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  1. #1

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    Hey guys, I've been focusing a lot of my practice time on becoming a better improviser lately and I was curious if you guys could recommend me a book specifically about playing over jazz changes and that sort of thing. I've been playing for 5-6 years would consider myself an intermediate player but, only very recently started doing a harmonic analysis of "I Got Rhythm" I've took private lessons for 4 years and can read music pretty well. Any recommendations, thoughts, or advice would be great. Oh! and I play guitar

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    The Jazz Guitar Chord Dictionary
     
  3. #2

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    Hello Wig Iggy,

    There are many approaches to learning how to improvise over jazz tunes. All of them are valid and have merit. I would like to introduce my approach that is based on using pentatonic scales for any chord, chord progression or song you would ever encounter. This is a "system" and therefore open to much criticism by jazz theorists. However, it will work and will complement your current style and level of development. With this system, it is impossible to play a wrong note. You don't have to worry about "avoid" notes. You can concentrate on the song. Also, it uses a strict two-frets-per-string approach that is very guitar friendly. I have written a book, "Jazz Guitar Soloing Concepts: A Pentatonic Modal Approach to Improvisation". A review of the book appears in the Nov 2009 issue of JUST JAZZ GUITAR. You can also read the review at:

    Jazz Guitar Soloing Concepts: A Pentatonic Modal Approach to Improvisation Book Review

    It is very important to me that people who buy the book are happy with their purchase. For this reason, I have a lot of FREE resources describing my approach--to make sure it is right for you. For more details on my approach, including book description, Table of Contents, articles and mp3s, please see my website at:

    Jazz Guitar Improvisation Using Pentatonic Chord Scales

    I also have free YouTube lessons based on the book. Check out the lesson on the Dorian Pentatonic Scale at:

    YouTube - Kanaal van rlemos

    and the Mixolydian Pentatonic Scale lesson at:

    YouTube - Kanaal van rlemos

    Hope this helps. Please feel free to email me at: rlemos@calstatela.edu

    Thank you very much.

    Ron

  4. #3

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    "Patterns for Jazz" by Jerry Coker is a GREAT book. In fact it's like a bible for me. It has opened up countless possibilities, patterns and led me to create my own. It's not guitar-specific, but it's written in C. There is a free version online I can send you.

  5. #4

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    Quote Originally Posted by Wig Iggy
    Hey guys, I've been focusing a lot of my practice time on becoming a better improviser lately and I was curious if you guys could recommend me a book specifically about playing over jazz changes and that sort of thing. I've been playing for 5-6 years would consider myself an intermediate player but, only very recently started doing a harmonic analysis of "I Got Rhythm" I've took private lessons for 4 years and can read music pretty well. Any recommendations, thoughts, or advice would be great. Oh! and I play guitar

    Hey,
    Joe Diorio wrote a book just on rhythm changes if you'd like to study his approach.
    My advice would be to choose a tune to transcribe and learn the licks you like the most.
    On the other hand, there are tons of books of transcriptions available. Just buy one of them and that'll be enough for your whole life. I love the book of Joe Pass called "Joe Pass on Guitar".

    Study one or two licks fro9m that book a week and your soloing will benefit immensely...

    Francesco

  6. #5

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    Guys, this doesn't promise ANY bebop licks, in fact the book just has patterns and ideas, modulation formulae and polychordal and diminished vocab. The idea with this book, is to get these sounds into your playing, which gets it into your head. At that point, you can start creating and notating your own ideas through retrograding, inverting ect these Coker patterns.

    You'd be SHOCKED at how many ideas the book has that you hear in others' playing

  7. #6

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    For Rhythm Changes I used the Frank Vignola books 1-3. Full solos written out w/tab in lots of different keys. He starts out with the guide tones and goes from there....his Jazz Blues books are also pretty good but mostly Dom Blues.

    Joe Pass book is also great..no tabs so it helps in learning to read, but good solos for major, minor and bird blues and rhythm changes.

  8. #7

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    I am in the market to buy some jazz books, so I can improve my playing and learn more ways to improvise, etc.

    I want you to list me some books you think a learning jazz guitarist must have.

    I have these 3: Jazz Impro: Harmonic and Melodic Approach by Garrison Fewell
    and Creative Chordal Harmony for Guitar by Tim Miller and Mick Goodrick(even though this seems quite advanced for me).

    Thanks,
    Mike

    Edit: Not sure if I posted this in the right section.
    Last edited by JPMike; 07-19-2012 at 08:44 AM. Reason: Remark

  9. #8

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    The Jazz Theory Book - Mark Levine
    Jazzology - Robert Rawlins
    Forward Motion - Hal Galper
    Connecting Chords with Linear Harmony - Bert Ligon
    Complete Book of Harmony, Theory & Voicing - Bret Willmott

  10. #9

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    Charlie Parker Omnibook so much can be learned from learning, playing, and studying Parker.

