Reply to Thread Bookmark Thread
Page 1 of 2 12 LastLast
Posts 1 to 50 of 78
  1. #1

    User Info Menu

    Hi All,

    In your opinions... what is the best, maybe most popular beginner jazz method book/course out there? I see many, but will rely on the forums years of experience. Thanks.

    Dave

  2.  

    The Jazz Guitar Chord Dictionary
     
  3. #2
    I wish there was one, at least in the sense that you, me and others have asked that question over the years. There really isn't one definitive resource.

    Mickey Baker's book is ancient but a classic. Don't ask too many questions with that one. It's more immersion without a lot of explanation.

    William Leavitt's modern guitar method vol 1 is kind of standard. It's more modern than baker, but it's dated now as well. It's not a dedicated JAZZ method really, but the sequencing of the chord lessons alone are near perfect for beginners to jazz. It has a lot of theory and plenty of note reading, it's really a guitar reading/literacy type book. Careful not to get bogged down for years without a teacher in that one.

    Others will recommend Jody Fisher. See my Amazon review/tirade for discerning viewpoint re its being a waste of life for beginners.

    Those are the biggest kind of consensus books. Garrison Fewell's 2 improv books and Joe Elliott's jazz guitar soloing are probably on the next tier in terms of popularity and influence.

    The frustrating thing is that all of these books are vastly different, and there's nothing remotely approaching consensus. Most beginners are going to have a great deal of trouble without a teacher.

    Baker and Leavitt are cheap and probably worth it, at least to start with. There are tons of resources online for them, because they've been around so long. Study groups on the forum, videos etc. Maybe add fewell's "melodic approach".

    Better yet to get a teacher though. Once a year or once a week. Don't go it on your own. Learn tunes... Transcribe...

  4. #3

    User Info Menu

    That is a tough question.

    Is there a book like that?

    I suggest you don't need a book. Taking lessons from a good jazz guitarist would be the best if you can swing it (pun).

    The following would work as well as any book:

    1) Find a list of jazz tunes in order of difficulty and start with the first tune.


    2) Learn the melody by ear or with a lead sheet. Pick it out on your guitar.

    3) Learn the chords of the tune. Use this: Jazz Guitar Chord Dictionary (228 Chord Shapes)

    Look up the chords with this: Chord Search

    4) Improvise over the tune. Use the major scale and the pentatonic scale and chromatic notes at first.

    5) Get a software program like Band-in-a-Box or Impro-visor (Welcome to Impro-Visor) to jam with.

    6) Listen to jazz. Ask questions. Use the internet to look up things.

    7) Rinse and repeat.

  5. #4

    User Info Menu

    I started out with Jazz Picture Chords. First book I bought when I bought my first guitar back when I was shorter than I am today. I think that if you get it you won't feel so overwhelmed.

  6. #5

    User Info Menu

    I'm very tempted to say Mick Goodrick's Advancing Guitarist book even though the beginning of the volume it explicitly says its not a method book. Its not a direct route to jazz much but I would definitely say that is a 'definite beginner's guitar book'. Perhaps even the most important guitar book in my opinion.

    The most direct jazz guitar method book is probably Garrison Fewell's Melodic Approach. I don't think its difficult or confusing so I would consider this as beginner book. Its simplistic and intuitive by design but you still got to put into the work.. I'm not very familiar with the rest of the methods so take my opinion with a grain of sugar!

  7. #6

    User Info Menu

    IMO, the free lessons on Jazz Guitar Online, the parent site for this forum are an excellent place to begin.

  8. #7

    User Info Menu

    Quote Originally Posted by Stuart Elliott
    IMO, the free lessons on Jazz Guitar Online, the parent site for this forum are an excellent place to begin.
    Totally agreed! When it comes to a book, Garrison Fewell's "Jazz Guitar Improvisation - A Melodic Approach" gave me a kick start as a beginner at jazz guitar (which I still am...). It gets you to playing and understanding what you're doing there and at @ 20 or 25 bucks including a CD it's inexpensive, too. Lots of material to work on.

    For digging a bit deeper there's his follow up "A Harmonic Approach" - you could work with both of them simultaneaously...

  9. #8

    User Info Menu

    For me it was somewhat different from many others, though I doubt my experience was unique.

