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  1. #1

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    I have been fooling around with the guitar for a long time, picking up some info here and there. Still I have a lot of holes in my knowledge of the instrument.

    Time to fix that! I want to learn once and for all:


    • Where the notes are on the fretboard
    • A modicum of sight-reading, so I'm not pecking and hunting every note on a Real Book chart, for example
    • Some music theory, chords, etc.


    What is some good method book that I can use to learn "the basics", so I can then proceed to learn jazz guitar?

    Thanks in advance!

  2.  

    The Jazz Guitar Chord Dictionary
     
  3. #2

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    Check out JonnyPac. He presented his newly published book here, which I ordered. It covers chord building, modes, harmony etc. I am a relative beginner who has had not previous music theory training, and have in my posession several books. I honestly feel that his orderlyness and systematic approach has been good for my. Check out some of his exemples on this site, that ought to give you an idea as to its value for you. Cheers and berst of luck 0zoro

  4. #3

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    Thanks for the plug, Ozoro! My book covers the building blocks to create most of the voicings you'd ever need. I hope inspire folks to fearlessly create coherent melodies and harmonies from the fretboard vantage point. It's a good theoretical suppliment to what you are after, though a good CM workbook would benefit you as well. Good luck. PM me if you want to ask questions. Thanks!

    JonnyPac

  5. #4

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    For improvising/soloing with chords, the Joe Pass Chord Solos book.

    Amazon.com: Joe Pass Chord Solos: For Guitar, Vibes & All Keyboard Instruments (0038081001630): Joe Pass: Books

    You can check out the first page at Amazon to see what it's about.

  6. #5
    For me, the Pat Martino book Linear Expressions really helped get my phrasing together, I warmly recomend it!

  7. #6

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    Currently, I'm working on Jazz Guitar Structures by Andrew Green. The book is helping me strengthen my sight reading, especially up the neck, and the arpeggio patterns he lays out are familiar from other books I've read. Micky Baker's book is great for strengthening the left hand (or right hand for the lefties among us) and smoothing out chord changes.

  8. #7

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    Quote Originally Posted by Timbell
    For now I have Mickey Baker's complete course and levine's theory book in my amazon cart... I want to try out the joe pass books, but I feel I will get more out of them once I attempt a book more focused on the basic concepts and proper technique.
    Dunno about the Levine, but MB's books are not focused on either explaining the basic concepts or "proper" technique. The latter is one of their strong points for a newbie-ish jazz player - he gives you runs and licks and has you string them together, with fingerings which Leavitt would probably turn in his grave over, but which are more or less intuitive. As far as the concepts go, the lack of theoretical explanation is, again, a point in favour of the MB approach. He takes ordinary arpeggios which wouldn't work in a jazz context as they are, and makes jazz runs and licks out of them. It's worth more than chapters of theoretical analysis.

    It should be remembered that the MB books are from 1955, as well. They predate almost all jazz schools, most modal jazz, scales and modes as the centre of a guitarist's thinking, and so on.

  9. #8

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    thanks johnross, I had not heard that side of the opinion on baker's books. I am really looking for a book that will give me the guidelines of playing jazz guitar. I can read music (needs work), play the chords, and sometimes connect them with arpeggios and such while comping a tune. Not having real guidance by an instructor that I trust makes me concerned my time practicing and studying is not benefiting me as much as it could be.

  10. #9

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    Quote Originally Posted by JohnRoss
    As far as the concepts go, the lack of theoretical explanation is, again, a point in favour of the MB approach. He takes ordinary arpeggios which wouldn't work in a jazz context as they are, and makes jazz runs and licks out of them. It's worth more than chapters of theoretical analysis.
    +1. I tend to like theory--or at least systems: philosophy, theology, chess--but Mickey Baker's first book has taught me more about jazz than any other, and it is *better* for being light on theory. I think of Aristotle's remark in his "Ethics" that ethics doesn't teach you how to behave, but helps you understand the wisdom of the moral instruction you received as a child. If you spend a year with Mickey's book (-the first one), you'll be a pretty good jazz player and you can go from there to other places. It's better than studying theory and getting brain freeze on the bandstand because you don't know which way to jump.

