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  1. #1
    I know this is a personal thing. I accept that the book(s) that raised you might not help me. Still, it’s interesting.

    I opened a dusty, old book “Scale Studies and Etudes for Guitar” by Allen Hanlon to recall Melodic Minor scales. I spent months with it! The position studies sharpened my (upper frets) note recognition (“fretboard knowledge”). I was pleasantly surprised by my right-hand (picking) gains.
    -
    “The Real Book” - Playing these Standards is a great way to employ (“rhythm” or 3-note chords), chord progressions and melody (“head”) reading. It’s also, of course, a great source of repertoire.
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    Howard Morgen - “Concepts”. His short arrangement of “Just Friends” (to me) embodies the reason for fingerstyle. I can’t stop playing “Just Friends”. As reviewers often say: “I wish I had it years ago”. What a great book.
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    Which particular book(s) had an outsized impact on you? How so? I’d never guessed that an etude book would help me but it sure did.
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    Thanks!!
    Last edited by GuitarStudent; 11-25-2018 at 09:41 AM.

  2.  

    The Jazz Guitar Chord Dictionary
     
  3. #2

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    I think most of what I've learned is by way of learning songs, pop, rock or jazz, and then seeking out explanations for the bits I didn't understand. So any number of reference books have been useful. And of course these days it's the internet that serve that purpose. I never was that good at sitting down with course books or studies as something divorced from the songs and practicalities of playing.

    One that warrants mention though, is Chord Chemistry. I never made it through all the examples, but on a conceptual level it was an incredible eye opener, making me think of chords as pitches and intervals rather than grips.

    Other than that - the Real Book, Fake Book, Parker Omnibook and David Baker's Jazz Style of Sonny Rollins continue to be important to me. It's stuff that is either immediately applicaple as music or representations of real world applications. It seems that I need that practicality to make any sense of it at all
    Last edited by Average Joe; 11-25-2018 at 10:07 AM.

  4. #3

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    Here is a website I discovered recently. It gives a review of several books, and lists some others.

    Jazz Guitar Books Lessons: The Essential Library For Serious Players

  5. #4

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    LCC definitely opened my eyes/ears.

  6. #5
    Vintage:
    I'm trying to do something a little different.
    Admittedly, I am a book addict.
    I read lots of reviews on Amazon.
    The reviews say: "This is a great book", or "this book was too advanced", or a detailed review by a knowledgeable player.
    But my point is...
    "No book is good or bad." I mean some books are terrible: too basic, lousy print, only tab, etc.
    But I'm referring to the thousands of "mature" guitar study books.
    They are only good or bad depending on the reader.
    And whether those are good or bad depends on their level and what they're working on and a thousand other subjective features. I got Burt Ligon's books and they didn't catch me. Wrong level.
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    So, I'm not asking "what is a good book" (because I think that question isn't such a good one -as I just explained).
    Instead, I'm askiing: What book moved YOU? (and why).
    And if I at the appropriate level, and I'm interested in what that book teaches, and the book moves along at a speed that engages me, it will be a good book. I KNOW The Advancing Guitarist is a renowned book - and I own it - but it didn't catch me. It caught me a little but Howard Morgan's "Concepts" book caught me. Wow. And that silly Allen Hanlon book caught me.
    ----------------------------------------------------------------------
    So I'm not asking "what's a good book". I'm asking what book caught YOU.
    And I'm expecting some really unexpected answers.
    That's the fun of it to me.
    It's almost like "what book that I never heard of caught you".
    It's hard to put this idea into words.
    Or, I could ask: "What book do you owe the most to?"
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    Somewhere on this site is a post about a guy who lists the 200(?) books he owns. Then he talks a little about each one.
    On one of the books, he simply says: "I learned so much from that book". You could hear the gratitude in his comment.
    So that's what I'm asking: What book moved YOU.
    And, again, I expect some unexpected answers - from all levels of books.
    Thanks for reading this - if you were able to endure my wordiness.
    -----------------------------------------------------------------------
    In other words, mine is a PERSONAL question. Thanks

  7. #6
    What is LCC?