    I'd played guitar all my life, mainly a John Denver Wanna-Be during the Great Folk Music Scare of the 70's (when it almost caught on). In the late 1980's I bottomed out, and wanted to somehow be more advanced. I didn't want to do classical studies, and wasn't really a rock fan. Early in my playing I'd stumbled on the Mel Bay Chord-Melody method and thought somehow that must be the domain I was interested in, but couldn't find the book anywhere (it's old!).

    One day on NPR I heard a solo guitar track where a guy was just tearing it up. It was, I learned eventually, Joe Pass playing "Stompin at the Savoy" on a live track. I called the station and asked "Who is that? Does he have other records? What do you call that music?" The patronizing NPR DJ who had to be rolling his eyes over this yokel said "It's Joe Pass, and yes he has lots of recordings, which, by the way, are called 'CDs' now... and the music is JAZZ." Later that same day I heard Earl Klugh's solo guitar of "Embraceable You" and was hooked. I went to the music store, found all the Joe Pass CDs and just bought the entire stack!

    But how to play? I still felt lost. One day I was walking down the hallway at our school and passed the guitar teacher's studio and heard something a lot like what I'd been wanting to play. I opened the door, asked "Hey, is that jazz?" he said it was, and that he used jazz to teach theory because most contemporary church musicians don't want to study classical. So I took lessons for a year from him using Leon White's "Styles for the Studio," Steve Crowell's jazz standards in melody arrangements, and Jamey Aebersold's "Nothing but Blues" and "Maiden Voyage" sets.

    I think jazz usually begins with a guitarist who already has some ability but wants to plunge into something more rewarding. The key for me was that I heard someone playing the music I wanted to play, found a teacher who was in the ball park, and lucked into some excellent materials for study.

    So a beginning jazz method... find what you want to play and start trying to do that.

  10. #9

    User Info Menu

    Quote Originally Posted by matt.guitarteacher
    Mickey Baker's book is ancient but a classic. Don't ask too many questions with that one. It's more immersion without a lot of explanation...
    I've come to think that's a good way to do it. It is common now for teachers of jazz guitar to act as if the music is a puzzle to be solved. It's like teaching kids grammar before teaching them words. (And we don't really teach them wors so much as marvel at what they pick up and how fast it happens.) If one works through Mickey's book, one will know a good many chords and progressions and be able to solo over blues and rhythm changes (and other "vamps"). That's a lot to get from an 8-dollar book!

  11. #10

    User Info Menu

    If you cannot find a tacher I would recommend a book that explains harmony from the beginning...

    Jazz methods often go to one of these cathegories:

    - very restricted without lots of explanation... sometimes promising something quickly... close rock guitar methods.. more commercially focused aiming for amateur players who expect some miraculous mysteries to be discovered there in guaranteed and short trms

    - solid methods with harmony explanation and all - but unfortunately often oriented to musicians with some basic educational background (like to those who studied classical music at least as kids and know about functional harmony and all that) - so again amateur players from folk or rock may be discouraged or interprete the materieal in a wrong way



    My recomedation would be: take two books - something like Mickey Baker and together with this - find some good conventional book on basic classical functional harmony... work with it abstractly without jazz context... it will help you to understand how the same things work in jazz context

    To me the first methof should the one that treats the most common and conventional idiomas in the most common and basic forms - it should throw you right in the middle of the mainstream (not Mick Goodrick for sure)
    Last edited by Jonah; 11-24-2016 at 11:19 AM.

  12. #11

    User Info Menu

    only one approach of course and its immersive immediately... forget BOOKs...theory .. Start playing TODAY.....BAND in a BOX

  13. #12

    User Info Menu

    Best beginning jazz method is copying stuff off of recordings, it's also the best method for r&b, country, rock, and blues...imagine that.

  14. #13

    User Info Menu

    That is definitely the best way to become good at copying stuff off recordings.

  15. #14

    User Info Menu

    Quote Originally Posted by Jonzo
    That is definitely the best way to become good at copying stuff off recordings.
    I can only speak for myself, but I got far more from doing this than from any book.

