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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Oct 2006
    Belgium (Antwerp)

    Books Top 50 Guitar & Music Books

    Update: view the final list here: Top 50 Jazz Guitar Books

    In the same style as we did the Top 100 jazz guitar albums and Top 100 Jazz albums, I thought it would be intersting to do a Top 50 of guitar and music books.

    Let's make 3 categories:
    1. Jazz Guitar Books
    2. Guitar Books in General
    3. Music Books

    In case of music books, I'm not talking about biographies and such, but about music theory books, musical concepts, ...

    Here's my list. I'm obviously a little biased since I am selling them (for a good cause though, namely the website), but I'm a fan of Sher Music books:

    Jazz Guitar Books:

    Guitar Books:

    Music Books:

    What are your favorite books?

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Feb 2008
    the Netherlands

    I'm missing a category

    Hi Dirk,

    Great initiative! Maybe we should add the category books on jazz guitar(ists).
    I'm reading The Guitar In Jazz by James Sallis at yhe moment. Great read!

    Cheers, Joris

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Apr 2007
    This one is rather neat for the "Music Books:" catagory.

  4. #4
    Harmony With Lego-Bricks by Conrad Cork (UK Book). An excellent book on learning the harmonic language of improvised music. Levine's book is good, but this is another way of thinking about the subject, a different way of thinking about song structures, standards etc. Written in an accessible and conversational style.

  5. #5
    Contemporary Chord Khancepts is the only one I would add to the list here. It helped me with theory as it applies to the guitar, specifically with the knowledge and use of guide tones, and how they move on the guitar in any musical form. In my opinion, Steve's approach is well worth knowing. His website, also is prolific in it's offerings of transcriptions and information.
    I have the Jazz Theory Book and will be checking the others on the list out. Thanks to everyone involved with this site.

  6. #6
    Jazz Improvisation for Guitar: A Melodic Approach
    by Garrison Fewell.

    I really like this instruction book, and keep coming back to it for inspiration.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Oct 2009
    Effortless Mastery - Liberating The Master Musician Within (Kenny Werner)

  8. #8
    Jazz Guitar Books:
    - Talk Jazz Guitar - Roni Ben-Hur
    - All 3 Truefire courses by Mimi Fox
    - Chord-Melody Guitar - Bruce Buckingham

    Guitar Books:
    - The Advancing Guitarist

    Music Books:
    The Music Lesson - Victor Wooten (a must have!!)
    Neue Jazz-Harmonielehre - Frank Sikora (German theory book with 2 CDs covering all I can think of and easy to understand)

    Quincy Jone's Autobiography - one man, who is a personalization of the American music history of the 20th century and tell's unbelievable stories, what a joy to read!

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Jun 2007
    Ottawa, Ontario
    More general books:

    Frogs into Princes: Neuro Linguistic Programming
    This is Your Brain on Music - Daniel J. Levitin
    Effortless Mastery - Kenny Werner
    Outliers - Malcolm Gladwell
    The Inner Game of Music - Barry Green
    The Music Lesson - Victor Wooten

    Jazz Guitar Books :

    Ben Monder Compositions - Ben Monder
    Chord Chemistry/Modern Chord Progressions - Ted Greene
    Harmonic Mechanisms 1-3 - George Van Eps
    Creative Force - Pat Martino

    Guitar Books:

    Pumping Nylon - Scott Tenant
    Wayne Krantz - An Improviser's OS

  10. #10
    Music Books:
    • Mark Levine's Jazz Theory is still exciting after many reads. My notebook is filling rapidly. A great read for any musician.
    • Carl Woideck's Charlie Parker (Univ of Michigan Press) gives an in depth analysis of a lot of his work.
    • Frank Mantooth's Chord Changes for the World's Greatest Standards and Most Requested Standards (Hal Leonard), both with assistance from David Baker, are great in helping understand reasonable approaches to chord substitutions.

    Guitar Books & Jazz guitar books:

    Right now I am finding I get more from the instructional videos than most books. I am working through a couple of Martin Taylor's videos (The Music of Duke Ellington and Jazz Guitarist) and Larry Coryell's Jazz Guitar now.

