taylor

  20. #20
    Join Date
    Mar 2010
    Location
    Chicago area
    Posts
    329
    Quote Originally Posted by omangas View Post
    There is this online resource by Tony Beltran CHORD-MELODY GUITAR:

    Tony is a friend and also wrote the book on the CAGED system, literally!

  21. #21
    Forgot to say...if you sign up for Frank Vignola's Truefire channel ($5 pm) you get access to the 30+ tunes he's already done arrangements for, he adds 1 or 2 a month, pdf & video of him playing the arrangement & talking you through his chord choices, they're pretty straightforward & easy to play & they sound great, lots more stuff to work with as well...

  22. #22
    Quote Originally Posted by dot75 View Post
    I like this one...

    Amazon.com: Solo Jazz Guitar Method (9780786690985): Barry Greene: Books

    +1 for Frank Vignola & Martin Taylor
    Don't know if the OP is following this thread anymore....

    I have many of the chord melody books and courses. I get a little bit out of all of them. Arrangement books are great for getting ideas and importing into your own arrangement. I think the answer to your question? But perhaps the real answer is trial and error and stealing

    I like Barry's book too; nice and concise and inexpensive with a bag of tools for creating your own. His chord melody video lessons are really good to for getting ideas for a specific tune but even then Barry shares his process. There another chord melody book by Bill Hart (I think) that also gives you some tools (similar to Barry's) but also some standard tune chord melody arrangements and the end of the book.


    Martin's "scaffold" approach is really quite simple in theory and you can probably get the main idea from his YouTube on the subject. Execution another story entirely.

    I never got much out of Conti's Assembly Line book......but I may be in the minority here.

  23. #23
    Join Date
    Nov 2013
    Location
    Seattle
    Posts
    176
    Lately I get a lot of positive feedback on my "book" on Solo Guitar playing / Chord-Melody: Concepts for Solo Guitar Performance (Complete) | Jan Jakut

    It's based on actual transcriptions of solo guitar performances and offers analysis and application of the presented musical concepts.

    Way before writing this I also worked with some books you can find on the market. Although they presented useful concepts and approaches I still had some trouble to really understand how to put musical ideas together and which aspects made some solo guitar arrangements and improvisations musically outstanding. So far transcribing and using the found knowledge in a different context helped a lot.

  24. #24
    Join Date
    Jan 2018
    Location
    Las Vegas
    Posts
    1

    Thought Id pipe in..

    Hi, I don't post on forums much, but I have been working on chord melody playing for about a year now and thought I would pipe in to offer my 2 cents. I would recommend a combination of three books/videos, Robert Conti's Assembly line, Vignola' Truefire 1-2-3-Chord Melody, and the old Mel Bay Chord melody book. Start by learning to sight read the notes on the second string from the sheet music and play them on the guitar, then using these books/videos, pick the chords that work best for you with the melody notes on the second string ( you will also need some melody notes on the first string too) This takes a lot of time, but you have to learn the chords with every melody note for the Major, minor, and Dominant 7th chords in every key (same fingerings just move them around) you can pick up augmented and diminished later as you go, next pick very basic songs, such as nursery rhymes and practice. You can't avoid the hard work involved. after a few months when the nursery rhymes get easier, move to more advanced, but still simple songs like folk or Christmas tunes. When these songs get easier you are ready to try some standards from the Real Book. The whole process takes a while and it isn't easy, but it will enable you to play chord melody straight from a sheet of music. As you practice, you will experiment with different chords and soon you will have your favorite ones for each note of the scale. Not every note must be played with a chord. This method really works. Again just my thoughts as someone who has been practicing this for about a year now and has seen the results.

  25. #25
    Conti's The Formula represents an uncommon way to get through the chord melody universe, but it made me understand some concepts that I could use to make my first arrangement.

  26. #26
    I've found Ted Greene's chord melody stuff to be helpful: TedGreene.com - Teachings - Single Note Soloing

  27. #27
    I found the following Frank Vignola courses to be helpful:

    Inversion Excursion
    123 Chord Melody
    30 Chord Melody Riffs for the 2-5-1 Progression
    The CM section of his "Jazz Studio"

    The 30 riffs are really 6 transposed, and they are a bit cliche' and you could probably figure them out yourself, but it was only $6 on sale so I figured, why not?

    That said, I really like the way Frank Vignola presents information. It's almost impossible to mess any of his stuff up. His solo guitar charts in the studio (now $10 a month to belong, but still worth it, frequent new posting with charts, tab and video) are very clean and playable, great explanations and easy to see how you can take them as a departure point for your own arrangement based on his.

    Another good resource is Matt Warnock. He has a few solo guitar ebooks out, and if you join his Facebook group you can do a live group lesson with him, not sure if it's every week or every new tune. He's a great teacher and responds quickly to queries, I just got into the Frank groove and stayed there for some reason. Matt just expanded his seasonal drop of free Christmas tunes by adding solo guitar charts (thanks, Matt!); some interesting stuff there, I've already begun working out some of the arrangements and modifying for the 7 string.

    I used to think it wasn't legit to learn someone else's arrangement; now I'm stealing as much as I can. I also use other harmonies that I prefer to hear, but it's nice to have a place to start that isn't a blank page. Just my opinion.
    "Jus' press." - Raymond Kane

  28. #28
    If you can read German then I'd recommend Stephan Bormann's "Solo Guitar Book" - taking the song "What a Wonderful World", Stephan explains many, many ways to play that song in different styles of chord melody - it's a great book!

  29. #29
    Join Date
    Feb 2010
    Location
    Texas
    Posts
    4,115
    Don't forget Jody Fisher's books.

    I don't have this one but I am thinking that like his first one, it is a method where he goes into contructing chord melody songs by choosing the correct notes for the top string, reharmonization, and recommendations on inserting single notes or using dyads.

    Anyway, here is his latest, which I have not read, followed by one from his old book series, which I did buy around 10 years ago:

    Amazon.com: Alfred Jody Fisher's Jazz Guitar Chord-Melody Course (Book/CD): Musical Instruments

    Complete Jazz Guitar Method (Mastering Jazz Guitar: Chord/Melody): Fisher, Jody: 9780739009581: Amazon.com: Books

  30. #30
    I agree that it’s best to sample a lot of books, videos, courses, glean what you can and start applying it to your own arrangements/improvisations.

    I recommend transcription books of Joe Pass, Martin Taylor, Gene Bertoncini, etc. I also like solo method books by Martin Taylor and Bertoncini.

Join our Facebook Page

Get in Touch


Jazz Guitar eBooks
How To Get a Jazz Guitar Tone?
Privacy Policy

 

 

Follow us on:

Jazz Guitar Online on FacebookJazz Guitar Online on TwitterJazz Guitar Online on YoutubeJazz Guitar Online RSS Feed