  16. #15

    User Info Menu

    We all learn different ways. "Transcribing" never worked well for me. My brain would keep getting in the way. If I didn't understand why they did what they did I could never get comfortable trying to do it.

    Weirdly, although I've been playing guitar for 25 years, jazz only became accessible to me after learning about "jazz". Not jazz guitar theory, I mean the history of jazz. This book was amazing:

    The History of Jazz: Ted Gioia: 9780195399707: Amazon.com: Books

    Also the Ken Burns series on Jazz. Understanding the roots of the music, how it evolved, what the innovators of jazz were thinking, and even their cultural framework all helped to understand the music.

    THEN I began with jazz method books and online courses. It all made more sense. For example, understanding that jazz evolved from brass marching bands of the late 19th century helped me to understand why swing and bebop jazz places an emphasis on arpeggios rather than scales. You can't blow a four note chord on a trumpet. But if you are a trumpeter in a rhythm section you are going to be playing arpeggios all day long. Say you want to stand out of the crowd? Maybe embellish those triads and arpeggiated chords. I am sure there is someone who will angrily say that I COMPLETELY misinterpreted the origins and structure of Swing and Bebop. But it is what made sense to me and helped me break out of my modal playing (what scale to play over the I, IV and V of a blues) and play a more "jazz" improvisation.

    In any case, a slightly different twist. Hope it helps.

  17. #16

    User Info Menu

    Been reading Herbie Hancocks book. He says pick your favourite artist and transcribe. I have heard Kenny Burrell Robben Ford Eddie van Halen say the same thing plus many others including the top players around here.

  18. #17

    User Info Menu

    Hancock's Wikipedia page says that he was a highly-trained pianist and already considered a classical prodigy before he started playing jazz. It says he learned tunes from recordings, and also lists his many jazz teachers.

    This may be the quote you are referencing:

    "the time I actually heard the Hi-Lo's, I started picking that stuff out; my ear was happening. I could hear stuff and that's when I really learned some much farther-out voicings – like the harmonies I used on Speak Like a Child – just being able to do that. I really got that from Clare Fischer's arrangements for the Hi-Lo's. Clare Fischer was a major influence on my harmonic concept.... He and Bill Evans, and Ravel and Gil Evans, finally. You know, that's where it came from.[6]"

    Hancock had an enormous technical proficiency and theoretical foundation that allowed him to integrate what he was hearing. To suggest he learned to play jazz piano by copying recordings is a gross oversimplification. I am not surprised that many people say or think that copying is how they "learned jazz", but, obviously, if someone can tell you what ii V I means, they have done other types of study too.

    If you drop two people into a foreign country and allow one to learn the language only by ear, while the other receives grammar instruction as well, the one who learns the grammar will become proficient much faster.

    Immersion is good, but not enough.
    Last edited by Jonzo; 11-27-2016 at 02:05 PM.

  19. #18

    User Info Menu

    Apologies to op yes perhaps not absolute beginner route.

    Personally the only book that helped me develop as a guitarist were the Frederick Noad classical books.

    My recommendation would be learn blues heads. c jam blues, take the a train. Learn the blues scale and the arpeggios for those songs, remember less is more and space is good, sing a line then play it. Put it up here for feedback 99% people here are fantastic.


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

  20. #19

    User Info Menu

    I think books are ok up to a point. But there's a lot they can't teach you.

  21. #20

    User Info Menu

    I think the best way is just to start! Get everything you can - books, recordings, listening, trying things out, asking around, reading internet stuff - but begin. Sooner or later it begins to gel and one day you'll realise you know your stuff quite well.

    Never everything, just quite well.

  22. #21

    User Info Menu

    "learn your chords, learn your scales, learn your notes on the neck"

    - BB King

  23. #22

    User Info Menu

    I'm not taking either side here but my view is that we all have different brains - don't laugh - and what comes from one player's brain may not easily fit another's.

    The point is that what one player - famous or not - plays suits them; they understand it and it slips under their fingers. Were we to merely imitate them we may find it impossible to do that naturally. If one persists one may well be able to put together some sort of decent solo but it may not be natural to oneself.

    What I've always tried to do is study the principle behind what they were doing and then adapt it in a way that seems natural to me. That way it comes out clean rather than 'popped in' which I found could happen.