    I will say that the little THE ULTIMATE SCALE BOOK has been a useful tool for a quick reminder of some scale fingerings when practicing.

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    KC area
    All the books specific to jazz I would list have already been named. So I will add another general title.

    Talent Is Overrated by Geoffry Colvin

  12. #12

    Must Read guitar books

    I would like to post some Django-oriented title's that deserve a larger audience:
    - Stephane Wrembel: Getting into gypsy jazz guitar
    - Michael Horowitz: Gypsy picking
    and the real eye-opener:
    - Michael Horowitz: Gypsy Rhythm vol. 1. A tutorial etc.
    It's in the right hand! ;-)

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Oct 2009
    Toronto, Ontario CANADA
    Great list, Dirk.
    While not specifically Jazz, another Sher Music publication that I think should be on any musicians shelf, is;
    The Salsa Guidebook: Rebeca Mauleon.

  14. #14

    Book Favorites

    Hi Everyone,

    Mick Goodrick's Book (Advancing Guitarist) is unquestionably THE one for me. Bruce Forman wrote a book using the same type of format.

    I love all the others mentioned; I also like Jazz Guitar Soloing (Joe Elliot) and Guitar Fretboard Workbook (Barrett Tagliarino).


  15. #15

    Books fave book

    the best book ive found, be it for beginners or advanced players, is "Chords and Progressions for Jazz and Popular Guitar" by Arnie Berle - he goes from basic rock barre chords to advanced 3-note chord solos and rhythmic comping...quite an insightful book...my buddy who's played for nigh on 30 years is still picking stuff up from out of there!

  16. #16
    Jazz Guitar...
    The Advancing Guitarist

    Guitar in general...
    The Advancing Guitarist
    Pumping Nylon (applicable for everyone)

    David Baker (How to Play Bebop, Improvisation, etc.)
    The Jazz Theory Book
    Jamey Aeborsold Playalong Series <-- Godsend for a small-town jazz-less boy like myself.

  17. #17
    Join Date
    Mar 2010

    Hi Ladies and Guys

    I don't know if there are ladies among us, but I want to greet them anyhow.

    My favorite books, and I only have a few are:


    HARMONY Walter Piston Norton Company 1941 (no ISBN found)
    Counterpoint in Composition Felix Salzer and Carl Schachter Morningside book ISBN 0-231-070393
    The Jazz Piano Book Mark Levine Sher Music ISBN 0-9614701-5-1 (i'm borrowing this one from a friend)
    Clés pour l'Harmonie Jo Angler-Weller ISBN M-2309-5202-6

    Jazz Guitar:
    Improvisation et Harmonie Paul Farges Publication Alain Pierson
    Techniques d'Improvisation Eric Boell HL Music

    That's it
    Looking Forward to the results

  18. #18

    Check This Out! A great guitar book

    I always wanted to play melody and harmony together and move away from only the self taught ,play by ear approach.
    I find Jazz ballads by Jeff Arnold most useful. It has notation and tablature and most of the songs are familiar. I have made real progress in a matter of days

  19. #19

    Books Nicolas Slonimsky

    I am a fan of Pharaoh Sanders. When I lived briefly in L.A., I was fortunate to spend some time with Howard Roberts. He told me Pharaoh's bible was Slonimsky's "Thesaurus of Scales and Melodic Patterns." I bought the book and still use it for practise.

  20. #20
    Join Date
    Feb 2009
    Port Stanley, Ontario, Canada

    Great topic

    Great topic, Dirk!
    I add my vote to 'Jazz Theory' by Mark Levine, 'Effortless Mastery' by Kenny Werner; 'Chords and Progressions for Jazz and Popular Guitar" by Arnie Berle.
    I'd add a few:
    "The Principles of Correct Practice for Guitar" by Jamie Andreas. Finally, a book you can trust that starts with the mechanics of fingering!
    "The Berklee Jazz Chord Dictionary", by Rick Peckham. Somehow this one seemed more like a system to me, apart from all those books that claim to be complete.

  21. #21
    Join Date
    Jan 2010
    Wexford, Ireland
    For Me--
    1/The Jazz Guitar Chord Bible, by Warren Nunes--Excellent chord reference, with examples for all and with harmonized scales for all keys at the back.

