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  1. #1

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    I know how to read music but I want to work on my proficiency especially when it comes to chords. I'm thinking reading studies are the way to go but I'm having trouble finding them on place like Amazon and Sheet Music Plus.

    I have only two requirements for a reading study book: 1) I can't go out and buy a classical guitar, so it has to have studies that make sense on an archtop 2) I don't know finger style yet, so it has to work with a pick. (passing notes to be plucked are fine but the majority must be pick.

    So, does anyone have any suggestions with links where to buy them?

    As for my background, I'm almost done with all three volumes of Modern Method. It doesn't teach you to read music but it assumes you know how to read music.

    I could just ignore the tab on Chord-Melody Songs I'm learning or on Charlie Christian songs I'm learning but I think it would be easier if I used reading studies to guide me into better proficiency.

    Thanks

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    The Jazz Guitar Chord Dictionary
     
  3. #2

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    Quote Originally Posted by Oneofthe
    As for my background, I'm almost done with all three volumes of Modern Method. It doesn't teach you to read music but it assumes you know how to read music.
    I'm not sure I understand what you mean when you state that the 3 volumes of "A Modern Method For Guitar" don't teach you how to read music?

    I owned a guitar shop for around 30 years and used those books with all of my pickstyle students and those 3 volumes definitely taught them how to read music!!

    I was going to recommend the Reading Studies For Guitar Vol 1 & 2 also by William Leavitt as well as his Melodic Rhythms For Guitar - all of which my pickstyle students used with good results.

  4. #3

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    So you want chordal polyphonic exercises for plectrum guitar, as opposed to single line and standard chord forms, right? When you start moving into moving inner voices and counter moving bass lines under triadic structures, much of that deviates from familiar chord "grabs" and gets into moving line, counterpoint and non plectrum (hybrid) picking study.
    Would be an interesting skill, being able to instantly read, interpret and play a complex chord. Maybe not relevant but have you read through any Bach chorales? They give solid practice in recognizing essential 4 part harmony and the intervallic relationships that make them up.
    Or not. ' know some people that learned a lot from them.
    But it's not really jazz, I know.


    David
    Last edited by TH; 04-01-2018 at 04:59 PM.

  5. #4

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    If I hired a sight reading guitarist for a gig, I wouldn't expect him to be able to sight read jazz chord voicings on the spot. It's kind of a useless skill, thus a waste of time for most jazz guitarists. IMO.

  6. #5

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    Personally I don’t like the way the Leavitt exercises sound as music.

    I’ve got a lot out of using Belson for the rhythms, and Adam Levy’s sight reading book.... but beyond that read standards, transcriptions etc. I think real music is good.

    Become conversant in using notation to record ideas and transcriptions as well. The read/write link.

    This stuff has certainly improved my reading.

  7. #6

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    Oh also music for violin etc

  8. #7
    Thanks everyone for the replies:

    The Leavitt books I have and I'm delving into them.

    The one that looks real interesting is the Adam Levy books Jazz Sight Reading for Guitar. I'll buy that one also. The Belson book also looks good but that is for the future.

    I learned to read music from David Oakes Reading Music for Guitar then I went onto Modern Method.

    Thanks again for the replies. Have a happy Easter.

  9. #8

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    The Bellson is kind of the most important book.

    A very good sight reader advised me to work on rhythmic reading first, and I think this is exceptionally good advice. Bad pitches are less of a problem than wrong rhythms irl.

    If you can see the rhythmic shape of a phrase you can approximate it even if you can’t read every note and not lose your place.

    Biggest problem with my students sight reading is their freaking out and losing their place.

    I try to teach them that they can play as many wrong notes as they like provided they don’t do that!

    Set a metronome and read a page a day. You’ll improve.

    Also learn to count fast 4-4 swing as cut time.

  10. #9

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    Quote Originally Posted by christianm77
    Oh also music for violin etc
    yes you could try all the Bach violin sonatas and partitas, you can get pdfs of old scores from the IMSLP website.

  11. #10

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    For reading chords, try the Joe Pass Chord Solos and the Barry Galbraith Comping book, both are notation only.

  12. #11

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    Quote Originally Posted by grahambop
    For reading chords, try the Joe Pass Chord Solos and the Barry Galbraith Comping book, both are notation only.
    Joe Pass' chord melody book is challenging.