  8. #7
    I love this sentence: "think of chords as pitches and intervals rather than grips."
    Chords are collections of notes.
    And, any such collection (chord) has multiple names.
    When I heard that a CMaj7 was "Em over C", everything changed for me.
    I like to think of the guitar as a note instrument, not a chord instrument.
    Voicings, chord-melody support that idea.
    But such an orientation entails learning the notes, the fretboard, which took me years. I'm still shaky on the notes on frets 9 - 11 on the G and D strings.
    But getting those notes under your belt and learning key signatures, chord spellings and the cycle enriches the whole process for me.
    So thank you for: "
    think of chords as pitches and intervals rather than grips."
    What a wonderful journey, learning the guitar.
    I often wonder what it's like to learn the harp (or the sitar).

  9. #8

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    The book the book that "caught" me and opened my eyes is the book that almost everybody either owns or has heard of - Mickey Baker's "Complete Course in Jazz Guitar."

    There is little to no explanation of anything in this book (and at least one of his few explanations is actually incorrect). It wasn't until I learned some basic music theory that I figured out what he was doing.

    When I came to realize that his Gmaj7 > G6 > Am7 > Am6 is really just a I > vi > ii > V progression all kinds of lights turned on regarding chords and progressions. The book took on a new meaning for me after that. I never did complete the 2nd half, but I go back to the 1st half every few months and discover something new every time.

  10. #9
    Wonderful! Thank you.
    And this is just too weird: As I've already said, I am addicted to these books. So I look for them on eBay.
    Guess what I bid on just a few minutes ago. Really. I just bid on Mickey Baker Volume 1. I already have Volume 2.
    Isn't that something.
    Thank you so much for your post.
    Thank you.

    I want to add. I rarely finish books. In fact, I probably never have.
    I go through a book and something grabs me - and that grabbing takes me off to months of exploration. And I think that's why reading books can be helpful. I've mentioned Howard Morgen's "Concepts" book. I'm less that a quarter into it - but it's feeding me. It's led me over to Chord Melody books. It's brought me back to Delta Blues fingerpicking.
    It's wonderful, the current book climate.
    I remember being SO hungry for the kind of book teaching that is ubiquitous today. By nightfall, I can listen to great music and learn about tritones without leaving my chair. What a world. Wasn't like this decades ago - all the more amazing that guys like Chet Atkins, Barney Kessel and Lenny Breau got so great.

  11. #10

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    Quote Originally Posted by GuitarStudent View Post
    What is LCC?
    I'm guessing it's George Russell's Lydian Chromatic Concept.

  12. #11

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    Jerry Bergonzi's "Developing a jazz language, Vol. 6."

    You can spend a year on every chapter, and still not be done exploring. Even his "lists" in the book can keep your whole band creating new sounds for gigs to come! Highly recommended.

  13. #12

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    Essential Jazz Lines in the Style of Cannonball Adderley, Guitar Edition, by Corey Christiansen and Tamara Danielsson: full of good ideas, takes the player away from rote learning and copying other guitarists.

  14. #13

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    One of the books that really opened up the fretboard for me (and finally got me playing the rest-stroke (sweep/economy picking)) is Jazz Improvisation for Guitar: A Melodic Approach by Garrison Fewell.

    Really nice single line exercises and some solid chord building, too. I have a lot of books, and I think it's one of the best.

    When I first started getting into playing jazz I checked out a book from the library by Tom Anderson called "Playing Guitar in a Jazz/Big Band." I don't think it's necessarily a great book but it was the first one that opened my mind to play chords with muted strings.

    Joe Pass books are great too, the one that's just voicings (Joe Pass - Guitar Chords) is fun to just play through and expreiment with.

  15. #14

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    Quote Originally Posted by guitarmek View Post
    One of the books that really opened up the fretboard for me (and finally got me playing the rest-stroke (sweep/economy picking)) is Jazz Improvisation for Guitar: A Melodic Approach by Garrison Fewell.