  11. #10

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    IMO....Mel Bay to learn the concepts of the guitar and how to come to terms with it...

    Mickey Baker for into to jazz concepts...

    Bill Leavett (sp) from Berklee..all three books are to be on your bookshelf..

    Joe Pass..for the intermediate to advanced student...

    Others are Howard Roberts...Ted Greene...

    Check out Jamie Aebersolds website and well as Bet Ligons...much there at both..

    Time on the instrument...pierre

  12. #11

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    I've been thinking that it's "Whatever is the latest book you've bought".
    Why? Well- I just bought "Charlton Johnson - Swing & Big Band Guitar ", and this simple book and CD has done more for my swing and rhythm playing in a couple of weeks than anything else I've bought-and I've bought a good few books over the years! The difference in the sound, playing rhythm with these chord shapes verses the big 5-6 note voicings I've always done is astonishing. Even on something simple like "Beyond the Sea". Leaves loads of room for piano and brass, but really sounds full with bass and drums. Hooray!!

  13. #12

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    there are so many books out there, i don't think that any one book is the holy grail.

    the Leavitt series and other Berklee jazz guitar books and videos are excellent. you could stop right there and be in pretty good shape - but there's no need to and you shouldn't anway.

    others that people seem to think are valuable;

    M. Goodrick
    Mickey Baker
    Mel Bay - numerous books here
    Barry Galbraith books
    Musician’s Institute
    Don Mock
    Steve Khan’s book on Wes Montgomery
    Books and videos from the top artists: Pass, Hall, Johnny Smith, Benson, Martino, McLaughlin, Coryell
    Last edited by fumblefingers; 05-08-2011 at 06:37 PM.

  14. #13

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    Quote Originally Posted by fumblefingers
    the Leavitt series and other Berklee jazz guitar books and videos are excellent. you could stop right there and be in pretty good shape - but there's no need to and you shouldn't anway.
    You're probably right, they're a good place to stop, but I don't think they're a good place to start. Because
    a) the Leavitt books do not teach jazz. Sorry, I know I've said this more than once before, but I believe the only time the word 'jazz' is used in the three books is to name the jazz melodic minor scale. They are probably unsurpassed for turning someone into an all-round pro-level guitarist, but not a jazz player, not on their own, at least.
    b) without the structure of a full-time course, the benefits anyone less than a high-intermediate player is going to get out of them are likely to be outweighed by the discouragement of failure to progress.
    c) the Leavitt fingerings are debatable. They will always get you out of a sticky situation, and everyone should learn them at some stage, but they are not 'guitaristic,' and if you follow them to the letter you will fail to get the best out of the instrument. Vibrato, for example, is severely impeded, so are bends, etc.
    d) there is almost no worthwhile music as such in the entire series. Heaps of exercises, a few functional solo pieces and duets that sound as if Leavitt made them up on the spur of the moment (I don't imagine he did, really), OK, but practically nothing anyone would really want to listen to. Which is, after all, the point.

  15. #14

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    Quote Originally Posted by JohnRoss
    You're probably right, they're a good place to stop, but I don't think they're a good place to start. Because
    a) the Leavitt books do not teach jazz. Sorry, I know I've said this more than once before, but I believe the only time the word 'jazz' is used in the three books is to name the jazz melodic minor scale. They are probably unsurpassed for turning someone into an all-round pro-level guitarist, but not a jazz player, not on their own, at least.
    b) without the structure of a full-time course, the benefits anyone less than a high-intermediate player is going to get out of them are likely to be outweighed by the discouragement of failure to progress.
    c) the Leavitt fingerings are debatable. They will always get you out of a sticky situation, and everyone should learn them at some stage, but they are not 'guitaristic,' and if you follow them to the letter you will fail to get the best out of the instrument. Vibrato, for example, is severely impeded, so are bends, etc.
    d) there is almost no worthwhile music as such in the entire series. Heaps of exercises, a few functional solo pieces and duets that sound as if Leavitt made them up on the spur of the moment (I don't imagine he did, really), OK, but practically nothing anyone would really want to listen to. Which is, after all, the point.