    Let's say that I found playing just like Wes was really easy for me. Before you know it I'm a Wes Montgomery sound-alike. People will gawp in amazement... but I have no voice of my own.

    I'd rather be a poor me than a poor man's someone else - although I would still study what they do, definitely. That's how you get ideas.
    Last edited by ragman1; 11-30-2016 at 11:18 AM.

  24. #23

    User Info Menu

    Any method that stresses ear training, copping licks, learning tunes, melodies, and chord/arpeggio knowledge all over the neck.

  25. #24

    User Info Menu

    Quote Originally Posted by mr. beaumont
    Any method that stresses ear training, copping licks, learning tunes, melodies, and chord/arpeggio knowledge all over the neck.
    Fits Garrison Fewell's books to a T!

  26. #25

    User Info Menu

    How musically accomplished are you? What is your background in both music and in familiarity with jazz?!

    Prior knowledge base----is a huge factor.

    Have you played an instrument before? Maybe sung in a choir, or been in a band?

    There is a special rhythmic thing going on in most jazz music, that I don't think it's possible to get without listening to a lot of it. That will help a huge bit. Start with the older, simpler stuff...Dixieland, swing, Louis Armstrong, Big bands, and vocalists, bebop and hard bop, and maybe some later stuff---which is a lot trickier to get a handle on.

    Listen and hear how great players construct a line...because that is the essence of playing a decent solo.

    In the history of the music, basically players started embellishing melody lines, then they started to play off chord progressions, and then they started playing around with the chord progressions--reharmonizing....these are all very different things, and depending on your understanding and facility, may take a while to acquire.

    (The very first thing is to "learn to make the changes"...and understand what this means, and why it is important, and how this is done.)

    Then you have to figure out how to get these sounds out of your instrument....which again could be starting from scratch (or maybe not),,,huge difference....you may be needing to work on basic musicianship, first...It's impossible to play this music convincingly without having some degree of facility on an instrument.

    I think Drumbler's post (#3) has a lot of good suggestions. BIAB jamming, I feel has helped me progress the most. I use it with a disk of about 150 jazz songs and can vary tempo, keys, etc. This, and listening to good e.g.'s is probably the most important.

    Beware of the book buying fallacy---no book will help you unless you actually work through it. But, as you become more accomplished, you can go back to books you put aside, and start to get something out of them.
    Last edited by goldenwave77; 12-08-2016 at 09:01 PM.

  27. #26

    User Info Menu

    Quote Originally Posted by goldenwave77

    I think Drumbler's post (#3) has a lot of good suggestions. BIAB jamming, I feel has helped me progress the most. I use it with a disk of about 150 jazz songs and can vary tempo, keys, etc. This, and listening to good e.g.'s is probably the most important.

    Beware of the book buying fallacy---no book will help you unless you actually work through it. But, as you become more accomplished, you can go back to books you put aside, and start to get something out of them.
    Thanks.

    It's very easy to fall into what I call the "technique trap". I have done this myself. In fact I've done every stupid thing over the years.

    "How fast can you pick?"

    "What are your favorite 28(+) scales?"

    "How do I increase my legato speed?"

    "What mode of the harmonic-melodic-overeasy-with-a-side-order-of-bacon-scale should I use over the blah-blah chord in the month of May?"

    Etc.

    Ask these folks how many songs they can, from memory, play the melody, comp the chords, and improvise over and the answer is "uh...uhm...uh...".

    How much practice time do you have available that you can spend your time doing trills for an hour?

  28. #27

    User Info Menu

    Thanks for all the info on this thread guys. After listening to Joe Pass, Pat Metheny, and Pat Martino for years I finally decided to sit down and start working on learning how to play jazz guitar (maybe it is a 2017 New Year's resolution). Hopefully I can pick up lots more good info on here.

  29. #28

    User Info Menu

    "I went through the Berklee books but despite all my studies, 99% of what I learned was from transcribing. I’m a firm believer that in jazz, you learn by copying. All the lessons in the world won’t help you but if you are motivated to learn from the masters, they are the only lessons and books you will ever need!" -- Jack Zucker

  30. #29

    User Info Menu

    Man, what a lot of great advice in this thread!