  11. #10

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    Easy...

    Jazz Theory Resources vols I and II, and Connecting Chords with Linear Harmony by Bert Ligon

    Forward Motion by Hal Galper

  12. #11

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    The Advancing Guitarist is pretty amazing. I think of it more of a how to guide for harmonic improvisation, with some other gems in there, maybe it's not exactly "how to play jazz," but it would certainly be my desert island music book. Very comprehensive.

  13. #12

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    Hal Crook's 'How to improvise' is a wonderful book with a holistic approach (everything from scale patterns to dynamics, phrase lengths, melodic range, rhythmic phrasing etc). Highly recommended.


    Are you studying with anyone at the moment and if yes, who (I'm an Athenian myself although I've been away for a decade)? A bit of structure/guidance will go a long way...

  14. #13

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    First of all,

    I would like to thank everyone for their recommendations. I will start with Forward Motion by Hal Galper. Seems quite interesting.

    I have already saved in a list all the books, you recommended it, so I will be buying them all.
    Quote Originally Posted by IbanezAS100
    Hal Crook's 'How to improvise' is a wonderful book with a holistic approach (everything from scale patterns to dynamics, phrase lengths, melodic range, rhythmic phrasing etc). Highly recommended.


    Are you studying with anyone at the moment and if yes, who (I'm an Athenian myself although I've been away for a decade)? A bit of structure/guidance will go a long way...
    Hello there,

    I will try the book soon (hoping at least).

    Since I started playing guitar, I always had instructors, good ones and bad ones.

    Really? How come you left??

    Lately, the past 1 year I have been studying with Yiotis Samaras, do you know him?? To me, he is the best so far. Really have improved.

  15. #14

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    How about

    Mel Bay's Jazz Guitar Chord Chart.

    It's an A4 sized card booklet with 6th string and 5th string root 4 note chords, there is also a section on triads on the back page. Aside from the nice picture on the front there are only 3 pages of moveable chord tabs which I find a convenient quick go to reference instead of the jazz guitar chord bible I used to use.

  16. #15

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    Hi Mike

    I wouldn't recommend starting out with Forward Motion (probably my favourite book) if you are not already very familliar with jazz theory as it assumes a reasonable understanding of theory. The concepts tought in the book are also thought of as the "process" meant to be aplied to an existing vocabulary to become music.

    I would recommend starting with Bert Ligon's Jazz Theory Resources Volumes I and II (like Johnny said) or Jazzology or The Jazz Theory Book. Btw don't let all the negativity about the latter book being centred around chord scale theory put you off, Mark has a practical way of explaining general music theory very well and there is a lot of very useful information in there. His section on Reharmonization is excellent (the most comprehensive I've seen).

    My advice is to except no single book as the gospel, take what is useful from each book and don't worry too much about the rest. In Jazz you don't wanna be limited in any way to any particular approach anyway, try get as many tools in your toolbox as is possible and concentrate on the most effective stuff.

  17. #16

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    But ofcourse if you're already well versed in theory and you've built up a reasonable vocabulary, Forward Motion is mind blowing stuff filled with little jems left behind by the masters.

  18. #17

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    First of all, I would like to thank you for your time and advice.

    I actually ordered all the books (almost all, the essential ones), mentioned in this thread. So, I am going to keep on checking them all. I will probably start with Bert Ligon's Jazz Theory Resources Volumes I and II.

    I will let you know, about my impressions on the books, when I get them.

  19. #18

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    First I want to thank everyone on this sight for the time they take helping people out like me who are learning. It's such a great forum....
    Anyway, ordered and just received the Bert Ligon's Jazz Theory books, man there's alot there. They are put together like a textbook for a class ( he is a teacher so it makes sense)...I wish it came with a cd since my sight reading is not great and it'll take time going through the examples. Does anyone know if there is a dvd series out on Jazz theory? That might be better for me...

  20. #19

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    With all those books you can't go wrong! Word of caution though, just remember your ears are the most important things to train so don't neglect transcribing! Good luck!

  21. #20

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    the joe pass guitar method...

    any howard roberts books...

    any sal salvador books...

    bert ligon....berklee series of books...

    check out bob kellers jazz page...

    time on the instrument...pierre

  22. #21

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    Thanks you for your advice!!
    I finally asked Amazon for the book. From the comments I read on the forum seems very interesting. I also saw Garrison videos on Youtube and I liked his style. Now I must wait a month or so for me to arrive.