    In the big band music I play, the need to read chords written in standard notation (no chord name) does come up even, occasionally, in bass clef. It's not the most common thing, but it happens. It can be hard. Oftentimes, it's a series of quick hits, each one a chord, and each chord written out on a staff with no chord symbol. The Joe Pass book would be helpful.

    A few other thoughts.

    Even good readers can have trouble with this, to the point where they may just lay out and let the horns have it. I think that it may make sense to try to read a note or two, then, afterward write in chord symbols and positional notes.

    Bear in mind that the arranger may write things which are unplayable or unplayable without a lot of work.

    Single note lines may be written with horns in mind and won't lay well on guitar in many cases.

    So, I don't see much advantage in learning to read from guitar methods if playing single notes from big band charts is the goal.

    Clarinet has about the same range as guitar, so that can work, for single notes, of course.

    And, there is no substitute for playing in a section, where you have to start and stop notes with absolute precision.

  13. #12

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    Quote Originally Posted by rpjazzguitar
    Joe Pass' chord melody book is challenging.

    In the big band music I play, the need to read chords written in standard notation (no chord name) does come up even, occasionally, in bass clef. It's not the most common thing, but it happens. It can be hard. Oftentimes, it's a series of quick hits, each one a chord, and each chord written out on a staff with no chord symbol. The Joe Pass book would be helpful.
    If you are in a situation which allows you to mark the parts, there's also absolutely nothing wrong with having a pencil and sketching in the chord names if you have to.

    Quite a lot of times the arranger doesn't know what works well on the guitar, so you may have to re-voice chords anyway.

    A few other thoughts.

    Even good readers can have trouble with this, to the point where they may just lay out and let the horns have it. I think that it may make sense to try to read a note or two, then, afterward write in chord symbols and positional notes.

    Bear in mind that the arranger may write things which are unplayable or unplayable without a lot of work.

    Single note lines may be written with horns in mind and won't lay well on guitar in many cases.

    So, I don't see much advantage in learning to read from guitar methods if playing single notes from big band charts is the goal.

    Clarinet has about the same range as guitar, so that can work, for single notes, of course.

    And, there is no substitute for playing in a section, where you have to start and stop notes with absolute precision.
    It struck me that the guitar has some specific challenges in the diversity of information presented in a big band part. You have to change your way of processing information sometimes within a bar.

    Chord symbols, single note lines, written instructions ("with distortion and wahwah"), rhythmic hits with nonstandard note heard, and so on.

    A sax or trombone part looks a lot cleaner. Unless you take a solo you are in one 'zone' - the reading notes zone.

  14. #13
    Quote Originally Posted by grahambop
    yes you could try all the Bach violin sonatas and partitas, you can get pdfs of old scores from the IMSLP website.
    Thank you. They look like great books so I've bookmarked them but for right now they are above my skill level.

  15. #14
    Thank you everyone again. I've got some nice recommendations here.

    The Belson Rhythm book I'll definitely buy in the future. For anything involving Rhythm I'm going to need a tutor.

    As for Modern Method. I see where the communication problem is. I own the Leavitt Berklee press one. I think the one people are talking about, which I will buy next month even if it is pricey is the Mel Bay book. This is the Mel Bay book. Reading reviews it does emphasize reading music.

    Amazon.com: Mel Bay Modern Guitar Method Complete Edition: Part 1 (9780786694846): Mel Bay, William Bay: Books

    Thanks again.

    Also, I just realized from rpjazzguitar that chords by be read by their name and not as notes on the staff that's why the Oakes book doesn't teach it. But I maybe be misinterpreting.

  16. #15

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    There was a professional percussionist I knew who had decided to shift his focus to procuring reading gigs.
    He described the following routine to me:

    He assembled and amassed enough reading material to make 4 piles of scores, each about a foot high.
    Each pile was a different category of content (I don't remember what they were).

    He said he spent two hours a day, 30 minutes on each pile.

    There are two basic approaches to reading:

    1. Work it out reading, taking as much time as needed to figure out fingerings and achieving proficiency.
    2. Sight reading, playing in real time and doing the best you can at the moment while maintaining form and tempo.

    The latter is the skill set that opens doors to certain playing situations.
    To practice sight reading requires a continual source of unfamiliar material.
    The percussionist regimen described above is perhaps extreme, however he needed to support a family
    and this was a step he took to help procure steady employ.
    Anyway, your goals will help define whether you need a good reading book or a continual supply of new material.

  17. #16

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    Quote Originally Posted by Oneofthe
    Thank you everyone again. I've got some nice recommendations here.