    IMHO listening is the key. We have to know what jazz sounds like in order to play jazz. I was thinking about many of my favorite players and many of them had one thing in common: roots in Charlie Christian (Tal Farlow, Jim Hall, Barney Kessell, Joe Pass, Wes Montgomery, Johnny Smith, etc.). Obviously a lot of that has to do with the generation these players were in- they were young when CC was active. They all studied CC's playing, learned his solos, etc. Every aspiring jazz guitarist should study Charlie Christian as he is the parent of our lineage in jazz.

    I have not done enough of this and I hear it in my meandering solos. Charlie's solos have direction and point, tension and release, in and out playing. In those few short years he created what it is we do.

    Then listen to Django. And listen to Louis Armstrong and note the similarities between these two players. My wife and I were driving to Chicago and listened to much of the Ken Burns Jazz soundtrack for 7 hours along with some Django CDs; the lineage of pretty much all jazz musicians back to Louis is very clear (and deliberately so, given Wynton's involvement) but what surprised me was how much similarity there was between Louis's and Django's lines.

    So- study Charlie, study Louis and study Django. That will give us huge, deep roots in the lineage and tradition of jazz. We can branch out from there.

  31. #30

    User Info Menu

    Well, there is no absolute beginner best method. Sorry, just varies from person to person too much.

    I'm an advocate of the time honoured 'copying your favourite player at the start, assimilating and then doing your own thing' arc of development. But the thing is I didn't learn that way. Did I waste my time doing it different? Dunno.

    Every player has to put it together themselves. But you can get help. Teachers are more help than books, but make sure you find someone who can actually teach, rather than just a good player.

    And start playing with other players as soon as you can.

    I have looked at books and videos over the years, but the level to which people get into internet courses and books on this forum is alien to me.

    I suspect it's trying to be a better player by spending money.
    In fact you become a better player by spending that far more precious resource: time. 100s and 1000s of hours of it.
    Last edited by christianm77; 12-26-2016 at 10:29 AM.

  32. #31

    User Info Menu

    Hey all,

    It looks like I'm taking on my first guitar student !!!

    He's a 50 year old adult neighbor with no musical background.

    I want to buy him an intro method book to get him started right and am looking for recommendations, as I know there are many skillful and seasoned teachers and players here who have great knowledge to share.

    So what's your favorite intro method book for guitar?

    thanks, Brian

  33. #32

    User Info Menu

    Adult students many don't have the patience to deal with method books. They usually just want to learn enough to get together with their friends drink beer and jam. I'd say write out some basic stuff for the first lesson and talk to them, they all say their serious, but their idea of serious and yours are two different things. Also adults get frustrated because they aren't learning as fast as they think they should. Some will blame the teacher, but many will be embarrassed and quit.

    Talk to the student maybe write out lessons for first week or two, then decide what kind of books would work for them.

  34. #33

    User Info Menu

    I now realize after going book shopping that Method book isn't probably quite the right term.
    I think "Guitar for Dummies" or "An Idiots guide to Guitar" might be more in line with what I'm thinking.

    Mostly I'm just looking for intro to notation and tab, basic chord charts, 12 bar blues form and maybe a few other easy 3 chord songs.

    Maybe I will just start out with writing some stuff out in a notebook.

    It will be interesting to see how it goes.
    I figure with beginners the likely issues will be getting the fretting fingers toughened up, and do they want to put in some practice . . .

  35. #34

    User Info Menu

    I think the old Mickey Baker book is still good. It's cheap ($8.95) and not heavy on theory. It's tasty stuff with a good dose of blues in it.
    Downside: no play-along, no demonstration.
    Last edited by MarkRhodes; 01-03-2018 at 08:58 PM.

  36. #35

    User Info Menu

    All joking aside, I would pickup a copy of the latest addition of "Guitar for Dummies" it isn't a bad book. Or use Christopher Parkening's Method 1 book and create a lesson plan using the book as a supplement to your own charts/material. At the level of the student you described, just tuning the guitar, holding it and making the fingers move will be entirely new and difficult. Sometimes we who have been playing a long time forget how difficult it is too get started. Flip your guitar over and with fret with your opposite hand and you will get some idea. Stay away from bar chords until the basics open string chords are covered. Stress good technique.