    i hear ya, but i think that Leavitt's point for all those jazz guitarists studying jazz, playing tunes and studying improv - was that all of those studies were not specifically teaching the guitar. i think he was right. his books still stand because of it.

    i think it's very important for a user of these books to remember that they were used as part of a 4-year music conservatory curriculum that included:

    1. private study with a teacher (tunes covered here)
    2. ensembles (tunes covered here)
    3. improv classes (tunes covered here)

    so if an aspiring player studying on his own skips the above 3 things and only plays what’s in the 3-7 Leavitt books..... they are really missing the point.

    in other words, method books are not to be confused with repertoire.

    an analogy would be - doing drills and workouts but never playing a sport. playing the game is the real deal. drills raise your capability to play your best.
    Last edited by fumblefingers; 05-09-2011 at 09:34 AM.

  16. #15
    Quote Originally Posted by JohnRoss
    a) the Leavitt books do not teach jazz. Sorry, I know I've said this more than once before, but I believe the only time the word 'jazz' is used in the three books is to name the jazz melodic minor scale. They are probably unsurpassed for turning someone into an all-round pro-level guitarist, but not a jazz player, not on their own, at least.
    He doesn't even do that, except maybe once in describing it as a synonym for his own name for the scale, Real Melodic Minor.

    I think JohnRoss's criticisms best apply to the melodic/scale portions of the book. I think his chord lessons are sequenced beautifully for beginners, and they are definitely jazz. If you just went through and played the "Chord Forms" and "Chord Etudes", they voice lead well and teach you how to deal with jazz fingering issues in a way I haven't seen in the other books I have. The chord etudes are particularly helpful in dealing with chord melody fingerings. I think the book gets bogged down in the scale fingerings.

    As far as incorporating real music, I'd love to see any jazz method that fully integrates real jazz standards from the beginning. Can you imagine? Start out learning basic comping and soloing over "Fall Leaves" or whatever they'd want to call it. Learn the basics, but in the context of actual music. Who wouldn't want to learn that way? Then, on to the next tune to learn some new voicings etc. Somebody needs to write that book.
    Last edited by matt.guitarteacher; 05-09-2011 at 09:47 AM.

  17. #16

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    Quote Originally Posted by matt.guitarteacher
    As far as incorporating real music, I'd love to see any jazz method that fully integrates real jazz standards from the beginning.
    Yes, I agree, but that wasn't what I said. Although it would be nice, I understand that there are problems about including copyright works in a tutor (though I don't know why one couldn't have things like "Theme Based on the Autumn Leaves Changes"). Anyway, what I said was that what there wasn't anything worth listening to. Leavitt's chord studies are OK, you can quite enjoy playing them to yourself a few times, but they're essentially exercises with little real musical interest, and you wouldn't play them for anyone else except (very tolerant) friends or family - there's nothing you might keep up your sleeve in case you needed to fill in a few empty minutes while the rest of the band sneaked out for a smoke, for example.

  18. #17

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    others that people seem to think are valuable;

    M. Goodrick
    Mickey Baker
    Mel Bay - numerous books here
    Barry Galbraith books
    Musician’s Institute
    Don Mock
    Steve Khan’s book on Wes Montgomery
    Books and videos from the top artists: Pass, Hall, Johnny Smith, Benson, Martino, McLaughlin, Coryell

    I would add David Baker's bebop vol. 2 to this list - if you memorize a new bebop lick every week you will advance very rapidly and this book is loaded with them.

  19. #18

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    Really, none. I got baker's book, never really got through the lesson 4. Baker's book is good but its a much more entry level book than was suggested to me. My advice skip the first section. By the time I'd got baker, I was well versed in vocings and really if you have some theory of what a chord is constructed of, it will be very redundant.

    My advice would be to get a book exclusively about chords and/or progressions.

    I also had Danny Barker's book's, very very thick, and a first volume which is all pretty much redundant again('bebop scale').

    Get a good book on chords or progressions. All other books, are really just, advice or someone's analysis of the playing style, which could probably be picked up by you by listening to a lot of jazz.

