The problem with most guitar books is that the information is good but the book is badly organized.
Even with classic books (that are popular), the amount of content provided can be overwhelming for the student.
In the end, it becomes a book that is left on the shelf gathering dust.
This book from Howard Roberts is special because it is designed to help you succeed.
In twelve chapters, Howard Roberts (along with Charles Fechter and Keith Wyatt) guide the aspiring guitarist to master specific useful skills and knowledge.
From knowing the notes on the guitar, useful jazz guitar voicings, scale fingerings, arpeggios, playing in all keys, how to move voicings, scales and arpeggios into any key, rhythms, music theory and how to understand the logic of the fretboard.
My favorite part of the book is Howard asking us to take a test to see whether we actually know the material in the chapter BEFORE we study the chapter. This happens for almost all the chapters. There are also specific time limits for these tests and even the questions.
All of these was designed for the benefit of the student from the perspective of experienced educators.
It’s not that the book is teaching anything you can’t find from other books… but it’s HOW it’s organized that makes the material powerful.
As an educator I am inspired and impressed at how everything is laid out in the book. There’s a lot of lessons not just with the material but in how the material is taught.
In conclusion, this book is a valuable document of the educational mind of these fine musicians… and a great resource for the serious guitarist who wants to get a strong foundation before enrolling at a music school like Musicians Institute, Berklee College of Music or a similar institution. Also, even if you never go to a music school, this book can certainly give you useful skills and knowledge that can help you understand the guitar and have a framework for learning jazz on the guitar.
The only shame is that this book is out of print and HARD TO FIND. If you do find a copy, get it. Strongly recommended if you can locate it.
Pros: One of the most well organized guitar method books in material, pacing and pedagogy.
TLDR: If you want to learn the basics of playing jazz guitar chords, improvising single note lines & understand the basics of the music theory, this book might be for you.
Where to buy this: You can try to find this book online on eBay or Amazon. It’s out of print though, so it can be difficult to find.
Read my review of another book in this series here:
Book Review: Style & Craft – The Alchemy of Unique Style by Howard M. Roberts and Garry Hagberg
[Submissions for Review Consideration]
- Are you an author who wrote a jazz, guitar or music book?
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Depending on whether I dig the book/course, I’ll let you know if I do plan to review it!
I cannot guarantee a review for every submission & if I’m not too into it, I may opt not to review it. I mean, it’s better to get a good review that for me to write a bad review just because it’s not a match for the kind of stuff I dig right? :p
NOTE: All reviews reflect my honest personal opinion so be aware that I will point out both cool Pros and Cons that I see in the work. You dig?