Book Review: Between the Voicings by Hristo Vitchev


I first met Hristo Vitchev while I was living in the San Francisco Bay Area. We both had studied at San Jose State University at different times and had studied with Rick Vandivier. I even had the great pleasure of sharing the stage with Hristo once! We’ve kept in touch over time and earlier this after an e-mail conversation inquiring about his book, Hristo very kindly sent me a copy of it!

This 256-page book is a massive work filled with a lot of cool ideas and voicings. Hristo has really embraced a guitaristic way of approaching voicings. Dividing the chord shapes into left expansion, central expansion and right expansion – this fingering-centric approach actually naturally opens up different intervallic possibilities for the guitar shapes. Then, he divides the chapters into major, minor and two dominant chord chapters over 3 string sets. Interestingly enough, this is quite an elegant approach to go beyond the arranging based (drop-2, drop-3, drop-2&4) voicings approach that most guitarists may be more familiar with.

In this book, I find that it’s more about intervals, colors and the physical possibility of executing the sound. Knowing Hristo though, a lot of the voicings present wide stretches in order to access interesting intervals. This is definitely a book that is worth checking out after you get your fundamentals down. This isn’t really a book for beginners though you might still benefit by buying a copy now for your personal library. As your skills develop, this book will be a valuable reference to open up your creative outlook on harmony for the guitar.

For a sample of Hristo’s way of thinking harmonically, check out this free 3-part lesson series from his YouTube channel. Also, you can also purchase a video lesson of him teaching the concepts from the book here:

If you’re curious about Hristo’s playing, please check out my previous blog post compiling his warm up routines: Hristo Vitchev 21 Daily Warm Ups For Jazz Guitar

Pros: A lot of material to work on. Good diagrams, a systematic approach once you understand the main concept.
The material may be overwhelming (it was for me at the very beginning). Also, the left hand stretches are challenging!
 For anyone looking for a very guitaristic, visual way of building new voicings, Hristo’s book may provide a lot of new food for thought. It will require a lot of work (the voicings are physically demanding with the stretches at times) but if you want new sounds, this may be a way to expand your harmonic vocabulary.

This book was a gift from Hristo to me. Thanks Hristo!

How to Buy:
Get this book here from Hristo & please tell him you found out about the book here, if you did! 🙂

[Read more Book Reviews]

Book Review: Voicing Modes – A Chord Voicing Approach to Hearing and Practicing Modes by Noel Johnston

Book Review: The Outside Sounds and Substitutions of Modern Saxophonists for Jazz Guitar by Kevin Miller

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