  20. #19

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    I am going to keep on recomending a great book that helped me over the stage of knowing all the arps and scales but notbut not beingable to turn them into music.The book is called an introduction to jazz soloing by the musicians institute and is very down to earth and focuses on using chord tones AND CONNECTING THEM WITH CHROMATIC notes.To me this seems to be the most underepresented jazz book on the market..Oh and no i didnt write it just in case you wondered,but some commission for promotng it might be nice if your listening MI.

  21. #20

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    Hey guys!, so i was contemplating picking up the jody fisher books, but they all have tablature which im trying to avoid!, ive just started the world of jazz guitar, my guitar technique is quite good but theory wise im on "modern method for guitar (william leavitt) Vol I"

    so i would like find a book that doesnt have any tablature so i can challenge myself
    thanks

  22. #21

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    Um, buy Jody's books and ignore the tab! He has several greats books -- don't avoid them!

  23. #22

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    There is a book on Django called "Django Reinhardt: the Definitive Collection" which has notes and tab for a lot of his work. Can be found on Amazon.
    Last edited by revmcintyre; 04-21-2012 at 07:35 PM.

  24. #23

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    I suppose if you got black construction paper you could cover the tab.

    There are quite a few books on jazz guitar. I'm only familiar with a few of them. If you stated more what you are hoping to get out of the experience, I think we could make better book recommendations.

    Honestly I think your best bet is getting the Omnibook, some great records, and the Advancing Guitarist.

    There are so many books on jazz guitar voicings it makes my head spin, so I can't help you there.

  25. #24

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    The two books by Doug Munroe and Talk Jazz Guitar by Roni Ben-Hur

  26. #25

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    Quote Originally Posted by JakeAcci
    Honestly I think your best bet is getting the Omnibook, some great records, and the Advancing Guitarist.
    That says it all, really. No TAB in TAG or TOB. If you want to wean off TAB (a good goal), just cut a strip of paper to size and cover the TAB, then make a copy of the page you're working on. N/A to TAG or TOB.

  27. #26

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    Quote Originally Posted by whatswisdom
    That says it all, really. No TAB in TAG or TOB. If you want to wean off TAB (a good goal), just cut a strip of paper to size and cover the TAB, then make a copy of the page you're working on. N/A to TAG or TOB.
    The bummer is that TAB doubles the number of page turns. I copy the tabbed score, cut the staffs and then copy a new sheet sans TAB. Minimizes the page turns.

  28. #27

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    One thing I don't like about books with tab and notation, they usually don't have fingerings or string indications in the notation. I'm used to reading classical guitar music, and like these aids in the music. I don't do it as often as I should, but sometimes I take the time to add these from the tab, just makes it a little easier for me than going back and forth.
    Brad

  29. #28

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    Quote Originally Posted by whatswisdom
    That says it all, really. No TAB in TAG or TOB. If you want to wean off TAB (a good goal), just cut a strip of paper to size and cover the TAB, then make a copy of the page you're working on. N/A to TAG or TOB.
    Or get a bottle of White-Out. Don't do the whole book at once - only the pieces you're working on. And only "white-out" every-other note or so - just go through there painting over a lot of the tab numbers. It renders the tab utterly senseless and you won't even be distracted by it. Faster than construction paper, in my experience.

    That said, I think tab + notation is awesome. It seldom agrees, but that's the nature of the thing; you'll have to edit a bit. Tab leaves no doubt about fingering, and one can see at a glance the whole run of the piece. I love it, with notation. Piano would have tab if they could figure a good way.

    kj

  30. #29

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    Howard Roberts has a book call "Chord Melody" it is not in print any more but if you search you should be able to find a copy. It's my favorite.

  31. #30

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    The Mickey Baker Book vol.1 is good. It looks dated but the information isn't.

  32. #31

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    Hi 22
    I have the Hal Leonard Jazz Guitar Method and think its great. I haven't bought it, but took a look online at Hal Leonard Guitar Method and it looks pretty good as well and not expensive.
    I find books very helpful, other people think shun them - up to you, but for me this looks good to start.
    Enjoy.