    Really nice single line exercises and some solid chord building, too. I have a lot of books, and I think it's one of the best.
    +1 on Garrison Fewell - glad someone else appreciates it the way I do. After stumbling around in the dark trying to get a grip on jazz guitar playing I picked up this book (on the recommendation of a member here) and it opened the door for me. Still a reference that I come back again and again. And: if you are ready to dig deeper get his second volume "Jazz Improvisation for Guitar: A Harmonic Approach".
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
    A long journey starts with the first step...and although I have long forgotten about my destination I'm still enjoying the journey.

  16. #15

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    Another vote here for Garrison Fewell's Jazz Improvisation for Guitar: A Melodic Approach.

    I didn't get as much out of the second volume (Harmonic Approach), though. Don't get me wrong - it's a great book but it didn't stand out above other similar books for me. Whereas the Melodic Approach was one that I got a huge amount out of and intend to keep going back to.

    Another one that really made a difference to me was The Blues Scales by Dan Greenblatt. The reason for this is slightly embarassing. Once I properly got into jazz, I guess I started thinking of all the simpler "blues" scales as being not as "good" or as "advanced" tools to use for improvisation as more complex scales. So I tended to avoid them.

    It took me a long time, and lots of frustration, before I realised that part of the reason why I struggled to sound anywhere near as good as the jazz greats over a blues was precisely because they weren't being as pretentious as me. They make liberal use of blues scales etc as well as all the other, more complicated stuff. [And, of course, there are plenty of other reasons why I don't play at their level as well]

    Long story short, Dan Greenblatt's book isn't anything revolutionary. But it presents a really nice way to use blues ideas creatively over jazz blues progressions and to combine them with other more "jazz" scales. And it has nice examples that inspired me to stick with things.

  17. #16

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    I got a lot out of the first Mickey Baker book too. Still keep it around. In part because his idea of "hot" guitar is still my idea of "hot" guitar. I think a lot of the lines in that book still sound good. (It's not the most complicated sort of guitar but it still pleases me to play it.)

    Another book I got a lot from was Herb Ellis' "All the Shapes You Are." (It's the 3rd volume of his series on playing from chord shapes; the first volume was "Swing Blues" and the second was "Rhythm Shapes.") Lots of great lines. Not much theory at all. (Not against theory but you won't get much from Herb.) If you learn the lines, you have a lot to work with and some idea of where to put them.
    "Learn the repertoire. It’s all in the songs. If you learn 200 songs, you will have no problem improvising."
    Frank Vignola

  18. #17

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    Another vote for Garrison Fewell's books. I worked my way into playing based on triads on my own just a short while before finding A Melodic Approach. It really solidified and expanded things for me. I also like Andrew Green's Jazz Guitar Comping and JG Structures books.
    Ignorance is agony.



  19. #18

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  20. #19

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    Not sure if this counts as a book but this piece of paper definitely helped me more than anything else:

    Random Roots - Anton Schwartz – Jazz Saxophone

  21. #20

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    Alan Kingstone’s book, “Barry Harris Harmonic Method for Guitar”. By far. Absolutely changed the way I think of music.

    I also liked Garrison Fewell’s books, but it is a shame he didn’t do a companion DVD. His short video promoting the books is amazing with the books. Alas, there is no chance anymore for him to add to these books.


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk Pro

  22. #21
    Yep. It (“Random Roots” by Anton Schwartz) counts. It's hard! But good. Makes you go honest about keys like Gb and C#. Thank you
    ---------------------------------
    This just in!
    Looks like Anton finally finished his iPhone app.
    I just downloaded it. Looks great but haven't tried it yet.
    Thanks to all who contributed to this topic.
    I got the Garrsion Fewell book and The Blues Scale by Greenblatt.
    ---------------------------------------
    One more thing: A book that really helped me was:
    "Jazz Rhythm Guitar, A Systematic Approach to Progressions" by Roger Edison.
    ---------------------------------------
    Last edited by GuitarStudent; 12-21-2018 at 10:15 PM. Reason: To better clarify what “counts”

  23. #22

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    A vote for Garrison Fewell's Jazz Improvisation for Guitar: A Harmonic Approach. His fans included Jim Hall and Larry Coryell. Until reading this thread, I did not know about his Melodic approach.