    Make sure the guitar he/she is using is setup correctly i.e. if it is difficult to fret it will be a motivational killer. Find out what kind of music he wants to play e.g. if it is classical guitar, then get him started using Parkening's Method 1 book. Which to me is a great book for beginners but it does not use Tab. While Parkening book is about classical guitar the basics taught in the book can be applied to any genre and one can get to playing simple pieces pretty quickly.

  37. #36

    User Info Menu

    I think the David Hodge "Playing Guitar" from the idiot's guide series is well worth a look. Not expensive, Kindle version available and just a nice one with a lot of basic stuff beginners need to know. Includes a lot of audio examples.

  38. #37

    User Info Menu

    I'd go with G major

    Xx0232
    X3203x
    32003x

    Mess around with that a bit

    Instant gratification .....

  39. #38

    User Info Menu

    Given that no single book or method will be the end all for guitar pedagogy, regardless of style...

    1. Hal Leonard or Mel Bay "book 1" type books always worked for me. However, adults and older kids frequently want more than that artistically speaking, so use method book 1 as only one part of the learning program.

    2. Beyond the method book which keeps a student grounded with objective and measurable progress, find out what styles and artists they like to listen to and/or want to play like. Get them some related material for that - while paying attention to difficulty. Give them a taste of what they will need to work on to reach some progressive goals. Make it clear to them that there IS a path/paths to reach their goals. The key is to be patient, have fun, and work at it!

    3. After getting through "book 1" you might want to check out RGT which has some books that are aligned by style and proceed by level. They're a bit thin repertoire wise but they provide some focus and grounding for the developing player.

    I'll stop here and not opine about a jazz guitar path, which is not the goal or interest for the majority of students.

    Best of success to you.

  40. #39

    User Info Menu

    Hit him in the pocketbook...no joke!
    Make it $35 or whatever you believe your skills to be @ week.

    I've never worked with anyone who would do their part without parting with some cash.

    You can alway "give it back" through some gifts (metro, strings, books, tuner etc.) later if you feel it was a false start or your fee was too steep, but get the student to have some "skin" in the game.


    You've got three birds to kill and that's not easy; I don't envy you, but good luck!

  41. #40

    User Info Menu

    I'm keen to hear your thoughts on a jazz guitar path - I'm attempting to pick up the guitar with an eye to play jazz (and a distant history as an orchestral bass player). I've struggled through the first 30 or so pages of the Leavitt Modern Method, but maybe this is a steeper hill than I really need - if I were to start again with something gentler, like the first Mel Bay modern method, what might be some next steps?

    cheers
    jamie

    Quote Originally Posted by Jazzstdnt
    Given that no single book or method will be the end all for guitar pedagogy, regardless of style...

    1. Hal Leonard or Mel Bay "book 1" type books always worked for me. However, adults and older kids frequently want more than that artistically speaking, so use method book 1 as only one part of the learning program.

    2. Beyond the method book which keeps a student grounded with objective and measurable progress, find out what styles and artists they like to listen to and/or want to play like. Get them some related material for that - while paying attention to difficulty. Give them a taste of what they will need to work on to reach some progressive goals. Make it clear to them that there IS a path/paths to reach their goals. The key is to be patient, have fun, and work at it!

    3. After getting through "book 1" you might want to check out RGT which has some books that are aligned by style and proceed by level. They're a bit thin repertoire wise but they provide some focus and grounding for the developing player.

    I'll stop here and not opine about a jazz guitar path, which is not the goal or interest for the majority of students.

    Best of success to you.

  42. #41

    User Info Menu

    Quote Originally Posted by janstice
    I'm keen to hear your thoughts on a jazz guitar path - I'm attempting to pick up the guitar with an eye to play jazz (and a distant history as an orchestral bass player). I've struggled through the first 30 or so pages of the Leavitt Modern Method, but maybe this is a steeper hill than I really need - if I were to start again with something gentler, like the first Mel Bay modern method, what might be some next steps?

    cheers
    jamie
    Jamie,

    My first jazz guitar book was Beginning Jazz Guitar by Jody Fisher.
    I don't know if it was the best start, but I learned a lot out of that book and really enjoyed studying it. At a certain point, I decided I would benefit from in person guitar lessons, and that was a great idea. I learned much from a local teacher for a couple of years.