    The Belson Rhythm book I'll definitely buy in the future. For anything involving Rhythm I'm going to need a tutor.
    I'm assuming you can count to four.

    You'll be fine.

  18. #17

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    Get the Bartok string quartet scores. Work on the first violin part of all the quartets. You should be good to go.

  19. #18

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    i didn’t see anyone mention the real book... seems like the most obvious option. people hate on it, but would be fine for reading practice

  20. #19
    Quote Originally Posted by pkirk
    A few of the things I use:

    Rhythms Complete (Treble Clef): Charles Colin, Bugs Bower: Amazon.com: Books

    Advanced Rhythms; Volume 1 and 2 Complete for B Flat Instruments: Joe Allard: Amazon.com: Books

    Mel Bay Sight Reading for the Contemporary Guitarist: Tom Bruner: 9780786664764: Amazon.com: Books

    Amazon.com: Mel Bay Melodic Studies & Compositions for Guitar: A Reading Workout for Serious Musicians (9780786668793): Fred Hamilton: Books

    Rhythm Changes, Pickstyle Guitar Accompaniment, All Keys, Vol 1: Bill McCormick: Amazon.com: Books

    https://www.amazon.com/Real-Jazz-Sol...real+book+solo


    clarinet etudes: the clarinet has the same written range as guitar. Also violin etudes books: they tend to have some double stop etudes that are great for sight reading practice.

    When I get into a sight reading phase I go to the music library and get lots of treble clef etude books.

    I think the levitt reading books are good, although the music itself is boring.

    Other good options are any jazz method books that avoid tab, eg the Joe Pass book
    Thank you everyone again. Bako, that is not extreme and doing something similar in a watered down approach for a hobbyist is something I'm definitely going to do.

    Pkirk, thank you sincerely it's all been bookmarked and this is more than I asked for.


    To everyone have a Happy Easter and if you do not celebrate Easter than Happy April Fool's Day.

  21. #20

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    So much good information.

  22. #21
    Also, if when you have time if you will go to this thread and critiquing my playing. All critique welcome. Tell me which direction to go what do I need to work on. Thanks.

    This is Where I am in Jazz Guitar all Critique Welcome

  23. #22

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    Quote Originally Posted by christianm77
    If you are in a situation which allows you to mark the parts, there's also absolutely nothing wrong with having a pencil and sketching in the chord names if you have to.

    Quite a lot of times the arranger doesn't know what works well on the guitar, so you may have to re-voice chords anyway.



    It struck me that the guitar has some specific challenges in the diversity of information presented in a big band part. You have to change your way of processing information sometimes within a bar.

    Chord symbols, single note lines, written instructions ("with distortion and wahwah"), rhythmic hits with nonstandard note heard, and so on.

    A sax or trombone part looks a lot cleaner. Unless you take a solo you are in one 'zone' - the reading notes zone.
    Maybe better for a thread on reading big band charts, but here goes.

    I sit next to the trombone in octet rehearsals. His chart has a lot more white than black. He sits there and reads a handful of notes. He has to start them at the right time and release them at the right time. He has to watch for volume markings. He starts at the upper left and his eyes move across the staffs. He only has to jump around at repeats.

    The guitar chart has some of that. That is, passages where the guitar is functioning as a horn playing single notes. Initiate, release, articulate, same as a horn.

    Then, on the rhythm parts, there are typically sections with slash marks and chord symbols. The guitarist has to find a rhythm to play that contributes something, even when the pianist is filling up space like an exploding nebula. Probably an inaccurate metaphor, but you probably get my drift.

    Then, come hits. The guitarist has to read the hits on the staff and the chord symbols above the staff. That means your eyes are jumping around. I find this to be challenging. It is way easier to read a string of single notes with the same rhythm. Jumping back and forth, up and down is harder. And, if the notes are written on the staff without chord symbols, it's usually worse. Finally, now and then it will all be in bass clef. Or, rock bottom, you're reading a piano chart and trying to figure out chords written Johnny Smith piano style with the lower notes in bass clef on one staff and the upper notes in treble clef on a separate staff.

    This can be very challenging. But, you can't complain. The pianist has to deal with all of that, plus the left hand.

    So, the trombonist is reading a nice horizontal string of bass clef notes while the guitarist is jumping around from one part of the page to another - decoding the part -- and simultaneously, trying to figure out a way to play it that contributes something without making mud with the piano or bass.

    Now that I've thought it through well enough to write it down, it makes me want to quit the band.