  24. #23

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    I don't think I have a music method book worth the money. I love to read, and I learn most things easily from books, but for music, the only books that are at all helpful are leadsheets, or chord charts. I just can't seem to get much from books that help playing. Playing with others, especially if they're better than me (and most are) is far better help than any book, and I have a lot of books on the shelves. Different people learn in different ways, and method books work for some, but not for me.

  25. #24

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    I have both Garrison Fewell’s books. Yes they are excellent, but they aren’t really a series. It is more like the Melodic book was written first, then some years later he wrote the second one that presents the same material matured, organized in a better way, and expanded. I think I could have skipped the Melodic book just fine and not missed anything.


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  26. #25

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    Here are the books that come to mind.

    Rhythms by Colin/Bower, which helped me learn to read syncopated lines when I was a beginner.

    The old fakebook with what looked like 3 index cards to a page. I learned to play standards from that book.

    Then, the original illegal Real Book. More tunes, reading, jazz harmony, being able to play at jams.

    And, one more, Brazilian Guitar Styles by Nelson Faria. You can learn some of the Brazilian comps from this book.

    I have the usual shelf of more advanced method books, lick books etc, none of which took me to a higher level, although I got something out of some of them.

    Combo lessons with a good teacher were more helpful.

  27. #26

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    Quote Originally Posted by rlrhett View Post
    I have both Garrison Fewell’s books. Yes they are excellent, but they aren’t really a series. It is more like the Melodic book was written first, then some years later he wrote the second one that presents the same material matured, organized in a better way, and expanded. I think I could have skipped the Melodic book just fine and not missed anything.

    The way I see it is that "Melodic approach" is for the guitarist who knows his basic shapes and diatonic harmony and wants to get a foot in the door of jazz playing whereas "Harmonic Approach" digs deeper into the harmonic context.
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
    A long journey starts with the first step...and although I have long forgotten about my destination I'm still enjoying the journey.

  28. #27

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    Thanks to several of you for the reminders to "play with others!" I've had countless occasions where I had been working on some book exercise, and then went to a rehearsal/ gig/ jam and realized, "Wow, that didn't work! I need to work on ___!" and the resulting focus helped more than the exercise!

  29. #28

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    I'm particularly interested in playing solo and have a lot of books. I usually make progress in each until it gets too tough and then I switch to another.

    My latest, which so far has been the best and most comprehensive (albeit pricey), is Howard Morgen's "Through Chord-Melody & Beyond: A Comprehensive, Hands-on Guide to Playing & Arranging Solo Jazz Guitar Based on 11 Classic Standards from the Great American Songbook." https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/0739049844/ref=ppx_yo_dt_b_asin_title_o02__o00_s01?ie=UTF8&ps c=1

  30. #29

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    Quote Originally Posted by MarkRhodes View Post
    I got a lot out of the first Mickey Baker book too. Still keep it around. In part because his idea of "hot" guitar is still my idea of "hot" guitar. I think a lot of the lines in that book still sound good. (It's not the most complicated sort of guitar but it still pleases me to play it.)

    Another book I got a lot from was Herb Ellis' "All the Shapes You Are." (It's the 3rd volume of his series on playing from chord shapes; the first volume was "Swing Blues" and the second was "Rhythm Shapes.") Lots of great lines. Not much theory at all. (Not against theory but you won't get much from Herb.) If you learn the lines, you have a lot to work with and some idea of where to put them.
    That’s why I’m digging Herb’s All the Shapes. Just tell me what to play!

  31. #30

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    Thanks for the suggestions, I've ordered more books!

  32. #31

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    "Are you one of those budding, young jazz guitarists who knows what they're looking for but feels that it's all just out of reach? Here's the one book that will take you to the next level!" said the ad. I sent my money and couldn't believe my eyes when the postman knocked on the door this morning:

    Which few books took you to the next level?-fat-book-jpg
    Last edited by PMB; 02-01-2019 at 01:52 AM.