  23. #22

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    Hi, you can also have a look at this thread for more references:

    Top 50 Guitar & Music Books

  24. #23

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    Quote Originally Posted by IbanezAS100
    Hal Crook's 'How to improvise' is a wonderful book with a holistic approach (everything from scale patterns to dynamics, phrase lengths, melodic range, rhythmic phrasing etc). Highly recommended.
    +1. I also like Hal's "Ready, Aim, Improvise!" Great stuff.

    Jerry Bergonzi's books are excellent, too.

  25. #24

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    I've found the Bert Ligon books to be some of the best learning materials available today.

    wiz

  26. #25

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    Mickey Baker's Jazz Guitar Book 1 along with a Real Book.

  27. #26

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    Every Jerry Bergonzi book.

  28. #27

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    My recipe (I am a rookie).
    Comping - Three note voicings and beyond Randy Vincent
    Soloing - Garry Fewell melodic approach
    Tunes
    Bert Ligon - Connecting...

  29. #28

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    What are the books that helped you and inspired you the most in your playing and understanding the music? I've had and read a lot of books about guitar and general music theory, but when I think back, these would be the books that had the biggest influence on my playing:

    - I don't even know the title of the first book, I copied it from a friend's copy when I was a teenager and starting to play the guitar. It contains explanations of the parts of the guitar (acoustic and electric), relation of notes between the guitar and piano, short tutorial on how to read music notation, diagrams with all kinds of chords, notation of some famous pop and rock hits, and on the end of it a part about how to play blues and jazz, explaining the basic rhythms and scales, with some music examples, and it was pure notation, no tabs or anything. It's too bad I don't know the title and the author's name of it, because now I would buy it just to have it, although I've outgrown it. It was a valuable source of information back then, when there was no Internet.

    - "Speed Mechanics for Lead Guitar" by Troy Stetina. Great book for introducing some discipline and developing technique and dexterity.

    - "The Harmony Basics of Jazz" by the Macedonian author Ilija Pejovski. It helped me understand the basics of jazz harmony and reharmonization. I copied it from a friend while I was studying, and recently bought it from a street bookseller just to have it in my library.

    - David Baker's "How to play bebop" series. Nice introduction to bebop scales, and some cool licks.

    - The "Contemporary Chord Khancepts" by Steve Khan and Joe Pass' "Guitar Chords" got me going for comping.

    - Sheet music: "Kurt Rosenwinkel Compositions", "John Coltrane Improvised Saxophone Solos", "The Bill Evans Guitar Book", "Wes Montgomery Guitar Folio".

    And lately I'm reading through Jerry Bergonzi's "Inside Improvisation" series. Wow! I wish I had those books a lot earlier!
    Last edited by aleksandar; 08-16-2015 at 10:09 AM.

  30. #29

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    Paul Berliner "Thinking in Jazz"
    Ashley Kahn "Kind of Blue"
    Christopher Small "Music of the Common Tongue"

    The latter only has a distant relation with jazz, but was relevant and hugely inspiring.

    Sheet music: the Real Book (any version)

    I've never had any inspiration from "how to" books, or books on guitar technique. (Not since Bert Weedon's "Play in a Day" in the 1960s, which I wouldn't recommend today .)

  31. #30

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    For me:

    "The Advancing Guitarist" by Mick Goodrick. This is the only book I've had for over 25 years now and still take from time to time and use it.

  32. #31

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    The Books by Bert Ligon

  33. #32

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    chord chemistry--ted greene

    intervallic designs--joe diorio

    no matter how many times I have read and reread .. there is always something new to learn..with the greene book-the many ways to voice a basic triad opens an entire new dimension to understanding the fretboard and voice leading..

  34. #33

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    I never found how-to books or books of transcriptions much of an inspiration for some reason. I did buy them, but I found I got more progress by listening and copying things from the records.

    The one exception was the Joe Pass chord book, that gave me most of the chords I still use.

    But I did find biographies of jazz musicians fascinating, Bird, Miles, Trane, Bill Evans, Art Pepper, Hampton Hawes, Dexter Gordon - I loved reading those. Even the dark aspects were educational, to say the least.

    I certainly learned a lot about the racial problems these guys had to deal with, which really surprised me. Like when Miles got beaten up by a cop for standing outside the club he was appearing in, in NY in the 1950s.

    So I think I got some real insight and inspiration about how serious the music is, from reading these things.

  35. #34

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    I never got inspired by how-to books. Just like grahambop, I bought a few but rarely went through them. I groked what I needed to do from teachers and listening. And bios inspired me.

  36. #35
    Mickey Baker and Mel Bay's Complete Jazz Guitar Method by Mike Christiansen back in the day , Joe Elliott's Introduction to Jazz Guitar Soloing, Leavitt's Modern method.

    Probably the most helpful for my personal enjoyment of the music would have to have been Robert Conti's CM methods (The Assembly Line and The Formula) and Real Books.