    Keep in mind that beginning jazz is not the same as beginning guitar. It's complex and theory laden.
    When I turned toward jazz, I already had a lot of rock and blues guitar under my belt, plus a college level background in classical piano. Jazz is tough, but it sure is fun !!!!

  43. #42

    User Info Menu

    Thanks all for your thoughts on teaching.

    Our first lesson is Saturday and I'm charging $20 for 1/2 hour. I report back as to how it goes.

    I'm planning to start with E major, A major and D major chord shapes, plus tuning the guitar and answering any questions he has.

    FYI, this is my first guitar student, but I am well experienced as an art instructor.
    I have been making a living teaching painting & drawing classes to continuing education adults since the 90's.
    I expect there will be quite a few parallels . . .

  44. #43

    User Info Menu

    We did our first lesson this morning and it went really well!

    We worked mostly on tuning the guitar, E A & D chord shapes, and how to read a chord diagram.

    He's struggling hard with his left hand, but hey didn't we all?

    He has relatively large fingers, so he's having trouble with his fingers accidentally damping strings.

  45. #44

    User Info Menu

    I say as his teacher you should keep him away from all those books that lead to endless roads to nowhere, one book leads to the next.

    Write your own simple blues head and expand on it over time as he progresses develop the concepts or just start with Freddie Freeloader as the central part of the initial teaching plan and expand from there.

  46. #45

    User Info Menu

    Quote Originally Posted by gggomez
    Write your own simple blues head and expand on it over time as he progresses develop the concepts
    I'm with you brother.

    I'd say 'Tom Dooley' Book 1 pg. 18 Mel Bay and work in the attachments from there. Good concept gggomez.

  47. #46

    User Info Menu

    Quote Originally Posted by janstice
    I'm keen to hear your thoughts on a jazz guitar path - I'm attempting to pick up the guitar with an eye to play jazz (and a distant history as an orchestral bass player). I've struggled through the first 30 or so pages of the Leavitt Modern Method, but maybe this is a steeper hill than I really need - if I were to start again with something gentler, like the first Mel Bay modern method, what might be some next steps?

    cheers
    jamie

    Sure. Send me a PM, I'll help however I can.

    In the mean time, yes, Leavitt is great for plectrum guitar technique which is foundational for jazz guitar, even though it's not exactly jazz guitar, as such.

    I strongly recommend all of his materials including his method, but with some caveats. Further, as you mentioned, one has to be ready for the material or may hit a wall. Hitting that wall is a function of playing level.

    The overwhelming majority of students, including me, are best served by "level appropriate" materials. Attempting to leapfrog levels is one of the surest paths to becoming yet another dropout.

  48. #47

    User Info Menu

    I had my own guitar shop for about 30 years and the one book that I found my students actually liked and were the most successful with was the Classic Guitar Technique Vol 1 by Aaron Shearer which now comes with online audio.

    I think the reason this book works so well is because from the beginning it has lots of duets that the student can play with the teacher (or now with the online audio) that sound really good for being as simple as they are. In other words, immediate positive reinforcement.

    Aaron Shearer was my teacher back in the early 1970s at Peabody Conservatory Of Music and believe me, no one has put together a more effective, well-thought out methodology for learning to play guitar correctly than him.

  49. #48

    User Info Menu

    I studied Shearer's works too. I see some parallels between his work and Leavitt's.

    Of course Shearer is classical/fingerstyle, not plectrum.

    I'm not dissing your advice, but Leavitt's Method Volume 1 also has lots of duets. Plus it utilizes modern harmony, and includes a good number of extremely valuable picking etudes/exercises.

  50. #49

    User Info Menu

    Quote Originally Posted by Longways to Go
    Hey all,

    It looks like I'm taking on my first guitar student !!!

    He's a 50 year old adult neighbor with no musical background.

    I want to buy him an intro method book to get him started right and am looking for recommendations, as I know there are many skillful and seasoned teachers and players here who have great knowledge to share.