  33. #32

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    So would you buy both Garrison Fewell books or skip to one over the other?

  34. #33
    Quote Originally Posted by PMB View Post
    "Are you one of those budding, young jazz guitarists who knows what they're looking for but feels that it's all just out of reach? Here's the one book that will take you to the next level!" said the ad. I sent my money and couldn't believe my eyes when the postman knocked on the door this morning:

    Which few books took you to the next level?-fat-book-jpg
    It looks big. Will it fit through my mail slot?


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  35. #34

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    Quote Originally Posted by DS71 View Post
    So would you buy both Garrison Fewell books or skip to one over the other?
    If you're beginning jazz guitar definitely "Melodic Approach" first. "Harmonic Approach" goes a lot deeper into harmonic theory. If you get both work through "MA" first but have a peep into the other as much as you want to. You'll get more out of H.A. when you have worked through the other.
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
    A long journey starts with the first step...and although I have long forgotten about my destination I'm still enjoying the journey.

  36. #35

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    Currently working on the Jerry Bergonzi series, just on the lowly Volume 1 but it's a great book and full of very good advice. There's something to be said for simple material and really having it down, you know? Anyway, if 1235 permutations are hip enough for Coltrane to play a gazillion times then surely I can spend some time on them in addition to transcribing language. I'd heard great things about the Lovano series and I'm glad I finally took the plunge. I'll be continuing with the series.

    Learning - like really learning - all the chord shapes from the Alan Kingstone book on Barry Harris' approach has also been very helpful in terms of getting me to see the fretboard more deeply. Also nice to get all those shapes smoothly under my fingers.
    Last edited by coolvinny; 05-13-2019 at 01:06 PM. Reason: oops I meant Jerry Bergonzi not Joe Lovano

  37. #36

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    Phenomenology of Spirit by Hegel

    The work of art in the age of mechanical reproduction by Walter Benjamin

    Dialectic of Enlightenment by Adorno and Horkheimer

    real next level bizness

    As far as music goes , ' Harmony Melody and Composition ' by Paul Sturman

    20th century harmony by Vincent Persichetti

    Technique de mon langage musical by Olivier Messiaen

    I've never seen a jazz instructional book that was worth the paper it was written on . Once you've learned the basics of music theory everything you need to know is on the records . Learn your major and minor scales then get out and play music with people is my ethos .

  38. #37

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    A very underrated book is Payin' your dues with the Blues by Jay Umble. It covers all aspects of jazz guitar improvisation in the context of jazz blues. Comping, rhythm, bass lines, improvisation, chord solos. He covers both traditional and modern approaches. It looks at different areas of blues changes and goes over various harmonic variations and improvisation approaches for these areas. It's not a thick book because there is a lot of music in it, rather than blah, blah. It's not an introduction to jazz for beginners kind of book. More like an overview of various tools and devices in different areas of jazz guitar applied to blues.
    A lot if music books are half-baked attempts that are aimed at trapping in casual bookstore browsers. I like books written with sincerity and perfectionism. This book classifies as one.

    MBGU Jazz Curriculum: Payin' Your Dues with the Blues eBook + Online Audio - Mel Bay Publications, Inc. : Mel Bay

  39. #38

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    Never just from a book, but a combination of book and teacher has helped a few times.

    Complete Rhythms by Colin and Bower taught me how to read (after a couple of Mel Bay's).

    One of Warren Nunes' books which explained what a tonal center is.

    I got a good deal from Nelson Faria's Brazilian Guitar Styles - which is probably the single most useful book I've seen on comping.

  40. #39

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    "Approaching the Guitar" by Gene Bertoncini.
    Beauty is as close to terror as we can well endure. -Rainer Maria Rilke

  41. #40

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    Quote Originally Posted by Cunamara View Post
    "Approaching the Guitar" by Gene Bertoncini.
    A great book, although very minimalist, few words, just exercises that lead you to look at and play the guitar organically from the ground up.