    2/Jazz Rhythm Guitar-a systematic approach to chord progressions- By Roger Edison. Easy to understand lessons for Jazz virgins.

    3/Berklee Jazz Guitar chord dictionary by Rick Peckham. Nice, handy sized reference-much more in it than looks at first glance.

  22. #22
    We're missing the greatest Jazz Guitar chord voicing book of all time!
    Guitar Comping by Barry Galbraith!
    Amazon.com: Barry Galbraith - Guitar Comping: Barry Galbraith: Books

    This has some of the nicest/smoothest voice leading ever!

  23. #23

    A German book

    I am very fond of "Jazz Gitarre" written by Michael Sagmeister. It is written in German, so it may not be so popular in other than German speaking countries. I could highly recommend this book, it also has a CD enclosed and costed me (used) about 20,-- Euro via AMAZON.
    It is my favourite book - music notation and tabulature!
    Bye, Babs
    Last edited by Barbara; 03-15-2010 at 02:02 PM. Reason: print erroro

  24. #24


    Jazz Guitar Book - "Mickey Baker Jazz" Vol. 1 and 2

    Jazz Improv Book - Forward Motion (From Bach to Bebop)" - Hal Galper

    General Guitar - Fredrick Noad's "Solo Guitar Playing Volumes" 1 and 2
    Last edited by Caleb Cook; 03-15-2010 at 02:57 PM.

  25. #25


    1. Jazz Guitar Books

    Six Essential Fingerings for the Jazz Guitarist (Jimmy Bruno)
    The Joe Pass Guitar Method (Joe Pass)
    Voice Leading For Guitar (John Thomas)
    Jazz Guitar Comping: Raising Your Chord Awareness (Andrew Green)

    2. Guitar Books in General

    The Gibson L5 (Adrian Ingram)
    Gibson Guitars 100 Years of an American Icon (Walter Carter)
    Blue Guitar (Ken Vose)

    3. Music Books

    The Real Book 6th Ed. (Hal Leonard)
    Scales For Jazz Improvisation (Dan Haerle)
    The Business of Music -- A Definitive Guide To The Music Industry (Krasilovsky, M. William)
    The Music Business (Passman, Donald A)
    Effortless Mastery (Kenny Werner)

  26. #26
    Join Date
    Apr 2007
    Vancouver, Canada
    Music Reading For Guitar - David Oakes. This is an great MI book that I get my students to buy.

  27. #27
    I couldn't say one really but i think that George Russell's
    Lydian Chromatic Concept of Tonal Organization for Improvisation
    is always worth a read.

  28. #28
    Join Date
    Jun 2009
    NW Scotland
    Hi Everyone

    I'm a big fan of two books by Andrew Green ; Jazz Guitar Structures and Jazz Guitar Technique

    Cheers, Pab

  29. #29
    Join Date
    Aug 2007
    central oregon

    favorite guitar books

    quote=dirkji;70468]In the same style as we did the Top 100 jazz guitar albums and Top 100 Jazz albums, I thought it would be intersting to do a Top 50 of guitar and music books.

    Let's make 3 categories:
    1. Jazz Guitar Books
    2. Guitar Books in General
    3. Music Books
    In case of music books, I'm not talking about biographies and such, but about music theory books, musical concepts, ...

    Here's my list. I'm obviously a little biased since I am selling them (for a good cause though, namely the website), but I'm a fan of Sher Music books:

    Jazz Guitar Books:
    Guitar Books:
    Music Books:
    What are your favorite books?[/quote]

    As most books go on and on with particular lessons that combined with other books become too much information, I believe books that provide essential theory in concise format are the most useful. Case in point, my all time favorite is Arpeggios for Guitar by Don Latarski. I challenge anybody to find a book with more valuable information for fretboard understanding in such a short (49 pages ) format. Don Latarski's other books are great too but this is the best!

  30. #30

    Guitar how are you Dirk

    I got a book by Steve Crowell that i find is very useful indeed . It it call Formulas for JAZZ Guitar Improvisation and I also got his 84 Jazz Equations . I really like these books cause they take on such a revolutionary approach

    ps great site indeed Rob !

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