    So what's your favorite intro method book for guitar?

    thanks, Brian
    For someone with no musical background, I don't think you can go wrong with the Mel Bay Modern Method books. Grade One starts a student off reading and playing pieces that are not too hard to learn, and that sound good, too. Jazz guitarist Jimmy Bruno once referred to the 7-volume course as "the Bible for learning how to play the guitar."

    Aside from that, I think it might be worth considering what sort of music you neighbor hopes to be able to play, and teach him how to play some of it. Everyone who takes up an instrument does it with the idea that they'll be able to play a song that they like. When I was starting out, my teacher introduced me to reading and theory, but he also showed me how to play riffs and licks from the music I was into at the time (Hendrix, Beatles, Kansas, Ted Nugent, etc.). It was really motivating to have something to play that my friends would recognize, and it made me more willing to keep my nose to the grindstone on the other stuff.

    I'm the wrong guy to ask about jazz, but for someone just starting out, I think this is a good path.

    Amazon.com: Modern Guitar Method Grade 1 (9780786693276): Mel Bay: Books

  51. #50

    User Info Menu

    Quote Originally Posted by Longways to Go
    Hey all,

    It looks like I'm taking on my first guitar student !!!

    He's a 50 year old adult neighbor with no musical background.

    I want to buy him an intro method book to get him started right and am looking for recommendations, as I know there are many skillful and seasoned teachers and players here who have great knowledge to share.

    So what's your favorite intro method book for guitar?

    thanks, Brian
    Hello,

    Important note : What follows is NOT a teacher, professional or even good guitarist advice, it’s my beginner's point of view. I’m 58 (next month).

    First thing to do : Clarify its goal

    There are basically two big possibilities :


    1) He wants to play some songs he likes

    He wants to enjoy playing a little bit of guitar, for its own pleasure, for fun. He doesn’t want to invest too much thing in it, and is looking for a quick (let’s say not so distant) gratification.
    It’s Sunday, it’s raining , he is alone at home and instead of watching TV he wants to take his guitar, play some easy songs and have fun.
    In this case, set with him a list of songs he would like to play, simplify if needed the chord sequence and just help him to learn chords by heart without wondering too much their names, their relationship with other cords and so on.
    It was typically the case when I was young, we learned some Bob Dylan and the like songs, we were able to strum the chords and sing, but not always knowing which chord we were playing.
    The gratificationcan be rather quick (after the « ouch my fingers hurt a lot »period)

    2) he wants to learn to play guitar

    As we are in a Jazzboard, let’s assume he is interested in jazz.

    In this case there are two things

    a ) help him to learn basic theory in a fun way.
    Theory can be simple and can be fun. Not a lot of theory, but the basis of chords and scales (what is it how is is built…). Blues is a good playing ground (blues is always a good playing ground)

    b) Marry him
    .. well may be not,but at least try to understand how he works, how his mind works.
    My personal experience as a beginner is that there is no method (despite what book sellers sell), there are paths and pieces.
    The pieces (books) are more of less the same, they don’t invent the music, they just propose a way to access music learning.

    What is important is the path.
    The ending goal is the same more or less for anyone : been able to play music, but the way to reach the goal can be very different.

    In my case, as I decided end of last year to learn in a more structured way to play jazz guitar, and after browsing through a lot of (very good, this is not the point) methods, I ended up with the following path :

    1- learn chords and be able to play chords sequences of some classical jazz standard..
    for this I use Mel Bay/Mike Christiansen Complete Jazz guitar method, there are a lot of examples (not found in other methods) that allow for building slowly chord sequences, changing chords and so on.

    2 - learn arpeggios as way to start improvising
    My scale knowledge is theoretical but i’m very far from being able to use them on the fly, I learn arpeggios using this board Easy Guide to jazz guitar arpeggios

    The goal is when I’ll be (in a very far future) at ease with chords and arpeggios I’ll switch to scales and son on

    This is not THE path, this is MY path.

    What you need (IMHO) to do is to build a path that fits with the level of investment he places in the guitar, how his brain works (for example, positions playing is not for me, I need to understand what I do, and for this arpeggios are great.. others can feel the exact opposite).
    Once the path is clear you'll find a lot of good methods (or parts of method) that will help you to teach him this or this point.

    Luc
    Last edited by lstelie; 01-12-2018 at 09:44 AM.