  37. #36

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    George Van Epps Guitar Method, a lifetime's worth of material.

  38. #37

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    It seems that a book has most relevance to you when you're just starting to learn a certain aspect of jazz.
    I found the orange Joe Pass book great for single line improv when I was first getting into that.
    I found Reese Markevitch's book, "Inside Outside" great for learning about chord substitution when I was really interested in that.

    Since then I've looked at hundreds of other books, but none of them had the same impact as the two books I mentioned above...

  39. #38

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    Improvising Jazz by Jerry Coker

  40. #39

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    Quote Originally Posted by henryrobinett
    I never got inspired by how-to books. Just like grahambop, I bought a few but rarely went through them. I groked what I needed to do from teachers and listening. And bios inspired me.
    ditto. I wasted years fumbling with books before I got serious 4 years ago. Such a waste of time. Berliner's "Thinking in Jazz", biographies, learning by ear, memorizing tunes and hanging out with people who can play is how I learned to hang. And shedding like a mofo.

    I did not know about Clapton's tirade. Wow, despicable stuff...especially for a guy who learned all his music from African Americans. Just another example of how much better Duane Allman was than Clapton.

  41. #40

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    Quote Originally Posted by eddy b.
    George Van Epps Guitar Method, a lifetime's worth of material.
    Yes, more material in those few pages than in his later Mechanisms. That book and Barry Galbraith's Comping Book taught me how to comp.

  42. #41

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    The first two made me realize there is more to life than some bitchin power chords.
    Mel Bay's Deluxe Encyclopedia of Guitar Chords

    Guitar Grimoire A compendium of Formulas for Guitar Scales and Modes

    The next two helped me realize that I could try this.
    Beginning Jazz Guitar
    Real Book of Jazz

  43. #42

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    Maybe it's just because of the method of teaching that my first jazz teacher had with me...which was just for me to learn the music by learning tunes...but the only book that I consistently go back to and recommend to students is the real book. And yes I know...it's not always correct, and I always go to recordings to check things out...but it's a great starting point and reference point.

    I actually lost a student over this point once.

    He once came into a lesson really worked up about what he perceived to be his lack of progress. Was venting about things. In frustration he asked if there was just ONE book I could recommend him that he and I could work through together from beginning to end that would make him a good jazz player. I surprised him by saying yes. Then I pulled the Real Book off the shelf and said, let's learn every tune in here together...You'll be amazing.

    I don't think he appreciated my point...as he wasn't my student much longer after that lesson.

  44. #43

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    Quote Originally Posted by jordanklemons
    Maybe it's just because of the method of teaching that my first jazz teacher had with me...which was just for me to learn the music by learning tunes...but the only book that I consistently go back to and recommend to students is the real book. And yes I know...it's not always correct, and I always go to recordings to check things out...but it's a great starting point and reference point.

    I actually lost a student over this point once.

    He once came into a lesson really worked up about what he perceived to be his lack of progress. Was venting about things. In frustration he asked if there was just ONE book I could recommend him that he and I could work through together from beginning to end that would make him a good jazz player. I surprised him by saying yes. Then I pulled the Real Book off the shelf and said, let's learn every tune in here together...You'll be amazing.

    I don't think he appreciated my point...as he wasn't my student much longer after that lesson.
    Hahahaha! that's a great story!

    Really rings true with some of the students I've had who insisted that I was not telling them everything or that I was making them learn in a harder way than what I had done myself

    Jens

  45. #44
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    Alan Kingstone's The Barry Harris Harmonic Method for Guitar

  46. #45

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    Books that inspired me are Leavitt's Modern Method books (help in understanding the guitar layout) and David Baker's how to play bebop (for understanding jazz improvisation). You can't go wrong with those.

  47. #46

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    All of Jerry Bergonzi's books, especially Vol. 6.

  48. #47

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    Joe Pass chord book probably has had the most effect on my playing.

    By far I have learned the most from, and been inspired the most by, video lessons from Joe Pass (youtube), Rich Severson, Jimmy Bruno, and Barry Greene

  49. #48

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    Mel Bay Rhythm Guitar Chord System opened up the fretboard for me like no other book. It even improved my lead playing.

  50. #49

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    Quote Originally Posted by rsclosson
    Mel Bay Rhythm Guitar Chord System opened up the fretboard for me like no other book. It even improved my lead playing.

    At some point they renamed that book. It used to be called the Orchestral Chord System.

  51. #50

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    Quote Originally Posted by DanielleOM
    At some point they renamed that book. It used to be called the Orchestral Chord System.
    Actually my first run through this book was from the Orchestral Chord System. It was given to me by a friend who didn't see the value. I still have that rather tattered version. Kind of a funny cover. It actually says:"Put Atomic Power in Every Chord."