  33. #32

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    Hi again 22
    mrcee beat me to the reply suggesting Mickey Baker. I've got the Mickey Baker book but that's not a starter's book. Mickey Baker got me started on jazz but I'm afraid it doesn't get a recommendation from me, it's light on theory on IMO pushes you down routes without explaining why.
    But lots of people like it so it the old horses for courses routine.

  34. #33

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    You're right about it being light on theory, etc. but a lot of rock and blues players in the sixties, myself included, used it to raise the bar. There's a Vol.2 with a yellow and orange cover that's more advanced but it doesn't seem to be as common as vol.1. I picked up a used Ronny Lee book somewhere that had some material aimed at beginning jazz players although it's written in standard notation. But that's OK. It's part of life and you've got to start sometime. I believe the lessons on comping could be valuable and accessible to a beginner though. I think it's called Jazz Guitar Method and may still be available.

    Yup, this could be it.
    Jazz Guitar Method Book - Mel Bay Publications, Inc. : Mel Bay

  35. #34

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    It's not perfect, but lots of people like Jody Fisher, Complete Jazz Guitar Method, 300+ pages combining 4 books: Beginner, Intermediate, Chord Melody, and Advanced

    Many have learned from William Leavitt's books A Modern Method for Guitar - Volume 1, Volume 2, and Volume 3. It's really good on the three areas you say you want to learn.

    Another good book is Arnie Berle's, Chords and Progressions for Jazz and Popular Guitar. It might be good after you are making progress on learning the fretboard.

    You might also consider getting the free MuseScore program and learning how to link music score and tab with this program. You can then use it to generate various exercises.

    You may find it helpful to write out some of the patterns, etc. that you are learning. So, if you buy any of these guitar methods from a local music store, etc., also get a pad of fret diagrams and/or music score/tab. Alternatively or additionally, Neck Diagrams is a neat, inexpensive program (free trial, $25 and $49 versions.) Also, you can find templates for score, tab, and score+tab at Blank Sheet Music.

  36. #35

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    Quote Originally Posted by 22tango

    Time to fix that! I want to learn once and for all:
    • Where the notes are on the fretboard
    The way that worked really well for me was to use shiftable patterns of note locations. I used patterns based on root notes of the CAGED shapes, but I'm sure you could make use of any patterns you like. Take C for example, and you can make these patterns:

    x3xx1x (the 'C' shape) x3x5xx (the 'A' shape) 8xx5x8 (the 'G' shape) 8x10xx8 ('E') and xx10x13x ('D')

    Pick one note and play it in all those positions, up and down the neck, over and over with a metronome at a tempo where you can comfortably find each note. When you're not playing, visualize those shapes, and draw them. increase the tempo as you locate the notes more quickly. When you can do one note easily, choose another. Because the patterns are the same you'll find each subsequent note comes more quickly. I was really surprised how rapidly this worked. Now when I think of a note, I have it in all locations on all strings straight off.

    The real bonus of this approach for me was that you also get a framework of root locations to base arpeggios and scales (CAGED or otherwise) off without any extra work.

  37. #36

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    Thanks for the replies everybody! The Hal Leonard and Leavitt seem the 2 books to get for my level. Probably the Hal Leonard first (looks easier).

  38. #37

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    yep, "Book 1" by Mel Bay or Hal Leonard.

    William Leavitt has two books that can be worked through before going to his Modern Method, Volume 1.

  39. #38

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    Quote Originally Posted by fumblefingers
    William Leavitt has two books that can be worked through before going to his Modern Method, Volume 1.
    What are those 2 books? The "Berklee Basic Guitar" maybe?

  40. #39

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    Quote Originally Posted by 22tango
    What are those 2 books? The "Berklee Basic Guitar" maybe?
    yes, Phase 1 and 2. they're OK, not fantastic, but then no "book 1" is.

    "Book 1" is very important, but is also something to get past. the music gets better after that.

  41. #40

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    Quote Originally Posted by mrcee
    The Mickey Baker Book vol.1 is good. It looks dated but the information isn't.
    I love that old book. I still get things from it. Mickey's presentation was more intuitive than some other ones I know and that suited me (-'here's something nifty: play it and then start fooling around with it to see what else you can come up with') though it might be frustrating for someone who wants everything spelled out up front.

    Does it cover everything? No. But can it get you to where you have something to say (and comp) over a blues, rhythm changes, and standards? Yes.

  42. #41

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    Quote Originally Posted by MarkRhodes
    I love that old book. I still get things from it. Mickey's presentation was more intuitive than some other ones I know and that suited me (-'here's something nifty: play it and then start fooling around with it to see what else you can come up with') though it might be frustrating for someone who wants everything spelled out up front.

    Does it cover everything? No. But can it get you to where you have something to say (and comp) over a blues, rhythm changes, and standards? Yes.
    I'd put the Pass and Galbraith books in the same category. Just play through the examples and all will be revealed!

  43. #42

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    I write to ask about books on improvisation.

    I have many musical references, and I can play some tunes music

    I know about guitar methods, but they are technical exercises.

    I know something about music theory, not very advanced, but would like to see this in practice.
    I really like guitarists herb ellis, Kuney Burrell, Patrick saussouis and Django.


    I also like very much like playing Paul Desmond, grover Washintong, Lester Young, Ben Webster, and many more.

    I only know Jerry Bergonzi books that have very good job.

    I wonder books on improvisation, arpeggios and guitar composition practically.

    I do not like anything Leavit books or mel bay.

    I played for the books that I have, and I like to play melodies, but also compose and improvise.


    I had bad teachers who did not teach more than fingerings for scales and tablature songs and soon go back to school and would like to have good advice.


    I like many musical styles, but I am looking for ways to make my own music.

    Thanks

  44. #43

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    Garrison Fewells books are really good, also for an intermediate player. Very nicely written.
    It pains me to say this, but mr Fewell passed away this weekend, rendering this small jazzworld a whole lot sadder.

    Amazon.com: Jazz Improvisation for Guitar: A Melodic Approach (9780634017728): Garrison Fewell: Books

    Ted

  45. #44

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    @Ted, there is a paperback version and a sheet music version. Which would you recommend?

    thanks
    edh

  46. #45

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    I have recently moved from the Bruno program to the Joseph Alexander books.

    It is a natural extension of the Bruno school but in my opinion presented in a much much better way. Is more jazz and is all about how to build your own "jazz" lines, introducing outside notes in a easy to absorb way and more instructional on how when why to play them:

    http://www.amazon.com/Fundamental-Ch.../dp/1480208248

    at $10 for the ebook it is a ripper.

    I started with the Blues one it was so good I thought I am going back to this one, the beginning. So glad I did, substituting the flat 9 for the route on the dominant chord, I did not know that, sounds fantastic. Playing the outside note on 4 I kind of new but doing exercises focused on that is accelerating my learning.

    Cheers

  47. #46

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    I second the recommendation for the Garrison Fewell books. They provide the clearest and best approach to organizing the fingerboard that I've seen in all the years I've been playing. I use it with my students and I dearly wish it had been available when I started to play guitar.

  48. #47

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    @ edh. I got the paperback books. They are those standard large format with glue binding. Cant comment on any other format, as I havent seen them.

    Ted

  49. #48

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    I really liked "Jazz Improvisation for guitar" by Les Wise.

  50. #49

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    Based on your post you may like the Herb Ellis Books. The approach is based on Shapes and how the shapes relate to scales, arpeggios and the chords. There are also solos that show how to apply the shapes. There are three of them, Swing Blues, All the Shapes You Are and Rhythm Shapes. I have the precursor Blues Shapes and it has been helpful even though I play more traditional blues as it shows you possibilities over chord types. Good luck

  51. #50

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    Quoting a post of my own from 2013:

    As a man with a shelf full of jazz guitar books, most of which gather dust, I would definitely recommend 'Jazz Improvisation for Guitar, A Melodic Approach' by Garrison Fewell. The exercises actually sound like jazz and the examples show how the book's concepts crop up in the solos of many jazz guitar greats. Here are some videos of Mr Fewell demonstrating some examples from the book: